Twenty Three Peace Corps Nominated Youth To Attend World Scholar Athlete Games

KINGSTON, Rhode Island, June 21, 2001—From June 22-July 1, 2001 the World Scholar Athlete Games will be held at the University of Rhode Island. Every four years these Games unite over 2,000 scholar athletes/artists for ten days of friendly competition and learning in an effort to celebrate ethnic and cultural diversity. This year, WSAG asked Peace Corps again to identify and nominate talented individuals throughout the world who would compete for 25 scholarships to attend the Games. Over 130 individuals were nominated, representing 29 different Peace Corps posts. Eventually 25 outstanding individuals were chosen and 23 will be in attendance.

Peace Corps country directors, staff and volunteers chose the nominees based on consistent academic achievement, leadership qualities, and excellence in athletics or the arts. WSAG and Peace Corps Washington chose the 25 scholarship winners. This year the scholarship winners represent the nations of Belize, Bolivia, Cape Verde, Dominica, Ecuador, Gabon, Kiribati, Macedonia, Malawi, Micronesia, Moldova, Morocco, Palau, Poland, Suriname, Saint Vincent, Samoa, Slovakia, Thailand, Togo, Tonga, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.

WSAG will recognize the Peace Corps nominated individuals with a reception on Monday, June 25. Ken Hill, the Acting Chief of Staff, Chris Kanstrup, from the Office of Private Sector Cooperation, James Arena-DeRosa, Regional Manager of the Boston Regional Office and Krista Basis, a Regional Recruiter out of Providence will be in attendance to celebrate this unique experience.

Seeking to promote friendship, understanding and acceptance between the youth of the world, the World Scholar Athlete Games is an international athletic and cultural event dating back to the first modern Olympic Games of 1896. The scholar athletes/artists are between the ages of 15-19, representing 150 countries and all 50 states. At the core of the Games’ concept is the absence of national teams. Instead, all scholars are strategically placed into ethnically and culturally diverse groups, taking part in either athletic competition or cultural pursuits.

Their experiences on the playing field, in the studios and at informal gatherings and discussions allow fast and long lasting friendships to form. The participants give each other a greater understanding of the uniqueness of their respective cultures through their daily interactions, but at the same time, they also come to realize how similar their cultures are.

The Games will commence on Saturday, June 23 with assemblies, workshops and Theme Day activities for the participants. The opening ceremonies will follow on June 24 with a performance by the Temptations, the top R&B artists of all time. The participants will then parade around the University of Rhode Island’s Meade Stadium, and an elaborate fireworks display will conclude the evening. The Games will end with the closing ceremonies on Saturday, June 30.

The week of Games promises to be filled with many exciting activities. On June 27, for the first time, World Scholar Athlete Community Service Day will be held, allowing the scholars to give back to the state of Rhode Island. Projects include a concert by the Games’ choir and orchestra, construction of a mural and the cleaning up of various parks. Game participants will also be taught how to implement service projects in their own communities, increasing their overall awareness of the importance of community service.

Prominent speakers will address the participants during five theme days. This year the speakers include: Terry Cummnings, a former NBA all-star; Jack Healey, executive director of the Human Rights Action Center; Gary Wadler, officer on the White House Drug Council, author and expert on drug use in athletics; and Christine Johnson, the mother of Earvin “Magic” Johnson.

Those who are nominated for athlete participation will compete in one of thirteen sports during the Gamee who are nominated for athlete participation will compete in one of thirteen sports during the Games. The athletic events include basketball, baseball, field hockey, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, track & field, volleyball, rugby and chess. Competition will start off in round-robin format and culminate with a championship tournament. However, everyone will be able enjoy the great competition a game brings by playing at least one each day.

Participants who excel in the arts can chose to sing, dance, act or be a part of the orchestra. This year, the choir and orchestra will work together to record the official theme song of The World Scholar-Athlete Games along with performing at the closing ceremonies with the dancers. There is also an art group that works with four different mediums including drawing, painting, linoleum cutting and mural design. Scholar-artists will work towards creating their self-portraits or contribute to a mural piece for the city of Providence. Those who excel in writing will gain experience in journalism, as well as short story and poetry writing. A final piece of writing will be exhibited by each participant by the closing of the Games. Finally, cooking enthusiasts will learn along side the chefs of the Johnson and Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island, to create an international food bazaar for family night.

With activities from the early morning to long after the sun sets each day, the participants are sure to leave tired, but with fond memories, new friends and a greater cultural understanding.

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