IVLP Gold Stars – Mr. Amine Zariat

Mr. Amine Zariat Interviews with Mr. Frank Justice at Meridian International Center
Mr. Amine Zariat Interviews with Mr. Frank Justice at Meridian International Center

In November of 2017, Meridian welcomed Gold Star alumnus, Mr. Amine Zariat of Morocco, for a two week program that followed up on his first International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) administered in 2013, "American Youth: Volunteerism and Civic Engagement." A former international basketball player, Amine is the President and Founder of the Association TIBU (Tournoi International de Basketball Universitaire), a basketball tournament that seeks to engage international universities and showcase basketball skills and leadership training. Since the conclusion of his first IVLP, Amine established Morocco's first basketball academy, which later expanded to over twenty-four locations, to provide training in sports, English, and leadership to marginalized youth. He has also founded the Handibasket Tour, which teaches wheelchair basketball skills to disabled children. Having returned to the U.S. as a Gold Star alum, Amine began new relationships with resources in Cleveland, Ohio; Akron, Ohio; Portland, Oregon; Denver, Colorado; Colorado Springs, Colorado; New York, New York; and Washington, DC.

Amine's program opened in Cleveland, where State Department officials and the team from the Cleveland Council on World Affairs briefed him on upcoming appointments in both Cleveland and Akron. While in Ohio, Amine had the opportunity to meet with staff who work on the Cleveland Cavaliers' Educational Programs, including the a chance to see one of the programs in action and play “NBA Math Hoops,” a learning based board game, with local students. He also met with a representative from the Beep Baseball league team, the Cleveland Scrappers. This adaptive game used a beeping ball to make baseball accessible to people with low vision and blindness. Putting on a blindfold, Amine had a chance to join the game. He then traveled to Akron for inspiring meetings with individuals from the LeBron James Family Foundation and the Adaptive Sports Program of Ohio.

In Portland, the World Affairs Council of Oregon welcomed Amine at the Global Ties U.S. sponsored Diplomacy Begins Here Summit. There he spoke about his experiences as a former participant, and how he managed to implement the lessons learned previously in building his own networks and organizations in Morocco. Amine also had opportunities to meet with the Special Olympics organizers in Oregon and the Nonprofit Association of Oregon to talk about important issues like fundraising and board management before traveling to Denver and Colorado Springs.

Mr. Amine Zariat's TedX EMI speaking promotion

A night of cultural activities and a home hosted dinner with a local community member kicked off WorldDenver's local program itinerary. The following day included a speaking event with the International School of Denver, a Pre-K through 8th grade school that has language intensive courses, and Visit Denver, an organization that highlights tourist attractions and works with the Denver Sports Commission to bring athletes to the city. Subsequently in Colorado Springs, Amine met with the Director of Membership Services and Programs at the National Wheelchair Basketball Association; the Executive Offices Director at the YMCA of the Pikes Peak Region; and the Manager of Community Relations at the United States Olympic Training Center. After enjoying a potluck dinner that evening, Amine flew to New York to briefly engage with the NBA Headquarters, the Brooklyn Youth Association, and the Center for Social Innovation.

Amine traveled to Washington following New York, where he again had the opportunity to speak about the impact of his first IVLP experience at the Department of State and take part in a Meridian hosted Facebook Live conversation with Mr. Frank Justice. Amine also engaged with the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy; the Close Up Foundation, a nonprofit education organization that offers youth leadership programs; the National Collegiate Athletic Association; and the President's Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition at the Department of Health and Human Services. A final meeting was scheduled with the Vice President of the Beekeeper Group to talk about maximizing social media messages and telling his organization’s amazing story before he returned home to reflect on his second IVLP. Upon arriving home, Amine spent the next week opening a brand new center and participating as a speaker at TedX EMI.

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Project summary

IVLP Gold Stars – Mr. Amine Zariat | December 2017
Number of Visitors: 1
Regions: Near East and North Africa
Countries: Morocco
Impact Areas: Sports Diplomacy
Program Areas: Global Leadership
Partners: NGOs, Private Sector, Public Sector