International Relations of DGI
Danish Gymnastics and Sports Associations
DK-7100 Vejle - Denmark
Tel. +45 79 40 40 40
Fax +45 79 40 40 80
Home page: www.dgi.dk
When DGI was formed in 1992, international relations were given very high priority in the new association. The reason can be seen as a logical extension of DGI’s official objectives, i.e. if meeting people at home is important, a direct meeting with foreigners must be no less valuable!
International activities, therefore, play an exceedingly important role in DGI, and visiting or receiving foreign sports groups or organisations are fundamental parts of this work. Apart from these exchanges DGI also organise international seminars, conferences, tournaments and festivals.
As DGI’s contribution to the exchange of ideas the members of DGI have shown an untiring interest in talking about aspects of Danish society that are closely linked to the history and ideas of DGI itself, in particular the Danish folkehøjskole or folk high school, which is a century-old tradition of informal, voluntary adult education.
Apart from talking DGI has put these ideas into practice by organising Youth Leader Education Programmes in which more than a hundred young people from all over the world have stayed for up to four months at one of the Danish sports folk high schools. Also, DGI has contributed to courses for association leaders, particularly in eastern and central Europe.
Aided by financial support from the Foreign Ministry and together with African or other Danish NGOs, DGI is involved in long term sports and culture development projects in four African countries.
A smaller, but related, international activity has been receiving or sending short-term sports instructors from or to other countries. This has created great mutual benefit between Denmark and a number of countries including Costa Rica, South Africa, Tanzania, Thailand, Uganda and Zimbabwe. Involved sports have included gymnastics, handball, tennis, soccer and sports for the disabled.
Visiting the world has been a major goal for particularly the DGI gymnasts, who have toured many countries, performing gymnastics the Danish way and taking part in festivals and workshops with other gymnasts. Particular interest has been attracted by the National Danish Performance Team, who have taken up an old tradition of spending one year touring the world and performing almost everywhere.
Foreign contacts are often closer to us than we think! Denmark has received its share of the world’s many refugees and immigrants - and sport has proven a very efficient and direct means of reaching these new members of Danish society. Through sport Danes and newcomers meet and, hopefully, get to learn and respect each other. For this reason DGI is urging refugees and immigrants to join the Danes in the associations, and DGI has committed many resources into trying to achieve this goal.