Press Release

Peace Through Sport in Lebanon

Girls during a football life skills through sports learning course

A 2018 Anera life skills through sports learning course in Lebanon.

October 14, 2021 | Washington, DC/ Beirut — Anera, in collaboration with The Marshall Legacy Institute (MLI), is launching “Peace through Sport,” a 24-month virtual exchange program uniting youth in Lebanon and the US to promote social cohesion and foster civic engagement through the lens of sports.

Peace through Sport will connect 600 young people in Lebanon and the US through intercultural exchanges. They will gain knowledge, tools and experience to bring about positive changes in their communities. Christine Zahm, Anera’s youth sports and life skills program manager, handles the project design and management. Zahm says,

“We’re looking forward to the interactions the youth will have between Lebanon and the US. This project will have a positive impact on these young people and their communities.”

The first round of the program begins this week. Each eight-week program round will include Anera’s sports-based life skills curriculum, MLI’s guided discussions as participants learn about each other’s communities, and instruction on designing and implementing a service learning project.

Seventy-five students are taking part in the first cohort (25 in the US and 50 in Lebanon). They will learn sports skills, study their communities, and take on service-learning projects. They will also engage in US-Lebanon virtual exchanges with a sports focus.

Peace through Sport will enhance the ability of 60 teachers to serve as role models for youth and to lead youth through the program curriculum. Anera will train teachers in leadership, civic engagement, healthy lifestyles, and life skills. Life skills sessions include cooperation, communication, creativity, problem-solving, and respect for diversity.

MLI has an extensive network of American schools that have participated in their virtual exchange programs. MLI will recruit American high school students and teachers from across the US. As school administrators and teachers agree to take part in the program, they will recruit student participants from their classrooms.

Anera will recruit youth in Lebanon using social media and referrals from local partners. The program will recruit 80% Lebanese youth, 20% Syrian and Palestinian refugees, and 2% people with disabilities. Anera will ensure the youth have basic English skills needed to interact with the youth from the US.

Civic engagement is an important tool that enhances youth understanding of community needs. This exciting new program will deepen youth’s civic engagement in their communities. It will help them to develop strong interpersonal skills that will help them in all facets of their lives. And, cultural barriers to interaction between youth of different backgrounds will be less insurmountable.

CHRISTINE ZAHM IS AVAILABLE FOR A LIMITED NUMBER OF INTERVIEWS

For more information:

Washington DC:

Steven Fake
Media Relations Officer
202.266.9719
sfake@anera.org

Lebanon:

Serene Dardari
Communications Manager
s.dardari@aneralebanon.org

About Anera Since 1968, Anera has helped refugees and others hurt by conflicts in the Middle East live with dignity and purpose. Anera, which has no political or religious affiliation, works on the ground with partners in the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem, Lebanon, and Jordan. We mobilize resources for immediate humanitarian relief and for sustainable health, education, and economic development efforts. Our staff are from the communities they serve, navigating the politics that constrict progress to get help where it’s needed most. We will keep building better lives until hope finds its way in the Middle East.

About The Marshall Legacy Institute The Marshall Legacy Institute is a U.S.-based 501(c)3 non-profit organization founded in 1997. Its mission is to alleviate suffering and promote hope, growth, and stability in war-torn countries by implementing robust and comprehensive programs focused on the landmine issue and on social issues to include peacebuilding, youth leadership development, women’s empowerment and ethnic reconciliation. MLI has a long, successful record of accomplishment in 14 war-torn countries. Utilizing funding from the private sector and a grant from the Department of State, MLI’s Peacemakers and Problem Solvers program has successfully united dozens of American, Colombian and Yemeni youth for virtual exchange, leadership development and service learning project design and implementation since 2018.