Methodology and Curriculum

Behind all of PPI’s work is the proven methodology it has developed over a decade of bridging divides, developing leaders and changing perceptions in the organization’s four year-round programming sites. Though each site has developed its own distinctive ecosystem of programs to maximize available resources and meet local needs, all rely on the same three core elements and utilize PPI’s unique curriculum.

Core Elements

Frequent, Long-Term Integration

To truly transform the status quo in communities with histories of violence, PPI emphasizes a particular approach to integration that prioritizes the pursuit of shared goals and relationship building over a prolonged period of time. Children first start working with PPI in a “single-identity” context, building trust with teammates and coaches and familiarizing themselves with PPI’s curriculum. They then come together with their peers from the “other side” for the first time in a special event known as a “twinning,” where PPI’s trained coaches use basketball, the curriculum and their facilitation skills to help players build the respect and understanding that leads to lasting friendship. Over time, “twinnings” accelerate in frequency, as participants and families become more comfortable with the process. Ultimately, PPI aims to work with young people not only throughout an entire year, but year-over-year as well, laying the foundation for life-long change.

In this popular activity, called "Scramble," integrated teams compete in a controlled atmosphere. You may not be able to hear it over the cheering in this version (filmed in Jerusalem), but the game also helps children learn each other's names, a major first step to building unity in situations where groups have different native languages.

Local Leadership Development

After “graduating” from PPI’s core programs (serving children ages 6-14), participants between the ages of 15 and 18 are invited to take part in the “Leadership Development Program,” where they learn to lead PPI’s programs for younger children. Leadership Development Program participants serve as assistant coaches, perform a variety of community service activities and take part in intensive retreats to learn how they can better act as mentors and catalyze change among their friends, family and community. Graduates of the Leadership Development Program are encouraged to continue working with PPI as coaches, ensuring a sustainable leadership pipeline for the future.

This video profiles Darryl, the leader of PPI's Leadership Development Program in Northern Ireland, and drops in on some LDP activities.

Peace and Leadership Curricula

To overcome “exceptional” thinking (“My teammates might be good people, but they are the exceptions. Most people from ‘the other side’ are bad.”) and to help participants apply what they learn outside of the court, PPI includes an element of peace and leadership education in all that it does. Anchored by its organization-wide curriculum (see below), this educational component is crafted to closely meet local needs. For example, in South Africa, PPI’s curriculum emphasizes HIV/AIDS risk avoidance, whereas in Northern Ireland, it directly confronts the legacy of “The Troubles.”


All of PPI’s programs include an element of formal peace and leadership education, anchored by an innovative basketball-based curriculum developed in partnership with the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation and the Arbinger Institute, a global center for the study of interpersonal conflict. The curriculum uses a combination of fun, on-court activities and guided discussion to teach young people a way of thinking about conflict and their role in society. It emphasizes “out of the box” thinking – a way of interacting with those around us that honors both others' humanity and our own responsibility for change.

For example, in one drill coaches will instruct players not to pass to one of their teammates, who is not informed of the coaches’ direction until after the drill is over. When the excluded player finally does get the ball, almost invariably he or she will act selfishly as well, not passing to teammates and hurting the team in the process. After explaining what they asked the team to do, PPI's trained coaches use this experience to facilitate a discussion about anti-social behavior and how we often reciprocate the very actions we resent in others. By giving young people a language to describe personal and communal conflict, this curriculum helps them extend the lessons they learn within PPI to their lives far beyond the court.

Watch participants in PPI - Northern Ireland's Cross-Community League take part in activities from PPI's curriculum.

In each of our locations, the way this curriculum is implemented is tailored to local needs, in a collaborative process with local stakeholders. For example, in South Africa, PPI's curriculum focuses largely on making healthy life choices and HIV/AIDS prevention, and in Northern Ireland, it directly engages contentious issues, challenging young people to grapple with the complexties of growing up in a post-conflict society.

Learn More About:

Programming in South Africa

Programming in Northern Ireland

Programming in the Middle East

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