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IOI response to invasion of Ukraine

My greetings to the IOI community.

I am writing today to update you on our ongoing discussions within the International Committee (IC) regarding the war in Ukraine.

In its role as the long-term decision making body for the IOI, the International Committee strongly condemns the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation.

We acknowledge not only the humanitarian crisis and suffering that is resulting from this invasion, but also the adverse impact upon education and exchange of ideas, areas which are a core focus of the IOI. At the same time, we acknowledge that the IOI contestants are mostly teenagers, and cannot be held responsible for the effects of this war.

For these reasons, we have made the decision that, for IOI 2022:

  • the delegation from Russia will not be invited to attend on-site, though they may still participate online; and
  • the delegation from Russia will need to participate as individuals under the IOI flag, and not under any national name, flag or symbols.

We do not take this decision lightly. It comes through many long hours of discussion, involving many differing viewpoints within IC, and also with the input of members of the IOI community who have sent us both individual thoughts and formal statements, which we appreciate. If you wish to respond to this decision, we encourage you to write to the IC (via either the President or Secretary) to make your voices heard. Please include permission to pass your messages on to the IC, and we will do so.

In addition to this decision, the IOI will be exploring ways in which we can help Ukraine rebuild its IOI programme. We do understand that this is not the first time that the IOI community has been affected, or continues to be affected, by conflict and war, and so we intend to develop this as a broader initiative that can actively support other impacted countries in a similar way.

We understand that there are questions as to whether there will be a similar decision regarding the delegation from Belarus. This we are still discussing.

We will continue to monitor and discuss the situation as it evolves. The committee is meeting regularly throughout the year, and we fully expect to discuss these topics further when the General Assembly reconvenes during IOI 2022 in August.

Prof. Benjamin Burton
President of IOI
12 March, 2022

Update, 26 April 2022: The delegation from Belarus will be subject to the same restrictions as described above for Russia.

Update, 14 August 2022: The General Assembly have voted that the delegations from Russia and Belarus will continue to participate as individuals under the IOI flag, and not under any national names, flags or symbols. This restriction will hold until further notice. Since future IOIs hope to return to a purely on-site format, these individuals will be on-site with the other competitors from IOI 2023 onwards.

Clarification: IOI 2022 was a hybrid on-site/online event. All on-site and online competitors were official (i.e., they appear in the official rank list, and were eligible for medals).

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