Football 4 Peace Israel Concept Note
Football 4 Peace is a network of sport-based conflict resolution and peace building programmes operating across Israel, bringing together Jewish and Arab communities to jointly set up and bring to life a series of Cross-Community Sport Partnerships (CCSPs). It also has initiatives involving communities in the north of Jordan, a cross border initiative in Northern Ireland / Republic of Ireland and (separate to all other initiatives) in 2010 held a successful pilot project in Bethlehem in the West Bank (Palestinian Authority).
F4P began modestly in a handful of villages in the Galilee region of Northern Israel in 2001 and involved sending four volunteer student football coaches and one staff member from the University of Brighton to set up basic football coaching camps for Jewish and Arab children. Ten years later, stretching from the northern border with Lebanon down to the southern Negev Desert, in partnership with the German Sports University, the British Council and the Israeli Sports Authority, F4P facilitates 14 CCSPs, bringing together 40 Jewish and Arab Communities and approximately 1500 children.
Across the programme more than 50 specially trained student volunteers from the European Union work alongside over 100 local volunteer coaches who are also trained in F4Ps ethos and methods used in the development and delivery of each project. Training and mentoring is a key feature of the evolving F4P model. Drawing upon more than a decade of experience, F4P has designed a dedicated peace building coaching curriculum at the heart of which is the concept of Fair Play which itself is broken down, articulated, and acted out in ways that highlight the basic building blocks of human rights and social justice, namely: trust, respect, responsibility, equality, and inclusivity.
F4P has produced its own series of Coaching Manuals (translated into English, Hebrew and Arabic) which are issued to all volunteers and is central to the training programme. Using these manuals, in the annual 5-day international residential workshops (developed by the University of Brighton and Deutsche Sporthochschule, Koln) and follow-up cascade training events in Israel and Jordan, volunteers learn and develop practices and games through which the 5 principles outlined above can be identified, reflected upon, and acted out during the delivery of CCSPs in their own towns and villages.
In addition to these training events, the main CCSPs programmes for the children take place during a week-long period of intensive activity in Israel and surrounding regions in the summer time, culminating in Football 4 Peace Festivals during which hundreds of children, coaches, parents and local political leaders are brought together to play or watch a series of integrated and friendly football matches through which the fair-play-values-approach to playing the game are illustrated and celebrated. Following these main events, throughout the year the CCSPs are involved in an ongoing series of inter-community activities, involving the children and enhancing the training of local volunteers and community leaders. These local undertakings deepen the programme’s roots making it more resilient and sustainable in the long-term. Each element of this complex programme is subjected to careful scrutiny and evaluation and the results of are fed back into F4P programme development and made available for dissemination further afield through this website and other publications and conference presentations / workshops.