Brendan Tuohey

Executive Director
Phone (US): 
202-408-5115
Location: 
Washington, DC
Email: 
btuohey@peaceplayersintl.org

After graduating from college, Brendan's brother Sean played professional basketball in Northern Ireland and operated basketball clinics for Protestant and Catholic children in Belfast. The clinics showed Sean that basketball – one of the few neutral sports in Northern Ireland – could help overcome deeply entrenched barriers between the two groups. Sean recruited Brendan, who had played basketball professionally in Ireland, to his cause, and together, the Tuoheys established PeacePlayers International [PPI] in 2000, grounded on their own life experiences that showed that "children who play together can learn to live together."

While Sean led PPI’s efforts in the field as it started its first operations in South Africa, Brendan built the organization from Washington, DC. He has led the organization in its expansion to Northern Ireland (2002), Israel and the West Bank (2005) and Cyprus (2006), and launched PPI’s first domestic program in New Orleans (2008), which was transitioned to full local ownership in the summer of 2009. Brendan lives in Silver Spring, Maryland, with his wife, Jody, and three children. He is a 1996 graduate of Colgate University where he majored in Philosophy and Religion and played basketball. He is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s Master’s Program in Sport Management.

Awards and Recognition

Over the past ten years, PeacePlayers International has worked with over 55,000 children in Northern Ireland, South Africa, Cyprus, New Orleans and the Middle East. PeacePlayers International has been featured by The Today Show, by an Emmy Award®-winning piece on CBS News Sunday Morning, CNN, BBC, ESPN, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, Sports Illustrated, Parade and other media outlets. In July 2007, two PeacePlayers International – Northern Ireland leaders were awarded the prestigious Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 2007 ESPY Awards. Brendan has received the following awards and honors in conjunction with his work with PPI:

  • Named one of the "Top 40 International Development Professionals Under 40" by Devex and Chevron
  • Term Member, Council on Foreign Relations.
  • 2010 Aspen Ideas Festival Scholar.
  • Laureus Sport for Good Award, 2008.
  • Named one of the "The 100 Most Influential Sports Educators in America" by the Institute of International Sport in October 2007.
  • Recognized with his brother Sean as two of the "Washingtonians of the Year" by Washingtonian magazine in 2005.
  • Named one of the Top 100 Irish-Americans by Irish America in 2004.

On April 1, 2006, former United States President Bill Clinton recognized Brendan at a press conference announcing plans for the 2006 Clinton Global Initiative. President Clinton spoke in detail about PeacePlayers International’s project in Israel and the West Bank, applauding the organization’s efforts to "promote understanding, tolerance and peace among Jewish, Israeli Arab, and Palestinian youth." In 2008, President Clinton cited the work of PeacePlayers International in Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World.

Testimonials

"A lot of kids believe that one kid on the other side is a good person, but every other one is a bad person, and they then carve out these narrow exceptions. What [PPI’s] curriculum is doing is...
Chad Ford, Director, David O. McKay Center for Intercultural Understanding, Brigham Young University
"It’s hard to live without my parents, but my PPI coach is always there for me. He’s really more like a brother."
Sihle Cele, Participant, PeacePlayers International – South Africa
"By focusing on the game of basketball and the values of sportsmanship, the youth learn to break down stereotypes to contribute to an environment whereby children who play together can learn to live...
Bicommunal Support Program, U.S. Embassy in Nicosia, Cyprus
"Basketball has added a new dimension to our sporting activities. Of course, it improves coordination and also improves communication between the kids themselves. It’s wonderful that PPI has become...
Jennifer Sonasundrum, Principal, Merry Hill Primary School, South Africa
"We work in an education system that is divided…PeacePlayers program is pointed towards the integration of those children. You’re getting children to mix in an environment where there’s not the...
Derrick Harkness, Principal, Carrs Glen Primary School, Northern Ireland
"I’m glad that Ronnie’s taking part in PeacePlayers…hopefully Ronny doesn’t have to go through what I went through at Ronnie’s age.”
Manny Macauley, Parent, PeacePlayers International – Northern Ireland
"At the start [playing together] wasn't weird, but it was different because we would never have gotten the opportunity to go out and meet Protestants and be friends with them."
Ann Murphy, Participant, PeacePlayers International – Northern Ireland
"When you get to know your teammates, it doesn’t really matter what their religion is."
Aoife Doherty, Participant, PeacePlayers International – Northern Ireland
"We typically use activities such as art and drama to bridge divides between the youth. We always knew that sport had the potential to do the same, but PPI - ME's sport day went way above and beyond...
Yael Gur, Project Manager, A New Way, Israel
"I met new players I didn't know before, and learned how to play with new people. The best part was learning things from new players and different areas coming together. I learned you don't have to...
Amir, Participant, PeacePlayers International – Middle East
"We find that the PeacePlayers program brings in life-skills in a non-threatening way, and is helping to educate children on the big issues of HIV…We also find that in the PeacePlayers program, we...
Pamilla Mudhray, CSI Manager, Sasol, South Africa
"If she takes one thing away, it’s to know that there’s no differences from the other community, that everybody’s equal, and that she has great enjoyment with PeacePlayers."
Nula Doherty, Parent, PeacePlayers International – Northern Ireland
"I was scared to death at first. But by the end of the match, I realized we were all the same."
Geina Mdungo, Participant, PeacePlayers Interational – South Africa
"Programmes like this that work at the grass roots level with the young people in our society are vital to achieving sustainable peace within our communities. We are committed to supporting and...
Denis Rooney, CBE, Chairman of the International Fund for Ireland, Chairman, International Fund for Ireland
"I was on the train one day with my Jewish friends and they started making fun of an Arab woman…I told them to stop and that she was embarrassed and that she just wanted to go to work. I then told...
Adiel, Participant, PeacePlayers International – Middle East
"In the beginning I participated for the basketball, but then I made friends with the Turkish-Cypriots. Now we play and we all have fun together."
Evripidis Kardamilas, Participant, PeacePlayers International – Cyprus