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Questioning the Effectiveness of the Olympic Truce

"A modern model for peace is the “Olympic Truce,” a United Nations General Assembly resolution that calls for the pausing and prevention of new conflicts from one week before the Olympic Games through one week after the Paralympic Games. Olympic Truce scholars have focused on identifying cases that demonstrate effective implementation of the Olympic Truce and have come up with mixed results. Some argue that the symbolic nature of the Truce allows it to create moments of peace in conflicts, while others argue that it is nothing more than a gesture of goodwill that has not actually been used for peace.

This study will aim to bridge the gap by determining if there are any cases of conflict in which the Olympic Truce has made a difference for peace. My research question is: Has the Olympic Truce ever been successfully implemented to prevent the onset of new conflict or in creating a ceasefire during an ongoing conflict? I use conflict data and case studies to determine the prevalence of conflict during Olympic Truce periods and four case studies to analyze attempts to use the Olympic Truce and some of the challenges faced. It is found that across the four cases (Yugoslav Wars, India-Pakistan, Cyprus, and Russia) the Olympic Truce has not been effectively used to prevent or end the conflict because of the overwhelming motivations of religion, ethnicity, and territory present in wars, and the non-binding nature of the Olympic Truce as a UN General Assembly recommendation."