100 Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot children came together to play for peace
On Saturday, September 24, PPI-CY held the Peace Day Basketball Tournament in celebration of International Peace Day. The tournament brought 100 Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot youth together to play basketball on mixed teams and enjoy music and food together. The tournament hosted children from across Cyprus who played 3-on-3 street basketball in mixed teams, implementing the idea that sport can be used as a tool to help break down social divides and begin to change the negative perceptions children may have about the other community.
Leading up to the tournament, PPI-CY also joined forces with Peace One Day, a UK based nonprofit organization working to promote peace around the globe. Now they are working towards Global Truce 2012, the biggest call for peace the world has ever seen. PPI-CY is proud to be an official partner for Global Truce 2012, helping to connect PPI-CY to an international peace movement. By bringing Cypriot youth together, we are participating in a global event to reduce violence and promote peace.
“It’s exciting because we learn how [Turkish-Cypriots] live. We are together and we play for fun, and we forget that we don’t stay together… We can live together,” – Alexis, Greek-Cypriot participant (15 years old)
The tournament was also special because for the very first time since the conflict in 1974, the UN Buffer Zone was chosen as the site for a youth sporting event for peace. Playing underneath the symbolic Ledra Palace, for the first time children could come together on neutral ground, put political and social prejudices behind them, and focus on more hopeful future. Many local newspapers, television and radio stations covered this historical event. Make sure to check out our Facebook group to see children’s reactions to the tournament and all the photos from the event.
Listen to this 4 minute radio spot by the British Forces Broadcasting Service recorded during the tournament!
Filed under Cyprus, Global
On Wednesday, September 21, the world celebrated International Peace Day, one day out of the year where individuals, organizations and nations can create practical acts of peace on a shared date. Since its official inception in 2002, Peace Day has marked our personal and planetary progress toward peace. It has grown to include millions of people in all parts of the world, and each year events are organized to commemorate and celebrate this day. Events range in scale from private gatherings to public concerts and forums where hundreds of thousands of people participate.
For the last 3 years, PeacePlayers-Cyprus has been celebrating Peace Day with a large streetball tournament for Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot youth. Last year’s tournament in Nicosia brought together over 200 people to play basketball and celebrate peace in Cyprus. This year, the tournament will be even more special. Tomorrow, September 24, PeacePlayers will be hosting the first ever basketball tournament in Cyprus’ Buffer Zone. Playing in the buffer zone will be a symbol of how youth can transform an area surrounded by conflict into a place for fun and hope.
“The Peace Day Basketball Tournament is a day of celebrating sport and peace for the children of Cyprus. By bringing over 100 Cypriot youth together to play for peace, we are participating in a global event to reduce violence and promote cooperation.” Marina Vasilara, PeacePlayers – Cyprus Managing Director said.
The Tournament will host Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot children from across Cyprus to play 3-on-3 street basketball in mixed teams, listen to music, enjoy food and special activities together in order to celebrate peace. The aim of this event is to bring children from different communities together to play basketball in an inclusive and fun-filled environment, implementing the idea that sport can be used as a tool to help break down social divides and begin to change the negative perceptions children may have about the other community. The ‘Peace Day Basketball Tournament’ will be held in cooperation with the Speak For Peace Festival organized by the Cyprus Community Media Centre.
Make sure to check out the PeacePlayers-Cyprus Facebook Group for all tournament photos and see the blog next week for a full recap!
Filed under Cyprus, Global
Today, PeacePlayers International – Northern Ireland (PPI-NI) will commemorate Peace Day 2011 by delivering its Open College Network (OCN) course in “Understanding Diversity Through Sport” to secondary school students who are participating in the Young Enterprise Northern Ireland’s (YENI) Knowledge through Enterprise for Youth (KEY) programme. Supported by the International Fund for Ireland, and operated in partnership with Junior Achievement Ireland, the residential programme is a cross-community, cross-border initiative that targets young people aged 14-16 years who may be at risk of disengagement.
Peace Day 2011 and the “One Day, One Goal” campaign is the brainchild of Jeremy Gilley (filmmaker and founder of Peace One Day) and aims to create an annual day of global ceasefire and non-violence. As a key driver towards the institutionalisation of Peace Day, Peace One Day is calling for a day of ceasefire and non-violence on Peace Day 21 September 2012 – aptly referred to as the “Global Truce”.
This afternoon, 36 participants from Downshire, St Colmans Kilkeel and Finn Valley Stranorlar, Donegal will come together in Belfast to explore the potential of sport as a tool to promote diversity and unite communities.
PPI-NI is delighted to be lending its support to this fantastic initiative. Through our involvement with the Sport for Truce campaign and our work with YENI, we are very much looking forward to playing our part in highlighting the 365-day countdown to the Global Truce.