PeacePlayers International uses the game of basketball to unite, educate and inspire children in divided communities. For the last decade, PPI has established high-impact sport-based educational programs around the globe in four locations (Israel and the West Bank, Northern Ireland, South Africa, and Cyprus), reaching over 65,000 children in the process.
Over 1 billion children worldwide live in regions affected by violent conflict, bearing the worst of its costs. These pressures most often manifest themselves through social segregation. Young people learn about each other through myths and stereotypes, producing adults steeped in mistrust and hostility. Resources supporting education and development are re-routed to security; opportunities for collaboration yield further polarization; and the status quo remains at a tenuous peace.
Based on the idea that children who play together can learn to live together, PPI aims to replace cycles of conflict with a gradual, self-sustaining process of trust and relationship building by helping local stakeholders envision a future of mutual gain and by helping young people create a new narrative of intercommunal cooperation. In PPI's model, young people first interact to play, while steadily learning to see the "other" side as people, not objects.
This year PPI will equip 4000 young people with the tools to understand and overcome conflict, enabling them to serve as leaders for peace in their communities. These young people, specifically drawn from areas least likely to embrace peace or coexistence efforts, serve as ambassadors for the change. Applying what they learn at PPI in their own lives, they draw their friends and neighborhoods into core constituencies capable of motivating society to take the risks necessary for lasting peace.