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A serious accident compelled founders Michael Terrien and Craig Dobkin to examine the meaning of their lives. Soon after, Michael facilitated a retreat for survivors and victims’ families of the Oklahoma City bombing incident. From a dream of a red ball bouncing in Bosnia to Jerusalem, Michael was asked, “What is the highest purpose of play?” A model of cultural change from the corporate realm traveled to a very different place: communities polarized by racial, ethnic, and religious conflicts. In 1996, Play for Peace initiatives were launched in Chicago and the Middle East and in 1999 Play for Peace became a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

After working in more than seven countries the founders stepped down, and in 2010, Sarah Gough was asked to take the lead of the organization. Building upon the effective model and methodology already created, Sarah added new technology, as well as collaborative and partnering techniques that led to an explosive growth of Play for Peace programming around the world.