USGA Welcomes Visitor from Bulgaria for Global Mentoring Program

By USGA
September 20, 2013

Maria Gateva, of Bulgaria, arrived at USGA headquarters for a three-week mentoring program led by Sarah Hirshland. (USGA/John Mummert)

FAR HILLS, N.J. – The USGA welcomed an international visitor to its campus as part of a global sports mentoring program. Maria Gateva, from Bulgaria, is working closely with Sarah Hirshland, senior managing director of business affairs at the United States Golf Association, who is serving as a mentor to Gateva for the U.S. Department of State and espnW Global Sports Mentoring Program. Now in its second year, this program supports the United States’ global commitment toward advancing the rights and participation of women and girls around the world, using sports as a vehicle toward greater opportunity and inclusion.

“Consistent with our strategic focus on international relevance, and also on making the game more inclusive for women, the USGA is proud to play an important role in engaging, inspiring, and empowering a new generation of female leaders around the world,” said Hirshland.

Gateva arrived at USGA headquarters on Monday, Sept. 16 for a three-week mentoring program, during which Hirshland will provide her with valuable skills, experience and access to networks that can lead to future opportunities in her home community. Hirshland will also help to construct a strategic action plan with Gateva, in an effort to create additional sports opportunities for underserved women and girls in Bulgaria.

The mentoring program is a central component of the State Department’s broader Empowering Women and Girls Through Sports Initiative, which aims to increase the number of women and girls worldwide who are involved in sports.

The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs promotes mutual understanding between Americans and people from around the world through a wide range of academic, cultural, private sector, professional and sports exchange programs. These international exchanges engage youths, students, educators, artists, athletes and emerging leaders from the United States and nearly 170 countries. Alumni of these exchanges comprise more than 1 million people around the world, including more than 50 Nobel Laureates and more than 350 current or former heads of state and government.

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