On September 24, it was announced that the president of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, will receive the Seoul Peace Prize 2020.
The Seoul Peace Prize recognizes individuals who have made contributions of peace between nations on the basis of the ideals of the 24th Olympic Games held in Seoul, Korea in 1988. The prize is awarded by the Seoul Peace Prize Cultural Foundation, which consists of 500 Korean nationals and 800 internationals.
Bach will be awarded this prize for his efforts to promote peace during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games, where he secured participation of the North Korean delegation. That included a joint North Korean and South Korean women’s hockey team. The two countries have been separated since World War 2, and have a long history of tension and hostility.
Thomas Bach is the 9th president of the IOC. He was elected on September 10, 2013. Bach was an Olympic gold medal champion in fencing (team foil) at the 1976 and 2006 Olympic Games in Montreal. Before becoming president, he was a founding member of the IOC’s Athletes’ Commission, served on the IOC Executive Board, and was Vice-President for over 10 years.
The Seoul Peace Prize Cultural Foundation has also complimented Bach on his efforts to advocate for refugees, saying “IOC president Bach has continuously supported refugees through the creation of the Refugee Olympic Team and the Olympic Refugee Foundation. He contributed to promoting the human rights of refugees by raising global awareness of refugee issues and renewing the world’s perspective on refugees.”
The 15th Seoul Peace Prize ceremony will be held within the year. At the ceremony, Bach will be presented with the award, a plague, and an honorarium of $200,000 (USD).
“It is a great honour to receive this award,” Bach said, “and I would like to thank the Seoul Peace Prize Cultural Foundation for its decision. This prize belongs to the entire IOC and the whole of the Olympic Movement, because without the support of so many, these achievements for peace through sport could never have been accomplished. All of us in the Olympic Movement take this prestigious prize as an encouragement to further strengthen our efforts to make a contribution to peace, solidarity and the unity of humanity, in all our diversity, through sport.”