PeacePlayers International-Cyprus: Seeds For Success Seminar
All PPI-CY participants ages 15 and above were invited to the first Seeds for Success seminar of 2014, which focused on the holistic development of our players. The seminar is part of a series of year-round events organized for the Leadership Development Program (LDP).
The aim of the seminar ‘Seeds for Success’ is to give the PPI participants the opportunity to familiarize themselves with some of the most important tools they need in order to achieve inner peace and success in all their endeavors. Some of these are: self-respect, self-awareness, self-acceptance, self-belief, self-confidence, self-reliance, self-realization.
PeacePlayers International-Northern Ireland: Northern Ireland Belfast Games
PPI-Northern Ireland hosted over 100 Catholic and Protestant children to participate in the Belfast Interface Games at Seaview Stadium. Organized in partnership with Ulster Rugby, Ulster GAA, and the Irish FA, the games allow 9 to 13 year olds to participate in the country’s three major sports: rugby, soccer, and Gaelic football.
Belfast’s Lord Mayor Máirtín Ó Muilleoir said: “I applaud everyone involved with this project and congratulate them for their efforts and achievements in bringing our young people together. Sport is a great way to encourage teamwork and help forge friendships which will hopefully last for a lifetime.”
PeacePlayers International-Middle East: Abe and Irene Pollen Winter Happening 2013
In early January, staff and young leaders from PPI - ME led Palestinian and Jewish Israeli elementary school children through different activities including basketball drills and art projects at the annual Abe and Irene Pollin Winter Happening.
PPI - ME Operations Manager Heni Bizawi said: "The Leadership Development Program were excellent at the Winter Happening. They are the best role models for these younger kids of how the Palestinians and the Israelis can work together, play together, and be friends."
PeacePlayers International South Africa: 22nd Annual City-Wide Tournament
PPI - South Africa held its 22nd semiannual CityWide Tournament at Hoy Park. With 18 teams from 5 different communities in attendance, the tournament required 4 basketball courts operating simultaneously. South Africa pro basketball team, the KZN Marlins, which has two former PPI-SA participants, spent the day shooting baskets with kids and helping coach on the sidelines. It was great having the Marlins players connect with the kids and promote the sport and new pro league, since basketball opportunities beyond PeacePlayers have been slim.
PeacePlayers International-Cyprus: NBA and WNBA Stars Volunteer at Peace Camp
In August, 64 Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot youth spent 6 days and nights living together, playing basketball, and building new friendships at the PeacePlayers Basketball Camp. Former NBA player and Brooklyn Nets Assistant Coach, Doug Overton, and WNBA champion and beach volleyball star, Kelly Schumacher, volunteered as guest coaches! A young female camper commented, “We came here knowing little of each other and we have in these few days gained tremendous experiences, new friendships and a strong belief we can make things happen!”
PeacePlayers International-Middle East: Peace Education Retreat
40 Palestinian and Israeli youth kicked off their summer at PPI's Peace Education Retreat in Sdot Yam, our traditional retreat spot, right on the Caesaria Beach. The retreat hosted teams from East and West Jerusalem, Hadera, Usafiya, and Jiser Al’Zarka. Our goal was to create a fun, open and welcoming environment for all children to mingle, learn about each other’s culture, and enjoy their first days of summer break.
In addition to basketball and art, participants helped PPI–ME complete the final stage of its research which examines the impact of PPI-ME’s programs on a variety of variables, such as prejudice reduction, friendship formation, self-esteem and leadership. The pilot study was led by independent evaluators from Yale and New York University. We are very eager to see the results of this year's research !
PPI – SA is currently working with 6th and 7th grade students in Durban and its surrounding areas, including Durban City, Umlazi, Lamontville, Wentworth, and Waterloo. Twice a year, PPI-SA brings together all of its participants from these underprivileged communities to participate in a cross community education day where the emphasis is on social integration and fun instead of just winning. This year, the Sport For Social Change Network (SSCN), a program that supports dynamic organizations involved in using sport as a tool to create social change, has teamed up with PPI-SA to make this event possible. PPI-SA is incredibly excited to be hosting our 22nd Annual CityWide Tournament and we encourage all supporters of PPI-SA to join us for a day of bridging divides, developing leaders, and changing perceptions!
Many exciting events have been happening at PPI!
In May, just seven weeks after forming Cyprus’ first ever bi-communal boys’ basketball team, PeacePlayers International - Cyprus sent the 12 teenage boys and their coaches to Norway, where they competed for the Hansa Cup, the most prestigious tournament in Norway. The team stayed with members of the Nesodden Basketball Team, developing relationships with their host families that demonstrated how sports could overcome social barriers like language, nationality, and culture. The boys gave a presentation to two high school classes in Nesodden about how PeacePlayers is using basketball to bridge divides in areas of conflict and had the honor of participating in a show with the Harlem Globetrotters. Despite the tough competition, the team won its first two games, making it all the way to the finals, where they took second place. This marked the first time ever that a competitive team comprised of both Greek-Cypriots and Turkish-Cypriots competed in an official international tournament.
In June, 80 PeacePlayers International - Northern Ireland participants competed in an afternoon of basketball matches at PPI-NI’s Spring Jam Tournament. The goal of Spring Jam each year is to bring children together from Belfast’s divided communities to form one united team of kids from the entire city. Special guests included Tom and Phyllis Etzel from the Global Peace Foundation and Bill Fenlon, DePauw University Head Men’s Basketball Coach. Many prizes and awards, such as the Hustle and Spirit Award and the Champion4Peace Award were distributed to commemorate another successful Spring Jam and PPI-NI’s continued work to bridge divides in Belfast.
In June, before the winter holiday period, PPI-SA held one last finale in Durban. The City Extravaganza event involved all four of PPI’s city schools (Glenmore, Carrington, Berea, Durban Primary) along with former PPI powerhouse, Addington Primary. In addition to awarding teams for their performance in games and competitions, points were given out for the teams that showed the best support for their teammates, creating an electric atmosphere throughout the event. Individual honors went to the player on each team who displayed the best sportsmanship, effort, and attitude. These players were dubbed “Champions for Peace” for the day. The competition was a fantastic way to end another great term for PPI-SA.
In May, PeacePlayers Middle East celebrated the start of two new teams from Maiser (an Arab community) and Katsir (a Jewish community) with a unique twinning. At twinnings, boys and girls from typically segregated communities come together to play basketball in order to learn, play and make new friends. Five Leadership Development Program (LDP) participants helped coach the twinning, giving our older participants a chance to improve their leadership skills and make a positive impact on the next generation. The day was a huge sucess and another example of progress that can be made when we come together and open ourselves up to new people and new experiences.
2013 has gotten off to a terrific start for PeacePlayers International.
PeacePlayers - Cyprus Gets Animated!
PPI-Cyprus has gotten animated! In collaboration with the Cyprus Community Media Center, the animation team at Ze'dem Media and with funding from USAID, PPI - Cyprus has completed 3 videos that explain how sport is an important tool for peace-building and youth development. The videos will be used in all of PPI’s sites and with youth development organizations worldwide to continue to help children play and live together.
Laureus Sport for Good Foundation recognizes PPI - South Africa's Excellent Coaches
Out of the 36 young leaders selected for the Laureus Sport for Good's YES (Youth Empowerment through Sport) program, 9 of them are current coaches for PPI-SA. That’s 25% of this year’s YES participants, and over 50% of the coaches on staff. PPI –SA is producing well-rounded and successful coaches that can take what they have learned at PPI-SA into the greater sport for development community in South Africa.
PPI - Middle East Continues to Hold Successful Twinnings
In February, PeacePlayers Middle East pulled off another set of successful twinnings with two teams of teenage girls, one comprised of Israeli girls from Beit Shemesh, and the other comprising of Palestinians from Hand-in-Hand School in Jerusalem. In the first twinning, the girls started off with some fun, team building basketball drills, and ended the event with an Anatomy of Peace curriculum workshop led by facilitator Nissreen Najjar.
PPI - Northern Ireland Bridges Divides with New Twinnings
Through partnerships with local city councils, PPI – NI is working on new twinnings with St Luke’s and Belvoir Park Primary Schools in Belfast. St Luke’s Primary School is situated in the Nationalist area of Twinbrook, while Belvoir Park Primary School is situated in the Loyalist area of Belvoir Estate. The children have been delving further into the community-relations aspect of the program and have been discussing their identity, prejudice and stereotypes. Despite the history, hopefully PeacePlayers can serve as an avenue for new friendships.
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Development and Communications Associate