About the project
The PeacePlayers International – Middle East division (PPI – ME) was established in Israel in 2005 using the game of basketball to unite, educate and inspire young people within the community. This is based on the premise that children who play together can live together.
Working toward improved coexistence between Jews and Arabs in Jerusalem is an integral part of the Jerusalem Foundation’s philosophy. The Jerusalem Foundation has been partnering with PPI – ME in some of their Jerusalem based activities such as Twinned Basketball Clubs and other youth activities.
Activities at PeacePlayers – Middle East
Arab and Jewish children ages 6-15 play basketball on mixed teams and participate in joint peace education and life skills activities. Year-round, frequent, and structured integration enables children who would otherwise rarely interact to form lasting friendships. Activities include: Peace Education Sessions, Basketball Training Sessions, Joint Activities (i.e. Twinnings, Peace Leagues and Field Trips), and Tournaments.
Twinned Basketball Clubs
The power behind the twinning clubs lies in the program’s structure: long-term, frequent and cyclical. Arab and Jewish youth ages 6 to 18 years are engaged in the program two to three times each week, providing frequent opportunities for meaningful interactions occurring both on the basketball court and also in joint peace education and life skill activities. Additional activities include annual overnight retreats, joint field trips, and festive tournaments. These youth will often encounter the same peers in their “twinned” community for a period of several years, ensuring that friendships are given the chance to grow over time. Moreover, the TBC is a three-tiered program whereby child participants become teen leaders, who later become coaches and apply their own gains from the program unto the next generation of PeacePlayers. Each pair of “twinned” teams is lead by Arab and Jewish co-coaches, who have been trained as basketball coaches and intergroup facilitators.
Leadership Development Program
At the age of 16, Twinned Basketball Club participants that have demonstrated outstanding leadership potential can join the Leadership Development Program, where they continue to practice on integrated teams, volunteer as assistant coaches in their local neighborhoods, participate in dialogue sessions and coach-training activities, and lead neighborhood community service projects.
Large Scale Festive Events
PPI – ME has initiated regular large scale events (MiniFest, WinterFest and SpringFest) that brings teams from Beit Safafa, Keshet School, Ein Rafah, Esawiah and Kiryat Anavim together to meet and get to know one another while they celebrate peace and participate in a festive, integrated basketball practice and fun day.