The U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) has teamed-up Major League Baseball Hall-of-Famer Barry Larkin and Olympian Natasha Watley as U.S. sports envoys to India reaching Manipur on February 13. Working with Major League Baseball and USA Softball, ECA designed this first-ever joint baseball and softball program to encourage youth participation in sports. Joseph (Joe) Logan, a former player with the Montreal Expos organization and coach of the Orlando Reds Baseball Club in the U.S., will accompany Larkin and Watley.

Hopefully Mica’s story, which became about baseball as a metaphor for increased relations with Cuba, can thus join the continuum of using baseball for cultural exchanges...Along the way, he experienced a cultural exchange, and learned that when it comes to Cuba and the United States, there is much more that is similar than different.

"Sports diplomacy builds on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's vision of 'smart power,' embracing the full range of diplomatic tools, including sports, to bring individuals together to foster greater understanding," the State Department said.

This was Ripken's third trip as a Public Diplomacy Envoy. He travelled to China in 2007 and to Nicaragua in 2008. A 2008 trip to South Africa, was scrapped because of scheduling issues.

The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and Ripken Baseball Inc. announced today that Baseball Hall-of-Famer and Public Diplomacy Envoy Cal Ripken, Jr. and Major League Baseball standout Brady Anderson, a former center fielder with the Baltimore Orioles, will travel to Japan November 8-16, 2011 as sports diplomats.

“It’s important because when I was first asked to spread goodwill through sport, I understood the meaning of it intellectually, but I didn’t fully understand it until I went to China,” Ripken wrote in response to a question asking why his envoy work was important to him.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton met with Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr., 16 Japanese youth baseball and softball players, and four coaches participating in the U.S. Department of State’s first international sports exchange with Japan. The Secretary highlighted the role of sports to empower young people worldwide...

August 3, 2011

Back in 1990, an overly excited Gavin Owen, along with his San Mateo Little League teammates, hopped on an airplane and traveled to Toyonaka, Japan as part of a Sister Cities cultural exchange program.
At that time, the program was in its 23rd year of introducing young boys to the Japanese culture using the power of baseball as a means to this introduction.