The International Olympic Committee (IOC), Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies, and states party to the Geneva Conventions today pledged to promote a culture of non-violence and peace together.
The pledge took place at the 31st International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, being held in Geneva, Switzerland. It is the first pledge of its kind for the IOC and calls for the nurturing of humanitarian and Olympic values and the development of interpersonal skills for constructive interaction and peacefully coexistence among peoples. For the Olympic Movement in general and for the IOC in particular, sport is more than a competition. Sport unites the principles that the Olympic Movement holds dear—education, sustainability, non-discrimination, universality, humanism and solidarity. These are also the principles at the core of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. These are the principles that drive far-reaching social change.
Seven Fundamental Principles – Humanity, Impartiality, Neutrality, Independence, Voluntary Service, Unity and Universality – and their underpinning humanitarian values, including mutual understanding, respect for diversity and human dignity, equality, responsibility and peace are cornerstone of the RCRC Movement, of which the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) with its 187 Red Cross Red Crescent Societies is a component. For the IFRC, the promotion of a culture of nonviolence and peace is one of the 3 strategic priorities and youth are seen as a key driver within their communities to make this happen.
The pledge was made by Movement partners and the IOC (as an observer), with a view to building respect for diversity, nonviolence and social cohesion. It specifically calls for:
- enhancing partnerships and collaboration through non-cognitive activities with a view to reaching out to all sectors and people of all ages of society
- promoting skills and values based on formal education, including its institutionalisation at the national level
- promoting physical education, healthy lifestyles and avenues for voluntary service as part of the formal school curriculum, in particular at the primary and secondary levels
- engaging or increasing engagement in non-formal education, transmitting values and skills-based education through school or after-school interventions
- promoting access for children and youth to community-based activities such as sports, arts, music and theatre, which foster dialogue, mutual understanding and non-violence
- supporting and promoting initiatives empowering youth to take up leadership roles in the promotion of a culture of non-violence and peace, such as the Olympic Truce, the IFRC YABC Youth as Agents of Behavioural Change and other youth-led initiatives.
Dr. Jaslin Salmon, Vice President of the IFRC and chairing a well attended side-event at the 31 International Conference on “youth as the drivers of a culture of nonviolence” commented: “Recent events such as the Arab springs have shown the entire world that youth today are determined to take up an ethical leadership role in building a culture of nonviolence and peace. Social media have proven to be a powerful tool for youth. We explored other great and creative vehicldes in the side event to empower youth and foster dialogue, respect for diversity and nonviolence these include sports, arts, music, drama and dance. This side event, co-organised by the IFRC, IOC and the British Council Global Changemakers programme is a significant step setting a scene for collaboration, innovation and transformation towards a culture of nonviolence and peace at local and global levels. We look forward to rallying other organisations to join this cause to change ourselves and act!”
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies began a unique partnership with the IOC in May 2003 with an Memorandum of Understanding aimed at promoting international solidarity and making a special contribution to human and sustainable development.
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