No wonder PeacePlayers has spread to the Middle East, South Africa, and Cypress. Its goal is to reach 16,000 young people worldwide through the school systems in war-torn neighborhoods. The idea of teaching peace through America's great sport of basketball was the idea of two young brothers from Washington, D.C. The next generation of Americans is helping shape a better future for the next generation in Northern Ireland. "Their parents may not get involved, but they want their kids to be involved," says the director of PeacePlayers International in Northern Ireland, Gareth Harper. "The kids drag their parents into it, and along the way they become little champions for peace. PeacePlayers is not a silver bullet, but it certainly contributes to everything going on here in Northern Ireland. We feel we're making a difference," he said as kids from six schools lined up to shake hands at the end of the game.
Theirs was a different kind of historic handshake than the one between the queen and the former IRA man, a giant moment for peace from a much different generation, and one that I hope will become commonplace at school every day for years to come.