International Year of Youth kicks off with two days to go until the YOG
Just two days before the start of the first-ever Youth Olympic Games (YOG), which will be held in Singapore from 14 to 26 August and bring together around 3,600 young athletes, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is joining in today’s worldwide celebration of International Youth Day. This day marks the official start of the “International Year of Youth – Dialogue and Mutual Understanding” (http://social.un.org/youthyear/ ), a United Nations initiative that will run from August 2010 until August 2011. The campaign aims to encourage dialogue and understanding across generations and promote the ideals of peace, respect for human rights and freedoms, and solidarity - objectives that are also inherent to the Olympic Movement and the Youth Olympic Games.
Impacting young people’s lives, shaping communities
On the occasion of International Youth Day, IOC President Jacques Rogge said: “Through sport and physical activity, we can convey to young people skills and ideals which are vital for their well-being, self-esteem and confidence. Through participation in sport, we can teach them values that are important not only to building their inner character, but also to shaping the communities in which they live. Our young athletes in Singapore are already fully dedicated to sport. Whilst we believe that they can inspire their peers on all continents, the Games will provide them with unique exposure to many different sports and cultures. I am confident that the YOG will broaden each participant’s horizon in one way or another.”
A buzz of sport, education and culture for young athletes
The Youth Olympic Games will bring together the world’s most talented athletes between the ages of 14 and 18 for high-level sporting competition. The event will take place in an environment where the young athletes are encouraged to learn, share and build friendships through a supporting Culture and Education Programme in which they can take part in their free time, when they are not competing or training. Filled with fun and educational activities, the programme will help the athletes better understand important issues such as leading healthy lifestyles and the dangers of doping; as well as teaching them about the meaning of the Olympic values and what it means to behave in a socially responsible manner. Various international organisations, including three UN agencies (UNAIDS, UNEP and UNICEF), are supporting the IOC and the Singapore organisers to implement these activities.
About the IOC’s Youth Strategy
The IOC has developed a fully fledged strategy aimed at the young generation, not only to encourage them to practise sport, but also to promote and experience the Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect. This strategy is composed of different elements, including the YOG of course, but also an Olympic Values Education Programme (OVEP), Olympic Day and the Best of Us campaign. In order to reach out to as many young people as possible, the IOC has also leveraged various social media channels, and is promoting the YOG and other relevant initiatives on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Flickr.
7th World Conference on Sport, Education and Culture
On the occasion of the first ever YOG and the International Year of Youth, the 7th World Conference for Sport, Education and Culture will be held under the motto “Giving a Voice to Youth”. The conference, which will be held from 5 to 7 December 2010 in Durban, South Africa, will be an excellent opportunity to assess the YOG Culture and Education Programme and to learn from initiatives dedicated to the International Year of Youth. In line with the conference motto, young people will join in the event to give important input and feedback. Learn more at www.olympic.org/durban2010.
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