CISM Is Proud of Its Past and Confident About its Future
Out of 127 Member Nations of the International Military Sports Council (CISM), 80 travelled to the charming and popular town of Agia Napa150 or so kilometres to the East of Nicosia, the capital of Cyprusto take part in the 60th CISM General Assembly and Congress.
Before reporting in detail on this annual CISM forum, a word of praise is definitely in order for the Organising Committee, the Cypriot Delegation and the Cyprus National Guard for the outstanding working conditions they provided. It is true that ever since joining CISM in 1991, Cyprus has been most active, sending quality athletes to the different world championships and conquering quite a few medals in the process.
During its stay in Cyprus, CISM enjoyed ideal working conditions for all its statutory meetings: Board of Directors, Commissions, Technical Committees and Continental meetings were held in advance of the plenary sessions of the General Assembly and Congress.
The standing of the Opening Ceremony was enhanced by the presence of H.E. Mr Tassos Papadopoulos, President of Cyprus. In his address, he declared that “As President of Cyprus and a true sports fan, I can assure you that I am an active proponent and sponsor of your efforts to encourage the development and growth of sport in the Armed Forces”. To these key words, he added his best wishes for success in the sessions of the General Assembly and Congress. He was then awarded the Grand Cordon of the Order of Merit of CISM, while the titles of Grand Officer, Officer and Knight were respectively bestowed to the Minister of Defence, the Chief of the General Staff of the National Guard and the President of the Organising Committee.
Many political, diplomatic, military and sporting authorities also attended to Opening Ceremony. A number of Italian, German and Cypriot athletes who won Olympic medals in Athens in 2004 were also invited. General Gianni Gola, President of CISM, presented them with token presents.
The participants were then treated to an artistic account of 10,000 years of history and civilisation on the island of Cyprus.
In addition to the presence of a European Head of State at a CISM eventa rare occurrence indeed, the President of CISM, accompanied by three Continental Vice-Presidents (Africa, the Americas and Europe) and the Secretary General met with several high-ranking Cypriot personalities as part of official visits, including Mr Christophias Dimitris, President of the Parliament, Mr Kyriakos Mavronikolas, Minister of Defence and Lieutenant-General Athanasios Nikolodimos, Chief of Staff of the National Guard.
It was an honour for the first session of the Congress to welcome Mr David Wineger, Assistant to Mr Adolf Oggi, Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General for the promotion of sport as an instrument of development and peace. In keynote address that was much appreciated, Mr Wineger discussed the role of sport in promoting and maintaining peace.
Another landmark in this General Assembly was the appointment of Lieutenant-Colonel Michel Van Meurs (NED) to a four-year term as CISM Secretary General. He thus became our organisations seventh Secretary General since its creation in 1948. Other milestones included the acceptance of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia as CISMs 127th Member Nation, the election to the Board of Directors of Colonel Forquer (USA) and the cooptation of Major-General Zhaohai Chen (China) as Vice-President for Asia.
While not attending this General Assembly, the Indian Delegation did provide assurances in a message about progress in preparations for the 4th Military World Games scheduled to be held in 2007 in Hyderabad. As for the 5th Military World Games, the call for applications is still open but to date, the Turkish delegation alone has filed a preliminary application for the 2011 event.
Once again this year, the annual meeting provided President Gola with an opportunity to call upon his peers to play a prominent role on both the national and international scenes. While asserting his optimism, he encouraged them to be more proactive and to launch initiatives in various sport-related fields, leveraging the opportunities that present themselves in everyones lives in the interest of military sports and athletes.
The discovery of the host countrys cultural treasures led the participants to a visit of the capital, Nicosia, and to the Monastery of Kykko. Built nine centuries ago, the latter was erected in the Troodos mountain range at an altitude of 1,200m. In addition to its religious function, it is also one of Cypruss most prominent intellectual centres.
A large island with a big heart, Cyprus accommodated the 60th CISM General Assembly and Congress in a great spirit of friendship.
In 2006, the 61st General Assembly and Congress will be held in the Italian capital and City of Sport, Rome.