PeacePlayers International

PeacePlayers International's mission is to unite, educate and inspire young people in divided communities through basketball.
Jul 28, 2015

PeacePlayers International Report - August 2015

PeacePlayers International Report - August 2015
Mush holding one of her hard earned  trophies!
Meet Christiana "Mush" Miltiadous, one of PPI-Cyprus' most enthusiastic leaders! Mush started playing basketball in 2012, but has made many strides athletically and academically in that short time. She reflected on what was an outstanding season, coming into her own both on AND off the court: "I have met some incredible people who inspire me to be the person I am today. I’m very grateful for that. They taught me a lot of things such as to have respect for the other person in every aspect of life and that everyone is the same no matter their country of origin or religion. We are all a team! A FAMILY!"
North, south, east and west have a riot... at Summer Jam!
At the end of May, PPI-Northern Ireland, with some help from students and coaches from DePauw University in Indiana, held their 'Super Sports Day' and their Summer Jam event in the same week! Events like these show how big an influence sport can be in bringing children from communities with a history of conflict together, and giving them the chance to establish strong relationships and friendships with people whom they may never have had the chance to. “If you can learn to play together, you can learn to live together”.
 
Alexa and a friend at her tournament.

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!

 
 
May 4, 2015

PeacePlayers International Report - May 2015

 
For the first time, PPI, the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation and the Arbinger Institute teamed up with the Kansas City Police Athletic League (KCPAL) to help bridge divides between police and the communities they serve. The KCPAL program started as a community-oriented policing project in 1994, offering youth the opportunity to interact with police officers in a positive setting while participating in cultural, mentoring and sports activities. In a 2-day launch event, PPI flew to Kansas City to train police officers in PPI's Conflict Resolution through Sport Curriculum, and lead a basketball clinic for Kansas City youth. One officer said, "PPI showed me that you can bring any walk of life together, find a common ground, and if there is something you can work to accomplish together you can forget about why there was conflict in the first place." PPI and KCPAL will continue to work together throughout the year to bridge divides and change perceptions for both police officers and the youth they serve.
 
Earlier this month, PeacePlayers hosted 50 young women for a day of basketball and learning at the beautiful University of KwaZulu Natal – Howard College Campus. The event not only allowed participants to play on an indoor court (a rare treat in Durban), but to tour the campus and participate in an empowerment seminar led by Nokuthula “Noks” Mnguni of Zoe Life. Events like these represent an important part of PPI's Leadership Development Program curriculum as we aim to expose participants to different “next steps” after high school.
 
More than 150 Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot youth, coaches and volunteers came together to take part in PPI's annual 3 on 3 Spring Basketball Tournament. During the tournament, Greek-Cypriots and Turkish-Cypriots competed together on mixed teams, reinforcing friendships old and new. Youth involved in the Leadership Development Program - many members of PPI for several years - assisted coaches, volunteers and our younger participants, and several of the participant's families also joined, promoting an overall sense of community for everyone involved.
 
North Miami Beach-born Rebecca Ross has been playing professional basketball in Israel's first division league since she was 18-years-old. While Rebecca has been coaching youth basketball for a while, this was her first year with PeacePlayers. "Before I started working with PeacePlayers I never really knew any Arabs personally, even though I saw them all the time and lived with them, I never had a conversation with an Arab. I was basically taught to “hate” the Arabs, due to the environment I was raised in... PeacePlayers has made a huge impact on me personally, due to the extreme right wing background I came from. It basically changed my whole point of view, not only towards the Arabs specifically but in general towards human beings."

 
Earlier this month, PPI's global partner adidas donated new gear to PPI-Cyprus' leadership development camp. At the camp participants gained important leadership skills through advanced basketball trainings, team-building exercises, and the experience of organizing their own community service projects, including a food drive and volunteering at a local animal shelter.
 

 
PPI Fellow Joseph Smith wondered how he could impact youth in Northern Ireland, a place where discrimination and sectarianism are palpable, and terror, bombings and death are in the not so distant past. So Joe listened to the advice of his mom - that sometimes the solution does not lie with what you can say, but instead what you can listen to.
Feb 4, 2015

PeacePlayers International Report - February 2015

Peace
Peace

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. 

Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland

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