Olympic flame kindles spirit of reconciliation during passage past UNESCOA 15–year old Israeli girl, Lotus Ammar, passed the Olympic flame to a 15 year old Palestinian boy, Zayd Khader Mostafa, in front of the Organization’s Paris Headquarters this evening, in a gesture charged with the spirit of peace and reconciliation that both the Olympic Games and UNESCO embody.
“The passage of the Olympic Flame by UNESCO is a moment of high symbolism given the close affinity between the goals and values of UNESCO and the ideals of the Olympic movement,” said UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura who joined hands briefly with the teenagers as they passed the flame. “This symbolic gesture is further enhanced by the passing of the Olympic Flame from the hands of an Israeli girl to a Palestinian boy, reminding us that peace, fraternity and mutual respect between neighbours, and among all the peoples of the world, are the strongest expression of our common humanity,” said the Director General.
“On behalf of UNESCO, I call upon all nations to observe the Olympic Truce and to ensure that the Olympic Games in Greece are a celebration of our most cherished ideals.”
More than 130 sporting and media personalities, including UNESCO Champion for Youth David Douillet, who is also olympic and world judo champion, carried the flame across the French capital throughout the day, each running a distance of 400 metres.
The Olympic Flame is passing through 34 cities ahead of the official opening of the Games in Athens on August 13.