This week’s blog is written by International Fellow, Jessica Walton. PeacePlayers Cyprus recently invited teams to host Twinnings in their local communities for the first time. In doing so, Twinned teams get the chance to cross the border with their teammates and families. So far the local Twinnings have been a huge success!
So far this year, PeacePlayers-Cyprus has hosted two local Twinnings. Twinnings were established to pair two teams, one Greek Cypriot and one Turkish Cypriot together to practice their basketball skills in an environment that focuses on the importance of teamwork, cooperation, tolerance and trust. Coaches incorporate drills and activities to help facilitate these key points and mix up the participants to take part in 5v5 basketball games.
Prior to 2016, each of our Twinning events were held at the Ledra Palace Hotel basketball court in the UN Buffer Zone. The Ledra court is a neutral site, an area where GC and TC participants and families in our program could enter to facilitate these bi-communal activities throughout the year.
After seeing how successful these Twinnings were over the years, PPI-CY program coordinators and staff began working on a new idea. Thanks to the support of our outstanding coaches, participants and their families, we were able to schedule three Twinnings in different Cypriot communities. Dali, Iskele and Lapta were gracious enough to offer to host our participants and their families! With the events in Iskele and Lapta already completed, we saw an overwhelming amount of support and encouragement from not only the teams but also their local municipalities. They were gracious enough to arrange equipment, facilities, food and transport for our PeacePlayers.
We would like to say a huge thank you to each and every person (too many to list here) who have contributed and supported the local Twinnings for PeacePlayers-Cyprus. We could not have done this without you all. We look forward to seeing you all in Dali and having many more in the future.