O4H Bridges Across Theory, Policy and Practice

Vaggelis Alexandrakis, Sports Lawyer with the European Lotteries Association in Lausanne, Switzerland & IOAPA News Letter Editor: “O4H is an innovative initiative that thanks to the expertise of the International Olympic Academy and the Georgetown University, will take the dissemination and promotion of Olympism to a higher level. Addressing major and relevant issues, the initiative will enhance the role of Olympism as a tool for peace-building and social and even economic development. The Olympia Praxis Summer Programme is an unprecedented training session which will open new horizons in the sport & development movement and will no doubt constitute a unique experience for its participants. I am convinced that this initiative in the long run will make this world a better place.”

Dr. Jeffrey Pratt Beedy: “Young people must be at the forefront of global change and innovation. Olympism stands for the values our children will need to be successful global citizens. O4H holds great promise to connect the philosophy of Olympism to the cartography of a new domain – the domain of sports an educational pedagogy.  As the founder of PLUS Global, I am proud to join O4H to explore new ways to partner and deliver these critical skills and values to our future leaders.  PLUS Global was a part of the Doves Olympic Movement Project in 2006, and we witnessed first hand, the positive difference programs such as the Doves and now Olympism for Humanity can make.”

Gary Bernstein, President of Bernstein Group & Associates, LLC, a firm specializing in helping nonprofit organizations achieve sustained and long-term success: “Successful organizations and programs like O4H understands the importance of having a clear sense of mission, vision and core values to keep them on course. I am happy to be involved in such a worthwhile endeavor. I am confident that with a dedicated effort that produces fundamental decisions and actions that shape and guide what an organization is, who it serves, what it does, and why it does it, the future of O4H will be very bright.”

Serena Borsani, Founder and President of Sport2Build: “In this era where sport seems to have lost all the positive original values and where the performance at all costs come first, I believe that O4H initiative will play the fundamental role of highlighting how sport can contribute to a positive social change, peace and humanity, bringing back sport actors to the authentic holistic human development sport can deliver”

Laurence Chalip, Professor and Head of the Department of Recreation, Sport and Tourism at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: “Coubertin was always clear that the Olympic Games are a means, but never an end in themselves.  Olympism aims to advance the highest ideals of human kind. As Coubertin described it, Olympism espouses mind/body holism, appreciation of the breadth of human cultures, camaraderie in the presence of diversity, and enhancement of the human condition. Olympism for Humanity embraces that vision. It is an essential step forward.”

Dikaia Chatziefstathiou, Social Analysis of Sport at the Department of Sport Science, Tourism and Leisure and a member of the Centre of Sport, Physical Education and Activity Research (SPEAR) in Canterbury Christ Church University, UK: “Olympism for Humanity is a fascinating new global venture that combines theory and praxis of the Olympic ideals. With its great potential for creating synergies and alliances around the world, it can facilitate  the resolution of some serious global challenges of our times”

Wolfgang Dietrich, UNESCO Chair for Peace Studies, University of Innsbruck: “As peace researcher and elicitive conflict worker I am aware of the direct relation between body and mind; perspective and perception; action and passion; movement and encounter; nature and culture; personality and society; competition and cooperation; physical expression and mental elevation. The science and the art of conflict transformation constantly work with these systemic relations. Conflicts are much more than the superficial narrative of opposing interests seems to tell us. They are normal elements of complex systemic relations that involve all aspects of the human nature, including physical, sexual, emotional, mental, spiritual aspects of each personality as well as familial, communal, societal and global aspects of humanity. Therefore I appreciate the idea of Olympism4Humanity. It will help us to understand these relations better, to develop new approaches of elicitive conflict transformation that include all of these physical and mental aspects and balance our human conflicts in a way that may allow us to perceive this planet as a convivial place.”

Pratik Kumar, Chief Operating Officer for Magic Bus, India: “The goals Olympism go hand-in-hand with the spirit of development. At Magic Bus, we use many of the principles and practices that Olympism believes in, as our mantra, or our core beliefs. We respect and support the project as a necessary outreach programme to spread the good the Games bring, to all parts of the world.”

Tasos Kyriakides, Yale University, Infectious Disease Epidemiologist/Biostatistician: The principles and values celebrated through the Olympism for Humanity initiative can facilitate improvement and integration of determinants of health into the social fabric of nations.  Respect for self and others, peaceful co-existence and cooperation are at the core of the O4H initiative in its attempt to enhance and sustain capacity-building across cultures and countries. Drawing from and promoting the highest human ideals, O4H is a vital step in the direction of ‘healthy people, healthy nations’. I am humbled, honored and excited to be part of such a powerful undertaking!

Jay Mafukidze, University of Regina, CanadaOlympism 4 Humanity is humanitarianism in action!  It is an inspiring enterprise designed to increase the effectiveness of those aspiring to realize the ideals of Olympism.  The Olympia Summer Praxis Program combines theory and best practices in a unique cooperatively-based education strategy that provides ongoing capacity building to those in the field committed to making the world a better place.

Dr. Fathali M. Moghaddam, Professor in the Psychology Department and Director of the Conflict Resolution Program at Georgetown University: “Olympism 4 Humanity is on the cutting edge of an international movement to break down traditional barriers and unite people of all ages, races, languages, nationalities, and religions, under a common vision. Olympism 4 Humanity represents a hopeful future, but one we must work toward together.”

Mark Mungal, Director and co-founder of the Caribbean Sport and Development Agency: “Olympism for Humanity embraces the true spirit of sport and uses it to promote positive vibes and universal values in authentic settings where relationships form the cornerstone for lifelong habits of respect, peace and harmony.”

Dr. Jon Welty Peachey, Assistant Professor of sport management at Texas A&M University: “I firmly believe that this new venture has great potential to train and develop sport for development practitioners in the use of Olympic education for program design and implementation to achieve optimal effectiveness. A program such as O4H has been needed for some time, and I am excited to be involved!”

Dr. Jimoh Shehu, Professor of Physical Education and Sport Studies at the University of Botswana: “At the core of Olympism is the quest for societal edification and harmonization. Its grand objective is to meld and deploy cherished values and principles for holistic development – personal, cultural and environmental. As such, its pedagogies and programmes must be integrative and transformative – connecting discourses, building communities, restoring relationships, conserving the environment, fostering peace and progress – with proper regard to contexts and human agency.”

Claudia Solanes, Coordinator of the Master in Sport for Social Coexistence and Conflict Resolution at the Open University of Catalonia: “Olympism represents the celebration of human values, the ideal of a more unified world. People associate Olympism with universality, with peace and with hope. But Olympism shouldn’t remain alive just for a short truce of period, but for a whole life. We should spread the importance of values such equality, justice, respect, excellence and understanding, at all levels, everywhere and at all times.”

Matt Winkler, former sports executive, currently Associate Dean, Sports Industry Management, Georgetown University: “As major global sporting events shift to emerging markets and new lands, programs and initaitives like O4H have become critical in capturing the essence of that transition. The industry is entering a critical juncture of cultural and socio-economic convergence. The role of O4H to facilitate, educate and inspire will lead to expanding the boundaries and impact of sport in society and examine the issues of social responsibility and globalization in relation to the modern sports world.”

Gregor Wolfbring, Associate Professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences, Specialization Community, Rehabilitation and Disability Studies at the University of Calgary: “O4H is an important initiative.  Humanity is at the crossroad in many areas whether in regards to how it deals with natural resources or what the future role of sport will be in society. The O4H initiative will allow to connect Olympism with contemporary challenges faced by Humanity and to may be recalibrate the purpose of sport to make it more useful for a culture of peace.”

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