Cyprus

Who We Are:

PeacePlayers – Cyprus (PPI-CY) is a locally led, independently registered charity in Cyprus that uses the game of basketball to allow 10-to-16 year old Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot boys and girls to play together, learn together and build positive relationships that overcome generations of mistrust and formidable physical barriers to interaction.

PeacePlayers is currently the only year-round bi-communal youth sports organization on the island. By facilitating regular and structured interaction, it helps reverse prejudices built steadily over years in segregated communities and fosters the long-term trust necessary for true friendships.

Cyprus Girls

What We Do:

PPI-CY aims to break down social and cultural stereotypes and develop young leaders while offering them professional quality basketball trainings. PPI-CY’s innovative sport and peace building curriculum, delivered by local coaches, integrates effective conflict transformation techniques into weekly basketball practices, providing children with both the tools to address conflicts in their lives and an outlet for their practical application.

PPI-CY currently operates the following activities year-round: 

  • Twinned Basketball Clubs

    PeacePlayers children from across Cyprus join forces and play together on integrated teams under the guidance of trained coaches.
  • Like Skills Education

    Life skills lessons are integrated into all PPI-CY activities. With PPI-CY’s unique peacebuilding curriculum at their core, life skills sessions address topics including human rights, multiculturalism, gender equality and conflict resolution.
  • Leadership Development Program

    PPI-CY trains 15-18 year old youth to serve as leaders in their communities, and in some cases, also as basketball coaches. Trainings are also offered to coaches to continue progressing as basketball instructors, while also teaching the necessary skills to model PPI-CY’s values in their own lives and serve as mentors for the children.
  • Basketball Tournaments

    PPI-CY organizes large tournaments twice a year that provide children with the opportunity to interact with teams from across the island in a diverse, constructive and enjoyable setting.
  • Summer Camps

    At the end of each program year, PPI-CY organizes a summer camp where 64 Cypriot youth from across the island, spend 6 days together. The youth participate in both intensive basketball trainings as well as personal development sessions using both formal and non-formal educational methods emphasizing cooperation, trust, team work and respect.  The camps also host guest coaches from the NBA and WNBA.

Over the last year, PPI-CY has: 

  • Engaged over 350 Turkish-Cypriot and Greek-Cypriot youth through its teams, twinning programs, basketball tournaments, leadership development retreats and summer camps.
  • Organised 42 bi-communal events that occurred on both sides of the Buffer Zone and in Ledra Palace
  • Held a week-long overnight basketball summer camps that brought together 64 Cypriot youth and 14 coaches. 
  • Held two 3-day leadership development retreats that took place in Agros and Kantara. 
  • Sent a boys’ bi-communal basketball team to the Hansa Cup in Norway, where they won the silver medal. 

Christiana Miltiadous

Participant
PeacePlayers International - Cyprus

“The love the coaches have for basketball inspires us to continually improve our game and they taught us how to be a better person on the court as well in our everyday life” 

Eleni Partakki

Participant
PeacePlayers International - Cyprus

“Why did I join? Simple, it gave me purpose and it made me happy. It gave me the feeling of belonging somewhere. It was a place where your goals and hobbies harmonize with the goals of an organization. Being a part of that is the most satisfying feeling in the world.”

Nursu Tilki

Participant
PeacePlayers International - Cyprus

“PeacePlayers has taught me lots of important things, like how to be a good person, a good friend, and a good leader. One of the most important things it has taught me is how to educate the younger generations”

Victor Petrov

Participant
PeacePlayers International - Cyprus

“The reason that I participate in this program and love it so much is because it helps me learn new things while playing my favorite sport. I have made so many new friends, Greek-Cypriots and Turkish-Cypriots, that I can call “brothers” and “sisters”. They have taught me so much about their countries and cultures. I even learned a little bit of their languages. One of the most important things I have learned is that every person is the same no matter where they are from.” 

Dimitris Charalambous

Participant
PeacePlayers International - Cyprus

“I love this organization because it unites Greek-Cypriots with Turkish-Cypriots by doing what we all love, playing basketball!” 

Cetin Pirlanta

Participant
PeacePlayers International - Cyprus

"Through PeacePlayers I have learnt how to share, trust, cooperate, and respect everyone, creating friendship and peace. PeacePlayers taught us whatever your religion or language you are talking, it doesn’t matter.“ 

Alexis Georgiou

Participant
PeacePlayers International - Cyprus

 “Through basketball I got over my fears and the stereotypes that we were taught in school. Basketball helped me to become friends with those guys without even speaking!”

Nicos Mashias

Risk Analyst
Albourne Partners Ltd
Location: 
Cyprus

Nicos is an active basketball player in the Cyprus Basketball League and a coach with the PeacePlayers since 2012. Nicos has worked for a few years in the mortgage industry in the USA, followed by managerial position for a restaurant chain in Phoenix, Arizona before relocating back to Cyprus in 2011. He is currently a Risk Analyst for Albourne Partners, an investment consulting firm, working with hedge fund managers and private equity firms.Read more

Sureyya Celmen Deger

Turkish-Cypriot Coordinator
Location: 
Cyprus
Email: 
sdeger@peaceplayersintl.org

Sureyya is a gender expert who is actively involved in woman’s rights movements in both Cyprus and Turkey. She has a BA in Radio, Television and Cinema from Gazi University and an MSc in Women’s Studies from Ankara University. Prior to joining PeacePlayers, she was working as the National Family Strengthening Advisor and Project Coordinator at the SOS Children’s Village – Northern Cyprus. She also worked in the Office of the President H.E.Mr.Mehmet Ali Talat as the appointed Gender Officer.Read more

Jale Canlibalik

Managing Director
Location: 
Cyprus
Email: 
jcanlibalik@peaceplayersintl.org

An expert in program management and strategic development, Jale has several years of experience working within the fields of civil society and reconciliation, peace-building, conflict resolution, gender and diversity, project development and capacity building.  Before joining PeacePlayers International - Cyprus; Jale worked at the Management Centre as the Civil Society and Reconciliation Program Manager dealing with all operational and fiscal matters for the program.  Jale was born and raised in the United Kingdom and has been living in Cyprus since 2007 where she has continued toRead more

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Testimonials

"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
"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
“The love the coaches have for basketball inspires us to continually improve our game and they taught us how to be a better person on the court as well in our everyday life” 
Christiana Miltiadous, Participant, PeacePlayers International - Cyprus
"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
"Through PeacePlayers I have learnt how to share, trust, cooperate, and respect everyone, creating friendship and peace. PeacePlayers taught us whatever your religion or language you are talking, it...
Cetin Pirlanta, Participant, PeacePlayers International - Cyprus
"When you get to know your teammates, it doesn’t really matter what their religion is."
Aoife Doherty, Participant, PeacePlayers International – 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
"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
"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
“PeacePlayers has taught me lots of important things, like how to be a good person, a good friend, and a good leader. One of the most important things it has taught me is how to educate the younger...
Nursu Tilki, Participant, PeacePlayers International - Cyprus
"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
 “Through basketball I got over my fears and the stereotypes that we were taught in school. Basketball helped me to become friends with those guys without even speaking!”
Alexis Georgiou, Participant, PeacePlayers International - Cyprus
“The reason that I participate in this program and love it so much is because it helps me learn new things while playing my favorite sport. I have made so many new friends, Greek-Cypriots and Turkish...
Victor Petrov, Participant, PeacePlayers International - Cyprus
"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 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
“I love this organization because it unites Greek-Cypriots with Turkish-Cypriots by doing what we all love, playing basketball!” 
Dimitris Charalambous, Participant, PeacePlayers International - Cyprus
“Why did I join? Simple, it gave me purpose and it made me happy. It gave me the feeling of belonging somewhere. It was a place where your goals and hobbies harmonize with the goals of an...
Eleni Partakki, Participant, PeacePlayers International - Cyprus
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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