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Wednesday, 13 November 2013 19:53

Address delivered by Fani Palli-Petralia, Vice-Chairperson of the International Olympic Truce Foundation at the Open Forum discussion "The relevance of Olympic Truce nowdays: are there ways to effectively apply it?"

I would like to welcome in the House of Hellenes Dr. Wilfried Lemke, Special Advisor to the UN Secretary General on Sport for Development and Peace, Tommy Sithole, Director of the International Cooperation and Development Department of the IOC, Hugh Dugan, Founder of the US Truce Foundation, Lord Bates, Member of the House of Lords, former MP, and all of you who are here today, for honoring the round table discussion on Olympic Truce.

Nowadays, the discussion about institutions and values such as Olympism, the Olympic Truce and Peace is extremely relevant. And as vice chairperson of the international Olympic Truce Foundation I am truly happy that we have gathered here today to transcend the well-known worldwide circumstances and that we are discussing about institutions, principles and values that remain timeless and intact.
Values such as sportsmanship and Fair Play, harmonious development of both body and mind, selfless pursue of excellence, reconciliation between people, mutual understanding between people of different colour, race, religion and culture.
In ancient Greece, it took Solon quite some time to get visiting leader Anaharsis to understand why someone would compete for just a plain olive tree branch as a prize. Poor Anaharsis could not get it, so much pain, such a sacrifice, such a struggle not for money, not for gold but just for an olive tree branch and just for the one who would come first!
The Athenian statesman had to explain that this plain branch kept universal and everlasting principles among its leaves - principles such as freedom and equality among people, independence and democracy...

Principles that remain timeless and intact.

I am glad that we are able to remember that Greece, which is being doubted internationally these days is the country that gave birth to these institutions, Greece is the country that thought of, nurtured and applied these principles and these values and continues to serve and advocate them ever since .

The past years, Olympism has been even more closely linked with Truce and international peace. The best example is the landmark Olympic Truce resolution regarding the London 2012 Games which for the first time on history was signed by all 193 countries of the United Nations. During The opening ceremony of the Games we saw the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon carrying the Olympic Flag. This indicates that the meaning of peace and Truce is transcending more and more in the modern Olympics.
During the turbulent times the world is facing today, as long as Olympism and Truce and the associated values are passed on to the younger generations, a better brighter future is certainly approaching!
This is the goal for the International Olympic Truce foundation and centre: creating a peace culture through education and sports, and inspiring young people to build a better future.

Thank you

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