Sports and Peace Innovation Network

For over a decade PeacePlayers International has used sports to bridge divides, develop leaders and change perceptions in conflict-affected and underserved communities around the world. The PPI Sports and Peace Innovation Network (PPI - SPIN), launched in partnership with the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, shares that institutional knowledge with others seeking to harness the power of sport for youth civic engagement, leadership development and conflict transformation. We provide training and consulting services to both for-profit and non-profit clients, including services as a U.S. Government subcontractor. Our diverse curriculum library puts sports at the serve of peacebuilders and makes a broader social impact accessible to youth sport practitioners around the world.

For more information contact: Gunnar Hagstrom
Tel: +1 (202) 408-5113         Email:


“Peace Players played an instrumental role in developing and implementing the training we held with high school gym teachers in Kyrgyzstan. Their professionalism and flexibility allowed for a dynamic set of training activities and truly inspired our program participants to serve as advocates for conflict mitigation in their classrooms and gymnasiums.” - Dara Lipton, Program Coordinator, KICK Program, IREX

Training and Consulting Experience:

Afghan Youth Sports Exchange (Afghanistan, 2006)
In 2006, the Afghan Youth Sports Exchange (AYSE), an organization dedicated to nurturing Afghan girls through soccer, asked PPI to train a group of youth soccer coaches to travel to Afghanistan and work with local authorities to develop a youth league in the country. Training focused on helping coaches incorporate life skills instruction in a sports program, serve as role models and mentors, and facilitate sensitive conversations with the young people they coach. AYSE has since merged with the Afghan Football Federation, which continues its work in the country.

“Anatomy of Peace” Training (Morocco, Ireland and Bulgaria, 2010-2011)
In 2010 and 2011, PPI organized a training for three independent grassroots youth organizations, funded by the Anna Lindh Foundation and the Laureus Sports for Good Foundation. Representatives from an Irish NGO serving African refugees, a Bulgarian primary school and a Moroccan community center attended a five-day training on “The Anatomy of Peace,” PPI’s peace and leadership curriculum. PPI trainers conducted follow-up visits to Morocco and Bulgaria to work intensively with two of the trainee organizations. 100% of participants in the post-training survey indicated that the training made them “a better teacher/coach” and would “improve the organization/school where [they] work.”

Indigo Youth Movement (South Africa, 2010)
The Indigo Youth Movement (IYM) is a grassroots skateboarding organization for young people of all ages located in rural Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa. PPI’s South African staff worked with IYM to create a new life skills curriculum for the organization that would complement its sports programming. PPI helped IYM develop the curriculum, trained its coaches to implement the curriculum and supported IYM with the development of tools and resources to manage and monitor its implementation in the future.

The International Sports Programming Initiative in Tajikistan (Tajikistan, 2011)
In the summer of 2011, PPI supported American Councils in implementing the International Sports Programming Initiative in Tajikistan (ISPIT), funded by the U.S. State Department Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The program provided 40 Tajik coaches ten days of intensive training in the latest innovations in using sport to build stronger communities. PPI led or co-led sessions on fundraising for sports-for-development projects, building community support, teambuilding and the use of sport to promote peace and community cohesion. Coaches trained have since launched the first Girls’ Streetball League in Tajikistan.

Kyrgyzstan Innovations in Coaching Kids (Kyrgyzstan, 2011)
In December 2011, PPI worked with IREX to deliver the “Kyrgyzstan Innovations in Coaching Kids” (KICK) training-of-trainers program,
which provided 40 physical education teachers in Kyrgyzstan training on how to use sports to teach conflict management and promote mutual
understanding among Kyrgyz coaches and youth. PPI assisted with overall curriculum development, program evaluation, and led sessions on
topics including coaching and life skills and using sports to teach conflict resolution. Evaluations indicated that trainees left the program with a
significantly enhanced understanding of conflict and that sessions led by PPI were consistently among those most valued by participants.

Sport and Diversity (Northern Ireland, 2010-Present)
Working in partnership with the Open College Network, a U.K.-based organization that specializes in providing inclusive and second-chance professional qualifications for disadvantaged learners, PPI has created an accredited, three-course curriculum in the use of sport to promote diversity. The course addresses topics including the meaning of diversity, dealing with stereotypes and prejudice, and how to promote diversity in sports clubs. PPI offers the course to staff and coaches from local partner organizations, such as the Irish Football Association, Ulster Rugby and the Gaelic Athletic Association.

Peace on the Court – Chicago (United States, 2011-2014)
With funding from adidas, PPI has worked with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation/Chicago (LISC/Chicago) and Beyond the Ball (BTB), one of the U.S.’ leading sport-for-development organizations, to adapt PPI’s peace and leadership curriculum to an American, inner-city context. Over the course of two years, PPI has trained individuals in 16 different organizations in the city in the use of its curriculum, including a series of intensive trainings with the BTB coaching team. PPI and BTB co-implemented a camp in December 2012 to pilot the curriculum for the first time with BTB beneficiaries. In 2013, the two organizations worked together to prepare BTB to independently implement the curriculum in the future.

Promoting Youth Civic Engagement in Yemen (Yemen, 2011-2013)
PPI serves as a subcontract on this project, funded by USAID, in support of AMIDEAST, an NGO based in Washington, D.C. with over 50 years of experience facilitating education in Yemen. The program provides young community leaders in Yemen with new tools to engage their peers, focusing particularly on Sana’a, Aden and Marib. PPI has provided three trainings to Yemeni youth leaders on the use of sport for increasing community cohesion. The program has included both men and women, helped spark the creation of a basketball program in the remote city of Marib and included the production of a suite of culturally appropriate fitness videos for the project’s female trainees.

Sports and Peace Innovation Network Training – Argentina (Argentina, 2012)
The Laureus Sport for Good Foundation (LSFG), which helped launch PPI – SPIN, funded the training of five organizations in the use of PPI’s peace and leadership curriculum in 2012. The trainees included four Argentinean organizations and one Brazilian organization and used sports ranging from basketball to field hockey. A five-day residential training was accompanied by remote support and a follow-up visit by PPI’s trainer, supporting trainee organizations in the process of adapting the curriculum to their own programmatic models. (See left for a selection of the results of this training.) LSFG has renewed its funding to PPI and the two organizations are currently working together to identify a new set of trainee organizations for 2013.

Sport Development Program (Ethiopia, 2012-2014)
Worldwide Orphans Foundation (WWO) transforms the lives of orphaned children through a range of education and health programs in Ethiopia, Bulgaria, Vietnam, Haiti and Kosovo. In 2012, WWO contracted PPI to implement a needs assessment in Addis Ababa to determine the potential for launching a sport-fordevelopment program in Ethiopia. PPI and WWO are currently working to develop a soccer league that will serve a network of orphan-serving organizations in Addis Ababa, providing participants with life skills education and an avenue for integration into mainstream Addis Ababa life.

Sport and Peace Innovation Training in Rio de Janeiro - (Brazil, 2013)
PPI spent four days in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, working with 18 coaches and coordinators from eight organizations that use sport for development in underprivileged neighborhoods in Rio. The four-day meeting was sponsored by Laureus Sport for Good Foundation and focused on sharing PPI’s methodologies, teaching the Anatomy of Peace, and facilitating a platform for like-minded organizations to share best practices. The training was largely focused on helping organizations find ways to adapt PPI's methodologies to their own needs. Another key element of the training was the facilitation of a network of sport-related development organizations in Rio.

United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace (Switzerland, 2013 & Sweden, 2014)
Collaborated with the UN Office for Sport and Development (UNOSDP), Right to Play and the International Paralympic Committee, at an 11 day Sport for Development Camp for 30 young leaders from Francophone Africa and The Middle East. The theme of PeacePlayers’ facilitation was Sport and Conflict Transformation. Through a highly interactive session both in the classroom and on the basketball court, participants developed a greater understanding of conflict and reconciliation as well as practical tools to use sport as a means to break through cycles of conflict.  On the basketball court participants were taught specific activities and drills to promote connections between individuals and how to break down barriers on the court.

Peace on the Court - Oregon (United States, 2013-Present)
PPI and AC Portland (ACP) are collaborating to create a youth basketball league for the children of Portland that will help bridge the gap between fall and spring soccer seasons. PPI, ACP and youth specialists from Oregon State University (OSU) will develop a curriculum that adapts the teachings of PPI’s Anatomy of Peace into an anti-bullying through sport methodology. The goal of this program is not only to create a curriculum for ACP, but for PPI to provide support, training and assistance over a three year period that will allow ACP to become both locally sustainable and a knowledge expert for Anti-Bullying/Conflict Transformation through sport.


“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
"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
"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 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
"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
"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
“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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"When you get to know your teammates, it doesn’t really matter what their religion is."
Aoife Doherty, Participant, PeacePlayers International – Northern Ireland
"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
 “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
"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
“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
"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
"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
"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
“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
"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