Last week, PPI reached an organizational first: we hosted all five newly-hired PPI Fellows for a three-day orientation in our Washington, DC office. In the past, Fellows went through the hiring process and boarded a flight directly to one of our program sites without the chance to interact with our DC staff and one another. As you might imagine, we were extra-excited to finally have the opportunity to host all the Fellows in one place before their departure to the field. This year, Henry Louis and Ashley Johnson will head to Cyprus, Kyler McClarly to South Africa, and Megan Lynch and Chris Schumerth to Northern Ireland.
Day-One orientation activities included seminars led by PPI Technical Assistance Program Director Brian Cognato in “Understanding Peace & Conflict,” “Sport & Peace” and an introduction in PeacePlayers International’s methodologies and program sites. One of the more memorable activities was when the five Fellows, DC staff and visitors (which included Georgetown students studying peace education and former PPI Fellow Ellen Cosgrove) went through the Red Card/Blue Card model, which PPI was first introduced to by Mark Young at the Rational Games and Jacovos Christofides of the Cypriot Civil Society Strengthening Program. Both teams could have achieved the game’s objective of finishing with positive points; however, by adding a $55 incentive for the winning team, both teams chose mutually-assured destruction over cooperation. The activity certainly provided an interesting perspective on how conflict can develop.
PPI friend Jeremy Edwards of Sports Challenge also facilitated a workshop focused on self-awareness, empathy and personal leadership styles, providing the Fellows with some tools to effectively lead their kids, other staff and programs while abroad. The remainder of the orientation included an get-together with former Fellows at a Washington Nationals game, an Anatomy of Peace seminar and a DC sightseeing outing.
We wish Henry, Ashley, Kyler, Megan and Chris a safe journey to their respective sites this spring and summer. This is only the first of many stories you will hear from our new Fellows!