One aspect of the Olympic Movement I had never heard of before is the Olympic Truce. The concept was started in Ancient Greece, when countries would call a truce to allow athletes to travel in peace to the Olympic games and back. The concept was re-instituted by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1992 as a platform of peace. The IOC launched the International Olympic Truce Foundation and the International Olympic Truce Centre in July 2000. From the olympictruce.org website with regard to supporting this ideal:
The Olympic Truce call
At the dawn of the 21st century, the Olympic Truce once again calls upon humanity to lay down its weapons and work towards building the foundations of peace, mutual respect, understanding and reconciliation.
Implementing Truce means:
- Valuable time for constructing bridges of communication between adversaries
- Providing humanitarian support to children and adults in conflict-torn regions
- Helping to protect the damaged natural environment and contributing to the replenishment of vital natural resources
- Allowing the youth of the world to participate peacefully in the Olympic Games.
Beyond these, the Truce promises to create the necessary infrastructures for the continuation of dialogue and for the renewal of hope for reconciliation, both during the duration of the Games and throughout the four-year period of Olympiads.
According to the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Truce information:
As part of commemorating the Olympic Truce, it is the tradition for the Host Country to present a resolution at the United Nations General Assembly calling for a truce during the Olympic Games. It is also tradition for the Organizing Committee to install a truce “wall” in the athletes’ village. As an extension of these program elements, VANOC has a number of initiatives to maximize awareness and engagement in the Olympic Truce, with particular focus on youth.
To support our direct engagement with youth through the Vancouver 2010 Make Your Peace initiatives, VANOC is honoured to have Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada as the Patron of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Truce.
Particularly moving is the Olympic Truce Northern Outreach Project to help create the spirit of peace and competition for Canada and encouraging sport in youth of northern Canada, described in the video below.