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    Summitt, Catchings to Serve on National Council

    WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced Thursday that she has called on leading American women to serve on the U.S. Department of State’s Council to Empower Women and Girls Through Sports. Two Lady Vol basketball legends are among those who have answered the call.

    Tennessee Head Women’s Basketball Coach Emeritus Pat Summitt and former Lady Vol and current Indiana Fever WNBA All-Star Tamika Catchings have agreed to serve on the Council.  Members of that group, which is comprised of current and retired athletes, coaches, corporate executives, journalists, and trailblazers in women’s sport, will engage audiences in the United States and overseas to elevate the global conversation on sports as a means of empowerment.

    These women have excelled both on and off the field and displayed their strong commitment to advancing the rights of women and girls worldwide.

    The Council will support the broader goals of the Department’s Empowering Women and Girls Through Sports Initiative, which mobilizes all of the Department’s international sports programming, from Sports Envoys traveling overseas to Sports Visitors traveling to the United States, to increase the number of women and girls worldwide who are involved in sports. A cornerstone of this initiative is the creation of a new sports mentorship program that will connect women and girls from across the globe with their American counterparts.

    The Council builds on Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s vision of “smart power,” which embraces the use of a full range of diplomatic tools—in this case American women in sports—to empower girls and foster greater understanding.

    The Members of the Council are: Tamika Catchings, Donna de Varona, Laura Gentile, Mia Hamm, April Heinrichs, Sally Jenkins, Billie Jean King, Michelle Kwan, Jessica Mendoza, Ibtihaj Muhammad, Aimee Mullins, Sarah Robb O’Hagan, Angela Ruggiero, Annika Sorenstam, Sage Steele, Vivian Stringer and Pat Summitt.

    For more information on the Empowering Women and Girls Through Sports Initiative, please log on to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ website at http://exchanges.state.gov/womeninsports.