MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (May 28, 2017) – USA Volleyball concluded a historic week by hosting FIVB President Dr. Ary Graça during USAV’s Annual Meetings, Board Meeting and the start of the USA Volleyball Open National Championships in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

“The significance of our historic meetings with President Graça will have long-lasting benefits for USA Volleyball and the FIVB,” USA Volleyball Board of Directors Chair Lori Okimura said. “These meetings have given our Board a renewed sense of spirit to continue our efforts to increase opportunities to host more international programs and events. As Dr. Graça explained to our Board, we must continue to have an open mind and use this new collaborative mindset to work more closely together in the future.”

Jamie Davis, who has been USA Volleyball’s Chief Executive Officer for five months, felt the meetings with Dr. Graça were the start of a new era in the sport’s growth.

“It was truly an honor to host President Graça on his trip to the United States,” USA Volleyball Chief Executive Officer Jamie Davis said. “It is clear from our discussions that there is enormous potential for the FIVB and USA Volleyball to partner in the sport’s growth in America and I look forward to working together to make this a reality. We are thinking big and I am convinced that our best days lie ahead.”

On his final day of his historic visit, Dr. Graça was led on a tour of the USA Volleyball Open National Championships by USAV Board member Sue Mailhot along with Davis and Okimura. Mailhot is serving as one of the event’s competition managers and provided Dr. Graça with details on the signature USAV national championship event.

“We ended our visit together with a chance to visit the USA Volleyball Open National Championships at the Minneapolis Convention Center,” Okimura said. “As I watched Dr. Graça meet and talk with our competition staff and referees, and receive a tour by Jamie and Sue, his reaction was so emotional to the sight of 464 adult teams of all ages and abilities playing together. It inspired some new ideas that can be applied all over the world, and it was clear to me that we had reached a very important point in our desire and commitment to collaborate more in the future.”

After presenting to the USA Volleyball Board of Directors, Dr. Graça stated the two organizations are ready to work hand-in-hand and collaborate in taking volleyball to the next level.

“It was a great honor to be able to present to the USAV Board of Directors here in the United States,” Dr. Graça said. “I am convinced that the U.S. will help the FIVB take the sport to the next level and have a massive impact worldwide. I would like to thank everyone for their time and their invaluable contributions – open discussion is the best way to help our sport move forward!”

Dr. Graça’s five-day stay provided many memorable moments, but one moment really stuck out in his mind.

“There have been a lot of favorite moments, but most importantly was the moment that I realized that the USAV wants to be together with the FIVB and that we must work together because it is good for both of us,” Dr. Graça said. “This for me was very touching. We love volleyball, we have a passion for volleyball and you are going to see the progress we will do, you are going to see the future.”

Dr. Graça also attended USA Volleyball’s Boyce Banquet, the annual awards gala that recognizes the top achievements within the sport of volleyball. During the banquet, he gave an impassioned speech on his visions for the FIVB and working with USA Volleyball.