US Department of StateWASHINGTON, D.C. /eNewsChannels/ — The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs will host several programs throughout the year to protect and promote the rights of disabled persons, it was announced today. The United States is committed to improving the rights and inclusion of person with disabilities. The first of its sports exchange programs begins today and lasts until May 12th as 19 deaf youth track and field athletes and six coaches from the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa and the Solomon Islands participate in a track and field exchange in Washington, D.C., and White Plains, New York.

Throughout the program, these Pacific Island athletes will engage with their American counterparts, inspiring greater understanding about the rights of persons with disabilities in sports, and empowering them to realize their full potential and advocate for changes in society. They will participate in leadership building, conflict resolution, and teamwork activities with students at Gallaudet University, George Mason University, Maryland School for the Deaf, Roosevelt High School, New York School for the Deaf and Lexington School for the Deaf.

This Sports Visitor program supports the U.S. Department of State’s Human Rights policy that advocates for governments around the world to adopt policies and practices that respect human rights regardless of ethnicity, religion, gender, race, sexual orientation, or disability; and the belief that persons with disabilities have the same rights as non-disabled persons, and must be provided access, opportunity, inclusion, and full participation on an equal basis with others.

To learn more about the U.S. Department of State’s sports diplomacy programs, please visit: