Remarks at GAME Copenhagen

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Danish Foreign Minister Kristian Jensen
Copenhagen, Denmark
June 17, 2016

FOREIGN MINISTER JENSEN: Well, I think I’m going to go first; you continue. First of all, thank you. It’s been great seeing what you do and it’s been great hearing about how you go out and reach out to your local communities. What you’re doing is so important to continue to be able to give a chance for young people in Denmark to get out and do sports and to learn more about themselves, and by doing that being able to connect more to (inaudible). And also Simon and to the board members here, it’s a great job you’re doing. We’re very pleased that you have been so active here and that this is an idea that is spreading around Denmark and even going (inaudible). We have been actively supporting what you’re doing in Lebanon for some years, and we really hope that you can continue to grow this idea not only in Denmark, what you’re doing, but also around the world. Thank you.


SECRETARY KERRY: Well, Kristian, thank you very much. Thank you for inviting me to come here. And Simon – Simon, Simon, wake up. (Laughter.) I just want to say thank you to you. Everybody here say thank you to Simon for all his efforts here. (Applause.) I love (inaudible), “We love asphalt.” That’s – (Laughter.) I usually wound up on the asphalt.

But it’s really wonderful to see what you’re doing here. I love your energy, I love your commitment to do this. What comes out of this is so positive, and I think you feel that, which is why you’re doing it. But all of you as GAME players can make so much difference in the lives of brothers and sisters, friends, people in the streets. There are a lot of kids who don’t necessarily have a sense that there’s a tomorrow for them or don’t know where they’re going.

Sports is a unifier, and sports also is a teacher. I used to love – and I still love sports. And I still play a lot of sports. And when I was your age, I spent about as much time as I could playing soccer or doing whatever I could. And you learn from it, you really do. You learn about team, you learn about yourself, you learn about what you take seriously and what you don’t. You also learn about relationships, and there’s a discipline in it that’s really, really healthy.

So we’re living in a time where a lot of people need your leadership. And sometimes you may wake up and think, “Well, I’m just one person. I don’t have the power, I’m not the minister like Kristian Jensen here.” But you are ministers in your own right. Every single one of you can go out there, and just in your choice, you have the ability to make a difference in other people’s lives. If everybody magnifies that, boom, you have this incredible ripple that kind of spreads out that brings in a lot more people, and suddenly you have a community. And that’s what we need to do, is build community.

So keep at it. Stay off the asphalt, except when you’re doing one of those great breakdances, which I – (laughter) – which I love. And I really thank you for the privilege of seeing what you all are doing here today. You’re setting a great example to everybody, so take care of yourself. (Applause.)

PARTICIPANT: Thank you very much. (Inaudible) just a story or two – anyone wants to share what difference you have made out on the asphalt?

SECRETARY KERRY: I want to know how you got the New York Yankees hat. (Laughter.) I’m from Boston. That’s a dangerous (inaudible) for me. (Laughter.) Anyway, who’s – who wants to share something? Thanks.

PARTICIPANT: Well, this is almost as big as getting a visit from Tom Brady. (Laughter.)

SECRETARY KERRY: I’ll tell Tom you said that. (Laughter.)

PARTICIPANT: I’ll be grateful. I really think that we do a difference on the asphalt, and I think that, as you just mentioned, we can teach the discipline, the ability to put in hard work into something, and I think you can – that’s an aspect you can use and put on every other thing in life: your work life and finding a girlfriend, boyfriend. I think it’s – I think sports can teach you to keep motivated and teach you about defeats and victories and, of course, the relationships with teammates.

SECRETARY KERRY: No, you’re absolutely correct. I couldn’t agree more.

FOREIGN MINISTER JENSEN: John, if I may, Denmark has a long tradition of having organized sports, and I’ve been active as instruction for 15 years in gymnastics and organized sport. Why you are so fond of street sport? I know some of you have been active in organized sports in clubs in Denmark. Why did you choose to go for streets?

PARTICIPANT: Because in the real sport there are so many rules, but in here we can make our own rules, and do the game much more funny (inaudible).

SECRETARY KERRY: Much more fun – funny or fun? (Laughter.)

PARTICIPANT: We do a lot of different (inaudible) where they need – they – for example, they don’t have the same resources as other to actually go out and participate in the normal football, (inaudible), and so on. So we go out there and take them out of their room, watching TV or sitting on their computer or PlayStation, and it’s a lot of fun. It’s out in their place where their parents can watch and with their friends and all that, so yeah, we do it in a different way. Our (inaudible) is different.

SECRETARY KERRY: So it’s accessible – kind of more easygoing.



PARTICIPANT: Thank you. You (inaudible) – you can become a member. (Laughter.)

SECRETARY KERRY: Can I stay? (Laughter.)

PARTICIPANT: Actually, thank you very much for sharing. We’re not going to have more time if you want to have time for group picture. So --

SECRETARY KERRY: That would be great. But is there anything – I want to ask one thing before I leave, because I know I have to leave. But is there anybody here who had something you want to share with me that you didn’t get a chance to, that you really want to say – really powerful thought here? Yes, sir. That’s the first hand up. I want to hear (inaudible).

PARTICIPANT: God bless America. (Applause.)