PeacePlayers Announces First Leadership Academy Cohort

November 11, 2022


PeacePlayers is excited to announce the first cohort of the Global Leadership Academy, an initiative founded in honor of Martha Buford that invests in the personal and professional aspirations of our alumni and mobilizes them to work together to create a more peaceful and equitable world.

Throughout its 21 years, PeacePlayers has amassed a community of alumni across the globe who are motivated to share PeacePlayers’ values and to transform conflict. As a result of sustained participation in long-term programming, graduates of PeacePlayers have developed leadership and advocacy skills, but many of them have been negatively impacted by inequitable social constructs, making it harder to access resources and achieve their goals. PeacePlayers’ Leadership Academy addresses this by preparing alumni – wherever they come from, and with consideration of their specific needs – to advance their career paths while building connections with other like minded leaders.

PeacePlayers’ Leadership Academy has selected 17 outstanding graduates from its programs in the United States, Cyprus, Northern Ireland, South Africa and the Middle East to participate this first cohort. Through the Leadership Academy, these alumni will access one-to-one support for career and goal mapping, college application consulting, mentorship, academic scholarships, capacity building workshops, in-person convenings, and more.

The Leadership Academy will support PeacePlayers alumni as they pursue their education and careers by equipping them with the skills, resources and networks that will enable them to assume positions of influence and to effect global systemic change. Graduates will work together to bridge divides locally, nationally and globally.
Heba PeacePlayers Global

“I’m beyond excited to see what our alumni can do with the right support and resources. Unfortunately, conflict and inequality has historically excluded some of our alumni from access to opportunities. 

The Leadership Academy is here to help remove these barriers and we believe this will not only impact the alumni, but their future generations, and communities” 


Heba El-Hendi, Director of Leadership Academy

The Leadership Academy Members

The selected members were chosen for their future aspirations, motivation to chase their goals, and eagerness to build a growing global community of social change agents. 

Andrew, 19, Northern Ireland

Bashar, 19, Middle East

Beth, 19, Northern Ireland

Braydon, 19, South Africa

Dimitra, 19, Cyprus

Andrew, 25, Middle East

Javonn, 20, Brooklyn

Martina, 19, South Africa

Nathan, 19, South Africa

Olwami, 17, South Africa

Khyri Leadership Academy

“The thing I’m most excited to experience this year at leadership academy is just being a part of something bigger than myself. Linking up with the other members from around the globe, hearing their voices and their issues and the problems they face. So we can find ways we can empower each other and our communities.


– Khyri, 19, Leadership Academy Participant from Baltimore 


“Today I’m at a prestigious private university studying law and psychology. I want to thank the Leadership Academy and the Bufords for giving me this opportunity. What I’m studying has everything to do with PeacePlayers and the values I learned there. After graduating I want to make sure I will be part of systemic change with the skills from my degree.”


– Jinan, 21, Leadership Academy Participant from Middle East

Pearse, 21, Northern Ireland

Sireen, 18, Middle East

Sizwe, 22, South Africa

Sophie, 24, Northern Ireland

Tulin, 18, Cyprus

Contact Details 


For more information about the Leadership Academy please visit: 


Or contact, Heba El-Hendi, Director of Leadership Academy,

To learn more about the mission and vision of PeacePlayers, please visit


Social Media: @peaceplayersintl 

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