Animating our Actions: PeacePlayers’ Cyprus Innovative Educational Tool

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Ashley from the Peace Players team wrote about their  Knowledge product and practitioner’s exchange to Israel.

The challenge that lay in front of us was to capture our years of experience and wealth of knowledge in approaching peace buildingfrom a youth and sports angle and create an originalproduct to share this approach.  From this challenge arose, the soon to be revealed, PeacePlayers’ animations.  

The moment we heard of the opportunity presented by The Knowledge and Innovation Fund of the Peace it Together network, the brainstorming began.  We confidently and passionately believe in our organization’s powerful approach to peace building through sport.  At PeacePlayers we have a wealth of experience bridging divides, developing leaders and changing perspectives in Cyprus and across the world.   Through the series of 5 short animated films we have worked to harness the depth of our experience on and off the court and the richness of our conflict transformation curriculum, based in part on the The Anatomy of Peace model, into a unique educational product. 

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The creation phase began this past December and has seen us proceed over the last 4 months from brainstorming, to script writing, to storyboarding and finally on to animation.  As we find ourselves in this final phase we were presented with a tremendous opportunity: a Practitioner’s Exchange trip to Israel. 

Stephanie Nicolas and Ashley Johnson of PeacePlayers – Cyprus spent 6 days this past week visiting social media, peace building and youth development NGOs in Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem to share the videos and receive feedback from well versed practitioners and participants in the field.  Israel proved to be the perfect location to test out our animations.  The individuals from whom we sought insight were all too familiar with dealing with conflict and gave us honest and in-depth perspectives on each of our completed videos. 

We met with 4 organizations:

 -Peace Factory, creators of the widely followed social media campaign; Israel Loves Iran

-Kids4Peace Jerusalem, an NGO offering inter-faith and inter-cultural education to Israeli and Palestinian youth

-Windows for Peace, an NGO that promotes understanding and reconciliation between communities through youth journalism and media related educational programs.

-PeacePlayers – Middle East, our sister program in Israel who works to unite and educate Palestinian and Israeli youth through the game of basketball.  Combining on the court opportunities with experiential learning activities and the implementation of “The Anatomy of Peace” curriculum to create deep open communication and understanding amongst participants. 

Throughout the week we visited each organization, shared our videos and asked a number of questions whose responses will guide us in the refinement of our product and creation of our a corresponding training modules that will accompany the videos.  

After showing the videos to various audiences, including 5 different focus groups with PeacePlayers Middle East participants, coaches and staff, we can confidently say that we have an outstanding engaging product transferrable across various cultures and perspectives.  

In returning to Cyprus we have a renewed energy and enthusiasm to approach the final stage of creation, now we have many followers not just in Cyprus, but Israel as well, anxiously anticipating the debut of our films.  So, please continue to follow the Peace it Together blog as well as PeacePlayers Cyprus’ blog and look for PeacePlayers animated educational films on Mahallae soon! 

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