Manifesto on the Importance of Sport Diplomacy in Building Asia-Europe Relations

Call to Global leaders, following the webinar “Faster, Higher, Stronger – Together” – The Importance of Sports Diplomacy in Building Asia – Europe Relations

The universal values of excellence, friendship and mutual respect are the foundations of the Olympic movement redefined through the modern manifesto of Baron Pierre de Coubertin in 1892. These values are shaping the Olympic movement, and inspire all those who foster  the spirit of harmonious partnership of the global community.

With the original Olympics dating to 776BC in the era of Ancient Greece, the Olympic movement started as a Greek festival celebrating Zeus, the Greek God of sky and weather. The six-month long games that united athletes from city-states through competitions in wrestling, boxing, long jump, javelin, discus and chariot racing, remains an inspiration for modern times. Just think of of ‘Ekecheiria’ or “Olympic truce” which during the time of the games,was the personification of truce, armistice and cessation of hostilities allowing all the athletes and pilgrims to travel safely from their home cities to the games.. Ekecheiria belong to the core values of the Ancient Olympic Games. It is still more than relevant in today’s world.  

With the renewal of the Olympic Truce by the International Olympic Committee and a year later on October 25th 1993 with the revived Truce of the United Nations in their Resolution 48/11, the Olympic spirit constitutes the platform of dialogue for peace and security in the world. It aims aims at both mobilizing the Olympic spirit in the younger generations and at facilitating a genuine dialogue between communities in conflict, and creating a window of opportunities for global dialogue and reconciliation.

On 20 July 2021, the International Olympic Committee approved a change in the Olympic motto that recognises the unifying power of sport and the importance of solidarity. The change adds the word “together” after an en dash to “Faster, Higher, Stronger”. Sports diplomacy is a new term that describes an old practice: the unique power of sport to bring people, nations, and communities closer together via a shared love of physical pursuits. Though sport diplomacy is not new, the power of sport has never been more important in our current century. 

The Olympics Games continue to be internationally significant event that unite people through the ultimate manifestation of the greatest achievements in the field of sports. Celebrating the upcoming Olympic year, we aim to highlight the importance of the Olympic spirit of “Faster, Higher, Stronger – Together” as an important driver f for human communication and development. The Olympic Games are  a unique stage for athletes and a global showcase of unity conveyed through the Olympic spirit.

In spite of the differences in cultures, languages, geography, colours and races, we share the charm and joy of the sport events worldwide, and together we seek for the ideal of humankind for peace. We belong to the same world and we share the same aspirations and dreams. And it is through the power of sport that facilitation of peace and bridging gaps between nations and cultures can happen. It builds long-term mutually beneficial partnerships with third countries and societies, particularly when relations have become estranged. Sport diplomacy extends the appeal of a nation’s people and culture to third countries through the cultivation of people-to-people links with grassroots initiatives becoming increasingly prominent.

As the famous ping-pong diplomacy case illustrates, the visit between Chinese ping-pong athletes and their US counterparts in 1971 opened the door for people’s exchanges between China and the United States and paved the way for a sustainable Sino–US rapprochement. The changes that followed the event were so incremental that ping-pong diplomacy has been remembered as ‘a small ball making turn the big ball’.

Ahead of the Olympic Winter Games hosted in Beijing, we as athletes endorse any initiative calling an open dialogue between the East and the West. We wish the Olympic Winter Games every success in uniting the world through the power of sports and the Olympic spirit!