WASHINGTON, D.C. /eNewsChannels/ — “This spring there will be an exchange between young people as part of our sports program where young Russians will come to the United States for the purpose of playing basketball. So our relationship is not just between our governments, it is increasingly between the American and Russian people.” Secretary Clinton, March 2010.

Realizing our goal of establishing a series of youth sports exchanges with Russia, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs SportsUnited Office will bring a group of young Russian basketball players to Washington, D.C. May 15-29. This Sports Visitor program is the first sports exchange to be carried out as a result of the efforts of the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission’s Education, Culture, Sports and Media Working Group.

The Russian delegation includes 10 boys and 12 girls, ages 13-15, and four coaches who will take part in basketball skills clinics at various levels, including one taught jointly by the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) by the National Basketball Association (NBA). The group’s program will include sessions on team building, disability in sports and learning about Title IX. Basketball skills training with their American counterparts at local high schools, the Boys and Girls Club of America, and Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) teams round out their schedule.

WNBA President Donna Orender will also host the participants at the home opener of the Washington Mystics as they take on the New York Liberty.

For more information, please visit the SportsUnited website, .

Tabitha Angel Berg is an aspiring author and musician and joined eNewsChannels in Nov. 2006 as an editor and mistress of the WP-based content management system (CMS). She likes ferrets better than cats and tea better than coffee, and is a devout iPad evangelist. Nobody pays her to like Dr. Pepper, but wouldn't you like to be a pepper, too?