USA, Ireland, Cyprus, Israel, West Bank, South Africa
Grade Level of Students Participating
Grades 1 to 12 (Most participants are between ages 10 and 14, with some as young as 6 in the Middle East and as old as 18 in a special program for teens)
Number of Students Participating per Year
5,000 per year; 75,000 students to date
Year Organization Began
Relationship to the public education system
Both inside and outside schools (in some instances, PeacePlayers International works with entire classes of youth during school hours; in others, their program takes the form of extracurricular activities after school or on weekends)
Organization’s Vision and Mission
Through year-round sports activities, they bring together children from different sides of religious, ethnic and cultural divides to develop friendship and mutual respect.
Mission: To unite, educate and inspire young people in divided communities through basketball.
Brief Description of Program Activities
“Using the sport of basketball, PeacePlayers International creates a safe and neutral space where young people can begin to form deep personal bonds and lasting friendships.”
- Twinning Program: Children start out by practicing basketball in their own communities learning teamwork, tolerance and trust
- Leadership Development Program: Once they reach their teenage years, youth start practicing basketball in integrated teams with young people from other communities. They receive advanced basketball and leadership training. Youth have the opportunity to “volunteer as assistant coaches and lead social action projects, including working with special needs children and refurbishing basketball courts in disadvantaged communities.”
- Coach Mentorship Program: “Local coaches participate in comprehensive trainings designed to enhance their capabilities as basketball coaches, intergroup facilitators, educators, and leaders. The focus is not just about how to encourage young people to be successful on the court, but how to mobilize the greater population toward a culture of peace.”
Program Content: Intrapersonal Competencies
Social responsibility, cultural awareness and competence, appreciation for diversity
Program Content: Interpersonal Competencies
Teamwork, trust, leadership, cooperation, conflict resolution
Program Content: Cognitive Competencies
Participants “develop the basic skills to cope with their communities’ unique challenges, be they the threat of violent conflict, the legacy of a frozen or recently concluded conflict, or the dangers of HIV.”
Program Content: Attitudes and Values
Tolerance, mutual responsibility, respect, compassion, and service.
Children learn to “play with children of different religions and ethnicities on mixed teams so that they are not competing against each other; rather they are competing together.”
Program Content: Pedagogy/Active Engagement of Students
PeacePlayers uses “The Anatomy of Peace” curriculum, which promotes peace building through sports.
The curriculum takes the lessons of “The Anatomy of Peace,” a method of conflict transformation developed by Terry Warner of Yale University and Brigham Young University, and explores it through interactive on-court activities, supplemented by guided discussion.
“PeacePlayers implements the curriculum in two separate steps. First, players attend an intensive, three-day retreat, where coaches introduce them to the curriculum in full. Then, throughout the course of the season, coaches have broad freedom to draw on the curriculum as they see fit, waiting for teachable moments to re-emphasize a particular curriculum skill or activity.”
Video: “PeacePlayers on the Today Show”
1All information on this table come from PeacePlayers’ website, the case study on PeacePlayers, and a phone interview with PeacePlayers’ Deputy Director of Development and Communications that took place in May 2016.