“I wouldn’t change being a part of PeacePlayers for anything in the world.”

Alim with the whole PeacePlayers crew for a bike tour in 2013

Alim with the whole PeacePlayers crew for a bike tour in 2013.

Today’s blog is written by Cyprus Leadership Development Program participant Alim Sancar. She shares with us her experience with PeacePlayers and what opportunities she has taken advantage of over the years.

Alim collects a clue from Coach Ryan during the summer camp scavenger hunt.

Alim collects a clue from Coach Ryan during the summer camp scavenger hunt.

Hi! My name is Alim. I’m 17 years old and I’m in my last year of high school. I have been participating in PeacePlayers since 2008. I was introduced to PeacePlayers by my basketball coach when I was in 6th grade and I fell in love with the organisation immediately. Coach Bahar used to take us to all the activities of the organisation throughout the year, so after a while I genuinely started to enjoy being around Greek-Cypriots and having them as my friends.

Alim presents at summer camp

Alim presents at summer camp.

After 6 years of being a part of this organisation, after meeting hundreds of Greek-Cypriots throughout the years, and having the privilege to know such great people, I realized how much I want there to be peace and unity between Greek-Cypriots and Turkish-Cypriots. The language may be different but our culture is very similar and that is what helps us warm up to each other so quickly. Since I was a child, I wanted to be a part of the old Cyprus where people lived in harmony. I have many Greek-Cypriot friends that I talk to constantly and we have met a few times outside of the PeacePlayers activities which made me feel like they were truly my friends and not just people that I only see when I have to. All the summer camps and the Leadership Development camps are a blast. I feel blessed to be a part of an organisation that can introduce you to new people, enhance your socialising skills, improve your basketball game and teach you about peace and so many other things all at the same time. Also, the coaches and the special visitors of this organisation are exceptional.

My favourite thing about PeacePlayers is that there is FREE FOOD. Just kidding :D My favourite thing is that whenever there’s an activity, I get over-excited with joy and whenever I see my Greek-Cypriot friends for the first time after a few months I feel like I’m seeing my family again, and when we go to the summer camps or LDP camps in Agros I feel like I’m going home. The feeling of belonging somewhere, to something so great and so inspiring is my favourite thing about PeacePlayers-Cyprus. I wouldn’t change being a part of PeacePlayers for anything in the world.

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Filed under Cyprus, Global

Introducing Courtney Boylan, PPI – ME’s Most Recent Amazing Import  

Our newest member, Courtney

Hello!

My name is Courtney Boylan, and I am the newest member of PPI-ME! I officially started working with PeacePlayers a little over two weeks ago, and I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce myself and tell you how I was able to get involved with such an amazing organization, where in the coming year, I will be providing support to coaches in Jerusalem and the north.

Courtney played 4 years for University of Michigan.

Originally I am from Minnesota, “Land of 10,000 lakes”, but I have also lived in Maryland, Michigan, Kentucky, and Indiana. I attended college at the University of Michigan, where I majored in Sport Management and was a 4-year letter winner on the basketball team. Choosing to go to school so far from home was one of the hardest decisions of my life, but it proved to be the best decision I’ve ever made.

At Michigan, I was able to earn a degree at one of the greatest Universities in the world while playing basketball in one of the toughest conferences in the country (The Big Ten). I made countless memories and friendships that will last a lifetime, and most importantly: I fell in love. I met Stuart Douglass my first day on campus my freshman year at Michigan, and we have been dating ever since (over 6 years now). The reason I bring this up, and why he is so important in talking about my journey to the Middle East and working for PeacePlayers, is because he is the reason that I am even living in Israel.

Basketball plays an important role for both Courtney (right) and Stuart

After college, I was fortunate enough to get a job as a Division 1 Assistant Coach at Northern Kentucky University, and Stuart set his sights on playing professional basketball. Since last year, Stuart has been playing professionally in Israel, and after two years apart, we decided that the following season I would join him in Israel!

It was such an exciting time for the both of us to finally be together, but it was also very scary. I had to leave my job as an assistant coach, and my friends and family were very concerned about me living in country going through so much conflict, much of which I didn’t even understand myself. But, what I did know was that I wanted to stay involved with basketball.

One of my Sport Management professors at the University of Michigan, who is Jewish-American and has family living in Israel, was the one who told me about PeacePlayers International. After he told me about PPI and I did some research, I knew that I wanted to join them in their mission. PPI isn’t just about basketball; it’s about educating and inspiring children from areas of conflict to create a more peaceful world.

Courtney (right) leading a practice for the Tamra players

As a player and coach I saw first hand how sport, specifically basketball, could be used as a tool to bring so many different types of people together. Basketball has given and taught me so much: discipline, respect, acceptance, self-worth, humility, friendships, mentors, love… and the list could go on. I am extremely excited to be apart of something so special with PPI and hopefully I can pass on some of the things I have learned to members of PeacePlayers.

What I have found out already, in my short time with PPI, is how much I am going to learn. Before coming to Israel, I really didn’t know much about the conflict going on here. I had no idea how big of a deal it really is to have Arabs and Jews playing together on the same team, and not only that, but becoming friends. These players break down countless years of prejudice, fighting, and history, and it is basketball that is bringing them together.

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Filed under Global, The Middle East

Another Bostonian comes to PeacePlayers Northern Ireland!

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PeacePlayers International Northern Ireland Welcomes a New Member to the family, Shawna Walsh

Name: Shawna Walsh

From: Boston, Massachusetts USA

College: Boston University, BA International Relations
M. Phil Conflict Resolution & Reconciliation Candidate- Trinity College Dublin, Irish School of Economics

Sports Achievements/Accomplishments:

AAU and MetroWest Basketball player, Best Defender Sarah Behn Basketball Camp, Algonquin Regional High School Soccer, Basketball and Softball (ASA League Softball Pitcher, ODP and Premier League Soccer Member) and MVP Varsity Softball

What interested me about PeacePlayers:

Growing up playing three sports (soccer, softball and of course, basketball), I always saw the power in the formation of a team. You find yourself building friendships with people you wouldn’t necessarily have associated with before and form a bond through learning and training. PeacePlayers gives kids the chance to play and interact with others they wouldn’t have necessarily ever met and in an open facilitated platform. In particular, I am most excited to meet these kids, learn from them, and to help create a safe environment for them to learn one of my favorite games!

I came to Belfast to study Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation in what is considered to be a transitioning society. I wanted to be a part of the transformation process through sports because it is an amazing opportunity. Youth will play such a critical role in maintaining peace in Northern Ireland and allowing kids to form a common bond will only help enable change in their communities. The power of our youth cannot be underestimated as a vehicle for change!

Facilitation & Coaching Experience:

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Shawna’s experiences have all been about cross-cultural interaction.

My first facilitation experience post university was with the Global Young Leaders Conference which brought high school students from over 100 countries to Washington, DC and New York to learn cross-cultural communication, leadership skills and strategies in international diplomacy, security and development. The program was life-changing seeing these students grow and learn in just 12 days, making friends across continents and taking on civic leadership roles within their communities!

Having spent the past few years working on a contract with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), I have seen first hand that capacity-building in the form of facilitated retreats has proven to be pivotal in helping the overall effectiveness of the development work that is carried out all over the world. Working with teams in an office environment surprisingly has a lot of similarities to what you discover within sports teams such as; the importance of inclusion, diversity, playing on individual members’ strengths and mitigating weaknesses to maximize opportunities as well as the “flow” of work and strategy. I’m hoping that my professional background in facilitation, team-building and leadership development will be helpful in my work as a seasonal coach and as a small part of the very energetic PeacePlayers Team during my time here in Belfast.

Fun Facts: I am…
a UN Nerd, a Boston Sports Fan and all that entails, majorly clumsy and own it, an overly obsessive aunt, a twin, and only slightly awkward.

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This One is for Senzo

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Bafana Bafana gets ready to kick off in front of a packed Moses Mabhida Stadium, against Sudan

In today’s blog, Fellow Bryan Franklin reflects on an emotional game at Moses Mabhida Stadium this past weekend.

The news swept across South Africa as violently as the Durban wind in October. On 25 October 2014, Orlando Pirates and Bafana Bafana’s (SA’s national soccer team) goalkeeper and captain was shot and later died after a robbery of his girlfriend’s house.

Fans honouring fallen star Senzo Meyiwa during the match Saturday. Photo Credit: www.newvision.co.ug

Fans honouring fallen star Senzo Meyiwa during the match Saturday.
Photo Credit: http://www.newvision.co.ug

This wasn’t supposed to be how the story ended. Like so many kids PPI works with, Senzo Meyiwa grew up in Umlazi. While in Secondary School his coach at the time scraped enough money together to take him and a few teammates up to the Orlando Pirates Youth Academy tryout. Meyiwa immediately impressed and went on to play for the club at the junior level, the U-17 National team and made his debut for the senior level Pirates team in 2006. Up until this point , Meyiwa had lead Bafana Bafana to a first place ranking in its AfCon qualifying group, having yet to surrender a goal.

This past Saturday, three weeks after their captain and goalkeeper had passed away, Bafana Bafana took to the field with a chance to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time since 2008. In honour of their late captain, the match was moved to Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.

From the moment I entered the stadium, the emotion and intensity hit me. Posters had been made to honour their fallen leader, and in an experience unlike any other I had been a part of, the stadium joined together for South Africa’s National Anthem. The Anthem in itself has special meaning to the rainbow country. Adopted in 1997, South Africa’s National Anthem employ the five mostly widely spoken of SA’s eleven official languages—Xhosa, Zulu, Sesotho, Afrikaans, and English. It’s a beautiful representation of a country made up of different backgrounds coming together as one.

A moment of silence followed the anthem. It was to be the last silence of the afternoon, as right from the beginning, Bafana Bafana jumped all over its Sudanese opponent, scoring twice in the first half. Sudan came out strong following the break, threatening multiple times before finally bringing the spread back to one goal with 20 minutes to play. Bafana Bafana’s defense held strong however, and the final whistle blew with a score of South Africa 2 – 1 Sudan.

As the stadium erupted in cheer and the jumbotron flashed: “congratulations South Africa, qualified for the Afcon for the first time since 2008”, there was no question who this victory was for. The game, and the afternoon were another example of a now famous quote made by Nelson Mandela at the Laureus Sport for Good Awards:

“Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair.”

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New Intern on Living Life for Peace at PeacePlayers

Matthew (fourth from right) at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, Israel.

Matthew (fourth from right) at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, Israel.

In his first blog post, new Communications and Development Intern, Matthew Agar, explains how he aims to live a life in the service of peace as part of PeacePlayers International. Matthew is a junior in American University’s School of International Service in Washington, DC.

The famous rock n’ roller John Lennon once eloquently said, “Imagine all the people living life in peace”. When John sang these words, he dreamed of a world without divisions; he envisioned for a world without borders; he yearned for an end to religious, ethnic, and national strife, and he flirted with the possibility of a world without material possessions. John Lennon spent most of the last few years of his life imagining such a world. I want to make it.

My name is Matthew Agar. I am a 20-year old American Jew from Old Bethpage, New York. I study International Studies, Arabic Language, and Economics at American University in Washington, DC. In my studies, I focus on Peace and Conflict Resolution and the Middle East. While my academic experience seems to be enough information to know I am in the business of peace, what I do outside the classroom shows that I am also living life for peace.

Matthew in front of the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC.

Matthew in front of the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC.

So, what does it mean to live life for peace? Living life for peace has three parts: being at peace with the world, living life in peace with the world, and giving life to peace in the world. Each part holds a special place in my psyche that provides meaning to the work I do inside and outside of PeacePlayers.

First, in order to be at peace with the world, I need to help others. As the new Communications and Development Intern at PeacePlayers International, I feel I am doing my part in healing the wounds of the world (Tikkun Olam in Hebrew) one small step at a time. Sure, the work is not glamorous, but it goes a long way to helping PeacePlayers transform the lives of individuals for the better around the world.

Second, in order to live in peace with the world, I need to work towards bridging the divides that separate me from others. Within PeacePlayers, it means supporting the building of connections between different races and religions in Northern Ireland, South Africa, Cyprus and the Middle East. Beyond PeacePlayers, it means unleashing peoples’ inner angels through interfaith dialogue as Chief Operations Officer of the non-governmental organization International Peace Quest Institute.  The constant piece of my work with both organizations is the need to forgive, forget, and unite with past enemies.

Third, in order to give life to peace in the world, I need to have fun. In my spare time, I have fun by playing basketball, practicing boxing, singing, and writing poetry. One of the most fun jobs I have ever had is in my current role as an after-care counselor for Janney Elementary School in Washington, DC. I get to play games and sports with young children and my co-workers; what is more fun than that! Judging by the fun, witty banter of Adam, Taylor, and Gunnar at PeacePlayers Headquarters my first week as an intern, I can already tell that this opportunity will be my coolest gig yet.

PeacePlayers is all about fun.

PeacePlayers is all about fun.

 

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A Super Time was had at PPI-NI’s Super Twinning’s

Operation’s Team Leader Debbie Byrne with two members from her winning team the “Glendoyners”

Operation’s Team Leader Debbie Byrne with two members from her winning team the “Glendoyners”

Operation’s Team Leader Debbie Byrne shares on how Super Twinning’s are vitally important to the work of PPI in Northern Ireland.

Over the last couple of weeks PPI-NI ran two Super Twinning’s – one for children in West Belfast and one for children from North Belfast. What are Super Twinning’s? It is a basketball tournament where children from the twinned primary schools from that area of the city get together and compete against each other.

Coordinator Casey Tryon with some of the happy participants at the West Belfast Super Twinning The afternoon session of the West Belfast Super Twinning

Coordinator Casey Tryon with some of the happy participants at the West Belfast Super Twinning.

The West Belfast Super Twinning happened on Wednesday the 22nd of October and had to happen in two parts because of the number amount of children we had in each of the schools.  West Belfast Coordinator Casey Tryon was delighted with how the day went. On arrival one of the children was disappointed that their twinning partner could not come; she said “but we can’t do it without them”.  The little girl was happy again when she found out she was able to twin with another school for the day.

On the 7th of November we had the North Belfast Super Twinning.  Again, it was another fun filled, competitive day.  Coordinator Joanne Fitzpatrick again organized a wonderful day and the kids went away with red faces and huge smiles.  One of the best things for me on the day was that my team won!

Super Twinning’s are a lot of hard work. It takes a lot of logistical organization and we need a lot of coaches to make it work. However, it is absolutely worth the effort! The children who come take on a whole new identity as they compete with the school they twin with against other twinned schools. They cheer on other teams who are part of their twinning and become one united, integrated team. Bridging divides, uniting communities and developing leaders who make a difference in their communities is what we are all about at PPI-NI.

The Super Twinning’s are a great example of the progress that is being made in establishing a new sense of shared community and identity in historically divided areas. My favorite quote from the day I picked up as one child was leaving the Super Twinning. I overheard one girl say to her friends “it’s not about the winning but it’s about taking part”.  How true!!

North Belfast Super Twinning ended on a SUPER high!

North Belfast Super Twinning ended on a SUPER high!

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Representing PeacePlayers in Qatar!

 

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Dimitris proudly wears his PeacePlayers shirt in Doha!

This past week, Cyprus LDP participant Dimitris Charalambos traveled to Doha Qatar for a week and represented PeacePlayers International at the Doha Goals conference. He speaks about his experience and how he is proud to be a part of an organization like PeacePlayers.

Hello everyone! My name is Dimitris Charalambous and I am one of the Greek-Cypriot members of PeacePlayers International-Cyprus. I have been a part of the organization for two years now, but I am not planning to ever stop being a part. I love this organization because it unites Greek-Cypriots with Turkish-Cypriots by doing what we all love, playing basketball!

First time I heard about PeacePlayers was when a friend came up to me and told me I should come to free trainings in my village, so I decided why not go there. When I learned what PeacePlayers is all about I got really into it because I believe we need to live in peace with the north side of Cyprus. We are all the same no matter what religion or country you are from.

Dimitris NBA legend and humanitarian, Dikembe Mutumbo!

Dimitris meets NBA legend and humanitarian, Dikembe Mutombo!

Last month Peaceplayers contacted me and told me I could apply to go to a program called Doha Goals in Doha, Qatar. I applied and I got accepted to go there. The way I saw it is that I am going there to represent PeacePlayers. I am not going for vacation because PeacePlayers are the ones who gave me this opportunity. When I arrived at Doha for Doha-Goals, I arrived with a different group of Cypriots who I never met before but I become really good friends with them. That did not stop me from making new friends from all over the world with people from America, Africa, Luxemburg, Greece, Nigeria, and from many other countries.

When I told people about PeacePlayers they really liked the idea of the organization and they also shared with me things that they do to stop racism in their country or any other problems they have. By talking with all these people I realized that we are not the only ones who want peace in their country and all over the world. Also, we listened to a lot of debates that talked about sport that were very inspiring. So a big THANK YOU to PeacePlayers International-Cyprus for asking me to apply. I learned many things from this trip like problems other countries are facing and how they are trying to bring peace in their country as we are trying in Cyprus and it inspired me to keep going and never stop. Again, thank you for giving me this opportunity and I will never stop supporting PeacePlayers.

Dimitris making new friends from all over the world

Dimitris making new friends from all over the world.

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How 2 Weeks in the US Made Us Stronger

Neta (fourth from left) with her All-Stars teammates in front of Georgetown University in Washington, DC.

Neta (fourth from left) with her All-Stars teammates in front of Georgetown University in Washington, DC.

On October 6, 30 Israeli and Palestinian youth basketball coaches from PeacePlayers International - Middle East visited the USA for a two-week cultural exchange supported by the U.S. Department of State’s SportsUnited Program. The exchange was the culmination of a two year in-country Leadership Development Program to facilitate a cadre of young Palestinian and Israeli coaches who will work together through sports. After returning home, Neta Daniel, a member of PPI’s All-Stars team which recently won the Israeli National Championship, reflected on her time in America.

Hi. I’m Neta Daniel, 18, from Jerusalem, and I’ve been in PeacePlayers for four years. Right now, I’m part of the Leadership Development Program, and I play for the Jerusalem All-Stars [integrated league teams].

Last month we got back from a two-week trip from the U.S., which were two weeks that I will remember for the rest of my life. I’d waited for this trip all year, and at every LDP meeting, we’d talk about what would take place there, prepared for the encounters we would have, and mostly dreamed about what it would be like.

Neta (left) with Palestinian friend from PeacePlayers, Aysha

All of this excitement was cut short by the events of this past summer. For anyone who doesn’t know, we didn’t have the easiest summer. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict stretched beyond their usual boundaries and became closer to us than ever, as people close to us were hurt, and every few days there was a siren [in Jerusalem], after which we had to run to the shelters.

When it came to the flight, this crazy period had calmed down a bit, but I flew with mixed feelings. I felt that, on the one hand, the fact that we are all flying together shows that our friendship is strong, but on the other hand, I wasn’t sure just how strong, and I was afraid that the situation would be undermined and change, and that being in the U.S. would destroy [our friendships] even more.

I was wrong. In America, I learned to what extent the friendships that I formed in PPI are strong, profound and capable of resisting extreme circumstances such as those we experienced in the summer.

Our friendships only became stronger in the U.S., and every day, I felt like I learned new things about my Arab friends, and about myself, whether it was a conversation we had on the subway or while waiting in line for a ride at Six Flags, a conversation with people from the PeacePlayers board, or even just a conversation before going to sleep – all of these experiences and little conversations are what made this trip a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Neta (holding ball, front) with her Jerusalem All Star team

The trip was so packed with so many events and meetings. The fun experiences like Six Flags, shopping, an NBA game, accompanied experiences like the activity at the Nationals Youth Baseball Academy, where we ran an activity for elementary school kids, and the visit to the White House, and visits to the homes of the amazing and special people, each of whom have a special connection to PPI.

 

Neta (right) on a Leadership Development Program weekend retreat

At all of these events, I met people like Mark and Marty Tuohey, Evan Ryan, Ron Shapiro, The Lipman Family, R.C Buford, Dr. Chad Ford, Brian Kriftcher, Win Sheridan and many more people, every single one of whom inspired me. Every one of them gave me faith in what we are doing in PeacePlayers. Each one gave me motivation to continue to believe in the particular way that I chose to play basketball. Each one of these people made me understand how important and significant this activity, which seems to us so ordinary – playing basketball together – can change awareness, perception, a human being and an entire family.

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Filed under The Middle East

PPI, Where I Get to Come to Work Every Day and Impact People’s Lives

Coach Yamkela, out before practice working with some of his kids at Assegai Primary School

Coach Yamkela, out before practice working with some of his kids at Assegai Primary School

This week’s blog is written by Coach Yamkela (Yam) Nako. Yam has been coaching for PPI for five years, and is one of our hardest working coaches. He’s an incredible student of the game, and has a deep passion to not only see his players become better basketball players, but better people as well. 

Hi everyone, coach Yamkela (a.k.a “the man”, “coach Phil”, “the bally in Wentiez”) here. I am currently the coach at Assegai Primary School and the high school coach for PPI’s LDP in Wentworth, Durban.

Firstly I would like to thank everyone from PeacePlayers for a great year of basketball. 2014 was another great coaching year that gave me the opportunity to change and develop lives of players in one of the coolest communities I’ve ever had the chance to work in—Wentworth. I would also like to thank all the parents and the best school rep anyone could ask for, Miss Leroux Webster. Thank you to the PPI Staff and fellows. We said

Coach Yamkela, and the Wentworth female LDP team pose for a picture with Grosvenor Girls High School after a game earlier this year

Coach Yamkela, and the Wentworth female LDP team pose for a picture with Grosvenor Girls High School after a game earlier this year

goodbye to two good fellows Kristin and Kyler, cool people from whom I learned a lot, and at the same time welcomed new fellows Bryan Franklin and Ben Constable, an amazing pair of individuals. Finally I would like to thank my players, we experienced highs and lows, both wins and losses that never failed to teach lessons on and off the court.

This year I had the chance to start something that took my coaching to the next level. In April we launched a Wentworth Leadership Development Programme team. It was an amazing opportunity that gave me the chance to teach/coach players that I had previously taught in primary school. One of my former players, Brent, not only played on the LDP team, but also acted as my assistance coach at Assegai. Then there is Nduduzo and his sister Minenhle both of whom I coached in primary school, continue to carry on the family tradition of basketball on the LDP level.

On the primary school level it’s been amazing to see the growth of one of my now best players, Marcus. Marcus is a boy growing up without a father, and is known as the child who misbehaves a lot in school. When he first came to practice at the beginning of the year, he was constantly disruptive, not knowing how to use the energy and skill he possesses. By the end of 4th term he was leading the entire team in drills during practice, and his

Coach Yamkela, leading the boys LDP team through a life skills activity

Coach Yamkela, leading the boys LDP team through a life skills activity

maturity and dedication have increased greatly. Then there is my daily inspiration Chloe. Chloe is in grade 5, and is technically too young to be part of the PeacePlayers Programme. But she just wouldn’t take no for an answer. A little under a year later, she not only has the nicest jump shot on the team, but is able to take charge, encourage, motivate and lead her peers, many of whom are older than her. Finally there’s Jade, who as Fellow Bryan Franklin spoke about a few weeks ago, has grown enough to view all races as people. In a quote that comes directly from some of our training in the Anatomy of Peace, “it’s not about the colour of a person skin it’s about their character’”.

When it comes down to it, it’s the kids who make this the best job in the world. I’m honoured to be a coach at PPI, where I get to come to work every day and impact people’s lives.

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“Expecting Peace On this Island One Day”

Cetin over four years ago with Coach Adam!

Cetin over four years ago with Coach Adam!

Today’s blog is brought to you by Cetin Pirlanta, our oldest PPI-CY member and Leadership Development Program participant. He shares his 8 years in the program and what he hopes to do with PeacePlayers in the future. He is the son of legendary PeacePlayers coach, Sevki Pirlanta.

Hi everyone…This is the time for me to share some things about myself and PeacePlayers and why I joined PeacePlayers. So first of all, I would like to introduce my self- I am Cetin and I am 18 years old and I have started my college life this year. I am a Cypriot guy that loves his island very much and expecting peace again this island one day. I have been in this program since It was started so I can easily say that I am the oldest player in this program.

Cetin jumping high for the lay up

Cetin jumping high for the lay up

First, when I started this program I was an inexperienced small kid and I was worrying about how to get together with Greek-Cypriot  people but now I can easily get talk and play basketball with anyone. This is the one of the values that I learned from PeacePlayers. I am practicing in Iskele (Trikomo). This year I started to coach practices to small basketbal players while also playing with the older kids.

Through PeacePlayers I have learnt how to share, trust, cooperate, and respect everyone, creating friendship and peace. PeacePlayers taught us whatever your religion or language you are talking, it doesn’t matter. The world is small and there are lots of people so we have to live with peace and love to have a great life with great people. Another point for me is having new friends so I will get know another cultures and their countries. PeacePlayers provides us this easily so every one gets to know each others’ cultures from South to North side.

My favorite thing in this program are the Summer Camps. Camps are so joyful and I learn so much from them. At these camps we meet with previous NBA or WNBA players, so this is the biggest adventage for us. By teaching us what they know from their experience and Cypriot coaches teach us many things too. By these camps we will get more experience and meet some new friends. These camps are the reason I met Alexis, a very tall Greek-Cypriot, one my best friend all around the world. We have good conversations and relationship so I can easily trust him with all my heart.

Cetin and Alexis at summer camp many years ago!

Cetin and Alexis at summer camp many years ago!

Lastly, I can easily invite everyone to PeacePlayers to have beautiful life and increase your knowledge by great coaches. By the 8 years in this program, from the first year to up now, I became a mature person. I hope that I can become a full time coach for PeacePlayers one day. No life without PeacePlayers-Cyprus. So I want to thank to PPI-Cyprus family to get me this point so I promise that I will improve my self everyday.

#itscooltobepeaceplayer as Coach Nicos says!

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