This post is written by Hannah Sloss
I recently stumbled upon this map of Facebook friendships that was created by one of the megasite’s interns back in 2010. The map has raised a lot of interesting discussion around all sorts of borders: political, socioeconomic, technological, etc. Many have even argued that the resulting image depicts a modern-day iron curtain. However, the creator of the map, Paul Butler, views the project with more optimism:
“It’s not just a pretty picture, it’s a reaffirmation of the impact we have in connecting people, even across oceans and borders.”
If we view the “we” as a collective of all those working to create connections and rebuild relationships around the world, then PeacePlayers is also a testament to this impact. Basketball is our vehicle for facilitating interaction between children from opposing communities; but what happens once they leave the court? Is the connection lasting?
Friendship is by no means a clear-cut measurement; nonetheless, the concepts that PeacePlayers’ curriculum approaches, for example “seeing the humanity in the other” and “working together to meet a subordinate goal,” provide a foundation for mutual respect from which we can identify indicators of budding friendships between our participants.
Most importantly, do our participants interact outside the program? And an indicator that is growing in importance each day: Are they “friends” on Facebook? Check out one of PeacePlayers’ growing Facebook groups and decide for yourself.