Unity in diversity / one spirit, one goal.
On 6 July 2005 London became the first city to officially host the modern day Olympic Games three times. The first time had been in 1908, then 1948 and now will take place again in London from 27 July to 12 August 2012. More than four million people are expected to pour into the city of London during this period.
The Olympic movement is a concept that originates from the ancient Greek city Olympia, which was one of the oldest religious centres and hosted all the ancient games. Although, the first record of the games was in 776 BC, they could have started long before that year. Pierre de Coubertin, a French baron, founded the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1894 and two years later the first modern Olympics were held. He aimed for sport to be educational and uniting. Also, he created the Olympic Charter, which states that, ‘The practice of sport is a human right’. Furthermore, it stipulates that each individual is entitled to play sport ‘without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.’
In the early stages of the Olympic movement, athletes travelled from many other Greek colonies to compete in games. As such, the movement of people is a concept that goes back into ancient times. Also, this makes the spirit of the games integrate unquestionably with Integration Support Services (ISS) objectives, whose core values are centred on the welfare of migrants. With this in mind, the mission of ISS shares this same attitude of treating individuals with respect regardless of their origins or affiliations. The story of the Olympics is a backbone, which ISS can use to grow from strength to strength to find a common ground for people with different backgrounds living in the same community.
The Olympic symbol of five rings interlocked and each with different colours depicts the spirit of togetherness amongst athletes from all over the world. Also, the idea of passing on the flame signifies a message of peace, friendship and integration. Though, the Olympic movement develops from time to time so as to adapt to a fast changing world the main concept of bringing people together through sport remains unshaken. In the same way, from the day ISS was conceived the aim has been to bring peace and friendship amongst migrants, refugees, ethnic minorities and the rest of the British community. In addition, the games have changed people’s attitudes towards each other and created cross-cultural integration – through sportsmanship – over a lengthy period of time. In the same way, ISS – as an organization – is closely related to the spirit of games as it also contributes to the breaking of barriers in the community.
Since 2005 ISS has achieved beyond expectations and each year it continues to break barriers and develop its structure to suit the economic and political changes that are being made within the UK and outside. It is this strategy that has ensured that it remains one of the few organization still empowering refugees, migrant and minorities regardless of the depreciation of the UK economy. Concisely, ISS carries a torch in the form of a strong voice for the minority in the community on a scale that continues to grow year after year.Therefore, it is the hope of many individuals who are part of ISS that the spirit that comes with the Olympic Games-the peace and the friendship will aid the task of bringing people of various experiences together.