June 8, 2009
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - An Iraqi girls' basketball team made up of 10 players and three coaches will be making a stop at the University of Tennessee and the Lady Vols basketball camp as part of a program that promotes peace and cultural understanding through sports.
Sponsored by Sport 4 Peace/Global Sports Partners and SportsUnited, the players arrived in Washington, D.C., on June 3 and will spend several days in the nation's capital. The team will visit a local high school, assist with a youth soccer program for mentally and physically disabled children, tour the Smithsonian, and attend a WNBA Washington Mystics vs. Atlanta Dream game. On June 9, the team will travel to Knoxville to participate in UT head coach Pat Summitt's basketball camps, June 10-17. While in Knoxville, the girls will have an opportunity to tour the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame, hike in the Smoky Mountains, and visit local homes for dinner and entertainment.
Sport 4 Peace, co-founded in 1994 by Steve DeVoss and UT doctoral student Sarah Hillyer, is the leading women's sport development partner for Global Sports Partners. In 2005, UT doctoral student Ashleigh Huffman joined the Sport 4 Peace staff as assistant researcher and assistant camp director. Following the "Iraq to America" project, Sport 4 Peace will return to Iraq in July 2009 to hold the second annual basketball camp for girls, women, and coaches.
UT students Sarah Hillyer and Ashleigh Huffman have been around the world conducting camps and researching the impact of sport, specifically in conflict areas. The organization, is committed to providing new, healthy, fun, and safe sporting opportunities for girls and women throughout the Middle East, North Africa, and East and Central Asia.
This year's trip includes 10 girls ages 14-16 from across Iraq and three coaches. The players were selected to represent different regions, religions and ethnicities. In addition, the girls chosen also demonstrated strong leadership qualities, positive attitudes and a desire to promote peace through the medium of sport. Some of the girls attended the camp in Iraq last year.
|Former Lady Vol Chamique Holdsclaw visited the Iraqi girls in Washington, D.C. on Sunday when they watched the Atlanta Dream play at the Washington Mystics.|
For more information about last year's camp in Iraq, visit here.