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Cal Ripken Jr., Brady Anderson To Travel To Japan Nov. 8-16

The U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and Ripken Baseball Inc. announced today that Baseball Hall-of-Famer and Public Diplomacy Envoy Cal Ripken Jr. and Major League Baseball standout Brady Anderson, a former center fielder with the Baltimore Orioles, would travel to Japan Nov. 8-16, 2011, as sports diplomats.

Check back with for video updates throughout the trip.

This visit is part of a larger people-to-people diplomacy effort that began in August when 16 Japanese youth baseball and softball players traveled to the United States for a three-week exchange. During their visit they met with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Ripken and their American counterparts.

Sports diplomacy builds on Clinton's vision of "smart power" diplomacy. It embraces the use of a full range of diplomatic tools, including sports, to bring people together for greater understanding.

While in Japan, Ripken and Anderson will lead baseball and softball clinics in Tokyo, Takarazuka and Kyoto. They will also travel to Ofunato, a city recovering from the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, which devastated the area. While there, Ripken and Anderson will conduct a clinic for 70 young people, including six of the Japanese youth who participated in the Japanese sports exchange earlier this year.

Mr. Sachio Kinugasa, Japan's own "Iron Man," will participate in the clinics in Tokyo and Ofunato.

This will be Ripken's third trip as a Public Diplomacy Envoy. In 2007, he traveled to China and in 2008 he visited Nicaragua. This is Brady Anderson's first trip on behalf of the U.S. Department of State as a sports diplomat.

The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs' SportsUnited Office is the premier sports exchange program at the U.S. Department of State. Athletes and coaches from a range of sports are chosen to conduct clinics, visit schools, and engage with youth overseas in a dialogue on the importance of an education, positive health practices, and respect for diversity. Since 2003, SportsUnited has brought more than 600 athletes from 44 countries to the U.S. to participate in Sport Visitor programs. Since 2005, SportsUnited has sent more than 100 U.S. athletes to 40 countries to participate in Sport Envoy programs.

-- U.S. Department of State press release

Posted Nov. 2, 2011