This is the first ever Forum on Sport, ambulance Peace and Development organized by the IOC today and tomorrow (May 7-8) in an attempt to bring together experts from the fields of sports, education, media and much more whose insights from the event will be taken later this year to the Olympic Cogress in Copenhagen.
Urs Lacotte, made the introductory remarks, preparing the day and listing part of the participants to the Forum. The forum was announced to be broadcasted live on the internet. Part of the participants, too many compared to the Auditorium room at the Olympic Museum could shelter, would be watching the works of the forum this way.
A short video about the Olympic values followed. It is emphasized that IOC is not only about sports and sports competition but even more about the Olympic values: (among them) fairplay universality, solidarity. Mentions about the promotion of the women in sport, the IOC’s social responsibility to defend those in need, peace promotion, mutual understanding and respect were also made.
According to Jacques Rogge, IOC President, sport alone cannot maitain peace, this being his way of justifying the close relationship between the IOC and the UN. Liberia, Rwanda, Burundi, Congo and the Dominican Republic were given as examples as cases where the IOC worked together with the UN to promote peace via the “Sports for Peace” programme. He continued by adding that the Olympic Movement is about people: people-centered, people-oriented, a people movement. It is about young people. He continued by saying that every individual must have the posibility to practice sport in the olympic spirit of friendship, fair-play. However, he concluded that sport is the IOCs main business.
In line with Jacque Rogge’s speech, Wilfried Lemke, Special Adviser of the UN Secretary General on Sport for Development and Peace continued with his address note by stressing that sport is a human right and that both the IOC and the UN acknowledge this. The purpose of the forum, according to him, is to figure out how to make sport available to any individual without discrimination focusing, in my opinion, the discussions on the technicalities of delivering sport to all and taking it away from the questions of how do the IOC and UN operate towards activating the Olympic values and how much of the actual work of the IOC is geared towards peace promotion. Lemke also mentioned the millenium goals one of them being to alleviate poverty and hunger and provide education through sport. An interesting point he made was that in impoverished countries children are excited about being given the opportunity to engage more in sports if it is offered in contrast with more hours in school. I wonder how this would apply to the Western hemisphere and to the more developed countries where the IOC is loosing part of its young audience to, some may say, fast-food and gaming – online, computer, video… This concludes the first session of the day.
More to follow.
A good half an hour was given for networking. With the second session on the way, prescription
discussions promise to debate the promotion of a culture of peace among young people.
HRH Prince Faisal Al Hussein of Jordan has the keynote address on empowerment of youth leaders from hostile regions with sport. Presention starts with background of the Prince and his family and their involvement in sport. He is also the president of the Jordanian National Olympic Committee (NOC). He is presenting sport as being able to fill the minds of young people and as a valid alternative to drugs and violence, orthopedist
so common in hostile regions. He continues by adding that sport can cover “a black hole in leadership” and mention the programme he runs, “Generations for Peace”, as a solution. Conflict leaves a void in the young people’s lives which should, instead of be left to become a vacuum, be filled with positive examples. The programme he is running is aimed at healing wounds of conflict by running leadership skills programmes in conflict zones such as the ”Pioneer certification”. The certificate modules include peace training, advocacy and partnership, sports as well as training the trainers. He concludes by saying that it is the responsibility of NOCs and of every member of the Olympic Family is to promote the power of sports to promote peace through key partnerships and through sharing experiences, all of this following, of course, the IOC’s example. Using Generation of Peace as an example, he finishes my making a call to the members of the Olympic Family to help promote and support youth leadership.