LONDON, Sept. 4 (Xinhua) -- London 2012 announced on Thursday its plans for the Cultural Olympiad, a four-year program designed to showcase Britain's arts and culture to the rest of the world in the run up to the 2012 Games.
The cultural Olympiad, to be launched over the weekend of September 26-28, is inspired by the founder of the modern Olympic movement Pierre de Coubertin's idea of a marriage of sport and the arts to celebrate Olympic and Paralymic values in the cultural field.
Over 40 million pounds (about 72 million U.S. dollars) have already been earmarked for cultural activities across the United Kingdom that will create a welcome to the world for the 2012 Games. Cultural projects across the country will also highlight internationalism and diversity to bring people and places together, encourage audiences to take part, involve and inspire young people, and create a lasting legacy.
More than 500 events across Britain will be part of the Open Weekend program with 160 organizations working to open up for the public to see or participate in something that would normally take place behind the scenes. The weekend is designed to give people a preview of the depth of talent and creativity that Britain has to offer.
Ten major projects will follow in the next four years, each aimed to fulfill the commitment that the London 2012 Games will involve and inspire everyone in Britain and across the world. The program also includes projects which have been awarded the Inspiremark, recognizing the quality and diversity of the work of large and small organizations around the country which would otherwise not be able to take part. This will be a first for any Olympic organizing committee, leading the way for other host cities after London to adopt this national and inclusive approach.
The Cultural Olympiad is a partnership between the London Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG) and Paralympic Games, arts and cultural organizations across Britain, and stakeholders in the London 2012.
Sebastian Coe, chair of LOCOG, said: "In our bid to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012, our promise was and still is to make our Games accessible to everyone. Open Weekend and the cultural program over the coming four years shows our commitment to this."
Jude Kelly, chair of culture, ceremonies and education at the LOCOG, pledged to have a program that inspires participation, enable everyone to get involved and unleash the creative talents of young people across the whole of Britain.