POSTED: March 3rd 2009

Basketball lessons for Peace Camp

Pointing the way forward on the basketball court / Image: GfP
Pointing the way forward on the basketball court / Image: GfP

SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT / Sports Features Communications

ABU DHABI: Basketball legends Rolando Blackman and Jennifer Azzi joined specialists in conflict resolution at the launch of the first Generations For Peace Camp of 2009. Blackman and Azzi and are members of the coaching team which is spending 10 days working with leaders of youth from 10 countries.

Launched in 2007 by Prince Feisal Al Hussein of Jordan (below right), Generations For Peace brings together leaders of youth from divided communities and trains them how to use sport to unite the young.

The current camp, which runs until March 10, was launched earlier this week by Sheikh Mohammed Bin Hamdan Al Nahyan, representing Sheikh Hamdan. He attended many of the opening day's sessions with Prince Feisal.

Sheikh Mohammed said: “Generations For Peace has proved a successful initiative and we have no doubt it will expand and develop further through increased co-operation and the continued support of its leaders.”

The 60 delegates from 10 countries, many of whom had never held a basketball before, learned new skills and coaching methods from the NBA and WNBA legends at the Al Jazira Club. They were also taught how to utilise these skills when they return to their own communities where facilities and equipment can be scarce to be point of non-existence.

Community challenges

Prince Feisal said: “Generations For Peace teaches its delegates that there are no barriers to not only organising sport but for those wanting to take part.

“In the opening sessions we have already heard how difficult it is for these leaders of youth to organise any activity within their communities and our role is to help them succeed. Sport has proved in the past that it can be a unifying force for good by bringing people together from of all sides of the divide."

In addition to delegates from past participant nations such as Nigeria, Iraq, Palestine and Lebanon, new delegates have joined from India, Yemen, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Somalia as well as the host United Arab Emirates.

Partnership agreement

The growing reputation and importance of the camp has been underlined by a partnership agreement with Samsung Electronics to provide equipment and support for Generations For Peace during 2009.

In addition, Al Jazira Club Abu Dhabi UAE, a professional sports club of which Sheikh Hamdan is honorary chairman, is providing sports facilities and equipment, coaches and two of their top players, Brazilian João Fernando Nelo and Ivorian Ibrahim Diaky.

English football club Brighton and Hove Albion is also providing coaching and programme support while the International Softball Federation is also providing coaching and equipment as well as support for the Generations For Peace Pioneer Programme.

This is the first time that the intensive 10-day programme has been held outside of Jordan.

Keywords · Generations for Peace · Abu Dhabi · United Arab Emirates · Blackman · Azzi · Prince Feisal Al Hussein · Sheikh Mohammed Bin Hamdan Al Nahyan

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