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Cablegate: Cultural Envoys Faulkner and Freeman Connect to Sri Lankan

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

290805Z Oct 04

UNCLAS COLOMBO 001779

SIPDIS

STATE FOR SA/PPD; ECA; D

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO OPRC KMDR OIIP PREL CE
SUBJECT: Cultural Envoys Faulkner and Freeman Connect to Sri Lankan
Youth


1. (U) SUMMARY: Culture Connect envoys Courtland Freeman and Omari
Faulkner elicited extremely positive feedback among a rarely-reached
segment of the youth audience during their three-day program in Sri
Lanka October 11 to 14. The two basketball envoys reached hundreds o
high school and college-aged students eager to absorb their training
and meet authentic American sports stars. This program allowed the
mission to open doors to schools and other institutions formerly abse
from our contacts, and was magnified by laudatory features in the loc
press. End Summary.

2. (U) Cultural envoys Courtland Freeman and Omari Faulkner did an
outstanding job connecting to hundreds of students and youth in Sri
Lanka through three days of clinics, workshops, games and media
interviews. More than 200 students and young basketball players from
the national teams -- both men and women -- participated in workshops
and clinics during the envoys' program. They also conducted a
theoretical workshop with national and regional coaches in which they
successfully conveyed different styles and approaches to coaching
basketball.

3. (U) All the players the envoys worked with were genuinely thrilled
to be receiving such high-level coaching, and observers noticed marke
improvement in their technique and skills after just one two-hour
workshop. Faulkner and Freeman were professional, courteous, patient
and culturally sensitive, winning over their audience at every sessio

4. (U) The pair also gave several media interviews in which they
emphasized the theme of people connecting through basketball, a
universal game. A report appeared on the Sri Lankan national TV news
and several laudatory articles have appeared, with the largest and mo
detailed appearing in the October 15th English newspaper The Island,
along with a couple photos. The media exposure spread the word that
the U.S. was interested in improving the level of basketball in Sri
Lanka and forging ties to all sectors of society, not just the elites
These articulate and talented young men were exactly what post needed
to reach a new, younger audience, students and players already asking
us when the next set of envoys will come. Many thanks also to ECA's
Brian Sexton for his patience, flexibility and understanding of the
local culture.

LUNSTEAD

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