International Olympic Academy
Pierre de Coubertin dreamed of a cultural institution, the essential task of which would be to study and teach the history of the Olympic Games and to promote the ideals of peace and brotherhood associated with them. The idea was taken up by Jean Ketseas IOC member in Greece, and Carl Dien, a German Hellenist and friend of Coubertin. In 1949, they presented their plan to the 44th IOC Session. The plan was adopted and the Hellenic Olympic Committee was entrusted with the creation of the centre at the site of ancient Olympia, near the recently excavated stadium of antiquity.
On 14th June 1961 the International Olympic Academy was officially inaugurated, and until 1967, the sessions were held beneath the pine trees or under canvas. Today, this international centre of Olympism can accommodate three hundred people in a magnificent cultural and sports complex covering 25 hectares, open throughout the summer to young men and women representing their NOCs. The educational role of the IOA is extended through the organization of extra specialized sessions for National Olympic Committee officials and National Olympic Academies, sports journalists, educationalists, coaches, teachers, sports doctors, etc.
The organization and operation of the Academy are supervised by a Committee known as the Ephoria, made up of the IOC members in Greece, the Dean of the IOA, at most four representatives of the Hellenic Olympic Committee (HOC) and at most three personalities who have rendered distinguished service to the Olympic Movement, appointed by the HOC. The entire Ephoria is elected by the HOC. A special IOC Commission was created in 1967 to coordinate the IOA’s relations with the IOC, Olympic Solidarity and the Olympic Movement in general.
The International Olympic Committee attaches great importance to education and the training of future sports administrators and encourages the NOC’s to send participants to the various sessions of the Academy. To make the IOA move accessible, Olympic Solidarity meets 50% of the flights costs and accommodation costs for one male and/or one female participant per National Olympic Committee each year for the annual special session for young people between the ages of twenty and thirty five.
Attendance of a session at the IOA is an opportunity to meet and share opinions with athletes and young people from all over the world. The theme to be discussed during a session is chosen by the Ephoria. It is then developed by university prollessors, coaches, Olympic champions, journalists and sports experts who are invited to give lectures at the Academy. The subject is also discussed by working groups which present a consolidated report of their debates with their conclusions. The lectures and proceedings of the session as a whole are published in a report, a summary of which is presented to the IOC’s annual session by the Chairman of Commission for the IOA and Olympic Education.
These experiences and knowledge deserve to be exploited. The IOC thus encourages all NOCs to create their own Olympic Academies so as to pursue the work begun at the IOA in their own countries . At present, there are seventy-one National Olympic Academies and others are in the process of being created.
As Coubertin himself once said: “Olympism is a Movement, and its ideas must be studied, disseminated and defended.”
For further information regarding the International Olympic Academy Please contact the official web site of IOA www.ioa.org.gr