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Jewish Journal

Conflict Mediation Through Sport

by Jeremy Elster

June 9, 2014 | 5:15 am

This week, the world’s attention will refocus from domestic issues to the international stage of the World Cup in Brazil. While domestic Israeli politics never has a dull moment, today we bring you a story about the Italian football superclub “FC Inter Milan” and the social work they recently completed in Israel/Palestine. Four years ago FC Inter Milan won the Champions League Final, the premier tournament for European football clubs, and today is sending 8 players to represent their respective countries at the World Cup in Brazil. In the social sphere, the club is leveraging its name and status in order to bring together diverse populations in conflict onto the field to reconcile through sport.

The initiative is called “Inter Campus”. On the website they write: “Since 1997, Inter Campus has implemented a flexible and long-term social and cooperation programme in 25 foreign countries, assisted by 200 local instructors. The aim of the programme is to use the game of football as an educational tool to restore the right to play to 10,000 needy children.” The program in Israel/Palestine brought together Israeli Jews, Palestinians, and African Refugees to compete, train, and play together.

Participants and instructors were thrilled at the success of the program. Watch the following report to gain a better understanding of Inter Campus and the prospect for peacebuilding through sport.

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