About Baseball Diplomacy

Building Bridges through a Shared Passion for Baseball

Baseball has a long and rich heritage in the Caribbean region and is considered as much the national pastime in many of these countries as it is in the United States.  The sport thus represents the ideal path to follow – a bridge – toward increased cooperation, communication and understanding.  Respectful engagement through the common language of baseball, our shared passion, supports the overall development of the sport and brings many diverse countries and cultures closer together.

To this end, longtime Minor League Baseball executive Lou Schwechheimer initiated the idea for the Caribbean Educational and Baseball Foundation (CEBF) back in 2003.  After making a presentation at the University of Havana focused on the stadium symbolizing the “front porch” to the community, Lou began to envision ways to develop a goodwill program of activities and exchanges to build bridges among different baseball-loving countries.   Members of the CEBF team – professionals with decades of baseball, academic, diplomatic and business experience in the U.S. and internationally – have since made over 100 trips to Cuba and other parts of the Caribbean, while also working closely with key stakeholders throughout the U.S.

As a U.S.-based 501(c)(3) charitable organization, CEBF continues to develop and implement youth-focused programs and activities that foster goodwill, promote people-to-people contact, and enhance mutual understanding and cultural education among the U.S., Cuba and other Caribbean neighbors and in the communities in which we serve.

While initially focusing our international efforts on programs with Cuba, CEBF will also feature exchanges and activities with other baseball-loving areas of the Caribbean region, including Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Aruba.  Moreover, CEBF will engage various cities in the U.S., with a particular focus on New Orleans and Port Charlotte, Florida, home to the two affiliated Minor League Baseball clubs owned by CEBF’s affiliate (the Caribbean Baseball Initiative or CBI): the New Orleans Baby Cakes, Triple-A affiliate of the Miami Marlins, and the Charlotte Stone Crabs, Single-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays.

Programming in the U.S., Cuba and Caribbean region

Donations

Organizing and facilitating the donation and distribution of baseball equipment and materials to youth teams and players.

Facilities Improvements

Providing instruction on and working with partners to carry out baseball-related renovation, restoration and maintenance projects, such as youth field upgrades.

Heritage Preservation

Supporting the preservation of the shared baseball heritage in Cuba and other Caribbean nations through assistance with design and development and the general sharing of “best practices” (for example, related to museums or halls of fame or other educational institutions).

Ongoing Education and Conferences

Organizing and participating in seminars, classes, conferences, symposia and exchanges focused on sports diplomacy, sports management, baseball development and training and other topics of interest.

Sharing of Best Practices

Exchanging information and ideas regarding “best practices” with teachers, coaches and students on topics ranging from sports medicine and nutrition to training techniques for student-athletes.

Skills Clinics and Workshops

Sponsoring and organizing youth programs that could feature skills clinics and workshops led by current and former professional and amateur players, coaches and trainers.

Youth Exhibitions and Tournaments

Facilitating youth player and team exchanges and exhibitions among players from different countries and regions that will promote baseball development and cultural understanding through on-field competition and off-field interaction.