Thu, 26 Nov 2020

Lausanne [Switzerland], October 26 (ANI): International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach received the prestigious Seoul Peace Prize on Monday. Bach joined the ceremony virtually from Lausanne with the award collected on his behalf by former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Presenting the award, Seoul Peace Prize Cultural Foundation Chairman Yeom Jae-ho said Bach carries the mission of Olympic spirit "to achieve peace through sport, an example who truly lives what he teaches".

He said Bach has promoted friendship and harmony around the world and has greatly contributed to resolving conflict and division in many regions through the practice of the sport.

"In doing so, he has proven himself to be a great Olympic champion who dedicates himself to peace," Yeom Jae-ho said.

The Foundation highlighted three major achievements including contribution to peace through sport in the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia with the 2018 Winter Olympics "serving not only as an Olympic symbol of peace, but also as a stepping stone for peace".

It said Bach has continuously supported refugees through the creation of the Refugee Olympic Team and the Olympic Refuge Foundation.

"He contributed to promoting the human rights of refugees by raising global awareness of refugee issues and renewing the world's perspective on refugees," the Foundation said.

It said Bach led the internal reforms of IOC through Olympic Agenda 2020. "This roadmap also contributed to peace and cooperation among states," the foundation said.

Bach said in his acceptance speech that the purpose of the Olympic Games was always to promote peace through sport.

"When Pierre de Coubertin founded the International Olympic Committee in 1894, he was supported in this mission by the presence of six future winners of the Nobel Peace Prize," he said.

Since then, the IOC had pursued this mission, but like other peace movements, the Olympic Movement has sometimes fallen short, he said.

"In our efforts to build a more peaceful world through sport, sometimes we have failed, and have been failed," Bach said.

He said while sport can open the door to dialogue about peace, "we know very well that sport alone cannot create peace".

"We cannot take decisions on war and peace. This is the realm of politics and not of sport."The role of the Olympic Games, with regard to peace, is to "set an example for a world where everyone respects the same rules and one another", he said.

"They can inspire us to solve problems in friendship and solidarity. They can build bridges leading to better understanding among people."To achieve this universal message of peace, the IOC is promoting worldwide solidarity and inclusivity and embraces diversity as an enrichment to society, he said.

Referring to IOC Refugee Olympic Team and the Olympic Refuge Foundation, Bach said the refugee athletes demonstrated to a global audience that they are all part of the same humanity.

"Their participation in the Olympic Games was a clear signal that refugees are our fellow human beings - that they are an enrichment to society just as they are an enrichment to our Olympic community."He said good governance is a central feature of Olympic Agenda 2020.

"Our ability to make a difference in the world rests on our credibility and integrity. For this reason, good governance is a central feature of Olympic Agenda 2020," he said. (ANI)

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