The Youth of the World United in Mâcon

12th International Youth Forum Pierre de Coubertin

After 22 years of the International Network’s existence, from 24th -31st August 2019, the Youth Forum returned to Coubertin’s home country, to the Centre Omnisports Mâcon, in beautiful Burgundy, and was held from 24th -31st August 2019.

After 22 years of the International Network’s existence, from 24th -31st August 2019, the Youth Forum returned to Coubertin’s home country, to the Centre Omnisports Mâcon, in beautiful Burgundy, and was held from 24th -31st August 2019.

Once again, the main objective was to provide young people from four continents the chance to effective understanding of Coubertin’s Olympic idea and to let the values of friendship, fairness, excellence, respect, and the joy of effort be experienced across borders.

Traditionally, the competitions for the Pierre de Coubertin Award made up the core of the week’s activities. They included:

1. Social Performance

2. An Olympic Knowledge Test (about Coubertin’s life and works as well as
a. the ancient and modern Olympic Games)

3. Sporting Performances (50m Swimming, 100m Sprint, Long jump with
a. weights, Cross-country run and Paralympic Boules)

4. A Cultural Performance in one of the nine international arts workshops

5. Discussions on Olympic Values (“Fairplay”, “Citius, Altius, Fortius – the striving for Excellence


Right from the start, the Forum in Mâcon could set a new record by welcoming 25 delegations from 23 countries, a number which had not been reached before in any previous Forums.

The Pierre de Coubertin Medal created by Karlheinz Oswald

Sprint of the Kenyan team
(photo: A. Nikolaus)

The sports competitions:

Long jump with weights (= ancient sport)

(photo: A. Nikolaus)

Besides the sports competitions for the Coubertin Award, multiple choices of sport activities were offered to the Forum participants every day: Basketball, Rugby, Volleyball, Table Tennis, Sport Boules, Pétanque…

Morning gymnastics with Joël
(photo: S. Kamhawi)

Following the forum motto “Olympism at school. It must be encouraged!” (title of an article by Coubertin from 1934), the participants prepared an exhibition of more than 50 posters proposing numerous ideas and activities in order to makethe Life and Works of Pierre de Coubertin better known. In this way they spread in their countries Coubertin’s Olympic ideal wishing to make the world a more harmonious and better place.


One of the most favourite events among the youths was the Mini-Expo on Monday evening. With great enthusiasm, the delegations presented their home countries, their culture, customs and traditions. Each team at their stand displayed brochures to watch, games and riddles to play as well as culinary delights to taste.

It was a real place of intercultural exchange: The Japanese in their kimonos, the Indian participants in their sarongs, the Austrians in dirndls and leather trousers, the Kenyans presenting the Masaii culture … and finally international dances for everyone to join in.


After an unforgettable atmosphere while singing at the “camp fire” on Tuesday evening, another great moment of the Forum was the presentation of the results of the international arts workshops on Wednesday night. During three sessions in the chosen workshop the youths created together a piece of art connected with the forum motto: the forum song, the forum banner, a French theatre play, French chanson, vocal improvisation and body percussion, modern dance, easy gymnastics, the creation of digital quizzes on Coubertin or the creation of forum badges.

Intercultural learning at the Mini-Expo: The stand of the Norwegian friends
(photo: S. Kamhawi)

Presentation of the Forum banner by the French young volunteers
(photos: I. Nikolaus)

Joy of effort during the arts workshop: La chanson française
(photos: I. Nikolaus)

One of the aims of the Youth Forums always is to get to know the host country, to learn about its history, its culture and cuisine. During an excursion to Cluny, the students had the chance to visit one of the French first-class sights, to discover its medieval history, to enjoy a treasure hunt and to spend their free time with the new friends.


On Thursday evening, all delegations in their national costumes lined up in alphabetical order for a Parade along the Saône River to Esplanade Lamartine. There, on a huge stage, the participants from 23 countries attracted many residents and tourists of Mâcon with their folk and modern dances, inviting them to share this unique moment, to sing and to dance with them.

The Parade of delegations on the way to Esplanade Lamartine
(photos: I. Nikolaus)

The highlight of the last day was the Closing Ceremony of the Forum with the official Award Ceremony.

As the results of the participants prove, this week of the Forum was not only an exciting, but also a successful one. Thus, those participants, who successfully passed all the competitions of the Pierre de Coubertin Awardwere honoured with the Coubertin medal and a CIPC certificate.


Finally, the participants of the 12thYouth Forum demonstrated by their performances in various fields that Pierre de Coubertin’s ideas are still relevant today. Everyone in the Forum community gave a vivid example of the friendship and understanding among young people of the world, students from different nations, cultures and religions.


Furthermore, they demonstrated during the whole week how you can share the knowledge about Pierre de Coubertin and his works and how you can contribute to spread his Olympic ideal. The participants of the 12thYouth Forum have vividly illustrated the enriching impact of integrating “Olympism at school” by repeating Coubertin’s demand


»Olympism at school. It must be encouraged!«

So let’s continue to give the Coubertin students from around the world a place to meet, to mingle and to get to know one another. After the forum is before the forum! See you in Cyprus in 2021!

The entire Forum community during the visit of Cluny
(photo: S. Kamhawi)