Every city and every country that undertakes to host the Olympic Games - the greatest sporting event in the world - can, indeed should, seek to draw attention to its cultural profile and highlight its most authentic aspects.
For Athens and for Greece, the Cultural Olympiad spanning the four-year period from 2001 to 2004 is more than a secondary aspect of the preparation for the Olympics; rather, it is part of its essence.
For Greeks, Cultural Olympiad is an international institution that sends out a message to the world. It is a contest of cultural creativity, and a bridge that brings peace and reconciliation to the peoples of the world.
Cultural Olympiad aims to become a permanent institution based in ancient Olympia. Working closely alongside the International Olympic Committee and the Athens 2004 Committee, it is linked to UNESCO and the UN. It is in this context that the International Foundation of the Cultural Olympiad was set up in 1998.
The Cultural Olympiad is more than just another festival. Moreover, it goes beyond any national and, indeed, Helleno-centric programme. It is an event of global significance which is based in Greece and on the 2004 Olympics.
The key messages of the Cultural Olympiad
The Cultural Olympiad seeks to spread a message of peace and social cohesion to the world. A message that links tradition with innovation, and innovation with vision - a modern message that speaks to the information society and the people that live in it.
The key idea of the Cultural Olympiad 2001-2004 is the universality of civilization. And its central message is the need «For a Culture of Civilizations.»
The Broad Programme of the Cultural Olympiad
The main events of the Cultural Olympiad refer to all the peoples of the world and their cultures and at the same time highlight the modern face of Greece. It is especially important that young people can follow these events.
The Cultural Olympiad events include:
1. International meetings and conferences
2. Various exhibitions
3. Theatre and dance performances to take place at historical sites originally related to
4. Musical events
5. Festivals for film, audiovisual and digital arts
6. Events that focus on the other face of culture: alternative art forms, such as Art Brut, exhibitions and art by prisoners, and so on.
7. Events that highlight the variety and wealth of popular culture
8. Cultural Olympiad Olive Garland Prizes, Kotinos, will be established. These prizes will be awarded in ancient Olympia by the International Committee of the Cultural Olympiad Foundation to people who make an outstanding contribution in the areas of philosophical and political thought on the dialogue among cultures, Cultural Heritage, Literature, Music, Vsual Arts and Performing Arts.
The competent authority for the management of the Cultural Olympiad is the Hellenic Culture Organization SA. The aims of HCS SA are:
- to promote the cultural heritage and resources of the country, emphasizing on digital applications and taking advantage of the opportunities offered by the Information Society
- to organize and promote and endorse the Cultural Olympiad as part of the policy designed by the Hellenic Ministry of Culture.
- to organize complete programs of cultural activities and events of the scheme Domain of Culture.