United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization(UNESCO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations system, responsible for coordinating international cooperation in the field of education, culture, natural science, social and human science, and communication and information. The main objective of UNESCO is to contribute to world peace, sustainable development, and security by promoting collaboration among nations.
The International Centre of Martial Arts for Youth Development and Engagement under the auspices of UNESCO(hereafter 'ICM') was launched based on the 37th UNESCO General Conference (16 NOV 2013) and the agreement between the Government of the Republic of Korea and UNESCO (1 DEC 2015).
In many cases 'Martial Arts' are merely considered as a kind of sport or a physical activity.
But infact, martial arts are educational tools, that can help cultivate both the mind and body.
When learning a martial art, for instance, one can acquire knowledge about the history of where the martial art origniated from, and how to participate in combats while respecting one another.
Martial arts education rarely focuses on techniques and ways to win a fight.
Instead, they focus on how to be respectful during all activities, how to control oneself both mentally and physically, and to have confidence and become a true winner.
Martial arts education, with emphasis on training the mind and the positive values of martial arts, can contribute in youth development and social engagement.
The main objective of ICM is to contribute to youth development and engagement by using the philosophy and values of martial arts, contributing in cultivation of positive attitudes and personal development characteristics. In order to fulfill its mandate, ICM promotes research and knowledge sharing, organizes capacity building programs, collaborates to develop a clearing house on martial arts and fosters North-South cooperation.
ICM especially endeavors to contribute in reaching UNESCO’s priorties on women and the sub-Saharan Africa region. ICM will continuously strive to promote equitable participation of young women in martial arts as facilitators, beneficiaries, and subjects of research. This is particularly important as martial arts are predominated by males and there requires an increase in the presence of female practitioners at all levels of martial arts.
According to the feasibility study report on the establishment of the centre, the value and the role of ICM is as below:
The establishment of ICM will bring about a rather unique focus and specialized knowledge that will result in effective educational impact through martial arts. Such impact includes promotion of peace and establishment of non-violence, respect towards oneself and others, self-control, fair competition, resilience, and respect for cultural diversity.
Benefits of practicing martial arts include the following:
Indeed, martial arts are accredited with training of the mind and body, character building, and assisting in channeling one's energy into positive action for the benefit of the community. Martial arts can also help youth cope with the phsiological and psychological changes that occur during adolescence and can assist them in building their self-confidence and cultivating the positive attitudes and nonviolent, peaceful dispositions which are needed to foster a culture of peace and non-violence.