Today in Prague, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) launched a signature campaign in support of the Olympic Truce, which used to mark the cessation of conflicts between nations during the period of the Games in Ancient Greece.
During the launch ceremony, the IOC President and Chairman of the International Olympic Truce Foundation (IOTF), Jacques Rogge, invited every IOC Member to join the signature campaign, reminding them: "It is part of our social responsibility to contribute to the creation of an environment where mutual respect and understanding are shared through sport and the Olympic ideals. Educating young people is part of our goals."
For more than 10 years, a major effort has been undertaken in cooperation with National Olympic Committees to revive the tradition of the Olympic Truce to promote the Olympic ideals and peace during the Olympic Games period and beyond. In a speech read on behalf of Mr George Papandreou, the Greek Foreign Affairs Minister, IOTF Vice Chairman and instigator of this campaign, Mr Lambrinidis said "During troubled times, it is perhaps more important than ever to protect and promote the values that can bind our multicultural world together - to protect and promote the Olympic Ideals. If we can stop fighting for 16 days, then maybe we could do it forever."
The Olympic Truce signature campaign, initiated at the end of 2001, has achieved tremendous support. So far, more than 250 worldwide personalities have signed up, including heads of state and governments, speakers of parliaments, foreign ministers, religious leaders, heads of international organisations, Olympic Movement officials, personalities from the world of arts and literature, as well as other dignitaries and senior officials from around the world.