Diplomacy at its Finest Mentoring Others

Ambassador Rufus Gifford and Anne-Dorte after returning form the Global Women’s Sports Mentoring Program
Ambassador Rufus Gifford and Anne-Dorte after returning from the Global Women’s Sports Mentoring Program

Anne-Dorte Andersen recently returned to Denmark after taking part in the State Department / espnW’s Global Women’s Sports Mentoring Program. After her month in New York and Washington, D.C., Anne-Dorte was back where it all started, at the U.S. Embassy, to meet Ambassador Rufus Gifford and talk about her experiences in the U.S.:

“I feel very lucky to have had the experiences I had… I have come back with more energy and confidence as a result of my experience in the U.S.”, Anne-Dorte told the Embassy staff at her visit last week.

Anne-Dorte’s participation in the Global Women’s Sports Mentoring Program provides a great example of non-traditional diplomacy. The program supports the Department of State’s Empowering Women and Girls Through Sports Initiative which aims to advance the rights and participation of women and girls around the world by using sports as a vehicle toward greater opportunity and inclusion.

Anne-Dorte was joined by 16 women from 14 other countries, who gathered in the United States for the month-long program. Each of these impressive women worked alongside top U.S. female executives in sports world to share valuable business and leadership skills.

What is the Global Women’s Sports Mentoring Program?

The Global Sports Mentoring Program builds on the great experiences these female ambassadors of sport have already amassed, and helps them build a worldwide network of support and inspiration. Anne-Dorte’s personal story and professional experience put her in the perfect position to inspire the next generation of female athletes and leaders: Born without hands or feet, she had to overcome prejudices in the sports world just to be able to participate. But instead of giving up when confronted with doubters, she worked harder and earned the results: Anne-Dorte represented Denmark as a Paralympian in Seoul in 1988, in Barcelona in 1992 and in Atlanta 1996 brought home a total of five medals from both Games.

Out of the pool as well, Anne-Dorte continues to overcome the preconceptions and the prejudices she meets. Today, Anne-Dorte gives back by working at the Danish Sports Association for Disabled (DHIF) to develop their  youth outreach program.

“My mission is to use sports to encourage Danish girls with disabilities to see beyond the barriers to the possibilities. Through sport, I want to empower these girls to go for their dreams and believe in themselves.”

The State Department’s Empowering Women and Girls Through Sports Initiative was launched in 2012, and is but one example of the United States’ global commitment to advance the participation of women and girls around the world.

Secretary of State, John Kerry: “No country can get ahead if it leaves half of its people behind. This is why the United States believes gender equality is critical to our shared goals of prosperity, stability, and peace, and why investing in women and girls worldwide is critical to U.S. foreign policy.”

To read more about Anne-Dorte’s story click on the two following links: