On Wednesday 23.02.2022, the prestigious Thorvald Stoltenberg prize was awarded to the Barents Sports Committee at the Kirkenes Conference.
Present to receive the award were board chairman Kent Nyheim from BSC Norway, board members Osmo Happonen from BSC Finland and Katarina Halvardsson from BSC Sweden and international coordinator Vera Arntsen. Board member Svetlana Naumova from BSC Russia participated via stream.
"The Barents Sports Committee are incredibly proud to be awarded the Thorvald Stoltenberg Prize. It is a wonderful recognition of the work done in all of Barents sport by athletes, leaders and committed volunteers in all four countries.
Barents Games is not only a sports event that brings together between 1200-1500 athletes aged 15-25, volunteers and guests each year in over 30 sports, Barents Games is also an important people to people collaboration that breaks barriers and prejudices. Youth is at the center where sports are used as a tool to form friendships, exchange experience, and share the adventure and community the Barents Games is. The sports collaboration has existed for over 70 years and is built on good dialogue, respect and good neighborship.
We promote good health, equality, inclusion and cooperation. We want to be an inspiration and motivation for young people to continue in sports at an age where there is a large drop-out rate in all four countries. We want to create wealth and pride for the region.
We feel that this award provides an extra motivation to continue the work we do and are very grateful for the publicity and recognition this award gives us. We are really looking forward to hosting Barents Summer 2022 in Tromsø, and Barents Winter Games in Kajaani in 2023 - we can not wait until we can meet our sports family in Barents again after two long and difficult years." Says Vera Arntsen, International Coordinator for the Barents Sports Committee
«Thorvald Stoltenberg's award will go to an actor who excels especially in continuing Thorvald Stoltenberg's work to promote international dialogue and contact between neighboring countries in the Barents region. The jury believes that the Barents Sports Committee deserves this award for its work with Barents Games and Young Leaders in Barents, which in every way contributes to promoting dialogue, trust and friendship across borders and between young people in the Barents region.
For the jury, it has been crucial that the winner manages to gather many young people in the region, give them a meeting place where they can both develop and at the same time build friendships and relationships across borders. This contributes to creating an attractive Barents region, at the same time as this is peace work in practice. The winner takes inclusion and diversity seriously, which is shown especially through the investment in parade sports. In addition, the winner makes a solid effort to make Barents cooperation visible. " says Ellen Zakariassen on behalf of the jury that has chosen the Barents Sports Committee as the winner of this prestigious award.
"This is a day of joy for Barents sports and a great appreciation of our sports cooperation in the Barents region. It all started with calotte-matches in some sports in the early 1950s and has had a long journey to the organizational form we have today.
In addition to the sports competitions and leadership programs for young leaders, Barents Games has a focus on people-to-people cooperation and cultural exchange between the 4 countries and has involved of thousands of athletes, coaches, leaders, judges, and volunteers over the years.
The collaboration has helped to improve the dialogue and contact between the people in the region. Through sports, relationships are created and through relationships, development, respect and cultural understanding are created, which together contribute to us creating new friendships, visiting each other and dampening tension in a time that has been marked by pandemics and increased political tension. The board are really looking forward to arranging the Barents Summer Games in Tromsø at the beginning of September this year» the very satisfied chairman of the board in BSCN and BSC Kent Nyheim from Norway sums up.
We would like to thank all of you who have worked with Barents sports for years and who have had faith in the project. You have all contributed to us now receiving this recognition. We are so incredibly proud.