Rotary Club of Belfast

The Role of PeacePlayers

Gareth Harper 28.09.20In a most interesting address to the Club zoom meeting Monday 28 September, which was extremely well-received, guest speaker Gareth Harper began by highlighting the PeacePlayers' very powerful message that: “Children who play together can learn to live together”. He advised that PeacePlayers is an international organisation which originated in the USA but now also works in Northern Ireland, Cyprus, the Middle East and South Africa and he became their 1st indigenous MD 11 years ago. He pointed out that they use the power of sport, specifically basketball, to unite, educate and inspire young people to create a more peaceful world, by offering sport programming, peace education, and leadership development to those living in communities in conflict. They challenge the hate that is driven by the fear of our differences and aim to:

  • Bridge Divides: by building deep, lasting friendships among young people from communities with histories of conflict
  • Develop Leaders: by working through sport with young people to create leaders; thereby bridging divides, unifying their communities and serving as advocates for change
  • Change Perceptions: by using the public nature of sport to illustrate the potential for cooperation to the broader community

Through individual and communal connections they are trying to create a more peaceful world underpinned by their 3 core values: See people for what they are - people; encourage a Culture of Collaboration - by having interactions between them and have Inside Out Transformation - as conflict transformation starts with “you”. He stressed that, most importantly, by providing different ways for children to get together they ultimately aim to develop them to be able to give back to other disadvantaged children as coaches, facilitators and leaders.

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