A forum on the practice of the Olympic Values Education Program (OVEP) was held in Seoul, Korea on Aug. 6, 2009, as the opener of the inaugural World Youth Taekwondo Camp.

The 2009 WTF OVEP Forum, the first of its kind among International Sports Federations, drew about 300 people from at home and abroad, including taekwondo instructors participating in the 1st World Youth Taekwondo Camp.

The camp, which continues until Aug. 11 in Seoul and in Muju, North Jeolla Province in Korea, attracted about 260 athletes and officials from 33 countries. The camp was jointly promoted by the WTF and the Taekwondo Promotion Foundation, led by Mr. Dai-soon Lee, chairman of the TPF and a vice president of the WTF.

Among other dignitaries at the Seoul forum were Dr. Wu Ching-kuo, the IOC member from Chinese Taipei and president of the International Boxing Association; Dr. Tomas Ganda Sithole, director of the IOC International Cooperation and Development Department; and Mr. Ivan Dibos, the IOC member from Peru and WTF Council member.

During the opening ceremony of the forum, WTF President Chungwon Choue said in his welcoming remarks that “taekwondo has served as a tool for education of the future generation. With this project, we intend to introduce young people around the world to the values of respect for others, fair play, and excellence through taekwondo training. We also hope to encourage friendship, understanding, peace and harmony among the participants.”

“Following the IOC’s OVEP initiative, the WTF would like to continue to raise the awareness of the Olympic values and so to integrate such awareness in our activities and educational programs,” Dr. Choue said. “We will continue to find new initiatives for OVEP to reach as many young people as possible around the globe.”

Dr. Chang Ju-ho, president of the Korean Olympic Academy, delivered an opening remarks, while IOC President Jacques Rogge delivered his video congratulatory message.

Dr. Wu and Dr. Sithole delivered their respective key-note speeches at the forum, while Mr. Michel Madar of Israel, a member of the WTF Council; Prof. Shin Hyun-kyun of Korea and Mr. Zhao Lei from China served as discussants of the forum.

Under the topic “Ways to Incorporate the OVEP into the Youth Olympic Games, Dr. Wu said, “OVEP stands for Olympic Values Education Program, an ambitious program to teach the Olympic values. Foundation of the program is the IOC’s global youth strategy aimed at maintaining young people’s interest in sport, encouraging them to practice sport and promoting the Olympic values.”

Dr. Wu said the three main Olympic values are excellence, friendship and respect, while the three pillars of OVEP are reference tool as teaching manual, network platform, and label for promoters.

Under the topic “The Educational Values of Olympism,” Dr. Sithole said, “It is important to note that the WTF is the first of the recognized International Federations to consider formal adoption of the OVEP, a very important step indeed, considering that the IOC has launched the Youth Olympic Games, whose first edition will be held in Singapore next year, and whose main element is education.”

“It certainly does not surprise some of us that taekwondo has chose to institutionalize OVEP, adopting it as its educational tool of choice. Although taekwondo is a combat sport, it has distinguished itself as a universal sport for the disciplined by the disciplined. And herein lies the reason for its increasing popularity among the young and not-so-young people of the world, and its longevity,” Dr. Sithole said.

He said, “The Youth Olympic Games are an experience to continue to be lived long after the flame has gone out. They will create, with every edition, a new corps of goodwill ambassadors who will talk to fellow young people about the educational values of sport, cultural diversity and peace.”

“They are intended, as President Rogge has announced, to make these ambassadors the catalyst for positive change in their societies,” Dr. Sithole said. “The fundamental values that are essential to international relations and world peace, freedom, equality, solidarity, tolerance and respect for nature are the bedrock upon which these Youth Olympic Games are being founded. We are all part of history.”

After the key-note speeches, there was a group discussion session, divided into five groups on such topics as “Taekwondo and Olympic Values Education Program,” “Taekwondo and Youth Olympic Games,” “Taekwondo and Olympism,” “Taekwondo and Youth Education,” and “Taekwondo and Fair Play.”

The group discussion was followed by a group presentation and a general evaluation session. The participants in the forum unanimously adopted a Seoul statement containing the creeds of taekwondo practitioners.