Friday, 5 December 2008
The Peace and Sport Image of the Year Award: Turkey and Armenia
Peace and Sport Organization (Organisation pour la Paix et le Sport) - press release:
This distinction for the best image of fraternization through sport was awarded for a photograph of the historic handshake between the President of the Republic of Turkey Abdullah Gül and the President of Armenia, Serge Sarkissian, during the qualifying match for the Football World Cup between Turkey and Armenia. Thanks to football, this moment marked the end of nearly two decades of diplomatic silence.
H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco presented the award jointly to Armen Grigorian, Armenian Minister of Youth and Sport, and to Mahmut Özgener, President of the Turkish Football Federation, who exchanged long greetings on stage, creating a moment of intense emotion amongst spectators.
Joel Bouzou and David Tomatis, CEO of Sportel, acclaimed the photograph as “a symbol of hope for two communities whose history has been marked by hostility and pain.”
In a letter sent to Peace and Sport, the Armenian President Mr Sarkissian proclaimed himself “deeply moved to hear the Grand Jury’s decision to attribute the Peace and Sport Image of the Year Award to his handshake with Turkish President Mr Gül.” He added that he was convinced that “Sport is one of the best ways to overcome differences between nations”.
*photo - via Public Radio of Armenia