Information about the Peres Centre and the work that the PC do?
The Peres Center for Peace and Innovation was founded in 1996 by the Ninth President of Israel and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Shimon Peres, and is dedicated to advancing his vision of a prosperous Israel within a peaceful Middle East. The Peres Center is a leading non-profit NGO that, together with local, regional and international partners, develops and implements unique and cutting-edge programs serving hundreds of thousands of participants to date of all ages, religions, genders and cultural backgrounds. Programs focuses include medicine and healthcare, business and entrepreneurship, education, and innovation.
Who are the children that will benefit from playing on a Peace Pitch. Where do they live and what kind of schools do they attend?
The Peres Center’s Sport in the Service of Peace programs work with schoolchildren who are children ages 8-14. We work across Israel and the West Bank, bringing together Jewish and Arab, Israeli and Palestinian boys and girls. We focus on Israel’s social and geographic periphery as well as the West Bank, both of which consist of often underserved communities. The majority of the youth participating in our programs tend to come from relatively low-income backgrounds, and are those with the fewest opportunities to meet their peers from the “other” side.
Why is peace education through sport important to all children in Israel.
“When you are on the football pitch you are a team player – not a Muslim, Jew or Christian. Sport knows no boundaries and sees no culture or religion. Sport is an international language that unites us all.” – Shimon Peres.
The “other,” when unknown, may be perceived as intimidating and frightening. Lack of contact and positive interaction intensifies these fears. As Arab and Jewish, Israeli and Palestinian children and youth on both sides are severely affected by conflict, they are highly susceptible to developing negative perceptions of the “other.” In addition, lack of extracurricular activities for social and geographic periphery communities creates an opportunity to provide a win-win situation, both for healthy, positive activities and for peacebuilding. As the future of the region, they have the most to gain from the development of durable peace, and it is thus crucial to engage them in peace education programming. From the values of teamwork and common goals to shared struggles and victories, sport has the power to unite youth from different cultures. In a language understood by all, Jewish and Arab, Israeli and Palestinian boys and girls come together under the common banner of sport, cheering for one another and building lasting friendships.
The recent visit of Prince William highlighted the great work of the Perez Centre. Everyone at the NCFA are excited to work in partnership at the centre to create the first peace pitch in Israel. The Perez Centre will be an important stakeholder in the ever growing International Children’s Football Alliance, which aims to promote peace and protect childhood through play.
Peace and goodwill were very much the cornerstone of the Prince’s visit to Jaffa, a mixed Arab-Jewish soccer game in the historic city, today part of the Tel Aviv metropolis. The event was hosted by the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation and the Equalizer organization, which both work to bring young people together across religious and ethnic boundaries, the Equalizer focusing particularly on sports.
The Prince showed off his soccer skills, taking penalty shots against some of the young people who had just played a short match against one another. As an Englishman, he was always going to miss the first one. But the prince dispatched the second to cheers from onlookers.