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Georgetown Promotes Olympic Values Movement

Goy Phumtim and Kostas Georgiadis

Goy Phumtim (G’07), right, says the Olympics are about more than just athletics in her winning essay on Olympic values. The essay landed her a trip to London, where she met Kostas Georgiadis, honorary dean of the International Olympic Academy. 

July 27, 2012 – What she calls the fundamental values of the Olympics – “excellence, respect, justice, participation, peace and openness to others” – are needed now more than ever, according to a contest-winning essay by Goy Phumtim (G’07).

Phumtim was one of three winners in a worldwide essay contest on Olympic values sponsored by Georgetown’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs.

The essay contest is part of an ongoing project by the center, the British Olympic Association, the World Faiths Development Dialogue and the Worldwide Support for Development to promote core human values during and after the games.

Realizing Values

A 2007 graduate of Georgetown’s master’s in Communication, Culture and Technology program, Phumtim suggested in her essay that “a creative way to realize the Olympic Values is for the International Olympics Committee (IOC), in collaboration with Olympic athletes, to initiate an ‘online Olympic torch relay’ during the lead up to the Games, whereby a virtual flame is ‘lit’ on each person’s Facebook page.”

She proposed that the flame be passed to a friend or athlete who lives in a different country by uploading a photo from his or her community that exemplifies an Olympic value.

“These images will be plotted on a map to show the interconnectedness of our world and the ubiquity of these values,” she said in her essay. 

Phumtim and the two other essay winners, Charlotte Davis of New Zealand and Kavya Srinivasa of India, were awarded stays in London for three days of the Olympics.

Addressing Challenges

As part of the movement, the Berkley enter co-supported a symposium on Olympic values in London June 29-July 1, led by Lord Colin Moynihan, British Olympic Association chair, and attended by young leaders from around the world.

A second Olympic Values Symposium is planned for sometime this fall.

Moynihan released a paper this week on the challenges to such values around the world in the years to come.

Greatest Show

“The Games are the ‘greatest show on earth’ precisely because of the values which inspire them and which differentiate them from all other events in the sporting calendar,” Moynihan writes. “…no other competition is built on a movement which draws its strength and purpose from the values of universality, peace and harmony, articulating a universal philosophy of life which transcends sport alone.”

The Berkley Center also has Q&As with a number of prominent people associated with the Olympics on its website, including Special Olympics chair Timothy Shriver and Bishop John Bryson Chane, who served as chaplain to the 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympics.

“The mission of the Olympic Movement and its values extends far beyond the Games,” Moynihan wrote in his essay. “It carries a collective opportunity, responsibility, and moral duty to pursue peace among nations and people. It underscores the powerful potential of sport to support global social development in ways that reach around the world.”

Global Platform

Moynihan wrote that in the 21st century, promoting health and personal excellence and combating cheating and doping remain imperatives.

Investing in sport for peace and development, and advancing innovative ways to educate young people about Olympic values of excellence, respect and friendship are additional key challenges to be met, Moynihan said.  

“The Olympic Movement is a tremendous global platform for dialogue about core human values that transcend the world of sport,” said Berkley Center director Thomas Banchoff. “We are delighted to be part of this ongoing effort.” 

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