The opening ceremony of the 51st International Session for Young Participants was held on Pnyx hill in central Athens on Sunday evening, marking the 50th anniversary of the founding of the International Olympic Academy (IOA).
The International Session, which will run through July 9 in Ancient Olympia, will be on the central theme "Olympism", with the special topic being "IOA: 50 Years of Olympic Education".

IOA president Isidoros Kouvelos stressed in his address that the difficult economic conjuncture that Greece is experiencing also has repercussions on the IOA's functioning, but added that the operational deadlocks were overcome with the International Olympic Committee's support.

"We aspire to turn the IOA into a continuous research workshop on the problems that the implementation of Olympic Education is facing in every end in the world," he added.

On his part, International Olympic Committee president Dr. Jacques Rogge said that Olympic Education is a sector where the active cooperation of everyone plays a substantial role for the achievement of the Olympic Movement's main aim which is the promotion, cultivation and prevalence of the Olympic spirit in the next generations.

Hellenic Olympic Committee president Spyros Kapralos in his speech welcomed the Academy's new members and wished them success in the IOA conference in Ancient Olympia.

During the ceremony, the Academy awarded Jacques Rogge, Spyros Kapralos and Greece's IOC member and chairman of the IOC commission for Olympic Education and Culture Lambis Nikolaou.