The International Olympic Academy functions as a multicultural interdisciplinary centre that aims at studying, enriching and promoting Olympism. The foundation of such an institution was inspired by the ancient Gymnasium, which shaped the Olympic Ideal by harmoniously cultivating body, will and mind.
The organization of the first Olympic Games of the 21st century in Athens took place in a context of changes at an international level which affected every aspect of human thinking and activity. We, our cultures and our civilisations have already entered a greater transitional period in which the images of the world that we were used to taking for granted are being altered.
The interrelated scientific, technological, economic, political and social developments that characterise the course of humanity towards the third millennium are influencing each and every idea, norm and institution of our international community. This dynamic wave is also opening up new forms of dialogue for the future of Olympism. Moreover, as can be seen through the study of its age-long history, the Olympic Ideal has always been conceived and formed according to the wider conditions prevailing during different periods in time.
The birth, the prosperity, the decline and the revival of the Olympic Games have all been the reflection of the wider cultural conditions that shaped each era. The speculations and potentials still evolving out of the Olympic Movement are naturally arising in the realisation process of such an Ideal.
"Olympism", afterall, in the words of Pierre de Coubertin, "is not a system, it is a state of mind. It can permeate a wide variety of modes of expression and no single race or era can claim to have the monopoly of it". The International Olympic Academy provides a unique opportunity for students, academics, athletes, artists and officials from all over the world to exchange ideas and share this "state of mind" in Ancient Olympia.
The wide variety of educational sessions, academic programmes and in depth research studies that are offered, all aim towards serving the vision of the International Olympic Academy for the new century: to explore and enhance the contribution of Olympism to humanity.
Defending and promoting the Olympic Ideal from both the sporting and the cultural point of view must be a task that we all share.