Seoul Peace Prize

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Here I am with you in Seoul once again. I have come here in many different circumstances, especially in connection with the organization and staging of the magnificent Olympic Games held here in Seoul exactly two years ago, and which were considered the most successful of our Olympic history, soon to be one hundred years old.

Mr. President, we do not forget that you were one of the successive presidents as the head of the Olympic Organizing Committee for the Games in Seoul but above all, we are aware of the way in which you, as Head of State, have helped your people in all walks of Korean life to enjoy the positive benefits of close contact with the Olympic world.

Today's ceremony is an exceptional one, as you have paid me the great honour of naming me the recipient of the "Seoul Peace Prize".

Let me first of all express to you my deepest personal gratitude, but I wish at the same time and above all to say that this honour has not been conferred so much on me as a person as on the person of the President of the IOC, a post which I have held for ten years now. Only in this capacity do I feel myself worthy to accept, since, through me, it is the Olympic Movement itself that your have considered worthy to be honoured as an untiring emissary of peace - this peace, which is our supreme goal and the most precious possession of each one of us, but which is constantly threatened in a variety of ways.

For all of us in the Olympic world, your gesture is indeed a pressing appeal not to relax our efforts for a moment, but to join forces with those who, throughout the world, are struggling to achieve the same ideal.

What I would like to emphasize today - something that well illustrates the significance of the prize you have created - is the crucial importance of the role the Olympic Movement will be called upon to play in this struggle. Working together with all our combined forces, we shall place its prestige and influence and the factor of cohesion and unity it represents at the service of the sacred mission vested in us by our founder, Baron Pierre de Coubertin.

To make it clear that the Olympic Movement is, in my view, the true and natural beneficiary of your gesture - as generous as it is symbolic - I make a solemn pledge here today that, in accepting the honour you have conferred upon me, I shall contribute the sum of US $3000,000 which goes with it in this entirety towards the Olympic Museum now being built in Lausanne.

In this way, your gesture will take on its full and noble significance in the eyes of the whole world.

Thank you.