PeacePlayers International will be honored with the Celebration of Service Award at the Sports Business Awards on May 23 in New York City. This is the second year that SportsBusiness Journal/Daily have selected a Celebration of Service recipient; last year’s inaugural honor went to the Homeless World Cup and was accepted by its co-founder Mel Young.
“We will continue to shed light on organizations using the power of sports to improve our world,” said Abe Madkour, executive editor of SportsBusiness Journal/Daily. “Last year, it was incredible to see the industry stand and applaud Mel Young for his efforts. This year, we are very proud to recognize the outstanding work of PeacePlayers International, which has worked tirelessly for nearly two decades on conflict resolution through basketball and helping children in some of the most troubled areas of the world.”
PeacePlayers International was established in 2000 by two brothers, Sean and Brendan Tuohey, with the vision of building relationships and trust through basketball. After graduating from Lehigh University, Sean Tuohey played professional basketball in Northern Ireland and operated basketball clinics for Protestant and Catholic children in Belfast. Through the clinics, he became convinced that basketball could help ease conflicts between the two groups. Sean recruited Brendan, who had played basketball at Colgate and later professionally in Ireland, and together, they established PeacePlayers International in 2000.
The global nonprofit offers sports programming, peace education and leadership development to those living in communities rife with conflict. Part of the mission includes teaching young people about the skills needed to confront conflict and training them to be change agents and leaders in their communities — all around the game of basketball. PPI operates year-round programs in Northern Ireland, Cyprus, the Middle East and South Africa. In 2017, it launched a multiyear partnership with Nike to target communities in the U.S., focused on improving relationships between youth and law enforcement. They have established programs in the last year in Baltimore, Brooklyn and Detroit, and aim to launch similar programs in Chicago, Los Angeles and Memphis later this year.
Brendan Tuohey leads the organization from its headquarters in Washington, D.C., with offices in Israel, Northern Ireland, South Africa and the United States.
Overall, the award-winning program has worked with more than 75,000 young people in 22 countries. The Celebration of Service Award will be presented during the Sports Business Awards on May 23. Full nominees for this year’s program will be announced March 19.