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UK First For Ulster Sporting Endeavour

9 May 2011

A University of Ulster project has has become the first in the UK to be recognised under London 2012’s Olympic Truce programme.

The Ulster Sports Academy project – Sport & Community Integration & Education – has been honoured by the London 2012 programme, which recognises projects that help to promote the Olympic Truce by ‘building a better and more peaceful world through sport and the Olympic ideal’.

A series of sport integration and education workshops promoting peace and conflict resolution at local schools, colleges, sports clubs and community groups have been hosted throughout Northern Ireland by the Ulster Sports Academy.

The Ulster initiative, designed by academic staff from the School of Sports Studies, has already been awarded the London 2012 Inspire mark, the badge of the Inspire Programme, in recognition of its excellence and innovative.

LOCOG Chair Lord Coe said: “Sport is a powerful channel for promoting peace and conflict resolution within and between communities. I am proud that the University of Ulster-Peace III Programme is not only helping to engage communities in Northern Ireland but is helping us to promote the main concept behind the modern Olympic Truce of building a better and more peaceful world through sport and the Olympic ideal.”

The Olympic Truce originated during the Ancient Olympic Games when fighting ceased from seven days before and until seven days after the Games, allowing athletes, artists and spectators to travel to Olympia, participate in the Olympic Games and return to their homelands in peace.

In the 21st century, the core principle of the Olympic Truce is to build a more peaceful and better world through sport and the Olympic ideal and to use sport to promote and encourage peace, mutual respect, reconciliation and conflict resolution between and within communities.

Dr Nigel Dobson, Co-Director of the Ulster Sports Academy, said: “The Ulster Sports Academy-Peace III Programme held events in 18 council areas, with more than 5000 participants. The accolade and honour is a testament to the vision of becoming the leading University for sport on the island of Ireland.”

Presentations from Olympians, governing bodies of coaching and international researchers in sport and inclusion, took part in the conferences which aimed to challenge attitudes toward sectarianism and racism and to support resolution and mediation at the local community.

Lord Coe continued: “The Inspire programme is ensuring the legacy of the 2012 Games starts now as projects like Sport & Community Integration & Education are enabling people in Northern Ireland to make positive life changes.”

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