Sydney University host Peres Peace Team

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20.08.2008 – Stephen King

This Friday 22nd August, Sydney University are hosting the West Bank-Israel team competing in the AFL international cup. Below is a little bit of a background on this amazing team and their journey to get to Melbourne.

In August, teams from different countries will compete at the Third International Cup Tournament in Melbourne. There’ll be several countries making their debut this year, including a team drawing on players from both Israel and the West Bank.

The Peres Centre for Peace has put the side together and for many of the participants it’s the first contact across the territorial divide, free from the shadow of violence. The AFL Peace Team is an initiative of the Australian Chapter of the Israeli NGO The Peres Centre for Peace, a non-political non-governmental organisation, established in 1996 by the then President of Israel Mr Shimon Peres.

It forms part of their organisational commitment to building a better life for Palestinians, Arabs and Israelis through cooperation and mutual respect, via joint peace-building projects across a range of sectors including sport.The AFL Peace Team initiative is run collaboratively with the Al Quds Association for Democracy and Dialogue in close cooperation with the Australian Football League. Two groups of Israeli and Palestinian youth were brought together for intensive training in AFL Football and have now become one cohesive AFL Peace Team who will compete in the Australian Football League’s International Cup in Melbourne in late August, as part of the AFL 150th Anniversary Celebrations.

The University of Sydney is partnering with the Australian Chapter of the Peres Centre for Peace, and their stakeholders and other sponsors to stage the only exclusive Australian Peace Team event in Sydney: a stand-up ‘By Invitation only’ VIP Breakfast at the Grandstand hosted by the Chancellor of the University of Sydney, Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir AC CVO. SUANFC, University and AFL dignitaries, including Peace Team coach Robert “Dipper” Dipierdomenico and guests will gather for breakfast, and will be followed by a live demonstration of the Peace Team in action on Oval # 1, run by SUANFC coaches and players.

The AFL Peace Team represents a ground-breaking foray for Australian Rules Football. It is the first time that Australian Rules Football has been used to bring together a diverse group of young Israeli and Palestinian men and provide ‘common ground’ upon which they can build mutual understanding and respect. This is the only major Sydney event for this extraordinary team.