Dear friends, it is a special honor for me to address the 11th International Session for Directors of National Olympic Academies and welcome all of you, participants and lecturers, to the International Olympic Academy. It is a special honor, a pleasure and an obligation for me as the President of the Academy to welcome the members of the larger Olympic Family who contribute with their action and work to the progress of the modern Olympic Movement. The fundamental objective of the International Olympic Academy and every National Olympic Academy is to cultivate and disseminate the Olympic ideal and Olympic education. We are all aware of the outstanding educational work of National Olympic Academies, at national and international level, for the development and promotion of Olympic education. The huge contribution of these institutions to the promotion of the ideas of Olympism and Sport in schools and in society creates high expectations in all of us who are involved in Olympism regarding the redefining and enhancing of Olympic values as a means of improving the quality of life and relations at humanitarian level.
The humanitarian ideas of Olympism represent a safe pedagogical direction for world youth and we all have the duty to support National Olympic Academies and their further expansion. Moreover, the ideas of the Olympic Movement define the cohesion and future course of National Olympic Academies. I endorse this view not only as the President of the IOA but also as the President of the National Olympic Academy that is developing its activity in Greece precisely with the view to disseminating these values. You may rest assured that the International Olympic Academy will always support your work and continue to encourage the creation of more and more National Olympic Academies around the world. This is something that cannot be achieved, however, without the essential support of National Olympic Committees in different countries whose cooperation with National Olympic Academies is certainly an important prerequisite.
Dear friends, I hope that at this Session the analysis and consideration of Olympism and its future in the era of globalization will reveal new facets of an issue that has never stopped to preoccupy the researchers and observers of the Olympic Movement since its inception. Although globalization is not a contemporary phenomenon, the historic, social and political changes that we witness at the beginning of the 21st century need to be renegotiated insofar as we are seeking cooperation in a wider world at the level of values and ideologies. In such circumstances, we need to revisit Olympic ideology and look at its integration in the constantly evolving globalization process. How much can globalization influence the concept of Olympism or to what extent can the principles of Olympism influence globalization? I hope that this Session will be the starting point for a wide debate on these issues, a pleasant stay in a place of historic importance and great natural beauty, as well as an opportunity to revive our human relations.
Dear friends, as you already know, this year the Academy is celebrating its 50th anniversary and given this opportunity I would like to present to you a short video on its history. [Please, view this video at http://www.ioa.org.gr/]
From the bottom of my heart, I wish you a pleasant stay and every success in your work during this Session.