4/7/2014 0 Comments
A call for action and collective wisdom: Inspirations and bridges across time, disciplines, policy and practice
Over the last decade, more than 1400 agencies across the globe initiated sport-based educational programs to address conflict, adversity, health, equality, homelessness and unemployment. While the emerging “sport for peace and development” global practice is a relatively new practice, as a concept- its roots lay in Pierre De Coubertin’s Olympism vision; Olympic Truce and the philosophy of the Ancient Olympic Games.
Supported by the International Olympic Academy (IOA), International Olympic Committee (IOC), International Olympic Truce Center (IOTC),United Nations office of Sport for Peace and Development (UNOSPD), the EU Commission and a number of humanitarian and sport for peace and development agencies, this comparatively new practice is an emerging global movement that can potentially advance the integration of Olympism, Peacebuilding, Global Health and International Development.
Despite the increased global interest to promote the concept of Olympism (sport, arts, education and cultural enrichment) in practice, the sport for peace and development (SPD) academician, researcher, policy-maker and practitioner is expected to possess skills and competencies that traditional sport academic programs do not provide. While a number of scholars, policy makers, practitioners and humanitarian agencies have been more intensively engaging - over the last ten years - in discourses and programming related to global existing challenges and the UN MDGs, most engaged critical scholars and practitioners urge the need for further action by: (a) providing more opportunities to underserved communities, (b) advancing applied and ongoing scientific evidence on positive impact and elements of effective programming, (c) providing ongoing theory-based academic and professional training, (d) creating conditions for sustainable programming and (d) enhancing purpose-driven international inter-institutional collaborations that will embrace this vision.
Following the logic of the axiom that universities serve as institutions that produce knowledge and innovation, the impact of the “day after” April 6, 2014, depends on the changes we will see within the academic world- and the bridges, both scholars and practitioners will build between theory and practice- across disciplines and agencies as part of and their everyday day life- personal and professional. Building on the momentum and the global excitement of the first International Day on Sport for Development and Peace we invite the global Olympism in Action and Sport for Peace and Development community in a global gathering at the birthplace of the Olympic Spirit, where each one of us can reflect, inspire one another- talk about Olympism in Action global strategy and create the conditions where each one of us will support one another to “walk the talk” …the day after April 6th, 2014.
Under the patronage of Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou, Member of the European Commission, the International Olympic Academy, Georgetown University, the International Olympic Truce Center and the O4H Alliance, I would like to invite the global Sport for Peace and Development community and the Olympism in Action community for an introspective, life changing and reflective gathering at the birthplace of the ancient Olympic spirit. The global gathering (2014 Olympism4Humanity Summit), will take place in Athens and Ancient Olympia on June 28th- July 2nd, 2014. This summit will serve as a platform for introspection- and another step towards the establishment of a global consortium of academics, policymakers and practitioners in which the power of sport and Olympism, will be further explored to advance scholarship, educational programs, training and mobility.
If we look around us today- and tomorrow- we can still observe the direct and indirect effects of the global economic recession; we will still have high unemployment, poverty, and civic disengagement rates- and all these challenges “feed the seeds” of xenophobia, immigration, war and violence across groups and cultures.
While a number of scholars, academics, policy makers, practitioners and humanitarian agencies have been engaging in discourses and programming related to the resolution of existing social challenges, “the problems around us grow faster than the actions each one of us is taking.”
Based on the foundation that “we can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them” (Albert Einstein) the Olympism4Humanity Summit is aiming to establish a world leading platform of an inter-disciplinary community where scholars, researchers, thinkers, policy-makers, and practitioners work collaboratively “to explore and enhance the contribution of Olympism to humanity.” We envision that this platform will serve as an introspective venue- for a journey across “time and space”-in an attempt to build bridges across disciplines, cultures and institutions- merging development, social cohesion, civic engagement, peacebuilding, innovation and rule of law.
Our goal is to create an inspiring and enlightened setting for the advancement of a discourse about social innovation and collective global-local actions where the academic world can be connected to the challenges of our local communities.
Our challenge is to advance applied interdisciplinary scholarship and civic engagement opportunities that will potentially reform the role of academic institutions into agencies that reach out and engage, support and collaborate with humanitarian, youth, peace and health policy makers and practitioners for the improvement of the human condition. Based on the Socratic notion of wisdom, this summit will serve as a journey of knowledge uninhibited by borders of language, discipline, culture, time and tradition. Questioning our current state of being (personal and institutional) will advance collective knowledge and actions towards the improvement of the human condition-locally and across globe.
This summit aims to serve as a space for introspection, inspiration, as well as a foundation for creating actions geared towards building a humanitarian Legacy. We therefore invite you to join a dynamic community at the birthplace of the Olympic Spirit: Olympia. There, Olympism, peacebuilding, democracy, philosophy, arts, science, health and civic engagement were originally embraced as vital and essential elements of society, and as the necessary components of a holistic educational philosophy of a balanced mind, body and spirit. Join us in Olympia to light your Olympism4Humanity “torch” and become an “Olympian” in service of humanity. Join us in Olympia this summer and become a member of Olympism4Humanity Alliance where each one of us will be supporting one another in a life-long journey of transforming “…cheer leading” into “Change leading” actions where the “score” is kept on scholarship, positive impact, and programs produced in service of improving human condition.
Alexis Lyras, PhD
Special Advisor to the IOA on Olympism, Peacebuilding and International Development
Generations for Peace Fellow, Georgetown University
April 6, 2014
Olympism4Humanity proudly announce the long term strategic partnership and collaboration with the International Olympic Truce Center and the 2014 Imagine Peace Youth Camp. Our partnership aims to advance sport for peace and development related scholarship, research, global outreach, related programming, summer camps and academic endeavors. In addition toOlympism4Humanity Praxis Summer Program, IOTC and O4H are working together for the successful implementation, evaluation and sustainability of the2014 Imagine Peace Youth Camp, to be held in Ancient Olympia in July 26-31, 2014.
2014 Imagine Peace Youth Camp Background Information
Over the last twenty years the UN, IOC, and the EU made significant and encouraging contributions in creating policies, events, white papers and organizational structures to advance related theory and practice most engaged stakeholders urge the need for (a) providing more opportunities to underserved communities, (b) advancing applied and ongoing scientific evidence, (c) providing theory-based academic and professional training, (d)creating conditions for sustainable programming and (d) promoting purpose driven international inter-institutional collaborations.
The International Olympic Truce Center (IOTC) contributes to this effort by creating an annual six-day Youth Camp which will take place at theInternational Olympic Academy’s premises in Ancient Olympia in July 26-31, 2014.
The UN office of Sport for Development and Peace (UNODP) has already endorsed the implementation of the week-long Youth Camp. Based on Olympic values, the Youth Camp addresses the issues of Peace, Olympic Truce, Respect for Diversity, and Conflict Resolution.
More info on the content of the program can be found at the table below at the International Olympic Truce website
More info on the application and selection process will be made available in due course.
12/9/2013 0 Comments
Alexis Lyras calls for us to find more creative and effective ways to achieve positive changes, including more partnerships and collaborations.
Embracing as many voices as possible
The foundations of my vision for the sport and development community post-2015 were expressed in my previous response during the second round of the e-debate. As we move from what I like to call “the sfd romance era” of the last decade- into today’s reality and beyond 2015 - we all have to look back and identify personal and institutional potentialities, challenges, strengths and weaknesses. I strongly believe that each agent and agency can have a unique contribution to our field.
The most essential element of the post-2015 era should be centered on creating conditions for embracing as many voices as possible (instead of one) that will:
Creativity and innovation is a non-linear process and most of the creative ideas happen in a non-structured way and of course without investing significant resources- ideas will just remain in minds or on papers. A combination of a balanced top-down and bottom-up approach can create conditions for maximising economic, social and humanitarian profit.
My vision is fully expressed through Olympism4Humanity, a global venture in collaboration and recently inaugurated with the International Olympic Academy, the Conflict Resolution Program, the Olympic Truce Foundation, and a global consortium of prominent experts from twenty-two agencies across the globe. Olympism4Humanity (O4H) aims to advance human centered alliances, scholarship, educational opportunities and synergies that will facilitate the resolution of existing global challenges.
O4H’s mission is to advance three strategic milestones by coordinating local, regional and global efforts and by serving as a catalyst for:
While the emerging “sport for peace and development” global practice is a relatively new concept, its roots lay in the concept of Olympic Truce and the philosophy of the Ancient Olympic Games. Sport, employed in a culturally enriched educational setting aiming to “inspire humanity for the development of a peaceful world,” is what Pierre de Coubertin envisioned for the revival of the modern Olympic Movement.
A renaissance of changes
While a number of scholars, policy makers, practitioners and humanitarian agencies have been more intensively engaging - over the last ten years - in discourses and programming related to global existing challenges and the UN MDGs, “the challenges around us grow faster than the actions each one of us is taking”. Based on the foundation that “we can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them” (Albert Einstein)- we have to acknowledge that no scholar, agency, practitioner or policy maker should feel comfortable that we are “good enough”.
With this in mind, I believe we should all, more drastically try to find more creative and effective ways that will embrace the “renaissance” of changes across institutions, continents and agencies at all levels of our global society, towards our human-centered cause and outcome-based collaborations. This should be the commitment we should all have- in an attempt to scale up impact, outreach and changes in our global community.
While I agree that sport agencies and programmes can have a significant role and contribution to our field, I strongly believe that full potential can be met by engaging non-sport institutions, academic programmes, departments and agencies.
Retrieved from http://www.sportanddev.org/en/newsnviews/news/?6473/1/e-Debate-A-renaissance-of-changes-at-all-levels
11/20/2013 0 Comments
Alexis Lyras argues that we shouldn't assertively claim space, but rather continue building on foundations that will lead to increased credibility for S&D.
A vision for the future
I do not believe our vision should be to “claim space.” Instead, our efforts should focus on earning respect and recognition through scholarship, partnerships and changes within our spheres of influence. Along this journey we should try to build a future filled with introspection, successful stories and contributions to the following goals and vision:
A strong foundation
These foundations would give our emerging field the credibility, body of knowledge and resources for establishing structures and governance practices that would potentially lead to the professionalisation of our field.
As practitioners and academics of this field, we should roll our sleeves up and produce work that helps us to get closer to this global vision. With this in mind, I believe that academic institutions have started to play an instrumental role in this process but there is still a long way to go. For example, the previous generation of the sport management and sport sciences scholars and practitioners were trained to focus on answering questions related to consumer behavior, tickets sales, branding, marketing, sponsorship, management, and community sport.
While we have seen some progress from a number of traditional sport-oriented academic institutions that have “claimed” space, expertise and credit in service of the S&D global vision, existing practices and priorities need to be re-evaluated and reformed. This transformation cannot happen overnight; it requires a commitment to changes that would embrace peacebuilding, development and educational objectives.
Practicing what you preach
Following the logic of the axiom that universities serve as institutions that produce knowledge and innovation, the post-2015 era depends on the changes we will see within the academic world. We therefore need to see changes that will improve quality and standards of related scholarship, service and community outreach.
While we navigate our path along this journey, the new S&D academicians need to start practicing what they preach by reaching out to local and global communities and leading by example with their unique contributions to their immediate surroundings and spheres of influence. At the same time, each one of us needs to create a distinctively clear line of expertise, theoretical and applied, that will be respected and recognised by established non-sport conflict resolution and international development scholars and practitioners.
In this journey, universities and practitioners will have to create the conditions and real life examples of transforming existing “Sport…cheer”(leading) institutions into “Change leading” agencies where the “score” is kept on scholarship and programmes produced in service of improving human condition.
The problem with claiming space
Claimed space in the absence of these principles is akin to building a castle on the sand. This is something we should try to avoid. Creating structures and spaces that assertively “claim” space, runs the risk of establishing a culture where the S&D community is imposing “what is good” onto others. It is unhelpful to point to a perceived “right direction,” that is defined by self-centered personal promotion, or institutional ambition and objectives, instead of focusing on what is proven and established.
In my opinion, our vision should be based on establishing evidence and scholarship; it should respect local sensitivities; and it should promote changes that will grow naturally within agents, agencies and institutions.
Retrieved from http://www.sportanddev.org/?6397/1/e-Debate-Earning-respect-and-recognition