EYOF Sarajevo & East Sarajevo prompts nomination for Peace and Sport award

28 October 2019

The European Olympic Committees (EOC) is pleased to announce that the Olympic Committee of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the cities of Sarajevo and East Sarajevo have been nominated by Peace and Sport for a Diplomatic Action of the Year award for their joint efforts in staging the successful 14th Winter European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF) this February.

This EYOF marked a historic moment for Bosnia Herzegovina, illustrating willingness on all sides to embrace peace and friendship through sport, and to work together for a brighter future. In total, 911 athletes from 46 European National Olympic Committees (ENOCs) took part in the multi-sport event for Europe’s best athletes between the ages of 14 and 18.

The EYOF was attended by the Chairman of the tripartite Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Milorad Dodik and members of the Presidency Željko Komšić and Šefik Džaferović. As a result, a meaningful message of peace took place, with the three politicians joining the athletes during the Closing Ceremony to participate in a #WhiteCard campaign, highlighting the importance of sport in promoting peace.

The EYOF was the first international multi-sport event organised in Bosnia & Herzegovina following the Bosnian War (1992-1995). It provided all local communities with an opportunity to unite in a common celebration of sport, youth and peace. Sarajevo & East Sarajevo also received the Flame of Peace as the symbol of a brighter common future for all the participants.

Where once there was a strong sport culture, peaking with the Olympic Winter Games in 1984, the war destroyed much of the region’s infrastructure, including sports facilities, depriving an entire post-war generation of having the opportunity to practice sport.

The EYOF therefore not only provided the local communities with a unique opportunity for reconciliation, but also a chance to rebuild sport venues and other infrastructure, while at the same time reigniting the long-held passion for sports among all citizens.

Created in 2008, the annual Peace and Sport Awards celebrate organisations and individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to peace, dialogue and social stability in the world through sport. From specific field programs to global initiatives, the winners have led projects that are symbolic of sport’s capacity to reconcile divided or opposed communities.

“This year, we received an unprecedented number of applications for the Peace and Sport Awards, showing increasing involvement in the peace-through-sport movement,” said Joël Bouzou, President and Founder of Peace and Sport. “Winning this award goes way beyond winning a trophy. Winners are an inspiration to other stakeholders for what sport can achieve on the global stage.”

This 2019 Peace and Sport Awards Ceremony will be held on 12 December in Monaco as part of the Peace and Sport International Forum, under the patronage and in the presence of Prince Albert II of Monaco. For more information on the Peace and Sports Awards, click here.