Earlier this spring, EventStreams had the privilege of meeting some inspirational young people from the Middle East who are showing the world that PEACE IS POSSIBLE. Through a shared passion for the sport of Ultimate (Frisbee), teens from Christian, Muslim and Jewish backgrounds are not only getting along – but building genuine friendships and inspiring their communities, in one of the most politically charged regions in the world.
The Ultimate Peace team spent a few days in Atlanta at the Paideia School, for an international competition, where the ES crew had a chance to speak with a few of the players. 17-year-old Yasmin, an Israeli Arab team member, explained in her own words what Ultimate Peace is all about:
“Ultimate Peace is a non-profit, non-political, non-religious organization that aims to bring together youth from different cultural backgrounds, Israeli Arabs, Jews, (and) Palestinians, to promote very important life values – mutual respect, integrity, nonviolence, fun and friendship.”
Talk of religion and politics while on the field is deliberately avoided. Instead, the team turns their focus to the challenges that come with working together.
“We are different from each other, but we respect each other. That is the real message.”
One of the organization’s founders, David Barkan, from San Francisco, California, took the time to explain the team’s mission:
“It’s about humans getting together. It’s not about Jews, it’s not about Arabs, it’s not about Palestinians, it’s not about Muslims – It’s about people getting along…Peace is truly the mission.”
Although the political unrest in the Middle East continues, Ultimate Peace remains hopeful yet realistic about their goals as a team. Coach in training, Hassan Ayisha believes:
“Our goal is not to make peace between governments. Our goal is to bring peace between these youths and teenagers.”
Tearing down the cultural barriers that have divided the Middle East for centuries won’t happen overnight, but we can hope that these young people – the leaders of the future – will inspire a little change throughout their communities and the world.