The IOC has launched a series of programmes and activities, such as the World Conference on Sport, Education and Culture, that contribute to raising awareness about the importance of culture and Olympic education.
World Forum on Education, Culture and Sport
A biennial World Conference on Sport, Education and Culture is organised by the IOC and brings together representatives from the world of sport, universities, NGOs, governments and intergovernmental organisations, as well as athletes and young people, to discuss related themes and agree on joint strategies. The aim of these conferences is:
- to regularly assess the progress made in the field of education, culture and sport by the Olympic Movement;
- to give an opportunity to provide new knowledge on these issues by sharing experiences and expertise from different sectors of society; and
- to encourage cooperation and further development of policies in these matters.
The 7th World Conference on Sport, Education and Culture took place in Durban, South Africa, in December 2010 under the motto “Giving a Voice to Youth”, and concluded with a set of final recommendations which were agreed upon by the more-than 600 delegates.
Learn more about the 7th World Conference on Sport, Education and Culture: www.olympic.org/durban2010
Olympic Sport and Art Contest
The Olympic Sport and Art Contest was re-launched in 2000 to enable each NOC to further develop an active synergy between the worlds of art and sport, both nationally and regionally.
By holding this competition every four years, the IOC resumed one of its strongest traditions, established by the reviver of the Olympic Games, Baron Pierre de Coubertin: the desire to link culture and sport. In the early years of the modern Olympic Games, medals were awarded to the winners of art, literature and music contests.
The contest is open to artists from countries with a recognised NOC and has both a graphic works and a sculpture category. A cash prize as well as a trophy is awarded to each of the three winning artists in both categories.
The theme of the 2012 edition for all works of art was “Sport and the Olympic Values of Excellence, Friendship and Respect”. For this edition, all the winning works in the national phase were exhibited at the House of International Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland. For the international phase, after selection by the international jury, the works of the three medal-winners and five diploma-winners in each category were exhibited at the Guildhall Art Gallery in London.
Click here for general information and the rules
Click here to download the full brochure of all the wining artworks.
Olympic Sport and Literature Contest
Ever since its creation, the IOC has advocated the linking of sport and culture. In 2001 it created the Sport and Literature Contest to strengthen the relationship between literature and the celebration of the Olympic Games.
Open to all NOCs, this competition recognises the best works on the Olympic spirit or Olympic values in the two youth age categories.
To appreciate the spirit of each text and respect the universality of Olympism, the winners in each category are chosen by national juries, in the language of each country and region. The winning works are published in a multilingual brochure aimed at arousing the curiosity of young people as they discover that other youngsters of their age share the same aspirations and ideals.
Sport and Photography Contest
The association of sport with art and culture is at the heart of the philosophy of the Olympic Movement, and is one of the IOC’s priorities. In this framework, the IOC organises the Sport and Photography Contest. The competition is open to amateur photographers only, and NOCs are encouraged to participate in the competition by organising a national competition in any or all of the three categories and subsequently entering their winning works in the IOC competition. Sport and Singing Contest
In keeping with the tradition of the early Olympic Games, where art and music competitions were organised, the IOC Culture and Olympic Education Commission has already set up art, literature and photography competitions. With the Sport and Singing Contest, the Commission hopes to encourage all NOCs to restore an active synergy between the worlds of music and sport at national and international level and to heighten the perception of the link between the two.
The Contest is open to performers who are nationals of countries with a recognised NOC. There is no age limit for participants, and the basic theme is “Sport and Olympism”. The Contest takes place in two phases: a national phase and international phase, the latter under the responsibility of the IOC Commission. Three winning performances and five runners-up are selected by the IOC jury. In addition, the performers of the first prize-winning song are invited to the Olympic Games.
International Olympic Academy (IOA)
In 1927, Pierre de Coubertin and his friend Ioannis Chrysafis, Head of the Department of Physical Education at Athens University, agreed to set up a centre to study the Olympic Movement and its evolution.
For its part, the Hellenic Olympic Committee (HOC) wanted to create a study centre styled on the Ancient Greek gymnasium.
Their objectives were the same, but it was not possible to implement the project until 1961, through the determination of Jean Ketseas, the HOC Secretary, and Carl Diem, a colleague of Coubertin's.
From 1961 to 1969, the IOA's activity consisted of an annual Session, during which the participants worked and stayed in tents. The Academy today offers two conference halls, one with 450 seats equipped with the latest technology, a library, rooms (for 250 people), sports equipment, a restaurant and administrative buildings. The IOA is subsidised for the most part (approximately two-thirds) by the Greek government, with the remaining third provided by Olympic Solidarity.
IOA Terms of Reference
- Create an international cultural centre at Olympia,
- Safeguard and spread the Olympic spirit,
- Study and implement the educational and social principles of Olympism.
Its activities include:
- Annual international sessions, open to one young man and one young woman per NOC,
- An international postgraduate Olympic studies programme,
- International sessions for educators and directors of higher institutes of physical education, directors of national Olympic academies and sports journalists,
- Special sessions for organisations affiliated to the Olympic Movement (NOCs, International Federations and associations of coaches, referees and sports leaders),
- Special sessions for institutions indirectly linked with Olympism, whose goal is to promote the Olympic values,
- Conferences on sports science
- Visits from researchers on Olympic subjects
The main educational work of the IOA is carried out through the sessions it holds every year in Olympia. The sessions are broken down into five basic categories: (1) Session for Young Participants, (2) Session for Educators, (3) Session for Officials of National Olympic Committees and National Olympic Academies, (4) Seminar for Sports Journalists and (5) the Olympic Studies Seminar for Postgraduate Students.
Learn more about the IOA
Cooperation with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO)
In January 2004 the IOC signed a new cooperation agreement with UNESCO, in order to strengthen the cooperation that they had established in 1984 and to join efforts and cooperate to ensure close complementarity between the Olympic ideals and the objectives of UNESCO in the areas of physical education and sport.
Under this agreement, UNESCO and the IOC undertake to cooperate in activities of common interest in the areas of physical education and sport, in particular through the joint organisation of meetings and seminars.
In addition, they endeavour to encourage the development of physical education and sport, as well as the implementation of the relevant clauses of the International Charter for Physical Education and Sport and the Olympic Charter.
Learn more about UNESCO
The International Committee for Fair Play
The International Committee for Fair Play (CIFP), established in 1963, aims to promote the practice of fair play principles, which are essential to sport.
Learn more about the CIFP