INTEGRATION THROUGH SPORT

On the 11th October, over 30 delegates from the Irish Sporting World participated in an inaugural workshop on the interculturalisation of Sport. 'Integration through Sport-The German Lesson' was facilitated by The Goethe Institute and mediated by Dr. Brian Kerr. The event which kicked off the Football Against Racism Europe Week of Action in Ireland included a powerful insight into the policies and processes of the German Olympic Confederation (DOSB) in the area of Cultural Integration and Social Inclusion in and through Sport.

Koln based expert Gitta Axmann briefed the workshop on how German Sport contributes to the integration of their population into society through the medium of Sport. The system, developed out of projects designed in 1989 to help integrate German migrants from the USSR, now targets up to 23% of the total population that comes from migrant backgrounds. Along with this cohort, the 91,000 Sports clubs are sensitised to the recruitment of women and people with disabilities into their ranks. To this end, €5.4M per year is on offer to increase the total membership of the clubs now standing at 27 Million. Gitta went on to discuss the importance of political will and training to develop the cultural competences of coaches, administrators and monitor the integration progress in each Lander of the country.

In response, Ken Mc Cue, a Cultural Planner and International Officer with SARI gave an overview of the work of this social enterprise in trying to convince the Irish Government and Sports mandarins to adopt the German model. Ken stated that the implementation of the EU White Paper on Sport presented the best opportunity to finally have the National Governing Bodies of Sport insert Equality Clauses into their constitutions. In terms of training, he went on to outline SARI's partnership in the pan-European STEMS transfer of innovation Education through Sport project in Further Education that will produce a common syllabus from Limerick to Limassol.

Italian academic Max Mauro presented his research on the integration of migrant youth into Irish society. Based on longitudinal ethnographic study, Max used the medium of video to explore the rights of passage process for young boys of African and East European backgrounds playing with Mountview and Insaka football clubs in West Dublin. The intervention by Max opened up lively discussion in the room on the issue of representation of Sports practitioners on national teams in the Irish Republic.

In closing, SARI chairman, Perry Ogden, thanked the speakers, participants and the Goethe Institute. He looked forward to the ongoing relationship with the Goethe Institute with another programme into 2013.

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