5th World Forum on Sport, Olympic Education and Culture closes in Beijing
Some 700 experts in the fields of sport, culture and education today concluded two days of fruitful discussion and debate on the opportunities and challenges faced in these associated areas of work. This World Forum – under the theme “Sport and a World of Harmony” - the first held outside Europe, took place in Beijing, China, just under two years away from the 2008 Olympic Games, hosted by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Games organisers (BOCOG) , in partnership with UNESCO.
Addressing the delegates at the close of the meetings, IOC President Rogge said, “The challenge of our Olympic Movement is to make the education of youth through sport as relevant today as it was when Pierre de Coubertin founded the International Olympic Committee on this principle over 100 years ago. All of us who work under the Olympic rings have the social responsibility to demonstrate by our example that sport teaches us how to respect ourselves and one another, how to strive for excellence in all that we do and, perhaps above all else, the importance of friendship and peace. The theme of this Forum – ‘Sport and a World of Harmony’ – articulates this perfectly, and your coming together to engage in debate and learning is in itself an example of how the Olympic Movement can pool the best resources and tackle important issues.”
Rogge expressed his delight at the number of recently retired athletes who attended the Forum, commenting on how their interventions helped connect the discussions in a truly relevant way through the expression of personal experiences pertinent to the issues of today – such as physical education and sport, education for clean sport and post-career opportunities for athletes. The IOC President also paid tribute to the presence of the academic world, saying, “You have added your weight to the discussions, giving an important learned perspective and viewpoint to the topics debated.” Rogge continued, “Those of you from the National Olympic Committees and International Federations have brought concrete know-how from the field. Your feedback on how some of the ideas discussed can be put into practice will be invaluable.”
The power of Olympic Games organisers to use the platform of the Games to make the link between sport and culture, thereby bringing educational value to communities, was stressed. “I am particularly thrilled,” said Rogge, “that this Forum, the first to take place outside Europe, has come to China. The bringing of Olympic values to this, the most populous of nations, through the Beijing 2008 Games and its associated education projects, is unquestionably one of the most exciting things for the IOC today. It is nothing short of staggering to know that 400 million children in 500,000 elementary and secondary schools will learn from these projects. As we look to the future – Vancouver 2010, London 2012 and beyond, the IOC is excited by the cultural interchanges and learning that are to come.”
Rogge emphasised his hope that the Forum’s work would help lead to a reinvigoration of physical education on school curricula; continued and ever stronger education on the dangers and moral wrongs of doping; and a strengthening of culture and education as an integral part of future Olympic Games.
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