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Diplomats Ball 2011: A Celebration of Ping Pong Diplomacy

In 1971, Nixon and Mao used the simple game of ping pong to thaw relations between the US and China. American pong players toured China and played against Chinese pong athletes with a spirit of "friendship first, competition second".

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The Diplomats Ball

On September 30, 2011, the Institute of International Education will present the 10th Annual Diplomats Ball with a sports diplomacy theme, honoring William J. Hybl and the Western Union Foundation. The evening will be a global celebration of the 40th anniversary of Ping Pong Diplomacy. The Chinese Ambassador and other Chinese and American dignitaries and sports celebrities are expected to be on hand. Doug Jackson, President of Project C.U.R.E., is co-chair of the event along with Frieda Sanidas Leason (former Honorary Consul of France) and Denver attorney Lucky Vidmar (Honorary Consul of Slovenia).

Bill Hybl is an icon of sports diplomacy and will be honored as IIE’s first-ever “Lifetime Achievement in Citizen Diplomacy” Award for his work as President Emeritus of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) during four Olympic Games. Western Union Foundation will be honored for their work with the Western Union Foundation Family Scholarship, designed to help a family move up the economic development ladder by helping two members of a family through support of language acquisition classes, vocational training, or undergraduate course work.

Help commemorate the 40 years of Ping Pong Diplomacy with a live reenactment of the 1971 Ping Pong Diplomacy games, special guests and table tennis for all! All guests are encouraged to wear SNEAKERS with their evening attire or national dress.

Why Table Tennis?

It is engaging, international, and everybody can play. It enjoys a special place in diplomatic history, and a special place in many family home basements! It’s healthy, hilarious and good for the brain. And it’s fun to say…Ping Pong!

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10th Annual Diplomats Ball