The International Olympic Truce Centre was officially launched today at the Zappeion Palace in Athens, Greece, by the IOC President, Juan Antonio Samaranch, and the Greek Minister for Foreign Affairs, George Papandreou, chairman and vice chairman respectively of the International Turce Foundation.
The ceremony was attended by the President of the Hellenic Republic, Mr. Konstantinos Stefanopoulos the Chairman of the United Nations General Assembly, Mr. Theodore Ben Gurirab, the former Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr. Javier Perez de Cuellar, and numerous personalities.
The International Olympic Truce Centre, a non-governmental organization, was created through a joint initiative of the International Olympic Committee and of the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs with the view to help to promote the Olympic ideals, peace, friendship and international understanding through sport and the Olympic ideal. The main objective of the Centre will be to work for the prevention and resolution of conflict and tension through sport-based activities, the development of related academic and research programmes and communication campaigns in cooperation with inter and non-governmental organizations and with national and international institutions.
The Centre, which will be administered by director, Stavros Lambrinidis, and based in Athens, will operate under the auspices of the International Olympic Truce Foundation, founded by the IOC with its symbolic headquarters in Olympia, and a liaison office in Lausanne .
The Olympic Truce aims to protect, as far as possible, the interests of the athletes and sport in general and to contribute to the search for peaceful and diplomatic solutions to the various conflicts around the world. The initiative is based on the Greek concept of Olympic Truce or ‘Ekecheiria’, which was established on the occasion of the ancient Olympic Games in Greece in the 9th century BC by the signature of a treaty between three Kings, thanks to which there was a permanent and recognized immunity of the sanctuary at Olympia and the region of Elis. Moreover, during the period of the Truce, the athletes, artists and their families, as well as ordinary pilgrims, could travel in total safety to participate in or attend the Olympic Games and return afterwards to their respective countries.