U.S. Speaker Discusses Sports for Educational Development in the Lead to 2016 Olympics and Paralympics

Rio de Janeiro, July 11, 2016 – As part of its Olympic and Paralympic cultural and educational “Sports for All” campaign, PA Rio hosted the Commissioner of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Jacqie McWilliams for a program on sports for educational development.  During her visit to Rio de Janeiro, the speaker engaged with Brazilian educators and students highlighting the importance of integrating sports and athletic programs into the formal educational system.  Ms. McWilliams lead a webinar with EducationUSA Advisers and prospective students from Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Peru and Argentina.  She interacted with students of a bi-lingual public high school and a progressive public boarding school with a strong sports education program.  As the first Afro-American women to lead an athletic conference in the United States, she also spoke with young women in the audience about the importance of finding strengths and empowerment to pursue dreams.  The U.S. visitor also participated in a debate with Rio State government officials, sports leaders, exchange programs alumni, and Brazilian Olympic athletes about the U.S. and the Brazilian models of incorporating sports into the educational system.  Commissioner McWilliams presented the CIAA and its structure to representatives from the Network of International Offices of Rio de Janeiro Higher Education Institutions (REARI), and had the opportunity to learn about collegiate sports in Brazil.  Ms. McWilliams was impressed with social sports programs in Rio de Janeiro and reiterated the importance to find a way to incorporate them sports into the formal educational system.  The U.S. speaker’s visit to Rio de Janeiro received positive media coverage, with interviews at Rio’s main daily newspaper, O Globo and a cable sports network, SporTV, in a program which will continue to develop the theme of sports for educational development.