We are visiting Norbert Kever, the Executive Director of ISF.
Norbert, what does your job entail within ISF?
I have been Executive Director since 12 years and started my fourth mandate in June 2014. The intensive exchange with my international colleagues and the opportunity to create and to achieve something positive for the youth in international school sport field are a constant challenge, always thrilling and exciting.
Next to the President, the Vice President, the Treasurer and the Secretary General, I am the fifth member of the Management Committee. We have regular meetings to discuss the daily operations of the federation, the preparation of all official meetings , i.e. Executive Committees and General Assemblees. We submit proposals to the EC on pending decisions and on future orientations of our Federation.
In particular, my job consists in the follow up of the technical aspects of the different ISF sports in close cooperation with the 13 different Technical Commissions and their presidents.
In addition, I try to support the Secretary General in managing daily operations.
Your function in the ISF is not a full time job. In everyday life you have other responsibilities that are related to sport and education. Tell us more about it.
Yes that’s right. My main occupation is in the Ministry of the German-speaking Community of Belgium, one of the three autonomous communities of the country. Here I am mainly occupied with the organization of all school sport matters. I am also a member of the Education Framework Commission , the Sports Commission , the Health Advisory Board and the Belgian School Sports Association. Of course, these duties takes a lot of time and together with the ISF tasks, I am really fully stretched.
Tennis fills a large part of your free time. You were at the basis of the start of tennis within ISF. Meanwhile, you already have organized an ISF Tennis event in Eupen and you were involved in many other ISF Tennis events.. Can you tell us a little bit more about your experiences?
Due to my two jobs, I had to give up my activities in our Tennis Club.
In the ISF I had the opportunity to accompany all the Tennis events as Delegate. It started in 1995 in Duisburg, than under the aegis of ISF in 2003 in Hattfield/England, 2005 in Pompadour/France and 2007 in Warsaw/Poland.
In 2009, we had the honor to organize together with my school sport team the first official ISF Tennis World Schools championship in German speaking Community of Belgium, a great moment. After 2011 in Le Touquet/France and 2013 in Wodonga/Australia, we are now preparing the 2015 event in Doha/Qatar.
Thus I had the opportunity to supervise and to promote the sport in an optimal way. By the way, the German speaking Community hosted also four other ISF events.
Each ISF event , in whatever sport , in which I have been involved till now was always different and always enriching. The collaboration with the Technical Commissions and the local organizers is a real challenge and a very special and unforgettable experience for all of us, bringing together young sportsmen from all over the world.
Every year ISF organizes World Schools Championships in 14 different sports. Moreover they give their ‘aegis’ on different disciplines. Are there for the moment still other sports on the waiting list?
There are some sports that would like to become part of the official ISF calendar. The ISF can give their aegis to events offering different sports , or to championships in only one sport. This is done after a thorough examination.
A commitment can only be given if the philosophy and the objectives of the ISF are respected. Sports like aerobics ( demo sport in Gymnasiade) , beach volleyball , basketball 3 on 3, or triathlon have already been successfully organized under the aegis of ISF. Other sports expressed their interest.
The ISF is following the new strategic plan, thus at the moment the Federation is evolving and growing rapidly. For instance the contacts with various sports federations and other associations and the signing of different Memorandum of Understanding , an improved network with new approaches to social media like Facebook , Twitter are for us new challenges that we have to cope with actually a very limited man power.
Much debate has been going on about the age groups within ISF. Last year ISF added a year to every age group (older students). There is also a tendency to start with younger ages. How do you see this realized?
Since the ISF exists, there has always been a controversial debate on the age categories.
At the General Assembly, the majority of the ISF member countries decided to raise the age of the participants in ISF championships to 18 years. We are currently in a so-called test period and need to analyze the impact of this change. In team sports with a single age category , it would be difficult for example, for a 14 years old student to compete with a 18 years old one. In addition, the interests of the youngest are difficult to combine with those of the elders.
At the last Executive Committee meeting a motion for younger age categories in ISF events has been introduced.
I am not against the idea of a participation of younger students. I think we should organize a test event in a sport out of the official calendar with a category of younger participants.