Lebanese coaches to study conflict resolution on campus



National basketball officials in Lebanon hope their sport can offer a game plan for peace in a country gripped for decades by ethnic and religious strife.

Coaches and the executive manager of the Lebanese Basketball Federation are in Indiana this month to learn best practices in coaching at Indiana University (IU), and to study with experts in youth leadership and peace building at Purdue University and the University of Notre Dame. They hope to develop ideas to help reverse violence at Lebanese basketball games, where security personnel can outnumber spectators and fans shout each other down with verses from the Bible and Koran.

“Basketball provides a window into the ethno-religious strife that plagues Lebanon and the Middle East at large,” said Rashied Omar, an organizer of the visit and a research coordinator in Notre Dames Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies. “Including conflict resolution skills in the game provides a unique opportunity. Basketball may offer a game plan for peace.”

The Lebanese officials will be at Notre Dame on Dec. 15 and 16 working with Omar, director of the Kroc Institutes Program in Religion, Conflict and Peacebuilding, and Nicole Lavoi, who works with the well-respected “Play Like a Champion” program within the Universitys Center for Ethical Education and Development.

The group currently is Bloomington, learning best practices in coaching and sports management skills through IUs Department of Recreation and Park Administration. It will be West Lafayette from Dec. 11 to 14, working with Purdues Department of Youth Development.

At both Notre Dame and Purdue the Lebanese contingent will develop “Time Out for Unity” lessons to use in practice sessions. The program teaches tolerance, unity, responsibility and leadership.

Upon their return home, the coaches, who represent different faith traditions, will conduct 10 workshops prior to the basketball season to share what they have learned with other coaches. The Lebanese Basketball Federation coordinates leagues for players ages 8 to 24.

  • _p. Contact:

_ * Rashied Omar, 574-631-7740 or omar.1@nd.edu

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