From Ultimate Peace:
Despite rising racial tensions across North America, a young group of 17 Arab and Jewish Israelis and Palestinians from the West Bank travel to the New Jersey area this week to share their experiences on how sport can be used to bridge cultural divides.
This diverse group, between the ages of 14 and 17, represent the Leaders-In-Training (LITs) for a non-profit organization called Ultimate Peace: a socio-educational program created to build friendship, trust, and leadership between youth who live in communities divided by conflict, using the values-based sport of Ultimate Frisbee. Why Ultimate? Fair play and sportsmanship are built into the rules of the game. With no referees even at the highest levels of competition, players resolve conflicts on the field – real world skills that are applicable off the field as well.
“Research shows that project-based long-term cooperation is the most transformative model for cross-cultural coexistence; thus, we task the LITs with a project focus in each of their three years in training,” explained Rachel Winner, LIT Program Director at Ultimate Peace. “The tasks range from running a day at our summer camp to joining this American tour to share their experiences and participate in leadership activities. This year’s tour, however, is extra special as we come to Maplewood, New Jersey, where the sport of Ultimate Frisbee was founded at Columbia High School 50 years ago this year!”
Visiting Princeton, Maplewood, Teaneck, and New York City from March 28th – April 8th, the group will share their inspiring story and a few drills and games unique to the Middle East at middle school clinics, as well as visit institutions, places of worship, and compete in local tournaments. The students are staying with high school families and Ultimate Frisbee players from Columbia High School.
When the students return home, they will continue their training with Ultimate Peace, which runs a year-round program that engages almost 500 youth from over 20 Israeli and West Bank communities, and assist in running the program’s overnight summer camp. The camp, which has run for the last eight years, enables hundreds of youth to experience full immersion in the UP “Oasis of Peace”.
The LITs will be visiting New York City from Thursday April 5th – Saturday, April 7th and will be available for press interviews there as well as during their time in New Jersey. See below for a full list of opportunities to come witness the LITs in action:
- Friday, March 30th (9AM – 2:30PM): High School HAT Tournament in Princeton, NJ
- Saturday, March 31st (7PM – 9PM): Community Festival in Paramus, NJ
- Tuesday, April 3rd (3:45PM – 6PM): Ultimate Frisbee Clinic for Ultimate Peace & Columbia High School with Professional Team, Empire
- Wednesday, April 4th (1:45PM – 3:30PM): Meeting with Newark Mayor; Chat & Chew with Newark’s Young Ambassadors Program, paying tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King on the 50th Anniversary of his assassination.
- Saturday, April 7th (11AM – 3PM): Ultimate Frisbee Scrimmage in Brooklyn, NY
- Saturday, April 7th (7PM – 9PM): Community Gathering & Presentation in Maplewood, NJ
- *Sunday, April 8th (11AM – 12PM): Presentation & Gathering in Teaneck, NJ
*Come to Temple Emeth for a morning of inspiration, sports and powerful storytelling on Sunday, April 8, 2018. At 10:30 am, Ultimate Peace will lead a program geared to students, and at 11:30, all ages are invited. The program will include a presentation by current members now touring the United States, Q & A and, weather permitting, a demonstration outside. Refreshments will be served.
For more information about Ultimate Peace or to make a donation, visit www.ultimatepeace.org.
For more information, please contact UP Tour Director Rachel Winner at [email protected] / *828-290-2245 for more information. (*US phone activated Thursday, March 29th – before the 29th, email your number and Rachel will call you back.)
Sarah McNamara – Maplewood Tour Coordinator: [email protected] / 201-572-6903