On October 31 in Sochi, the 6th Peace and Sport International Forum has opened under the chairmanship of His Serene Highness Prince of Monaco Albert II. It is the first time that this major event has been hosted outside Monaco and is a significant coup for the host city of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games. Delegates from more than 70 countries have been invited to the Forum, which has also been covered by more than 50 Russian and international media outlets.
This year’s Forum will unite representatives of the global political, societal, and athletic elite. Among its participants are a number of heads of state and ministers of national governments of the countries of Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America, together with leading figures from the international sports community: Vice President of the IOC Thomas Bach; President of the International Ice Hockey Federation Rene Fasel; Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on Sport for Development and Peace Wilfried Lemke; members of international federations and national Olympic committees; representatives of non-governmental organizations and business communities; and also many legendary athletes (including Olympic champion and world record-holder Elena Isinbaeva, many-time world champion and world record-holder Wilson Kipketer, 12th Women’s World Chess Champion Alexandra Kosteniuk, the only female gymnast to participate in six Olympic Games Oxana Chusovitina, many-time world champion in mixed martial arts Fedor Emelianenko and others).
The Russian delegation is made up of the Deputy Prime Minister of Russia Dmitry Kozak, President of the Russian Olympic Committee Alexander Zhukov, Minister of Sport of the Russian Federation Vitaly Mutko, and President of the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee Dmitry Chernyshenko.
Over the course of three days, the Forum participants will share ideas about the significant contribution that sport can make in the peace process and peace-making projects around the world. On the agenda is a discussion about the experience accumulated over the last five years in peace initiatives through sport on the part of international institutions, national governments, and the private sector, an analysis of the influence of sporting events on the resolution of inter-ethnic conflicts, and a recognition of the potential of social media and the Volunteer Movement in the peace-making process and the development of a civil society.
The Forum will also see the practical results being presented of the implementation, in 2012, of the program "Legacy Today". This program is being held between 2012 and 2013 by the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee, the international peace organization "Generations for Peace", headed by His Royal Highness, Prince Faisal bin Al Hussein of Jordan, and the Sochi Administration. This initiative is an example of how the Organizing Committee is putting in place specific measures aimed at forming a sustainable legacy as we move ever closer to the Games. In 2012, 10 youth projects were implemented in Russia as part of the program, and 10 more projects were undertaken in other countries: in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Serbia and Ukraine.
On November 1 there is an award ceremony as part of the Forum's program for the winners of the annual Peace and Sport prize in various categories. The Forum closes on November 2, when guests and participants of the event will be able to evaluate the progress of the preparations for the 2014 Games as part of a tour of the Sochi Olympic venues.
Joel Bouzou, the President and founder of the Forum, and an Olympic medalist and world champion in the modern pentathlon, noted:
"Holding the 6th Peace and Sport International forum in Sochi is a wonderful and completely natural choice. Now more than ever, Russia is led by the idea of spreading humanitarian ideals through sport and the sports movement. Sochi shares the idea that sport can provide a dialogue between different societies, and also enable a better mutual understanding. Together with the Olympic Movement, which is gaining momentum in Sochi and inspiring communication among various peoples and cultures, the Peace and Sport International Forum is helping to strengthen mutual respect and friendship among countries in the spirit of Olympic values and the ideals of peace."
Notes to the editor
"Peace and Sport" is an international non-governmental organization, founded under the patronage of His Serene Highness Prince of Monaco Albert II in 2007. The President and founder of the Forum is the Olympic medalist and world pentathlon champion, Joel Bouzou. By carrying out its activities in known hot-spots, the very poorest areas and areas with a low level of social and economic development, "Peace and Sport" is turning sport into a means of achieving tolerance, respect and consensus among representatives of diverse peoples and cultures. "Peace and Sport" operates with the active support of governments, international sports organizations, large international private companies and the winners of international sports competitions.