The Peres Center: Bringing Israeli and Palestinian communities together
Highlighting the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation
Sport used to bring Jewish and Arab, Israeli and Palestinian boys and girls together
Supported by the FIFA Foundation
"You can play with anyone – you just need to know how to work together and how the game works. If you can do that, things get even better."
These words came from Yossi, an 11-year-old boy from Israel. "Getting to know the ‘others’ was scary at first, but after we started playing football together, all of that fear disappeared. They’re no different to us," explained Yasser, a Palestinian boy the same age as Yossi. For some time now, both children have been benefiting from the programmes offered by the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation, a charitable non-governmental organisation pursuing the vision of a prosperous Israel in a peaceful Middle East.
Anything that is ‘other’ can seem intimidating and frightening if it is unfamiliar. Lack of contact and positive interaction, whether informally or via the education system, exacerbates these fears even further. As the children and young people in both Israel and Palestine are significantly impacted by conflict, they have a tendency to develop negative perceptions of the ‘others’.
Given the lack of extracurricular activities for socially and geographically peripheral areas, the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation provides an opportunity to create a win-win situation for both healthy, positive activities and peace-building.
Facts about the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation
Founded in 1996 by ninth Israeli president and Nobel Prize winner Shimon Peres
Focuses on sport, medicine and healthcare, the economy, education, innovation and the environment
Collaborates with local, regional and international partners
Targets all age groups, religions, genders and cultural backgrounds
Employs 60 teachers and coaches
Awarded eight local and international prizes
The Center has developed a wide range of educational methods that use sport to bring Jewish and Arab, Israeli and Palestinian boys and girls together to overcome fears and break down emotional barriers, promote intercultural dialogue, and equip younger generations with the tools they need to become constructive and influential leaders in their communities and regions.
The Peres Center for Peace and Innovation
Rami Gradish - The Peres Center for Peace and Innovation (6)
The Peres Center for Peace and Innovation (1)
Above picture: HRH Prince William of the United Kingdom visits the Peres Center
Twinned Peace Sport Schools (TPSS)
TPSS is the longest-running sport project in the region and is currently the only Israeli programme supported by FIFA. It brings young people together in an entertaining environment based on the principles of equality, diversity and respect. More than 25,000 boys and girls from 60 communities across Israel and the West Bank have been involved in the project since its launch in 2002.
With values ranging from team spirit and shared goals to working hard and winning together, sport has the power to unite young people from different cultures. It allows Jewish and Arab, Israeli and Palestinian boys and girls to meet under one banner, cheer each other on and forge lasting friendships using a language that everyone understands.
Playing Fair, Leading Peace
Launched in 2015, this programme combines leadership training for outstanding university students with peace education activities for children. The aim of "Playing Fair, Leading Peace" is to enhance the impact of our sports initiatives on the community.
This project consists of two phases:
(1) College-age Jewish and Arab Israelis and Palestinian young leaders are recruited and given training in the Peres Center’s proven methods of fostering peace through sport, leadership and dialogue. These 'Young Leaders', who work together in intercultural pairs, create a master plan to train all of the other participants.
(2) 'Young Leaders' work with pupils from different schools aged between 12 and 14. Participants complete a unique programme offering football training as an extracurricular activity with a focus on peace education.
Around 60 Young Leaders and more than 1,000 children have taken part in the project in partnership with the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation and the Israel Football Association.
The Peres Center for Peace and Innovation is one of a number of organisations supported by the FIFA Foundation's Community Programme.