Respect, Excellence, and Friendship – UN Special Adviser Attends Imagine Peace Youth Camp28 July 2014
Ancient Olympia (UNOSDP & IOTC) - United Nations (UN) Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace, Mr Wilfried Lemke, was recently in Ancient Olympia to meet with several key representatives from the International Olympic Truce Committee (IOTC) and to attend the IOTC Imagine Peace Youth Camp 2014.
The Youth Camp is based on Olympic values and addresses issues such as peace and conflict resolution, the Olympic Truce, and respect for diversity. The overarching theme of the Youth Camp is to engage young people aged 17 to 25 in interactive workshops and sport activities that promote the Olympic Values (Respect, Excellence and Friendship) as well as peace, intercultural dialogue and respect for diversity. During the 5-day camp, the participants attended lectures and workshops, and participated in teambuilding activities, cultural enrichment activities, and site visits in Ancient Olympia. In total, there were around 90 participants from various countries around the world, 20 of which were selected to attend by the UNOSDP. These 20 participants are all alumni of the UNOSDP Youth Leadership Programme, and were selected because of their exemplary efforts during the UNOSDP Youth Leadership Programme and their continued support and work in their sport and development organizations in their local communities.
To conclude his visit, Mr. Lemke had the honor of addressing the participants in a key note speech. Mr. Lemke spoke about his work in advocating for peace, intercultural dialogue, and respect in diversity, all key themes to the Youth Camp. “…sport is often used as a diplomatic tool to open the door to peaceful dialogue and to defuse political tensions between nations. Take, for example, the Ping-Pong diplomacy between the United States and China in the 1970s.” he explained to the participants. Of particular importance, Mr. Lemke discussed how sport has been used in peace building efforts, reconciliations of conflict, and the idea that sport is a fundamental right and that everyone has the right to participate with dignity and equality, regardless of race, class, gender, ability, or physical and social restraints.
By the end of the week long Youth Camp, each participant was required to have a year-long action plan to implement in their communities. In closing his key note address, Mr. Lemke encouraged the participants to apply the lessons they learned at the Youth Camp to become leaders in their local communities and work hard to find ways to harness the power of sport to create a positive, lasting legacy.