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Student promotes peace

Molly Madden | Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Senior Jeb Brovsky plans on making the promotion of global peace a part of his future with the creation of the nonprofit organization Peace Pandemic Corp., which will use sports and other recreational outlets as a means for promoting peace among youth across the globe.

“The mission of the organization is to simply empower youth through peaceful action,” Brovsky said. “It’s about achieving peace through sport and music with kids.”

Brovsky, who is graduating at the end of December with a degree in Entrepreneurial Studies and a minor in International Peace Studies, thought of the idea for Peace Pandemic Corp. when he was a sophomore.

He said this past summer he decided to make the nonprofit organization part of his immediate future.

“I began to see where I wanted to end up in December,” Brovsky said. “I worked on getting Peace Pandemic off the ground, literally all day, every day this summer. I would like to devote my life to this.”

Brovsky, who is a forward on the Notre Dame soccer team and a finalist for this year’s Lowe’s Senior Class Award, said his initial efforts with Peace Pandemic will focus on using soccer to promote cross-cultural relationships among youth.

“I want to use soccer as the avenue and curriculum for peace, nonviolence and leadership,” he said. “Soccer is its own international language. You put down a soccer ball anywhere and it doesn’t matter who the players on the field are but they all understand each other.”

Brovsky said his idea for Peace Pandemic follows the “Toms Shoes one-for-one idea” — in which the company gives a pair of shoes to an underpriviledged child for every pair they sell. But Brovsky will apply this idea to sports camps.

“We’ll fund a camp here in America for the kids and then we fund a camp abroad,” he said.

The camps abroad will be funded by camp fees American kids will pay in order to participate in the domestic camp. Brovsky said ideally, additional funding from corporate sponsorships and partnerships Brovsky made with soccer clubs in the States.

“Through the soccer world I’ve made a lot of contacts here and abroad and I’m planning on using as many of those resources as I possibly can,” he said.

An additional aspect of the camps will be fostering relationships between cultures and help break stereotypes.

“The kids in both camps individually have the opportunity to swap letters,” he said. “The idea is they’ll learn about another culture and develop a friendship with this kid in another country.”

Brovsky said he wants the organization to “take on the big conflicts,” such as the unrest in Northern Ireland by sponsoring camps between two warring cultural groups throughout the world.

“It will break a lot of stereotypes having a friend from another culture,” Brovsky said. “I believe that a lot of violence happens because of misunderstandings.”

With his commitment to global peace and the common good, Brovsky found a high level of support from the Notre Dame community, including University President Fr. John Jenkins and President Emeritus Fr. Theodore Hesburgh.

“I was able to meet one-on-one with both Fr. Jenkins and Fr. Hesburgh, and they gave me their blessing,” Brovsky said. “They both gave me contacts and domestically and internationally to help me get my resource base for the organization together.”

Brovsky is also working with the Student International Business Council (SIBC) here on campus, to establish a structure for Peace Pandemic Corp.

“We’re working on the business side like the website, marketing plan and the finances,” junior Cate Hefele, the director of marketing for SIBC, said. “We’re focused on the profit side to make the non-profit sustainable.”

Hefele said the SIBC’s goal is to make Peace Pandemic a legitimate organization no matter what SIBC’s role will be in the nonprofit in the future.

“We’re trying to put together a business plan and solidify it so that we can be the support group whether it be a continuing project or it our role becomes creating a business plan for the future,” she said. “Peace Pandemic has big goals and we’re trying to add structure.”

Hefele said SIBC’s backing of Peace Pandemic Corp. will be beneficial when Brovsky heads to Europe in January.

“We’re a good team because he has the big ideas and I’m the one who reins him in and tell him how we can make it happen,” Hefele said. “Even with Jeb abroad, he will be able to go out there and stir up energy about the organization while we can continue to deal with the structural side here.”

The collaboration yielded successful results. With Hefele and the SIBC’s assistance, Brovsky was able to get Peace Pandemic established as an official nonprofit organization in the state of Colorado.

Brovsky said he is currently focused on bringing awareness to the nonprofit while continuing to develop his goals for Peace Pandemic Corp.

“Right now I’m establishing my resource base and trying to spread news about the organization as much as possible,” he said. “I’ve sent thousands of e-mails and letters.”

In order to bring more student awareness to his efforts, Brovsky created a Facebook group and is currently working with SIBC on developing a website as well as distributing literature to the student body.

“We’re starting to hand out pledge cards and raise student awareness,” he said. “We’re not an official club, so SIBC is the only avenue that we can work through right now.”

Brovsky said he thinks he will succeed in promoting peace with Peace Pandemic Corp. through untraditional means.

“I think soccer is the way to go, especially being the ‘poor people’s sport,'” he said. “I don’t think sport has been utilized to its full potential in peace purposes. No one really talks about athletics when they talk about peacemaking, but I want to exhaust all those resources.”

While he recognizes the goals for Peace Pandemic Corp. are large in scale, Brovsky said he will measure the success of the organization on a much smaller level.

“If I develop one peacemaker, I’ve basically won.”