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.