- 26 Sep 2008
- IOC News
Sport, education and culture – hot topics in 2008
Almost exactly one month after the Olympic Games ended in Beijing, and a week after the Paralympic Games, Asia is offering another chance to promote Olympic education and values through sport, with the 6th World Forum on Sport, Education and Culture taking place from yesterday until 27 September in the Korean city of Busan. Organised jointly by the IOC and the city of Busan, in partnership with the Korean Olympic Committee and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), the Forum has brought together more than 800 representatives of the Olympic family, governmental and non-governmental organisations, United Nations agencies, universities and the media.
Focus on young people
Speaking on behalf of the IOC President at the opening ceremony, IOC First Vice-President Lambis V. Nikolaou recalled that “these exceptional Games [in Beijing] enabled one-fifth of humanity to come into contact with the values of Olympism, and allowed the world to discover a country with a unique history and culture. These Games left a fantastic legacy – including in education – to China. For this reason, the theme of this 6th Forum, ‘sport and education for the now generation’, is highly topical. The mission of our Movement is certainly to develop sports practice, but we also have a duty to educate and promote values such as respect, tolerance and solidarity.”
A new generation, new methods
Lambis V. Nikolaou then explained how, in today’s world, the practice of sport and mentalities have changed. As a result, he stressed, “to get this new generation back onto the field of play, and to reach out to it, we have to communicate differently, using new methods, such as the Youth Olympic Games, the first summer edition of which will be held in 2010 in Singapore; the Olympic Values Education Programme; or the ‘Best of Us’ promotional campaign; the ‘Heroes’ public service announcement; and ‘Olympic Express’, the first e-journal on the Games aimed at young people all over the world.” He then referred to the activities of the IOC Medical and Athletes commissions, not forgetting the education programmes put in place by Olympic host cities such as Beijing, Vancouver, London and Sochi, and the inclusion of Olympism and youth as a theme for the Olympic Congress in 2009.
Tribute to Zhenliang He
The Opening Ceremony was also an opportunity to pay tribute to the man who, for more than 10 years, has worked tirelessly for the defence and promotion of the Olympic ideal from sporting and cultural points of view, assuming the chairmanship of the Cultural Commission then the Commission for Culture and Olympic Education. Zhenliang He has devoted virtually his whole life to the Olympic Movement and the principles it stands for. With his Commission colleagues, he has worked untiringly to make education and culture a priority in the Olympic Movement’s agenda, thus continuing along the path laid by the IOC founder, Baron Pierre de Coubertin. This tribute was paid in Busan, where Zhenliang He is taking part in his last world conference as Chairman of the Commission for Culture and Olympic Education.