The Olympics are going home. At the same time, the ancient roots of the Greek Games could offer solutions to today’s global complex security threats.
Stand-offs between nation states have been superseded by terrorism, civil war, insurgency and a culture of conflict within communities. The changing nature of conflict means that our leaders will not find solutions alone.
Just as the monopoly on waging war has been removed from the hands of states, so the tools for making peace also need to be democratised.
The ancient Olympic games were created as a way to stop Greek city states fighting each other. For the duration of the games, soldiers became athletes and were guaranteed safe passage to the Olympiad. Thus the Olympic games were born out of a temporary peace.
In 1992, the IOC revived the ancient Olympic Truce, which calls for a cease in conflict, fighting and hostilities for the duration of the Games. The Truce became the first unanimously endorsed resolution in the UN’s history in 2003.
Since then the Truce has helped to deliver real results during summer and winter Games:
16 Days argues that the Olympic Truce has the potential to be a peace-inspiring tool for our times. Projecting its peaceful purpose could help provide security for the Olympic Games themselves, while the Truce offers the world’s peace-makers a brief opportunity to resolve conflict. The strengths of the Truce include:
16 Days is the result of a partnership between Demos, Demos Athens and the International Olympic Truce Centre.