Middle East

Middle East Hand ShakePeacePlayers International - Middle East (PPI - ME) is a locally led charity active in Israel and the West Bank that unites and educates Jewish and Arab young people and their communities through basketball. PPI - ME operates several multi-faceted, year-round programs based on a groundbreaking curriculum developed in partnership with the Arbinger Institute, which combines on-court, experiential learning with frank and open discussion.

PPI - ME works with ethnically and religiously diverse populations, including Ethiopian and Russian immigrants, and is committed to fostering gender equality through sport in both Jewish and Arab communities. PPI - ME works with over 500 registered children in its current programmatic year, over 50% of whom are girls. 

Core Programs

PPI - ME’s programs include:

  • PeacePlayers Basketball Clubs (PPBC)

    Arab and Jewish children ages 6-15 play basketball on mixed teams and participate in joint peace education and life skills activities. Year-round, frequent, and structured integration enables children who would otherwise rarely interact to form lasting friendships. Activities include: Peace Education Sessions, Basketball Training Sessions, Joint Activities (i.e. Twinnings, Peace Leagues and Field Trips), and Tournaments.
  • Leadership Development Program (LDP)

    At the age of 16, Twinned Basketball Club participants that have demonstrated outstanding leadership potential can join the Leadership Development Program, where they continue to practice on integrated teams, volunteer as assistant coaches in their local neighborhoods, participate in dialogue sessions and coach-training activities, and lead neighborhood community service projects.
  • Professional Development Program (PDP)

    All staff participate in comprehensive training designed to enhance their capabilities as basketball coaches, intergroup facilitators, educators, and leaders. Conflict management training is delivered by the Arbinger Institute and specially trained on-staff facilitators. Basketball trainings are conducted by Basketball Operations Manager Vito Gilic, formerly the manager of the Maccabi Tel Aviv youth program and a lecturer at the Wingate Institute, Israel’s National Center for Physical Education and Sport.
  • All-Star Teams

    At the beginning of the 2010-2011 season, PPI - ME entered the first ever integrated teams from East and West Jerusalem in the prestigious Israeli National Basketball League. This program year, PPI - ME has entered four teams into the league through a partnership between PPI and the Academic Sports Association (ASA), Jerusalem.
  • Coaching for Reconciliation - Professional Certification

    20 Arab and Jewish young adults are enrolled in a two year bilingual (Arabic and Hebrew) training program designed and implemented by PPI - ME in cooperation with Zinman College at the Wingate Institute and the Arbinger Institute. This is the first ever bilingual basketball coaches' certification course offered and a rare opportunity for Palestinian coaches to study in their mother toungue. Participants will complete 228 hours of practical and theoretical coursework and basketball training, 58 hours of resolution training and foreign language instruction.

The U.S. Agency for International Development administers the U.S. foreign assistance program providing economic and humanitarian assistance in more than 80 countried worldwide.

Staff Contact: 
Karen Doubilet
Managing Director
68 Dizengoff Street, Suite 6 Tel Aviv, Israel 6433240
+972 3-510-2358


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