Ultimate Peace is a program in the Middle East that focuses on creating a platform for friendship between Arab-Israeli, Jewish-Israeli, and Palestinian youth through the sport of Ultimate Frisbee. I have had the privilege to participate in Ultimate Peace, returning for my second summer this year.
Photos For Friendship is a fundraising/publicity project for Ultimate Peace. It is a photography project within schools, families and the community that highlights friendship, a major theme of Ultimate Peace.
Ultimate Peace accomplishes this theme through emphasizing an important part of the sport of Ultimate called “spirit of the game” (SOTG). SOTG is a behavior mindset of players worldwide both on, and off of the field to uphold the values of mutual respect, friendship, non-violence, personal integrity, and fun; the same values of Ultimate Peace.
Ultimate Peace has proven over and over again that the principles of SOTG can bring people together under the most unlikely of circumstances. Ultimate Peace creates everlasting friendships even in the Middle East’s historically difficult political and social climate. In addition to giving me an appreciation for the friendships and community in my life, Ultimate Peace has changed the lives of individuals in the Middle East as well as the community as a whole. Throughout my time working with the program, and carrying out Photos For Friendship, I have become more and more optimistic that the same can occur world wide.
Friendship is a simple concept that all people experience in some way shape or form . That being said, many overlook the significance and importance of our friendships.
The purpose of Photos For Friendship is to slow life down and let people contemplate and reflect on their own friendships and the significance of them.
My friendships are important to me because of how they impact my life. On most days my friendships make me laugh and give my life joy and purpose. On other days, my friendships are support systems and crutches to fall back on. I find value in the effort that it takes to create and sustain friendships. But that is just my story with the friendships in my life.
For Ultimate Peace and the children involved, friendship has a whole different meaning. For them, it is a bridge between cultures and above conflict. The friendships that are created at Ultimate Peace defy the societal norms and are, figuratively, much larger than the children involved. The friendships created at Ultimate Peace are just the beginning of future peace in the Middle East and even worldwide.
Each person has their own story of friendship. Each of the photos in Photos For Friendship tell a different person’s story with Friendship.
Though the idea of friendship is simple, I hope that this project inspires you to consider what your story with friendship is. In what ways may you be thankful for your friendships, and how may your friendships affect your life and the lives of those around you?