- Award Entered:
Sport for Conflict Resolution Award
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- Overview of Project:
Since the outbreak of ethnic violence in 1963 and war in 1974, an island-wide, UN-administered barrier has physically separated Greek-Cypriots from Turkish-Cypriots. Though 2003 saw the border open for limited crossings, interaction between the two communities remains rare, particularly among children, and hatred and mistrust continue to grow, stoked by myths, rumors and propaganda.
In 2006, PeacePlayers International – Cyprus (PPI-CY) was established to unite and educate Greek- and Turkish-Cypriot young people and their communities through basketball. The program brings together Greek- and Turkish-Cypriot children 11-15 years old for integrated games and activities, structured by PPI’s unique basketball and peacebuilding curriculum. On the basketball courts of PPI-CY, children can build mutual respect and understanding to last throughout their lives.
As PPI-CY is currently the only year-round bicommunal youth organization on the island, its work is doubly important – its potential as precedent may be even greater than its direct impact. Peace negotiations between the two communities, ongoing since 2008, are now in a critical stage, and PPI-CY – locally led, year-round, and a frequent partner in high-profile events – can not only prepare Cypriot children for a more peaceful future, but also model the transformative power of teamwork and trust for the entire island.
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