Joël Bouzou, the president and founder of Peace and Sport, claimed that the sixth edition of the annual Peace and Sport International Forum in Sochi has helped the movement reach new heights.
The historic forum in the Black Sea resort saw the event staged outside Monaco for the first time with nearly 70 nations represented in the host city of the 2014 Winter Olympics and Paralympics.
Bouzou claimed in his closing speech that the event had once again attracted global peace through the sports community and helped forged stronger relations with political representatives and athletes from around the world with the goal of spreading peace.
“It was a major challenge [staging the event in Sochi] and I can proudly say that it was a successful challenge,” Bouzou said. “The Peace and Sport community becomes more enriched from year to year and projects are proliferating. By organizing the sixth forum outside of our Monaco cradle, in a Russia in full evolution, we have embarked on a new era for our movement. More than ever, we are determined to convince decision makers around the world, and in particular the private sector, to become committed alongside us. In pushing the boundaries, we discover new horizons and we set ourselves a new more ambitious goal: to give sport the place it deserves in society.”
The three-day forum in Sochi was also praised in a special message from Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.
“We are proud that such a respectable forum is being held in our nation,” said Putin in a telegram sent to forum organizers and delegates. “We are all united by an understanding of the enormous social and cultural significance of sports and the Olympic movement for the modern world. We know how important it is to engage young people in sports culture and teach them the value of a healthy lifestyle. I am certain that this forum will live up to its high level of prestige, making a significant input into strengthening international cooperation in sports and promoting the noble Olympic ideals.”
The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who was also in attendance, echoed the praise.
“I am pleased to greet this impressive gathering of friends of sport at the Peace and Sport International Forum in Sochi,” Ban Ki-moon said. “Sport gives us access to a large and diverse sample of populations and the opportunity to foster a culture of peace on a broad basis. Sport’s values and norms help build tolerant societies so I thank you for your leadership.”
In April 2013, Peace and Sport will organize its first regional forum in Dubai aimed at decision-makers from the Middle East while the organization is also developing regional hubs in the United States, China and France.
Contact the writer of this story at email@example.com. Inside the Games is a blog of the London Organizing Committee for the recent London Olympics and Paralympics. This article is reprinted here with permission of the publishers.