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Organisation>The WGI and its Objectives

Vision and Mission of the Willibald Gebhardt Institute

The Willibald Gebhardt Institute (WGI) is an International Institute of Research and Knowledge Transfer in the fields of Sport and Sport Sciences. It was established as a non-governmental and non-profit institution at the city of Essen (Germany) on May 5th 1992. According to the constitution of the WGI its purpose is to support human tasks and social targets of physical activities including health-related fitness and ethical-morale principles in sport activities. This purpose is linked with a holistic approach of education for a well-rounded individual, particularly for children and adolescents in their main settings of living and development:  in families, at schools, within sport clubs in the context of recreational and elite sports.

Aims and objectives of our work at WGI are connected with personal holistic education matters, physical education, school sports and healthy lifestyle support as an integral part of applied research and counselling, communication and cooperation with different partners and commissioners of public life, governmental bodies and sport federations on local, regional, national and international level. Networking on local level with sport clubs, with regional governments and regional sport confederations of North-Rhine Westphalia, Lower Saxony and Berlin are virulent likewise with Olympic bodies in Germany, the EU and world—wide.  The WGI is listed as an Olympic Study Centre with a focus on Olympic education by the IOC since the year 2011. Furthermore, the WGI is affiliated with the Univ. of Münster by contract (2018) as a so called “Affiliated Research Institute”. The WGI is an institutional member of some academic networks e.g. ICSSPE (since 1994), EUPEA (since 2015), and CEREPS a.s.bl. (since 2015).

A main area of work of the Willibald Gebhardt Institute is to design, to conduct, to analyse and to evaluate different items of research. We monitor projects and assist in intervention studies in different settings where children and adolescents live. Our work profile is related with development, counselling, and supporting our partners and customers in Germany and abroad.

Since March 2020, Dr. Heinz Aschebrock is President of the WGI. Currently, Roland Naul still works as Deputy President. The WGI is devided into four units of competences which are headed by four Vice-Presidents: Elite Sports (NN), Children and Youth Sport at Schools and Sport Clubs (Prof. Dr. Nils Neuber), HEPA (NN) and Olympic Studies (Prof. Dr. Roland Naul). As Vice-President of Financial Affairs Martin Gesigora was elected in 2018. All Vice-Presidents held Professorships in their units of expertise at the Institute of Exercise and Sport Science at the Univ. of Münster.

Beside the executive board, five more representatives have been appointed as officers: Ingo Weiß (President of the German Federal Basketball Confederation), Jan Holze (Präsident of the German Sport Youth Association), Hermann Korfmacher (Past-President of the West-German Football Association), Sven Adrian (Bank of Commerce. Münster), Thomas Michel (Head of the Sport unit at the Regional Government of Münster). Two more boards belong to the WGI, the Scientific Board of Advisers with national and international scientists and the General Assembly of WGI member.

WGI - More about the historical development

Beside some individuals like Dr. Rainer Klimke (Münster), six-times Olympic Gold Medallist in dressage, some institutions founded the Gebhardt Institute in 1992: the Regional Sport Confederation of North-Rhine Westphalia including the Youth Sport unit (LSB/SJ), the German Olympic Society (DOG), the city of Essen and the Savings Bank of Essen.

Today, about 30 years later, more than ten regional and federal sport and science institutions held membership of WGI. In addition, WGI has about 20 personal members: sport scientists, supporters of past and current projects, and private persons. Well-known scientist and academic educators from Germany, out of Europe and Asia are either members of the WGI`s Scientific Committee or have been elected as Fellows. Between the years of 1992 and 2017 the WGI was managed by an association board at the city of Essen. According the change of constitution of WGI in the year 2017, the institute left University of Essen for the city of Münster and was changed into a board of presidencies.

First President of the WGI after relocating to Münster was Prof. Dr. Maike Tietjens (2017-2020). In March 2020 Dr. Heinz Aschebrock (Münster) was elected as new President. Since 2017 the WGI is organized into four units of research expertise and knowledge transfer headed by four Vice-Presidents: elite sport, children and youth sport, health-enhanced physical activities, and Olympic Studies and Olympic education.

Before the year of 2000 there were many typical national features of development in physical education, physical activity and sport, schooling and other leisure time activities in the growth up of children and adolescence across Europe. But in the last two decades of the 21st century such national features became super-stetted by more common Europeanization policy and threats of development. Often such changes caused some dismantle of former national peculiarities with more common cross-cultural threats of problems and challenges in development of education, school sports, leisure activities in the growth up of young people in Europe.

Some items of national transformation into more European challenges are linked with the epidemic of overweight, loss and disappearance of moral standards and norms for human interactions in sports and society. Former special tasks and duties related with family life, schooling, and informal learning in settings can no more been achieved within a single setting and by a single player. Families and schools for instance need help and support from other local stakeholders of the community to achieve their traditional marks and new targets of education and social well-being. Networks for community education, public health, and social work become more necessary to pull efforts together and strengthen common ties to achieve old aims and to realize new demands of today. What one actor on its own will not sufficiently achieve in his or her sector of public life, a common network of efforts may be the right answer for the many cross-cultural threats and challenges today in the “village of Europe”. The WGI is a regional, national and international network partner in this respect.

WGI IN NUMBERS

1992
On May 05, 1992 founded as a non-profit, non-government association in Essen

2017
Relocation from Essen to Münster, Prof. Dr. Maike Tietjens elected as WGI President

2020
about 10 Institutions/Associations and 20 Individuals are WGI members

March 2020
Prof. Dr. Maike Tietjens steps down as WGI President and Dr. Heinz Aschebrock is elected as new WGI President

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