Ultimate Peace is a growing 501(c)3 non-profit organization that depends on donations to give youth in the Middle East a chance to build friendships by playing ultimate frisbee. We began our work in the Middle East in April of 2009, and continue to deepen and broaden the impact of our regional program today.
Ultimate Peace was established by founders Dr. David Barkan (California), Linda Sidorsky (Massachusetts) and Dori Yaniv (Israel) in the spring of 2008. The idea emanated from a trip to Israel organized by David and Dori, in which an All-Star Ultimate team known as the Matza Balls taught Israeli children and promoted the sport of Ultimate. While excited by the significant momentum generated in the world of Israeli Ultimate by facilitating clinics and a tournament, the Americans were dismayed by the realization that Ultimate was not being played in the neighboring Arab and Palestinian sporting communities. Members of the team wondered what it would be like to have Muslim, Christian and Jewish children sharing the joys of throwing and catching a soaring disc, playing on a team cooperatively, and settling on-field disagreements collaboratively. This vision, shared by Linda (organizer of international youth Ultimate) for years, was pursued vigorously since 2006 and ultimately led to the concept of Ultimate Peace, and the inaugural 2009 event.
The program takes place in a politically charged region, but political discussion and solution finding is deliberately avoided. The focus of the UP program is on providing a positive, educational, multicultural experience that is healthy, enriching, inspiring, and fun for youth. We hold the belief that the widespread changes in behavior we aspire to facilitate will require deep and enduring shifts in awareness. Consequently, our programs are designed to focus on altering mindsets and perceptions by providing shared experiences in which recreational enjoyment, personal reflection, culturing sharing, and experiential learning are emphasized and balanced.
Core Principles and Practices
Grounded by our principles, every Ultimate Peace project will strive to:
- Create opportunities for youth from disparate backgrounds to play and learn Ultimate together
- Organize teams of expert players and coaches to teach and serve as role models for youth
- Focus on skill-building, relationship building, team building, community building and developing young leaders
- Engage parents, coaches, teachers, and the business community in all we do
- Develop capacity in local communities to ensure sustainability.
Ultimate Peace is led by 2 of its founders, David Barkan, and Linda Sidorsky. The Board of Directors is made up of international volunteers committed to the mission of Ultimate Peace. The coaching and admin staff include those who live and work in the Middle East and those who travel to the Middle East each summer to work at camp UP.