The fourth round of MLI's Peace Through Sport (PTS) program is off to a great start. This is our largest group to date with 130 young people from Lebanon and the United States. Peace Through Sport is an eight week program where youth learn about communication, problem solving, and respect for diversity through a variety of activities. Students will also develop and implement a project to benefit their local community.
During the first virtual call, participants were able to hear from Kelly Magelky. Kelly turned professional on the mountain bike when he was 26. He still races in the pro field (at 42) and as of now has 43 victories since turning pro. A few of his highlights include earning 2nd place at the 24 hour world championship, winning the 24 hour national championship, and winning the overall cross country series in Winter Park, CO. "Overall, the most important thing to come from the sport, for me was meeting the incredible people who are still my life." - Kelly Magelky
The second virtual call was impactful as participants listened to two guest speakers who shared a similar message focusing on the power and common language that can be found in sport. Participants were engaged and appreciated the message of both speakers.
Stepan Timofeyev, an American hockey player from St. Petersburg, Russia, spoke to the students about the importance of working hard and staying focused on your goals. Coming to the U.S., Stepan did not have a strong grasp of the English language, but he found that sport is a connector with a common language. Stepan plays with the Knoxville Ice Bears and coaches young hockey players. Participants were able to relate to the challenges of language differences and the dedication Stepan has to moving up the ranks of hockey by working hard and being a good teammate.
Dr. Sarah Hillyer, founder and director of University of Tennessee Center for Sport, Peace, and Society joined the call and shared her journey to create a more just, equitable and free world. Her story and message were very impactful as she spoke about her work with the U.S. State Department and connections with countries in the Middle East and North Africa. Her energy was contagious, and her message about power being the capability of doing something positive really impacted the students. ind"Sports provides boundaries and creates safe spaces for finding peace within ourselves and finding peace between each other." - Dr. Sarah Hillyer
Thank you to these amazing guest speakers for their time and impactful words to the Peace Through Sport students.
PTS participants have been connecting and getting to know each other through WhatsApp. Several of the students shared videos of their experiences from the first couple of weeks of the program.
"Politics separate the world and sports unite it on the other side." - Sidra (Lebanon).
Thank you to the U.S. Embassy in Beirut for funding this amazing program.