In 2017, Athletes for Hope began a global gender equality initiative in partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to educate and activate athletes around the world. Our work in Tanzania and Kenya has expanded over the past year and we are proud to announce Dr. Ashleigh Huffman has accepted a role as AFH’s new Global Director of Gender Equality to head up our increasing efforts.
Ashleigh is an experienced educator and entrepreneur in the global sports diplomacy and women’s empowerment movements. We sat down with her to discuss her upcoming role and what she’s looking forward to most at AFH.
“Although I only started working at Athletes for Hope in the last month, these words have always been a part of me. As a former athlete turned professor turned nonprofit professional, I have spent my career using sport as a tool to empower others and promote hope. I’ve worked in some of the darkest post-conflict, post-disaster zones in the world, where crime, poverty, and injustice reign supreme. But even in the bleakest of situations, there’s something a soccer ball or a basketball does that little else can. It connects us with our inner child. It unites us as teammates. It reminds us of our shared humanity. It provides an escape from the difficult moments. It teaches us what it means to get up again, to rise from the loss, the mistake, or the fall. Ultimately, it offers hope.
As the Global Director for Gender Equality, I look forward to merging my international experiences with the incredible work that is already being done at AFH. Having worked closely with the U.S. Department of State, espnW, and other corporate, nonprofit, and educational entities, I believe there is an opportunity to unite those who are passionate about sport to create a better, more inclusive and equitable society. Inspired by the words of Margaret Mead, I believe a small group of thoughtful, committed athlete-citizens can change the world and will.
With the start of the new year upon us, I am thankful for the opportunity to work at an organization that believes in the power of sport to change the world. I am grateful to the founders, like Muhammad Ali, Andre Agassi, Mia Hamm, and Jackie Joyner-Kersee, who recognized that the athlete platform could be a force for good. And I’m excited to expand the work of AFH to a global market and promote the message of hope among all nations.”
Welcome to the team, Ashleigh. We look forward to working with you and making a difference around the globe through AFH member athletes.