Report from PyeongChang, week one

Here is a brief report about the Foundation’s activities at the Olympics. 

The story from PyeongChang is the world’s big story right now: Games-related rapprochement between North and South Korea. 

The Olympic Truce has facilitated a pause in tensions on the Korean Peninsula.  Joint South Korean & US military exercises were suspended during the Games.  North Korea opted to participate in the Games with the expectation of international dialogue after years of stalemate, and rivals have opened their hands to each other, even competing as one on a unified hockey team.  The world’s largest multi-sports tournament hosted by South Korea has proven safe for all travelling and participating once again in the world’s largest celebration of humanity.

Go Team World!

The Foundation awarded the People of Korea, through Mr. Choi Moon-soon, the Governor of Gangwon Province (host of the Games), for those who contribute to peace among the people of the world.  It took place in front of several hundred distinguished Koreans at the new PyeongChang Forum which plans to become the Asian Davos.  We consulted thereafter with Governor Choi on opportunities to supersize our message for the legacy of the PyeongChang Games and to contribute to the Forum’s 2019 session.

Separately we awarded Mr. Miroslav Lajcak, the President of the UN General Assembly, at the Olympic Village’s Truce Wall which we all signed in front of a media spread.  We sat together at lunch in the Athletes’ cafeteria and befriended several Olympians as well as the head of the Paris 2024 Games. 

Finally, we met privately with the President of the PyeongChang Games, Mr. Lee Hee-beom, probably the busiest man in the world this week.  He graciously shared his views with us on the North-South Korean dynamic and will place our discus trophy to him in the PyeongChang Olympic Museum opening soon.  He flattered us with a request to provide suggestions about peace and truce for his statement at the Games’ Closing Ceremonies broadcast on 25 February.

The Foundation’s poet laureate, Colin Goedecke, enhanced our awards with original poems dedicated to each recipient. His works for the PyeongChang Games are compiled in the anthology “Peace-ability” (here for your enjoyment).  The Foundation’s signature poem, “Times of Truce”, replete with original imagery and scored music, can be experienced in this brief video which we premiered in PyeongChang.

We met with the President of the US Olympic Committee and others, including once again with Michelle Kwan, who has been a sports-diplomat both on and off the ice over the years.

Enjoying the Opening Ceremonies and several events, Ute and I made new friends for the Foundation.  In Korea and now back in Princeton, we continue to discover a fascination in others with the origin and purpose of the Olympic Movement: the Olympic Truce.

The period of the Truce extends through the Paralympics in PyeongChang up through 25 March.  I will develop and explore opportunities for the Foundation to continue to support and advocate the Olympic Truce at this special time of historic significance and opportunity to improve tensions on the Korean Peninsula and beyond.

I welcome your views and suggestions. 

Please follow me on Twitter @OlympicTruce where I am scrapbooking articles, commentary, and photographs.

Thank you,