IOCFSPD – session 5 – keynote

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Two keynote addresses and three presentations scheduled, click one of which being introduced the last minute. 

The session starts with Hein Verbruggen, pharmacy President of the General Association of International Sports Federations and former Chairman of the Coordination of the Coordination Commission of the Beijing Olympic Games. He started speaking about legacy part of the DNA of the Olympic Brand  saying that “once an Olympic city, mind always an Olympic city”. He added that the values of excellence, friendship and respect are part of the Olympic DNA. 

The legacy starts now from the moment the mandate of a city begins – from the preparation to the plans a city makes to have everything that it builds for the Olympics to be sustainable afterwards. 

Legacy doesn’t have to be limited however to economy and physical education. He continued by giving the example of Beijing and the great opportunity it gave to 1/5 of humanity to meet and experience the Olympic values; the IOC tries to make a better world by trying the disseminate the Olympic values striving to promote a peaceful society. The IOC ideals are based on classical ideas – courage, dedicated, character, loyalty – and with them in mind the IOC is striving the organize the Olympic Games.He then continued, to the surprise of some in the room and to mine as well, saying that the IOC’s mission therefore is not to promote human rights development per se but rather a peaceful society. He quoted article 2 of the Olympic Charter, where it is said that the aim of Olympism is to have human dignity preserved through sport, arguing that some human rights advocacy groups have intentionally misinterpreted IOC mission accusing it for not taking action in human rights issues. The IOC activity he said is not based on individual rights nor on something written in a universal declaration. The Olympic Games are not only meant to showcase athletic ability but also to come diminish differences. Therefore, the IOC wants to promote and create a legacy for people. While the IOC accepts other groups views, including that of advocacy groups, they should not misinterpret IOC’s mission and accept IOC view as well. 

He concluded by saying that the IOC is not a political organization although it works with politicians. It does that because they are needed to support the IOC cause and mission.

His final word was about the Beijing Games couldn’t have been true People’s Games wihtout including everyone. With the Paralympic Games this was succeded.  

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Tessa Jowell, Minister for the Olympics, Cabinet Office of the UK Government. Are we responding to the challenges of today by modifying and changing the challenges of yesterday. Her speech is about the London 2012 Olympic legacy.

The ambition of holding the Games comes with unprecedented investments in schools and into making children more physically active. Now 4+million more children are active compared to 2002. She mentions the programs meant to support creating a sport leading nations by offering free swimming to over 60s and reduced price swimming to those under 15. All this is for better health and an extended life expectancy. Partnerships to empower people through sport (in and beyond the UK) are also organized.  

She also mentioned efforts for developing teaching and systematic approach towards breaking the barriers of participation. Most of her examples now concentrate on the UK initiatives to promote sport for everyone in and out the UK. She is therefore happy that the UN is endorsing the IOC and each Games edition. 

Her thoughts are that the UN agencies and IOC should work together in coordinating and mobilizing NOCs to push the Millenium promise. 

Picture 4Mario Pescante, Former President of the Italian Oltympic Committee and IOC member, follows speaking about the young generation and their “anti” attitude by default, implying that might be even  against meetings promoting peace and international cooperation. However, he says, this is a small group. The modern society has therefore a total lack of values and it’s not that the values lost significance but they dropped significantly in importance. The IOC needs to convince those in charge with education that sport can give youth positive ideas, that sport as much as Olympism represent one great experience that provides a positive living (the right living) model. Sport, he says, teaches great lessons about how to handle both the glory of winning and the pain of loosing. Furthermore, sports teaches that there are no limits but only adversaries. It teaches people to work towards a common good rather than supporting individualism – what about athletism where each sportsman competes for his own gain? His speech finished by calling on the power of Olympism and their power to inspire as well as on a higher involvement of everyone in promoting such ideals and making the world a global village, as peaceful and great as the Olympic village.

Picture 5Ser Miang Ng, IOC Member, speaks now about the Singapore Youth Olympic Games and their way of aiming to tackle societal issues of young generations by making them the better citizens of tomorrow. A cultural and education programme that includes a variety of activities, healthy-living included, was launched. Among the issues faced by youth in the world he enumerated health, leisure time, environment, youth participation in society, globalisation and infocomm technology. His take on infocomm as he call it is the threat of youth being socially alienated. 

The Young Olympic Games could therefore “help create a supportive environment, give youth support and opportunities to plant a stake and have a say”. Young people will not only be encouraged to participate and compete in sports but also to get involved with presenting, reporting, covering the sports as well. 

He continues by giving some examples of connecting youths programmes that the YOG organizers launched: the Olympic Education Programme asnthe Friends@YOG which is a school-NOC twinning programme. 

The Virtual Torch Relay was inspired by a group of local students and encourages youths to live the Olympic values by also letting them know that the can make a difference. The torch relay will take place online since the YOG cannot (as in not allowed or don’t have the funds to?) organize a real torch relay. It is definitely a new way for the IOC to engage with new media. 

He closes his presentation with a picture of children surrounding the YOG Logo made out my shoes they donated.

Picture 6The final presentation of the session is given by Markus Pilgrim, Manager of The Youth Employment Netlog (YEN) is supposed to talk about the capitalizing on the Olympic Games’ volunteers. He, however, changed his mind saying that the OCOGs (organizing committees) are already doing a lot in that direction. He has a recommendation though to have OCOGs to offer complementary training and complementary placement service. 

His presentation will be therefore on how to use sport to create jobs. The YEN focuses on Africa since it’s a young continent, 2/3 of the population being under 25 years-old. YEN works with UN funding. Based on his latest work he is launching a special call for proposal and sports and youth employment.

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