Methodology and Curriculum

What if instead of being trapped in conflict, the world’s youth could use sport to overcome it?

In many societies, walls physical and social separate our youth. Individuals are left to learn about the “other” primarily through the media, myths, and stereotypes, allowing prejudice and fear to thrive.

Structured interactions focusing on the pursuit of shared goals has been shown to powerfully reduce prejudice, and team sports – such as basketball – serve as an ideal tool to facilitate such encounters. By bringing different communities together for regular integrated practices and games, PeacePlayers International provides a neutral forum for the establishment of deep personal bonds and lasting friendships.

Behind all of our work is a proven methodology based on five programmatic standards:

Peace Education Curriculum

In partnership with the Arbinger Institute, PPI has created a unique curriculum, The Anatomy of Peace, which blends interactive sport activities and guided discussion to give young people a language to discuss conflict. At its heart are two seemingly simple tenets: 1) while we can influence others, we can only control ourselves; and 2) though we may feel (and even sometimes be) mistreated, we always maintain the choice of how we see another.

Basketball Plus

People-to-people peacebuilding endeavors are most effective when an engagement tool is used in addition to the peace education component. PPI uses basketball as a fun and engaging way to bring participants together. Sport is inherently competitive, and youth strive to improve their skills and challenge each other. PPI provides a safe space for participants from opposing cultures to attain a superordinate goal together –a goal that could not be reached without combined efforts. Through this, PPI creates an environment for participants to grow as leaders, players, and teammates. The dynamics fostered in sport are unrivaled by other types of engagement tools.

Frequent, Long-Term Integration Through Sport

A single event is not enough. Over a period of months, participants first build trust with coaches and teammates from their own community, later coming together for bi-communal “twinning” events and eventually playing on one fully integrated team. Ultimately, PPI aims to work with young people not only throughout an entire year, but year-over-year as well, laying the foundation for lifelong change.

Leadership Pipeline

A three-tiered program structure engages youth from as young as six years old through early adulthood, whereby child participants become teen leaders, who later become coaches – applying their own gains to the next generation of PPI participants. The power of these programs is their structure, which is long-term, frequent and cyclical.

Local Management

Local leadership is critical in creating programmatic sustainability, helping PPI navigate cultural contexts to better understand the most critical issues facing the community. But local leaders are not just credible stakeholders; they also serve as mentors and role models capable of relating to participants’ real life struggles.

Andrew VinesMethodology and Curriculum