United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization(UNESCO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations system which is responsible for coordinating international cooperation in education, science, culture and communication. The main objective of UNESCO is to contribute to peace, sustainable development and security in the world by promoting collaboration among nations.
The International Centre of Martial Arts for Youth Development and Engagement under the auspices of UNESCO was launched based on the 37th UNESCO General Conference (Nov.16, 2013) and the agreement between the Government of the Republic of Korea and UNESCO (Dec.1,2015). The main objective of the Centre is to contribute to youth development and engagement by using martial arts philosophy and the values, positive attitudes, and personal development characteristics it engenders as the means of doing so. In order to fulfill its mandate, the centre will promote research and knowledge sharing, carry out capacity building programs, develop clearing house on martial arts and lastly, foster North-South cooperation. In addition, ICM projects aim to contribute to UNESCO’s priorties on women and sub-Saharan Africa. The Centre will strive to promote the equitable participation of young women in martial arts as facilitators, beneficiaries, and subjects of research. This is particularly important as martial arts are predomimantly masculine and there is an obvious need to increase 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 the centre is as below:
Establishment of ICM will bring about 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.