News>Season’s Greeting from the WGI President
December 23, 2023

Season’s Greeting from the WGI President

Dear members, dear affiliates and dear friends of the WGI,

following the very successful Annual General Assembly held on November 22 in the beautiful premises of the Hotel Kaiserhof in Münster, both myself and the WGI Executive Board can look back on a successful year based on a diverse current project portfolio and a solid financial situation and look forward to 2024 with optimism.

With all departments contributing, we were able to celebrate another highlight for the 30th anniversary of the founding of our Willibald Gebhardt Institute with great success, albeit with a delay of one year due to Corona! Thanks for the generous support from Commerzbank Münster, the WGI was able to invite guests to the festive ceremony “Connecting sport and science: 30 years of WGI” on May 10, 2023. Numerous WGI members, representatives of organized sport from Münster and North Rhine-Westphalia as well as representatives from politics, administration and the university found their way to Münster and took part in the entertaining and diverse panel discussion with great interest. Thanks to the competent panel guests and the experienced moderator Dennis Dreiskämper, an impressive range of content and multifaceted expertise from all departments of the WGI was addressed and discussed. At the informal get-together on the roof-top terrace of Commerzbank, the focus was on the casual exchange of ideas and opinions.

A special international highlight took place on June 6 and 7 with the symposium “Sport, Politics and History in Germany and Korea” under the direction of our Vice President Michael Krüger in the “Schloss”. This German-Korean conference was a very successful collaboration between the Sports Education & Sports History department of the IfS and the “Olympic Sport” department of the WGI. The conference guests were welcomed by the Vice-Rector of the University of Münster, Prof. Dr. Michael Quante, and the Korean Consul General Huh Seung-jae. Special thanks go to our Korean exchange doctoral student and WGI member Yoonkyu Song for his support in planning and organizing this very successful event!

The “Olympic Sport” department once again organized an Olympic Study Day on June 20, 2023, which has already become something of a tradition. After focusing on the topic of “Olympic boycotts” in 2022, this year Prof. Dr. Manfred Lämmer (DSHS Cologne) dedicated a very comprehensive lecture to the topic: “The Olympic movement as a peace movement and the war in Ukraine”.

The “Children and Youth Sport” department continues to work on the connection between exercise and learning in various project contexts, including the sport-specific promotion of executive functions in soccer clubs. Work on a “Protection and promotion concept for the prevention of violence in competitive sport” on behalf of the Hessian Gymnastics Association and the Federal Institute for Sports Science will also continue under the responsibility of Kathrin Kohake. Right before the end of the year the WGI was commissioned by the dsj to develop a “Qualification framework for extracurricular school sport taking into account the promotion of physical and mental health of young people”, which Nils Neuber will tackle immediately in close cooperation with Miriam Kehne (University of Paderborn) and Jessica Süßenbach (University of Lüneburg).

Also, the WGI is a key partner in the EU-funded HORIZON project TBrainBoost, which aims to promote the mobility of researchers. Several international scientists will be hosted by the WGI in Münster next year and the organization of a workshop is also the responsibility of the Vice President “Competitive Sports”, Eric Eils.

In the “Health Sports” department, Dennis Dreiskämper and his team continue to work on large empirical surveys both at a local level in Altenberge, where a large data set on the motor status of primary school children is now available and further surveys are planned, as well as in the nationwide “Move4Health” project, in which a representative survey of the parents of 4,000 children and young people has just been carried out. On 22/23 February 2024, the results will be presented at a major expert hearing on the topic of “The potential of exercise, play and sport for a healthy upbringing in childhood and adolescence” in Berlin.

The WGI was also very active as a partner in other projects in 2023: together with the international partners involved, the first interim results were achieved in the Erasmus+ project “EduPASS: Education for Physical Activity and Sport: Informal and non-formal settings”, which will run until the end of 2024. Roland Naul and Sebastian Brückner are in charge of this project for the WGI, but IfS students are also involved and have the opportunity to take part in international training workshops. As a project partner, Marie Ghanbarie has long since established her “Sportpaten” project as a hallmark in Münster and is planning to expand her successful model nationwide.

The selection of diverse national and international activities outlined here also impressively demonstrate that the WGI is on the right track for 2023 with its scientific expertise, its networking and its transfer activities! Next year, the Olympic Games in Paris will highlight this WGI expertise in a special way. What would our namesake and co-founder of the modern Olympic Games say about the sporting, political and economic developments and entanglements? Under the leadership of the “Olympic Sport” department, we are planning a series of events in the run-up to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games that will deal with these very developments in the current Olympic movement. We will inform you about specific plans at the beginning of the new year and hope for a lively participation!

With great hope for a more peaceful future, I would like to wish you and your families, on behalf of the entire Executive Committee and Executive Office, a wonderful Christmas season and a happy, successful and, above all, healthy 2024!

With best Season’s Greetings

Dr. Heinz Aschebrock