PeacePlayers International - Middle East (PPI - ME) is a locally led charity active in Israel and the West Bank that unites and educates Jewish and Arab young people and their communities through basketball. PPI - ME operates several multi-faceted, year-round programs based on a groundbreaking curriculum developed in partnership with the Arbinger Institute, which combines on-court, experiential learning with frank and open discussion.
PPI - ME works with ethnically and religiously diverse populations, including Ethiopian, Russian and American immigrants, and is committed to fostering gender equality through sport in both Jewish and Arab communities. PPI - ME also operates a single-identity capacity-building program in the West Bank, which provides an additional outlet for underprivileged children and an additional training opportunity for Palestinian coaches. PPI - ME works with over 400 registered children in its current programmatic year.
PPI - ME’s programs include:
Twinned Basketball ClubsArab and Jewish children ages 6-15 play basketball on mixed teams and participate in joint peace education and life skills activities. Year-round, frequent, and structured integration enables children who would otherwise rarely interact to form lasting friendships.
Jerusalem Peace League and the Jerusalem Girls Basketball LeagueTwinned Basketball Club participants in Jerusalem have the opportunity to compete on integrated teams against and with children from throughout the city in these joint initiatives by PPI - ME and the Jerusalem Municipality. These projects expose a much larger audience to PPI - ME’s message of mutual respect by engaging children and families not directly enrolled in PPI - ME’s core programs.
Leadership Development ProgramAt the age of 16, Twinned Basketball Club participants that have demonstrated outstanding leadership potential can join the Leadership Development Program, where they continue to practice on integrated teams, volunteer as assistant coaches in their local neighborhoods, participate in dialogue sessions and coach-training activities, and lead neighborhood community service projects.
Professional Development TrainingAll staff participate in comprehensive training designed to enhance their capabilities as basketball coaches, intergroup facilitators, educators, and leaders. Conflict management training is delivered by the Arbinger Institute and qualified PPI - ME staff members. Basketball trainings are conducted by Basketball Operations Manager Vito Gilic, formerly the manager of the Maccabi Tel Aviv youth program and a lecturer at the Wingate Institute, Israel’s National Center for Physical Education and Sport.
All-Star TeamsAt the beginning of the 2010-2011 season, PPI - ME entered four integrated teams in the prestigious Israeli National Basketball League, two based in Jaffa and two based in Jerusalem. PPI - ME’s Jerusalem teams will be the first in the Israeli National Basketball League fully integrated with players from both East and West Jerusalem.