O L Y M P I A C O S   1 9 2 5
O L Y M P I A C O S   1 9 2 5
Olympiacos welcomes Harvard!

Olympiacos welcomes Harvard!

The Legend hosts Harvard’s World Conference in Greece and sponsors the University’s new interest in soccer!

On Monday, September 4th, and for three days the Harvard University’s World Conference will take place in our country and Olympiacos is the host! The conference “Reinforcing, Crossing, and Transcending Borders: Soccer in a Globalized World” is being organized for the second time ever and Harvard University has chosen Olympiacos and Greece as the ideal host in the ideal place!

More than 180 professors all over the world expressed their interest in participating in this great academic event and Harvard itself has selected the 30 most qualified to be present and to speak about soccer’s influence in our world. The Conference is being hosted in our country by the most qualified ambassador of the Greek football, Olympiacos, following an initiative of Evangelos Marinakis himself. The Legend had a delegation on last year’s event, the first ever, which took place in Harvard’s campus.

The Conference focuses on soccer’s power, as the most globalized sport, as well as on its power to overcome borders and to bring people together, regardless of race, gender, religion, culture or nationality. At the same time, it summons the greatest soccer clubs around the world, as well as other international institutions, to promote and to facilitate the participation in soccer and sports in general of all the people, regardless of their civil status. The Conference also promotes the establishment of the “International Day for the Right to Play”, in order to consolidate every person’s possibility to participate in sports as a international fundamental right!

Senator George John Mitchell Jr., known for his role in Northern Ireland and the efforts for a peaceful resolution for the conflict in the Middle East, will make a speech in the Conference on the issue of the refugees and the way soccer can help. And who could represent this issue in a better way than our Olympiacos? The examples are quite recent, as the Legend prepared an entire support mechanism for the refugees on the port of Piraeus, in an aid “campaign” for all of those who were in need!

The conference is part of Harvard University’s Weatherhead Initiative on Global History and is also being supported by Simmons College of Boston, MA. The guiding principle of the conference is that, as the most globalized sport by far, soccer has a unique power to transcend borders and bring people together, regardless of race, gender, religion, culture or nationality. As such, the discussions over the course of the conference will focus upon how soccer can contribute to community building in a range of scenarios; how the sport relates to citizenship and belonging; and the phenomenon of transnational fandom. Themes will include the role of soccer in peace-building and conflict resolution as well as the sport’s role in Africa.

A key premise for the work of the conference is that: the largest soccer teams now have worldwide followings and passionate groups of supporters all over the world who come from different social backgrounds, and from many different countries. This broad base of support contributes to clubs’ widespread presence in social media and to the increased attention that they now receive from the traditional media. This expanded visibility has given clubs, their players and their administrators a unique opportunity to influence public debate and to embrace their social responsibility as a key part of their role and contribution within the global community.

The social responsibility of clubs extends to ensuring that as many people as possible are able to play the game they love, without encountering discrimination or prejudice.

Every human being has a fundamental right to participate in sport without discrimination on the basis of ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, language, religion, political or other opinion, or national or social origin. Furthermore, no distinction should be made on the basis of the political or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs. Clubs and sport associations should actively campaign against and refuse to engage in any such discrimination at both youth and professional levels.

Initiatives that encourage the participation of displaced people, whatever their civil status, in sporting activities should be supported. The conference urges soccer clubs and associations to agree to encourage greater participation in sport in conflict ridden or economically depressed areas and, when possible, to contribute financial resources, including providing used but appropriate equipment for the use of those people who lack adequate resources to participate in sport.

An International Day of the Right to Play should be declared to affirm the right to participate in sport as a universal and fundamental right and to promote the principles set out in this Declaration. The responsibility of clubs and their players in promoting universal participation is even more crucial at a time when the number of displaced people in the world escaping conflict or persecution has reached its highest point in history.

Evangelos Marinakis, President of Olympiacos FC commented: “The world’s leading soccer clubs are now among the most powerful and influential institutions in society. It is vital that they embrace their responsibility to their communities, and to the global community, by promoting concrete actions and initiatives that have the power to change the lives of everyday people. At a local level, Olympiacos has for some time been active in developing and implementing programmes to provide material assistance to displaced persons. It is time for the sport of soccer across the whole of Europe and beyond, to use its power to help those most disadvantaged and vulnerable in our midst.”

For the first time in its history, the Harvard University takes such a huge interest in soccer. The bonds with the greatest club in Greece, Olympiacos, have been developing in a superlative manner since last year, are continuing this year and will continue for many more years. One of the greatest academic institutions in the world, Harvard University, has chosen Olympiacos and our country, in order to lay the foundations for the further development of soccer in the USA. Furthermore, this serves a higher cause, the aid for all those who are in need. A motto connected to the way our club works, continually performing social initiatives and remaining on the side of our fellow citizens, in every possible way!

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