IOC President Thomas Bach awarded honorary doctorate from Seoul National University

18 Oct 2022
IOC News IOC President

In a ceremony at Seoul National University, International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Bach was today awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Sport Management by the University’s President, Oh Se-jung. The honorary doctorate was presented in recognition of his “dedication to creating a peaceful and better world through sports.”

IOC / Greg Martin

In the citation, the President of the University noted President Bach’s “outstanding achievements in the field of sport and the remarkable service made to mankind.” He also highlighted the “pioneering efforts made to protect refugees.” 

Oh went on: “he founded the Refugee Olympic Team in 2015 and supported athletes in various ways to continue their training and compete in the Olympic Games in any situation, including war.” Oh also noted that President Bach “spearheaded worldwide support for the Ukrainian Olympic Committee, as well as once again making the world aware of the importance of peace and human rights.”

IOC/Greg Martin

The citation also noted successful efforts by the IOC President to “increase the sustainability of the Olympic Movement, by presenting a strong reform agenda and setting a moral example while driving innovation in the international sports community.”

In a congratulatory “laudatio” speech by the former United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, President Bach was described as a  “genuine bridge builder, innovator, humanist and global citizen.” Mr Ban, who is also the Chair of the IOC’s Ethics Commission, went on to praise the President’s peace-building efforts: “He was instrumental in forging a historic breakthrough as North and South Korean athletes marched together and competed alongside one another as one team under one Korean peninsula flag, at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.”

IOC/Greg Martin

Accepting the award, President Bach said: “This honour belongs to the entire IOC and the whole of the Olympic Movement. Because, without the support of so many around the globe, our Olympic mission to make the world a better place through sport could never be accomplished.”

President Bach also acknowledged the work of the former Secretary-General of the UN. “So many of the initiatives that were mentioned are in fact inspired by him. This is true in particular for our Olympic Agenda 2020+5 reforms, which strive to live up to the role that the United Nations General Assembly has designated to sport: to be an important enabler to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals, of which he was the architect.”

Seoul National University awards the Honorary Doctorate of Sport to recognise excellence in sport and honour outstanding service to humanity. In all its history, Seoul National University – the country's most prestigious – has only awarded just over 100 honorary doctorates. 

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