Brandt School Universität Erfurt

The DFB Integration Prize for "Spirit of Football"

The Willy Brandt School is excited to announce and recognize the outstanding achievement of an alumnus, Andrew Aris. On Friday, March 17, 2017, in the German Football Museum in Dortmund, Andrew and his team from Spirit of Football e.V., was awarded the German Football Association (DFB)’s prestigious Integration Prize. Alongside the award, Spirit of Football e.V. received a new Mercedes-Benz Vito, valued at 30,000 Euros.

Andrew graduated from the Brandt School in 2005, during the time when the Willy Brandt School was the only institution in Germany offering a Masters in Public Policy (MPP). Originally from New Zealand, Andrew studied his undergraduate on a soccer scholarship at the University of Notre Dame in the USA, and spent some time in South Korea before coming to Germany in 2003 to study at the Brandt School. Following his passion and fascination for football, even playing for some time for the New Zealand U-20 national team and for FC Rot-Weiß Erfurt, Andrew founded Spirit of Football e.V. as the practical application of his MPP thesis in 2005 and has devoted his time and spirit to developing his organization ever since.

Inspired by the love of football and spirit of humanity, Andrew Aris founded this non-profit organization to create a sense of inclusion by all people through the global language of football. With the motto “One Ball, One World”, Spirit of Football has directly reached over 40,000 people around the globe. Founded in the heart of Thuringia, the Spirit of Football has grown internationally, running workshops in over 50 countries around the world. However, there are still many activities occurring in Erfurt. Spirit of Football runs education projects consisting of three-parts. In the first group, students work with artists, musicians or dancers. In the second group, exciting stories and reports from different cultures about soccer stories are told. Lastly, in the third group fair play football is played, with the simple message that everyone can participate, whether boy or girl, old or young, black or white.

Spirit of Football has most recently been concerned with the integration of refugees. The goal has been to turn strangers into friends, to breakdown prejudices and enhance a welcome culture that supports integration – by giving refugees a feeling of home through planned cultural and sporting activities, allowing friendships to develop and using Spirit of Football’s network to create education, job and other opportunities. The Willy Brandt School commends Andrew Aris for his innovative will to combine his passion for football and his education in public policy, showing us a real life example of how passion and determination can generate actual change. We proudly support and celebrate the initiative of one of our alumnus that has transformed into an amazing global phenomenon with a real local base, instilling the ideals of friendship, tolerance and inclusion through the love of football and culture. 

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