Winter 2002

Nikos Filaretos

Public Orator, Professor Ian Henry, presented the Honorary Graduand at the Degree Congregation held on the afternoon of Monday 16 December 2002.

Chancellor, Lord Lieutentant, Vice-Chancellor, Mayor and Mayoress of Charnwood, Graduands, Ladies and Gentlemen

Our three honorary graduands today are drawn from the complementary domains of research, education and performance, and we honour Nikos Filateros for his contribution to Education, specifically to Olympic Education through his tireless efforts in the development of the International Olympic Academy.

Nikos Filaretos comes from a background in international banking. Having graduated from the University of Economic and Commercial Sciences in Athens, from 1956 to 1984 he led the International Division of Greece’s largest private bank. His business skills have been put to good use in his voluntary work as a sports administrator. He was nominated as General Secretary of the Greek National Olympic Committee shortly after the fall of the Greek Junta in 1974 and has served on that Committee continuously for the last 28 years. Since 1977 he has also been Secretary General of the International Committee of the Mediterranean Games. In 1981 he was elected as a member of the international Olympic Committee and has served on a number of its commissions. He is also currently a member of the Athens Olympic Games Organising Committee.

However it is in the field of Olympic Education that Nikos Filaretos has perhaps made his most significant contribution. For the last 28 years he has served on the Ephoria, the Senate, of the International Olympic Academy. The Academy is based on a campus in beautiful natural surroundings adjacent to the archaeological site of the Ancient Olympic Games. The Academy was inaugurated in 1961 with the mission of promoting the development and analysis of Olympic ideals, and it brings together annually young people involved in sport, young researchers undertaking work in the field of Olympism, educationalists and sports administrators from all over the world to engage in critical debate.

Nikos Filaretos is the longest serving President of the IOA having been elected for periods of office from 1986-1992 and again from 1997-2004. During this time he has sought to develop the Academy’s role as a hub of Olympic research and educational activity, and to widen access to its programmes. To this end he has promoted several initiatives, including the development of an annual Postgraduate Seminar (now in its 11th year) which brings together postgraduate research students together with a team of a 12 academics from all over the globe, under the direction of the Dean of the Academy and its governing body. The aim of this seminar is to increase interaction between researchers and students from different cultures and funding has been secured from the IOC to ensure that this opportunity be open to all regardless of financial circumstances. The result has been a uniquely valuable and culturally rich form of educational interaction enjoyed by 30 to 40 postgraduate researchers each year.

Other innovations have included the inauguration of a funding scheme for the promotion of gender equity in other sessions offered annually at the Academy, securing funding to build a new conference centre, and facilities to house a research library and archives, as well as to develop internet transmission to allow global access to sessions of the Academy, widening participation to those unable to travel to Olympia.

His great energy and ability in promoting Olympic ideals, Olympic education and Sport for All has been recognised elsewhere. He has twice received the Olympic Order of Merit in 1982 and again in 2002, and in 2001 was awarded the title of Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur by the President of the French Republic Jacques Chirac.

Nikos Filaretos is described by his colleagues as having that admirable mix of idealism and practical management skills which have enabled him to balance family and business commitments with the making of a remarkable contribution in a voluntary capacity to the field of Olympic education. In view of that contribution therefore, I have the pleasure, Chancellor, to present Nikos Filaretos to you and the whole University for the Degree of Doctor of Letters honoris causa

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  H.D.McCullam@lboro.ac.uk, December 2002

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