|New exchange platform for Olympic Cities|
From 9-11 October, Olympic Cities gathered in Lausanne, the Olympic Capital, for the inaugural Lausanne Summit 2008. The programme consisted of world class speakers, and the first General Assembly for the World Union of Olympic Cities, (UMVO – Union Mondiale des Villes Olympiques).
The UMVO has been created to provide a platform for networking and exchange of experiences between cities that have held, will hold, or have ambitions to hold the Olympic, and Youth Olympic, Games. It is meant to be an informal platform where cities can discuss openly between themselves and with the International Olympic Committee. Created in December 2002 by the city of Athens and Lausanne with the support from the International Olympic Committee, the Union is directed at Mayor’s and city officials rather than the bid committees, which encourages open discussions about the opportunities, but also the challenges, that host cities can face.
The Summit was a fascinating exchange between cities who have witnessed the long term impact of hosting the Games and those that are looking to the future and wondering if the Olympic Games are the right platform for their city. The day and a half programme consisted of a mix of world class speakers and panel discussions with past Olympic hosts. Friday’s programme concluded with the first General Assembly for the UMVO, where many cities expressed the long-time need for such an association and their interest in ensuring that this platform continues to grow.
Mr. Daniel Brélaz, Mayor of Lausanne and President of the UMVO said "We are pleased that the first General Assembly for the UMVO was well received. Olympic Cities have long needed a platform for exchange. I am honoured to be the President of the association and am dedicated to moving forward with its development."
The Union plans to hold General Assemblies biennially to coincide with the summer and winter Olympic Cycle, but could meet more often if there is a demand. A complete post-event report will be available in the coming weeks.