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Otterbein University Hosts Day of Events Focusing on Sports and Social Good

February 20, 2013

Westerville, OH—Otterbein University’s Integrative Studies Symposium will host a day of events focusing on the theme Good Sports: Playing for Social Change on Wednesday, Feb. 27. All events are free and open to the public. Call Jim Gorman at 614-823-1133 to reserve seats at the events listed below.

The Symposium will feature keynote speaker Brendan Tuohey, co-founder of PeacePlayers International (PPI), for a discussion of how athletes might use their notoriety and reputations to bring about social good at 3:30 p.m. in Riley Auditorium at the Battelle Fine Arts Center, 170 W. Park St.

“We call an athlete a good sport when he plays fair on the field and within his game,” says Dr. Jim Gorman, co-director of the Symposium. “But what about beyond the field and outside the game? Might the good sport label also describe athletes who work to improve fair play in the larger society? Brendan Tuohey certainly believes so.”

Tuohey and his brother, Sean, founded PPI in 2000 to use basketball to overcome deeply entrenched barriers between antagonistic groups. PPI clinics in Northern Ireland, South Africa, Israel and the West Bank, Cyprus, and New Orleans, have taught more than 58,000 children how to “play together (so they) can live together.” In 2006, former President Bill Clinton recognized PPI as part of the 2006 Clinton Global Initiative, praising its project in Israel and the West Bank for promoting “understanding, tolerance and peace among Jewish, Israeli Arab and Palestinian youth.”

“In communities where one group plays soccer and another Celtic football, we introduce a new sport — basketball. Early on, kids get hooked on just learning the game. Then we mix and match the teams, ‘twinning’ kids from the opposing groups. Kids start cooperating with each other because winning is fun,” Tuohey said.

The Symposium will also feature a lecture by Robin Ungerleider, the community development director and program specialist for the Columbus Crew, about the Crew Soccer Foundation’s work with at-risk youth at 9:15 a.m. in the Otterbein Chapel, 88 Cochran Alley. The Foundation’s missions are literacy, wellness and soccer field creation and restoration. Over 200 children participated in the Foundation’s summer reading program in partnership with the Columbus Metropolitan Library.

Completing the day’s events will be a showing of the feature film Invictus at 6:30 p.m. in room 114 of Roush Hall, 27 S. Grove St. The film is about how newly-elected South African President Nelson Mandela used the sport of rugby to promote cooperation between whites and blacks.

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