PPI-NI Partners with the Together, Stronger Programme

In the sporting world, symbols like this "Tri-Color" can cause charged emotional responses, depending on one's own identity.

In the sporting world, symbols like this “Tri-Color” can cause charged emotional responses, depending on one’s own identity.

This week, PeacePlayers International (PPI-NI) started an eight-week diversity-through-sport programme with partners from 174 Trust. The programme is part of a wider project called Together, Stronger which aims at breaking down barriers around the highly-contested space of Carlisle Circus in North Belfast. PPI-NI partnered up with 174 Trust last year to deliver the community-relations-through-sport component of the project.

This year PPI-NI is piloting a new look diversity-through-sport programme which involves visits to sporting events as well as a heavy emphasis on Arbinger material. Led by PPI-NI project coordinators Darryl Petticrew and Joanne Fitzpatrick, the aim of the programme is to explore symbols and identity at sporting events that some people may not attend due to their religious or political background.

PPI-NI International Fellow Chris Schumerth (left) was joined by his family, during their recent visit from the United States, for the Northern Ireland-Israel World Cup qualifier.

PPI-NI International Fellow Chris Schumerth (left) was joined by his family, during their recent visit from the United States, for the Northern Ireland-Israel World Cup qualifier.

This week, the group of 25 young people went to a Northern Ireland soccer game, where they played in a World Cup qualifier against Israel. Unfortunately NI came out of the game with a two-nil loss to the visiting side. One of the interesting aspects of this game was the close links of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to Northern Ireland’s own context.

All members of the group came out of the game very positive, with some challenging thoughts about their experience,  which will be unpacked at our next session this Thursday. PPI-NI is very excited about this programme and the potential to replicate more like it in the future.
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