Georgetown player establishes basketball diplomacy project

Originally appeared in April 2009.

Former Men’s Basketball Standout Sead Dizdarevic Establishes Georgetown Basketball Diplomacy Project

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Last summer, former Georgetown men’s basketball player Sead Dizdarevic did something he had wanted to do for a long time; he led a group of former Hoyas to his home country of Montenegro to teach young players about the game and the importance of education. Seed money was provided by the United States Department of State. The trip was a rousing success and upon his return to the States, Dizdarevic began to explore what more he could do to expand on the accomplishments of the first basketball camp.

As a result, Georgetown University has received a grant from the United States Department of State to continue the program in 2009. The Georgetown University Basketball Diplomacy Project will be managed by the Georgetown’s Center for Intercultural Education and Development (CIED) with the support of Georgetown Athletics.

The 2008 pilot program had just four volunteers working in one country. The 2009 program expands efforts enlisting 12 volunteers (players, coaches, men and women) who will teach in four Balkan nations (Albania, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia). Each country will have its own national three-day camp. Following the national camps, the six best student-athletes (boys and girls) from the four countries will take part in a “Unity Camp” to be held in Kolasin, Montenegro. Both athletic skills enhancement and conflict resolution activities will aim to build regional cooperation and overcome ethnic differences.

In addition to conducting high quality basketball training camps, the American athletes’ mentors will share their experiences with the young people and encourage them to stay in school and use basketball as a tool to overcome the challenges they face. This public diplomacy initiative will also strengthen the bonds of friendships and understanding between people of the United States and people in the Balkans.

The State Department has limited resources so Georgetown is actively seeking matching funds to make the 2009 program a reality. Georgetown needs to finalize the fundraising activities by the end of April 2009. Individuals, groups, organizations and businesses interested in support these efforts are asked to contact Sead Dizdarevic more information [ – (202) 687-6557].