“Kick for Europe” – Youth exchange and football for Europe

Frankfurt am Main/ Hanover. 24 young people between the ages of 14 and 17 from Vienna and Frankfurt took part in a youth exchange that combines football and European educational work. The aim was to use the enthusiasm for football to discuss European policy issues in an age-appropriate way. In workshops, the young people learned that European issues such as right-wing populism, migration and integration are also very present in football. And, of course, there was kicking as part of the programme. Together with the Federal Foreign Office, the Allianz Cultural Foundation and the Schwarzkopf Foundation, the TUI Foundation supported the project, which was organised by the Lernort Stadion e.V. association, BildungsArena Frankfurt and the Austrian Football Association.

“The shared enthusiasm for football offers many points of contact for talking about Europe and exchanging views on very specific issues. Only those who ask questions can understand. “Kick for Europe” gives young people the opportunity to ask their questions and discuss them with their peers from another country. This not only strengthens knowledge about Europe, but is also an important contribution to the development of democratic core competences. We hope that this project will reach young people in particular who are not addressed by existing programmes,” says Elke Hlawatschek, Managing Director of the TUI Foundation.

In addition to an EU compact course on European integration and opportunities for young people to participate, the one-week programme also included events on issues of extremism and common values in sport and Europe. In addition, the group visited the State Sports Association of Hesse and explored the Commerzbank Arena on a sightseeing tour.

“The project focuses on young people’s enthusiasm for sport and its integrative potential in order to arouse interest in political education and strengthen social skills. We are delighted that we were able to implement “Kick for Europe” with partners such as the Federal Foreign Office and foundations from the field of Europe. We need such new cooperations in order to arouse enthusiasm for Europe,” says Birger Schmidt, Chairman of the Board and Project Leader Lernort Stadion e.V. (Learning Location Stadium).

“Kick for Europe” is the first joint project from the “Strategic Dialogue” between the Federal Foreign Office and various foundations. This dialogue has been ongoing since 2016. “Private charitable foundations embody civil society in a special way in the political and pre-political sphere. “Kick for Europe” is an example of how they can promote dialogue on important socio-political developments – and involve groups in the discussion that would otherwise be difficult to reach,” says Aaron Röschke from the Department of Culture and Communication at the Federal Foreign Office, on the occasion of the workshop week in Frankfurt.