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International Day of Sport for Development and Peace


A beautiful event full of light, love and children’s smiles was organized by the International Olympic Truce Centre (IOTC) on April 15th, at the beach of Glyfada, in celebration of the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace. Students coming from Glyfada’s 9th public elementary school and refugee children from Ukraine hosted at “the Child’s Smile” shelter and the shelter of the municipality of Piraeus joined their hands, sang together, played with Greek Olympians and World champions, and eventually let lanterns of peace fly in the sky.

The activity “I want – I hope – I can” was organized by the IOTC and the Federation of Modern Pentathlon, under the auspices of the Ministry of Immigration and Asylum and with the support of the Deputy Minister, Mrs. Sofia Voultepsi. The municipality of Glyfada and the mayor Mr. George Papanikolaou facilitated the whole event. Ms. Nektaria Konstantinou, teacher of physical education and person in charge of the Pierre de Coubertin committee, coordinated the activity.

The IOTC Director, Dr. Constantinos Filis, while addressing the children, said:

“Greece and the Greek children offer an open, warm embrace to the children of the Ukrainian war. Today we all become one in order to send the message of peace to the whole world, by highlighting the power of sports and friendship between children unknown to each other, against the power of arms.”

The President of the Greek Federation of Modern Pentathlon, Mrs. Dora Palli, among others stated that:

“Sport gives us the strength to fight for a world of peace, love, and respect. Today, all of us together, we join our hands for peace.”

“It is very important for us that we are on the side of the civilians, who were forced to leave their homeland after the Russian invasion. We thank the municipality of Glyfada for giving us the opportunity to welcome these children here today. We provide them with all necessary assistance and we hope that this adventure ends soon so that they are able to return to
their homeland “, Deputy Minister of Immigration and Asylum Mrs. Sofia Voultepsi stated at her speech.

“Today, from our beloved city of Glyfada, we send a message of peace, love and optimism. Our city becomes a big hug for these children, who found themselves far away from their country and homes. We unite our voices together with theirs, so that the nightmare soon comes to an end and they return to their homeland”, Mr.George Papanikolaou, Mayor of Glyfada, said.

The event was attended by:.

Mrs. Fani Palli Petralia, former deputy Minister, current IOTC vice-President, Mr. Costas Giannopoulos (President) and Mr. Stefanos Alevizos (psychologist) of the “Child’s Smile, Mr. George Papanikolaou, Mayor of Glyfada, Mrs. Eleni Karachou Skoutari, Deputy Mayor of Education of Glyfada, Mr. Dimitris Akrivos, former deputy Mayor and current municipal councilor in Glyfada municipality. The municipal Councilors of Glyfada: Mr. Stelios Kouroupakis, Mr. Nikos Levetsovitis, President of Golf, Mr. George Angelopoulos, deputy Mayor.
The deputy Mayor of Social Affairs of the municipality of Piraeus Mr. Bourdakou Kiki and the President of Piraeus’ and Islands’ Unesco. Mr. Giannis Maronitis. The President of Golf Federation Mr. Tokas Thomas.
The Olympians and Olympic Truce ambassadors: Mrs. Evi Moraitidou (polo), Mrs. Voula
Zygouri (wrestling), Mr. Costas Filippidis (short jump), Mr. Grigoris Hatsatourian (handball) and the Golden Paralympians of Botsia Mrs. Anna and Maria Nenta. The modern Pentathlon World champion Mrs. Penelope Nika and the World weightlifting champion Mrs. Maria Christoforidi.

The participation of children coming from the 9th elementary school of Glyfada was very important for the event’s success. To that end, we thank the school’s parents association and Mr. Louka Fotopoulos for their help. Thanks also goes to the children’s choir “EFCHARIS” and to their teacher Mrs. Lena Sivri.
A representative of “Mila” group called on all the children to shake hands ….. while dancing and singing…….

We want .. we hope .. we can …