Through the Mitzvah Program, young PeacePlayers everywhere can use their Bar or Bat Mitzvahs to raise money by hosting charity basketball tournaments, a letter-writing campaign, and donations in lieu of gifts (among many other ideas!). Check out Alexa and the Mitzvah Project she did for PeacePlayers!
PPI’s Jerusalem All-Stars Win First Championship Title - Invited to Play at White House with National Security Advisor Susan Rice.
In 2014, PPI – ME’s Under-18 Girls Team made history by winning the Israeli National League Championship for the Southern Division on a last second shot. The team, comprised of Palestinians and Israelis, is the first ever mixed group from Jerusalem to compete in the National League. The girls have been playing together for five years, overcoming challenges on and off the court to become successful teammates and close friends. In October, National Security Advisor, Susan Rice, hosted the team for a game at the White House basketball court. After playing together, Ambassador Rice spoke with our players to learn about their achievements from the past year. The youth were in Washington, DC as part of the State Department sports diplomacy program.
PPI - SPIN Launches New Soccer League for Orphans in Ethiopia
In the past decade, hundreds of thousands have migrated from rural villages to the capital city of Addis Ababa in search of a better living. This has added to the city’s existing burden of unemployment, poverty, and prostitution, creating an epidemic of children living in the streets. In 2014, PPI - SPIN partnered with Worldwide Orphans (WWO) to launch a youth soccer league with for over 400 vulnerable children from a network of ten orphan-serving organizations. The league is providing participants with tangible life skills education and an avenue for integration into society. One WWO coach said, "I learned from the PPI training these children need us more than as a coach. I will be a role model for them and I believe they can have a bright future with my support." PPI and WWO plan to expand the league to a total of 14 community teams serving over 560 children.
USA Vice President Joe Biden - Former NBA and WNBA Stars Visit PPI - Cyprus
In March, 2014, USA Vice President Joe Biden traveled to to Cyprus to push energy cooperation between the divided communities. During the visit, Vice President Biden met with local civil society leaders, including PPI - CY’s Managing Director, Jale Canlibalik. At the event, Vice President Biden said, “PeacePlayers is doing great work. You are the hope for the future.” Following the visit, PPI - CY held its annual Peace and Basketball Summer Camp, which brought 64 Greek- and Cypriot youth from both sides of the divided island together for a week of basketball and peace education. The camp featured three VIP guest coaches from the USA: Former NBA sharpshooter and current Director of Strategic Planning for the Detroit Pistons, Patrick Garrity, former WNBA player and current Stanford Assistant Women’s Basketball Coach, Evan Unrau, and former Stanford Point Guard, Robbie Lemons. Following the camp, Garrity wrote, “I worked with a group of Turkish-Cypriot and Greek-Cypriot coaches whose love for the game was outmatched only by their talent in teaching and mentoring teenagers.”
City Wide Tournaments in South Africa
South Africa continues to be burdened by the impact of HIV/AIDS, unemployment, drug and alcohol abuse, poverty, crime and strong cultural divides. Since 2001, PPI - SA has served more than 27,000 children from some of the most underprivileged neighborhoods around Durban. In 2014, PPI - SA hosted two City Wide Basketball Tournaments - Durban’s largest ongoing youth basketball event. Over 500 local youth from rural and urban communities around Durban came together to play sports, have fun, and promote ethnic and social integration.
Northern Ireland’s Champions4Peace
Despite the existence of a formal peace agreement between Catholics and Protestants since 1998, less than 5% of educational bodies in Northern Ireland are integrated. In 2014, PPI - NI provided sport and conflict resolution programming to over 2,000 children living in eight of Northern Ireland’s most disadvantaged communities. In addition, PPI - NI launched a new Champions4Peace program that is providing veteran participants additional leadership training and the opportunity to plan and implement their own community building initiatives.
Sport Facilitation Training in Sweden
In 2014, PPI - SPIN partnered with the UN Office on Sport for Development and Peace (UNOSDP) to lead an 11 day Sport for Development Camp for 30 young leaders from Francophone Africa and the Middle East. The theme of PPI’s facilitation was Sport and Conflict Transformation. Through a highly interactive session both in the classroom and on the basketball court, participants developed a greater understanding of conflict and reconciliation as well as practical tools to use sport as a means to break through cycles of conflict.