Based on the university’s Football 4 Peace, the university’s award-winning project to promote peaceful co-existence in troubled communities, the university is launching Rugby 4 Peace, a different sport but with the same aims.
Graham Spacey, project manager and visiting lecturer at the university, said: “Football and rugby have the power to bring people together because they are universal – they break through language barriers and bring out the humanity in people.
“Our experience with Football 4 Peace has shown that sport can heal wounds and bring together divided towns, villages and neighbourhoods.”
Throughout the 1990s, university researchers identified that sport could provide the catalyst to intervene where cultural conflict exists. It was from this research that Football 4 Peace (F4P) was launched in Israel in 2001 in partnership with the British Council and the Israel Sports Authority which grew over time to facilitate 15 cross community sports partnerships, bringing together 46 Jewish and Arab communities and approximately 1,500 children. Through training coaches and community leaders, the programme has since expanded and is active in three continents.