“Leadership development” and “enhancing local capacity.” They are two phrases we use a lot around here at PeacePlayers International – Northern Ireland (PPI-NI). Why, though? And as we cut through the office-speak, what do they even mean?
Even as an international organization, we want to make sure we devote enough effort and investment to the local. In the process of peace-building through sport, it is important that we don’t hoard our knowledge, skills, and other resources. For the sake of both PeacePlayers and the world, we want others who may not work for us full-time to still become the kinds of leaders that will make Belfast and beyond a more peaceable world.
It was with those hopes in mind that ten of us–a combination of full-time, part-time, and future PeacePlayers staff members–drove an hour south to Newcastle for the past weekend. Staying in a cabin on a hill in the woods that overlooked the beautiful ocean shoreline, we worked our way through Open College Network Level 2 material: “Promoting Diversity Through Sport.”
In addition to the natural intimacy that develops as a result of such a setting, the course included conversations about material that we confront with program participants all the time: diversity, stereotypes, prejudice, sectarianism, and conflict, all as much as possible through the lens of sport. We role-played our way through several activities and games that we use with kids. For a mental break and a bit of team-building, we attacked some outdoor activities–wall-climbing and zip-lining–even in the steady rain. And on Sunday, we drove to a basketball court, where we participated in drills that introduced Arbinger concepts, which is a theory about conflict resolution that we try to integrate into our programming.
We return to Belfast with even more confidence in several new members of our team, which will surely benefit the kids with which we work.