PeacePlayers International is a non-profit which seeks to unite divided communities through basketball. Since its founding in 2001, PeacePlayers International has developed programs in the United States, the Middle East, South Africa, and Northern Ireland. In 2017, NIKE partnered with PeacePlayers to promote equality in communities across the United State through the power of sport. Since 2005, they have impacted over 75,000 young people in over 260 partner schools and nonprofits.
Join us for S4:EP24 of the Sports Philanthropy Podcast as Karen Doubilet, Global Executive Director of Peace Players, and Sally Nnamani, US Director of Programs and Partnerships sit down with our host Roy Kessel to discuss their time at PeacePlayers International and building a successful outreach organization.
Prior to being named Executive Director of PeacePlayers International in October 2019, Karen Doubilet spent 13 years serving as Managing Director of PeacePlayers Middle East. In this role, Karen led programs that have used the game of basketball to unite and educate more than 10,000 Palestinian and Israeli youth; she managed more than $12 million of funding from large institutional donors over that time; she led curricula development utilizing basketball to teach peace education and leadership; she oversaw the first randomized control trial research study in the field of sport and inter-group relations; and she spearheaded the first academically-accredited professional certification course in Coaching for Conflict Transformation in cooperation with Wingate Academic Institute, Israel’s leading Physical Education University.
An expert in inter-group relations, Karen has numerous years of academic and field experience in the area of cross-cultural facilitation, Arab-Jewish relations, and in particular, in the development and evaluation of integration programs.
Prior to joining PeacePlayers, Karen worked for several peace-building organizations, including Peace Child Israel, War Child Holland, and the Peres Center for Peace, where she conducted impact evaluations on the organization’s sports initiatives.
Karen holds a Master’s degree from Bar Ilan University’s program on Conflict Management and Negotiating, where she also completed her PhD course work and conducted research on the impact of inter-group encounters in the intractable conflict setting. Karen is a certified mediator and Arbinger Institute Facilitator.
She grew up in Toronto, Canada, and has lived in Tel Aviv Israel since 1997 where she currently resides with her husband and two children.
Sally began her work with PeacePlayers in November 2015 as an International Fellow in Northern Ireland. During her fellowship, she helped support program delivery, manage the Champions4Peace Senior leadership development program, and social media presence. Upon finishing her fellowship, Sally joined the PeacePlayers U.S. Programs Team as Program Manager. Her role supports the program design and management process in Brooklyn and Los Angeles.
Sally was introduced to the game of basketball through her older brother back in her home country of Nigeria. A quintessential 90s kid, Sally grew up adoring Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. It wasn’t until she moved to the United States at the age of 12 that the game of basketball would become a major part of her identity. Sally moved with her mother and five siblings from Enugu, a small town in southeastern Nigeria to the suburban town of Warwick, New York. The culture shock was immense and basketball quickly became an outlet and a way to absorb her new environment.
Sally played varsity basketball all through high school including AAU basketball. She attended City University of New York, Lehman College where she served as a three-year captain of the Lehman Women’s Basketball Team and led the team to its first ever CUNYAC championship and its first appearance in the Division III NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament in 2007. She’s also the record holder of all-time leading scorer at CUNY Lehman with 2,113 career points. In 2010, Sally graduated with honors from Lehman College with a B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy. She went on to earn her M.A. in International Affairs with a concentration in Development at Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy (The New School).
Prior to joining PeacePlayers, she served a one-year term as a Lead Coach through Up2Us Sports Coach Across America program at PowerPlay, NYC, a girls-focused organization that uses sports to empower young girls in New York City’s underserved communities. She also worked for a social science research firm where she supported data collection for clients that included New York State, Research Triangle Institute, and NYC Department of Health..
HIGHLIGHTS OF PEACE PLAYERS PODCAST
- 00:00 Introduction
- 00:50 Karen’s Background
- 03:00 Sally’s Background
- 06:45 PeacePlayers Overview
- 10:30 Talking about Failures
- 11:25 Growing PeacePlayers
- 13:00 Leadership Pipeline
- 18:30 Grassroots vs High-Level Policy
- 24:00 Structure of PeacePlayers
- 29:15 Fundraising Difficulties
- 33:00 Global Fundraising
- 35:15 Key Partnerships
- 40:45 Contact Information
- 41:45 Sally as Commissioner
- 43:30 Karen as Commissioner
- 44:30 Closing
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