As the nations of the world prepare to send their top athletes to compete in Canada at the upcoming 2010 Winter Games in the spirit of peace and friendship, the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) encourages everyone to make the Olympic Truce meaningful in their own way in the lead up to the Games.
A grassroots program created by VANOC aims to extend the Olympic values of friendship and respect through an open invitation to ‘Make Your Peace’. Initiatives will encourage individuals to create everyday peace at home, schools, work, and in the community, based on the belief that lasting peace starts at the local level.
Details of the program, which will promote dialogue, inclusion, mutual understanding, and peace through a number of initiatives, including a youth forum in Burnaby, BC on September 28, will be rolled out over the coming months.
"The ability to inspire peace is in the choices we each make. We can always choose a more peaceful route in this world if we take a moment to think about the impact of our actions on others", explained John Furlong, VANOC’s Chief Executive Officer and member of the Board of the International Olympic Truce Foundation.
"The Vancouver 2010 Winter Games are an opportunity to highlight sport as a catalyst for peace among nations and among people", he continued. "Every athlete is held to account on the playing field where the values of respect, fair play and inclusion must prevail. The Vancouver 2010 Olympic Truce is about harnessing the values of sport and the Olympic Games as instruments of peace in our everyday lives".
The philosophy of the Olympic Truce is simple: sport can inspire peace. In 2010, athletes will set aside their political, religious and social differences and compete on a level playing field in the pursuit of excellence. Their sportsmanship and behaviour are examples of how countries and individuals can find constructive ways to uphold the values of respect and friendship.
The 2010 Winter Games mark the first time Canada has been responsible for leading Olympic Truce efforts since the ancient tradition, dating back to 776 BC in Greece, was revitalized in 1992. For more information on the Olympic Truce, visit http://www.olympic.org/ and http://www.olympictruce.org/.
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. The truce encourages a peaceful environment and ensures safe passage to, and participation of, athletes at the Games and serves to mobilize the youth of the world to the cause of peace. The Government of Canada intends to present the resolution for the 2010 Winter Games at the United Nations General Assembly in New York in October.
VANOC is also working on a Canadian interpretation of a truce "wall" in the athletes’ villages. At past Games, these walls have largely been places for athletes and officials at the Games to sign declarations expressing their wish for a more peaceful world. The Vancouver 2010 version will be in the same spirit and details will remain under wraps until revealed closer to Games time.