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U.S. using sports diplomacy to build stronger ties with Nigeria, says Pierangelo

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Claire Pierangelo

U.S. Consul General to Nigeria, Claire Pierangelo has revealed that his government is employing sport diplomacy as a tool to forge stronger ties with Nigeria.

The diplomat, who revealed that sports diplomacy uses the universal passion for sports as a way to transcend differences and bring people together, also said that the U.S. government was committed to combating human trafficking, which she described as modern slavery.

Speaking at the Girls’ Football Programme titled: “Goal! Strong Girls, Bright Future,” and organized by the U.S Embassy yesterday, the envoy said, “participation in sports teaches leadership, teamwork, and communication skills that help young people succeed in all areas of their lives.

“And our envoys are here to not only teach these girls football skills, but also to engage young women and girls on a very important topic – human trafficking.

“The Nigerian government has made impressive efforts to combat trafficking and illegal migration. The United States commends both Federal and State Governments for what they have done and we encourage them to do more.

“But it is also the responsibility of citizens to help stop trafficking. Through programs like these, girls can become aware of the dangers of trafficking and learn how to detect and prevent it, and better protect themselves.

“More importantly, these girls must be encouraged to be confident and feel empowered to pursue their dreams by acquiring an education, thereby making a better life for themselves and improving their communities.”

The programme held at the Campos Mini Stadium, Onikan, Lagos attracted prominent sports personalities from Nigeria, as well as U.S. icons, including Joanna Lohman, a professional athlete for 12 years, and sport diplomat, who has been traveling the world and running programmes in less developed nations that promote gender equality, conflict resolution, cultural understanding, and economic development.

Also at the programme was Staci Wilson, a former professional football player with extensive experience training athletes, teams and coaches. She played on the 1996 United States Women’s National Team that won the first ever Olympic Gold Medal for Women’s Football.


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