Last week, Joanne Fitzpatrick left Belfast to share her knowledge with community sports organizations in London and Chicago.
This week, PeacePlayers International-Northern Ireland (PPI-NI) Local Coordinator Joanne Fitzpatrick talks about her experiences at the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation World Summit and workshops with Chicago partners Beyond the Ball.
Last week I did more travelling than I’ve ever done in my life – all in the name of PPI’s Peace Education Curriculum, developed in partnership with Arbinger. My first stop was London. Upon landing in Heathrow airport, I couldn’t wait to meet the other Laureus partners and learn about their organisations. After settling into our hotel, PPI-NI fellow Rory O’Neil and I set off on a spot of sightseeing, taking in as much of London’s hotspots as our train tickets would allow.
Joanne delivered a showcase of PPI's training during the Laureus World Sport Summit in London.
On Tuesday evening, we joined PeacePlayers International-South Africa’s Managing Director, Sbo Vilakazi, and PeacePlayers International’s (PPI) Technical Assistance Programme Director, Brian Cognato, and dined at the Hard Rock Café – the perfect environment to mingle with the other representatives from the summit. I fully embraced this opportunity, learning from and engaging with organisations based in South Africa, Spain, Australia and Argentina.
Wednesday was the big day for Rory, Brian, Sbo and I, showcasing PPI’s on-the-court Arbinger drills. We had some very interesting conversations with the other representatives, who gave it their all on the court. Getting to show the world what PeacePlayers has to offer was a brilliant experience for me, and one that I won’t soon forget. As soon as we finished at the Laureus Sport for Good World Summit, we said our goodbyes and Brian and I jetted off to Chicago.
Joanne does her thing on the court.
Thursday allowed for some free time and some more sightseeing. Chicago is a beautiful city and full of friendly folk. On Thursday evening, Brian and I met up with Chad Ford, professor of conflict research at Brigham Young University-Hawaii and writer for ESPN.com, and two of his students, Monique Mullenaux and Rachelle Christy to discuss our plan for Friday’s Arbinger seminar. We then made the trip out to Little Village where we met up with Rob and Mike from Beyond the Ball for some traditional Mexican food and to share stories from our organisations.
On Friday, Chad, Brian, Monique, Rachelle and I travelled out to Little Village again, this time with bagels and coffee in hand, something that is not traditionally done in Northern Ireland – that’s for sure! Chad led the Choice seminar with Monique, Rachelle and I assisting with certain sections. I personally told and diagrammed my story of ‘self-betrayal.’ Having the opportunity to work alongside Chad Ford is one I am truly grateful for. To celebrate a great seminar, Chad, Rachelle, Monique, Brian and I went for dinner at a Cajun restaurant where I tried catfish, fried corn bread, French fries and cheesy grits. I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it out alive due to the copious amount of fried food on my plate. After struggling my way through my giant plate of food, we walked back to our hotels and I got a good rest ahead of my big day.
Joanne led a session with Chicago partners Beyond the Ball.
Saturday was a big day for me personally, having been given the responsibility of the session plan and facilitation. Representatives from Beyond the Ball, the South Chicago Neighborhood House and World Sport Chicago were in attendance, and we had a great group of participants ready to get into some of our Arbinger drills. I was pretty nervous, but thankfully I was wearing my Lucky Charms shorts and everything went well.
I am eternally grateful for getting this opportunity and wish to thank everyone involved with both projects – Brian for being a great tour guide in Chicago, Monique and Rachelle for backseat giggles, and Chad for introducing me to several new types of potato.