International students, scholars play soccer for peace


Graduate student Niranjan Rai attempts to kick a goal during the Kent State International Day of Peace soccer game on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017. The gold team, comprised primarily of international students, beat the blue team, comprised primarily of international scholars, 5-3.

Audrianna Modon


International students and scholars played soccer Saturday to celebrate the International Day of Peace. The gold team won with a score of 5-3.

The International Day of Peace was on Thursday, but the organizer of the event, Abdoulaye Fall, chose to hold the game on Saturday “so more people can be free to come and attend the event.” About 60 people attended.

“It’s a peace event and I care for peace,” said Pacifique Niyonzima of the international team, a graduate student and Rwanda native. “We are all human beings, we should live and help each other, and peace is something that brings us together and care about one another. Not just here but peace around the world. We can tell people from all over the world. We are here, for instance, playing against another team from different places but we’ll all come together as one.”

Dr. Linda Robertson, the director of the Gerald H. Read Center for International & Intercultural Education, said the blue team was composed mostly of international scholars and the yellow team was international students. Both teams also inluded faculty members.

James Hannon, the dean of the College of Education and Health and Human Services, opened the game with a ceremony in centerfield with a bell and an olive branch. Spectators of the event were surrounded by a circle of blue and gold clad players as Robertson rang the bell and everyone participated in a moment of silence for peace.

Along with a moment of silence, Hannon also gave a few words as to the giving of an olive branch not only to members of the winning team, but also to a new school on campus, the School of Peace and Conflict Studies.

“At the end of the day the winning team will receive this olive branch as a symbol of peace,” Hannon said. “And then we will be donating that olive branch to… the school of peace, which is a brand new school here at Kent State. …We thought that is was symbolic that we give that to them.”

“One of the things that we’re hoping is that this event could become something that could become an annual event,” Hannon said. “That we connect with one day one goal and that it becomes something that is part of our college.” 

Audrianna Modon is the College of Education, Health and Human Services reporter. Contact her at [email protected].