Sports as a peace building tool

Sports as a peace building tool

The lasting spirit of Pyeong Chang Olympic games.

On Friday 8 November 2019 at the United Nations in Geneva, the City of Pyeong Chang that hosted the winter Olympic games in 2018 and the Pyeong Chang 2018 Legacy Foundation organized a Seminar on Peace and Sports where IPB consultant Arielle Denis was asked to contribute.

IPB has been a strong supporter of the Pyeong Chang spirit since the start and IPB co-President Lisa Clark participated in the 1st Pyeong Chang Peace Forum in 2019. Indeed, the authorities, the Sports community and the South Korean civil society organised Pyeong Chang Olympic games has a really meaningful peace event, regenerating the Olympic spirit as it should always be: a unique opportunity to build bridges between peoples. As one remembers, using the opportunity of the Olympic Games, the 2 Koreas started a new era of relations towards peace and reconciliation. Everyone has in mind the impressive opening ceremony where the Korean teams walked together at the parade and played together in team sports.

The momentum created by PyeongChang 2018 served as a catalyst for political dialogue between the two Koreas, and also between the USA and North Korea, helping to bring about a thaw in their strained relations through the power of sport.

Since then, many steps where made with the participation of civil society, like the very meaningfull women crossing borders movement.

Building on 2018 success, Pyeong Chang Forum 2019 called for a number of action plans, including for all governments to increase their commitment to supporting and enforcing international disarmament laws. It called of course on the two Koreas to find a way to end over 70 years of hostilities between them and embrace a peaceful and collaborative way of moving forward. In addition they called the UN to fully implement the SDGs and drafted resolutions to prevent violations of women’s rights.

One of the questions addressed in the November 8 Seminar was to expand the Pyeong Chang spirit. The next Olympic games will take place in Japan, and this will coincide with the 75th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The idea of making this time a strong call for nuclear abolition gathered everyone’s support and should be brought to the next Pyeong Chang Forum which will take place on February 11-12 2020.