Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton recently named basketball Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar a global cultural ambassador for the U.S. He will travel the globe to meet with young people and promote the importance of education, social, racial, and cultural tolerance and understanding, and how sports can be used as a tool for empowerment.
"It's a great honor and I'm thrilled that they see me as the person that could get this done," Abdul-Jabbar said of the appointment, which was announced Wednesday by the State Department.
Since retiring in 1989, the 64-year-old has been focused on African-American history and socio-economic justice and engaging children in education and sports through his Skyhook Foundation. In 2011, he released a documentary titled On the Shoulders of Giants about these topics and his latest book, What Color is My Word?: The Lost History of African-American Inventors, was released earlier this month. Now he'll take on a new role as part of Clinton's "Smart Power," in which diplomacy, defense, and development come together to "bridge the gap in a tense world through young people." His first trip will take him to Brazil on Sunday (January 22, 2012).
"I look forward to meeting with young people all over the world and discussing ways in which we can strengthen our understanding of one another through education, through sports and through greater cultural tolerance," he said.
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