Cablegate: Gpra: Cultural Envoy Basketball Program

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




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. Summary: The Public Affairs Section organized a
Culture Connect program that featured two basketball
cultural envoys, Courtland Freeman and Alvin Green.
Freeman is a former basketball player and Georgetown
University graduate while Green is a recent graduate of
Coastal Carolina University and a former player.
Freeman and Green participated in an exhibition game
and conducted basketball training clinics for young
Tanzanians. The program was very successful, as it
generated a great deal of goodwill toward the Embassy
and the United States, while at the same time conveying
positive messages to youth. End summary.

2. Dates, Quarter, FY: May 13 - 18, 3rd quarter, FY 05.

3. Description of Activity: Over three program days,
post arranged for one exhibition game, five training
clinics, a live radio interview, and a representational
event. At the exhibition game, Freeman and Green joined
a team from the Embassy and played against the best
basketball team in the Dar es Salaam basketball league.
The game was played as part of a youth basketball
tournament organized by a local non-profit that uses
sports to convey anti-HIV/AIDS messages. Although the
embassy team was no match for the Tanzanians, the game
was great entertainment for the audience and generated
a great deal of positive press.

The five clinics included male and female participants
from several secondary schools, a primary school, and a
youth centre. Activities included instructional drills,
team building exercises, and motivational messages from
the cultural envoys.

4. MPP theme and Audience reached: Mutual
understanding. This program furthered Post's efforts to
promote mutual understanding in Tanzania by involving
youth in our programs. The clinics benefited a total of
about 150 young players, coaches and basketball
administrators. The general population learned of the
program through numerous articles, captioned photos,
and even a positive editorial in the local print press,
as well as through a live morning rush-hour radio
interview on a popular music station.

5. Results: Excellent. This Culture Connect program
provided Post with an opportunity to engage with an
important target audience, the urban youth of Dar es
Salaam, in a way that was meaningful to them and left
them with a positive image of the United States and the
Embassy in Dar es Salaam. In addition to teaching them
new drills for mastering basketball fundamentals, the
envoys also exchanged ideas about music, the importance
of education, and the value of hard work in achieving
goals. One key Tanzanian partner noted that while
soccer is more popular here, basketball has a younger
fan base and one that is generally interested in
American culture.

Post suggests that future programs involving basketball
cultural envoys include an American coach as well. We
heard about, and witnessed for ourselves, the dearth of
good coaches. Coaching clinics would have been an
excellent complement to the skills clinics and other
events that were organized.

6. Media Coverage: The program resulted in some 10
print media placements. The radio interview was aired
during morning rush hour on one of Dar es Salaam's most
popular radio stations.

7. Quality of USG support: Good. Post appreciates ECA
support in recruiting and sending these excellent
cultural envoys. Post was offered this program on very
short notice (less than three weeks.) Initial
information included incorrect dates and incomplete and
incorrect information on who would be coming from
Washington. We could have taken better advantage of
this opportunity if we had better information sooner.

8. Quality of Non USG support: Post was assisted in
making this project a success by Don Bosco Youths
Center, Dar es Salaam Basketball Association, Makongo
and Jitegemee Secondary Schools and International
School of Tanganyika. OWEN

© Scoop Media

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