PPI Hosts International Gathering in Washington, DC

The group poses with PPI Chair Emiruts Ron Shapiro on the final day of the Indaba

The group poses with PPI Chair Emeritus Ron Shapiro on the final day of the Indaba

An Indaba is defined as a council at which indigenous peoples of southern Africa meet to discuss some important question. For PeacePlayers International, an Indaba is a gathering of our staff from our sites in Northern Ireland, South Africa, Cyprus and the Middle East. This year, each site sent two representatives to Washington, DC for a week of learning, bonding and strategizing.

Thanasis (PPI-CY) demonstrating how leaders are not 'born'

Thanasis (PPI-CY) demonstrating how leaders are not ‘born’

While the DC staff hosted the Indaba, everyone served both as a participant and a leader during the course of the week. Day 1 focused on getting to know each other better personally. Day 2 focused on getting to know what each site does best. On days 3 and 4 participants delved deeper into strategy – with Day 3 spent looking at PPI’s logical framework, solidifying our outcomes, how we go about achieving them, and how we ultimately measure them. Day 4 was spent looking forward at PPI’s strategic plan in a workshop facilitated by Martina Martin, CAO at United Way of Central Maryland, and attended by PPI Board Members, Nicole Elkon, Jim Lambright, Brian Kriftcher and John Vaske.

Gareth Harper and Marina Vasilara during a role play with Sports Leadership Challenge Academy

Gareth Harper and Marina Vasilara during a role play with Sports Leadership Challenge Academy

During the Indaba participants spent many hours discussing PPI’s operations around the world and how we can make them better. To help with this, participants met with leaders from other organizations who generously shared their knowledge with the group. Amy Black, Vice President of Growth Strategy and Development for Teach for All, discussed her organization’s growth model and the strategies they implement when opening new sites around the world. The team participated in a Leadership Style Workshop, led by Jeremy Edwards, Executive Director, SportsChallenge Leadership Academy. Co-Founder and CEO of Love Futbol, Drew Chafetz, came in to discuss how his organization is also making an impact using sport. On the final day the group met with Partners for the Americas, which administers a program called A Ganar that uses sports for economic empowerment in Latin America, and participated in a Fundraising and Development panel discussion on with Rebecca Milner, VP of Institutional Advice at International Medical, and Kathleen Zeifang, Director of Principal Gifts at Catholic University.

Coaching in D.C with Tony McGaharan (PPI-NI) and Debbie van der Heever (PPI-SA)

Coaching in D.C with Tony McGaharan (PPI-NI) and Debbie van der Heever (PPI-SA)

But the week was not all meetings. In the afternoons, the PPI staff had an opportunity to bond during some fun social activities that included a fun scavenger hunt at the American History Museum, an NBA game between the Wizards and the Knicks (for some it was their first time at a NBA game!), a high school basketball game between Bishop O’Connell and Gonzaga, a practice led by Brendan Tuohey for a team of 13-U girls (Brendan’s daughter, Anna, plays on the team), and a youth basketball clinic for inner city kids led by Sean Tuohey at the Trinidad Recreation Center.

The week concluded with a morning conversation between all the PPI Managing Directors and by PPI Chair Emeritus and Sports Agent Ron Shapiro. Over 50 guests gathered in downtown DC to hear stories, experiences and perspectives on PPI’s programming and its impact around the world. While it was sad to see everyone depart back to their home countries  everyone was left with a renewed sense of inspiration to keep working towards our goal of peace. After returning home, PPI – ME Operations Manager, Anat Hershkovich, wrote:

“After settling back in Israel and to the office I want to thank you! This week was very significant for me and helped me to see more deeply and more broadly what we are doing here and what are our goals. Meeting you, spending time with you, feeling the charming energies this week filled me with motivation and desire to act and create a healthier, more respectful environment. I think that each of you is a very special person and I’m so happy I got to know people who actually work to improve the world. I cannot wait to continue our joint efforts together, working across continents through education, sports and lots of love.”

The 2013 PPI Indaba participants getting ready for their scavenger hunt at the American History museum

The 2013 PPI Indaba participants getting ready for their scavenger hunt at the American History museum

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