PeacePlayers International - Cyprus (PPI - CY) is a locally led, independently registered charity in Cyprus that uses the game of basketball to allow 11-15 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.

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

In its current programmatic year, PPI - CY works with over 320 children. Cyprus Girls

Core Programs

PPI - CY's programs include:

  • Twinned Basketball Clubs

    This island-wide network of basketball teams provides boys and girls ages 11-15 in Greek-Cypriot communities, Turkish-Cypriot communities, and a small number of "mixed" communities basketball and life skills education sessions three times each week, culminating in monthly integrated "twinnings" with teams from the island’s "other" communities.
  • Professional Development Program

    The Professional Development Program offers professional training to the Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot young adults who serve as coaches and mentors for PPI – CY’s Twinned Basketball Clubs. Three integrated trainings take place each year, providing coaches with advanced basketball instruction and comprehensive training in PPI’s peace-building curriculum.
  • Leadership Development Program

    Founded in 2006, PPI - CY is beginning to develop the core group of veteran participants necessary to start its own Leadership Development Program, a framework for the cultivation of socially aware young leaders already implemented successfully by PPI in South Africa, Northern Ireland and Israel and the West Bank. The Leadership Development Program is scheduled for launch in the summer of 2011.

Sureyya Celmen Deger

Turkish-Cypriot Coordinator

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

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

Ryan Hage

International Fellow

Ryan graduated from Fordham University in the Bronx with a Bachelor's Degree in Finance. He was a 4-year member of the Fordham Men's Varsity Basketball team, walking onto the team as a Freshman. In his Senior year, he earned a full athletic scholarship and was named Captain. As a member of the team, Ryan coached clinics for local Bronx youth and was selected as a member of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, dedicated to creating leaders among college athletes.Read more

Antonis Rouvas

Group Chief Financial Officer
Hellenic Bank

Antonis Rouvas is a graduate of Wake Forest University in the State of North Carolina in the USA with a degree in Business and Mathematics, BSc (High Honours). He has the professional titles of FCA (Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales) and AMCT (Association of Corporate Treasurers, UK).Read more

Levent Çağdal


Levent Çağdal has a degree in Economics from Sussex University, England. He has played basketball for many years in the Turkish Cypriot League, and was the President of the Basketball Federation of Northern Cyprus from 2005 to 2008. He currently runs his family company involved in imports, distribution and retail sectors.

Stephanie Nicolas

Assistant Coordinator

Stephanie was born and raised in Nicosia, Cyprus. Prior to joining PeacePlayers International - Cyprus she received her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Bedfordshire (UK) in Sport Science and Coaching and she is about to receive her Master’s degree in Globalization and Sport from Loughborough University (UK). Stephanie was a member of the ENAD women’s professional basketball team in Cyprus for 5 years before leaving for her studies in the UK.Read more

Gunnar Hagstrom

Clark University
Yarmouth, Maine

As an Organizational Learning Specialist, Gunnar will be working closely with each PPI site to capture and share best practices as well as lead the implementation of projects that PPI conducts under the banner of Technical Assistance. Gunnar joined PeacePlayers International - Cyprus as a Fellow in early 2010.  Previously, he worked for two years as an Assistant Men’s Basketball coach for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).Read more

Adam Hirsch

University of San Francisco
Berkeley, CA

After graduating with a degree in Business from the University of California Santa Cruz, Adam pursued his masters degree in Sport Management from the University of San Francisco. During his two years in graduate school, Adam spent much of his time working for local professional sports teams including the Golden State Warriors. It was not until his graduation in 2010 when he first got a taste of international development as a Fellow for PeacePlayers International.Read more

Media Coverage of Racism in Sport in Cyprus

Fri, 01/27/2012
The 2nd MARS National Media Encounter – Cross-Production for Inclusive Coverage

PPI Fellow Adam Hirsch participated in an international conference entitled: “Media Against Racism in Sport” (MARS), co-organised by the CMFE (Community Media Forum in Europe) and the CCMC (Cyprus Community Media Centre) under the sponsorship of the EU's Counicl of Europe. As part of the conference, Adam paired up with Demetris Vroullides, a Greek-Cypriot studying sport journalism in college, to write an article about the media’s coverage of racism in sport in Cyprus. The article can be found on the MARS website along other articles produced during the conference. 

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"When you get to know your teammates, it doesn’t really matter what their religion is."
Aoife Doherty, Participant, 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
"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
"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 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
"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
"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 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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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