(ATR) The Truce Foundation of the USA has recognized five deserving individuals at an event held at the Olympians Reunion Centre by EY in Rio on Sunday.
The awards, which have been running since 2004, celebrate world leaders in diplomacy, media, Paralympics, and the International Olympic Committee for making a better world through sport and the Olympic ideal.
The Foundation’s President, Hugh T. Dugan, spoke passionately about the core meaning of Olympic Truce and the ways in which it has already been seen in Rio, with the refugee team marching into the Opening Ceremony.
The event honored what Dugan described as ‘Modern Messengers’ – individuals who have made a difference in the world. Each winner was presented with a discus, a traditional representation of the ancient Olympics, where the Olympic Truce was born.
Wilfried Lemke was honored first with the ‘Pathfinder Award’ – for a global advocate, facilitator and representative of sports’ social impact.
Since 2008, Lemke has served as the Special Advisor on Sport for Development and Peace at the United Nations. He is responsible for heading the efforts of the UN system in promoting understanding and support for sport as an instrument for development and peace as well as encouraging dialogue, collaboration and partnership.
"We are not living in a peaceful world," Lemke said. "This is a good opportunity to show the world that we are one family, that we are together. We have to make the world better and it is possible through sport."
Brazilian Paralympic Committee President Andrew Parsons received the ‘Open Fields Award’ - for championing open access and open participation at the Games.
Parsons has been President of the Brazilian Paralympic Committee since 2009, having served seven years before that as its Secretary General. Through obtaining broadcast rights for Paralympic sport in Brazil for the 2004 Athens Games, he has helped the people of Brazil to understand that Paralympians are not just people with disabilities, but high-performance athletes. The exposure of the Games then helped drive athlete recruitment which in turn enhanced the country’s Paralympic potential.
"I am a firm believer that sport is the most powerful tool for education and inclusion," Parsons said. "Paralympic sport puts disability into perspective. It is not relevant."
IOC Executive Board Member Anita DeFrantz received the ‘Truce Ideal Award’ – for a distinguished American who exemplifies the Olympic Truce.
DeFrantz has worked tirelessly throughout her career to ensure that all children have access to sport, and has fought for equality and justice in everything she has done. Her fearless fight against the 1980 Moscow boycott was an act of truce.
Carlos Henrique Schroder, General Director of Globo Television Network, was presented with the ‘Ekacheiria Award’ – for a notable global figure. Schroder was honored for the role that he has played in spreading the message of the Olympics.
"We believe in sports that they can help society that they can teach how we can be a better society," Schroder said.
Admiral James Stavridis was awarded in absentia with the inaugural ‘Building Bridges Award’ - for people-to-people understanding to help manage international tensions. Stavridis is a retired United States Navy admiral who was NATO’s 16th Supreme Allied Commander and is the current dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, a graduate school for international affairs. He is also chairman of the board of the U.S. Naval Institute and a Senior Fellow at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.
"The recipients have each done something unique in their own field," Dugan said.
"They have the spirit of the Olympic ideals. We want to use them as examples for athletes and everyone else who wants to know more about the Olympic Truce and what it means to enable safe passage and participation in the Games."
A previous award winner, Lord Michael Bates, closed the event by talking about his belief in the Olympic truce and passionately called on everyone present to serve as modern messengers of the Olympic Truce in Rio and beyond.
To read more about the Truce Foundation of the USA click here.
Written by Alice Wheelerin Rio de Janeiro
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