Convocation:Andrew Daniels-Sport & Peace

Sport and Peace: A Two Year Fellowship in Belfast, Northern Ireland
Gather with Andrew Daniels, an International Fellow with PeacePlayers, to explore how athletics can build peace. Andrew Daniels completed a Masters in Conflict Transformation at EMU. He’s been building peace through basketball ever since. There will be a talk-back from 11-11:30 a.m. with Andrew demonstrating some of the community activities that he led for PeacePlayers. Volunteers for these activities are needed. This is also in Lehman Auditorium.
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Andrew graduated from EMU’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding program in 2017. Shortly after graduation, Andrew became an International Fellow for PeacePlayers – Northern Ireland. PeacePlayers is an organization that uses sports (primarily basketball) to bridge divides, change perceptions and develop leaders. Andrew’s working title was Project Coordinator and as a coordinator, he was responsible for program design, delivery and M&E within Belfast and surrounding counties. PeacePlayers works primarily with youth aged 8-25 in a variety of different programs. The main programs run by PeacePlayers are Twinning, Cross Community League, and Champions 4 Peace.

While working with PeacePlayers, Andrew was able to get firsthand experience using sport as a vehicle for peacebuilding. Andrew has always been interested in how sport could be used as a tool in peacebuilding. PeacePlayers uses basketball, a politically neutral sport in Northern Ireland, to bring young people together and explore shared interests. Most of Northern Ireland is still very segregated along religious and national identity lines. Only 7% of schools in Northern Ireland are integrated between Protestant and Catholic students. Beyond education, the communities are divided as well. This separation is both physical and implied. Communities may have a physical structure (i.e. walls) separating each other, or maybe just symbols, flags, and murals warning the “other” who’s community it is. While most of the violence from the past has stopped, Northern Ireland remains fractured. This is why finding common ground through sport could be a powerful tool.

Andrew’s two-year contract at PeacePlayers – NI has recently come to a close in October 2019. Andrew is currently looking for his next opportunity!