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What is ISWI?

International Student Week in Ilmenau

The “International Student Week in Ilmenau” is a conference for students organized by students. Over 300 participants from more than 70 different countries took part in the last ISWI in 2011.

Compared to other similar events ISWI is known for its focus on group work, lectures and debates on a certain main topic, to which the conference is dedicated. As main topic the organizing committee always tries to find areas of tension that include recent problems and developments in the world.
The main aim of the ISWI is to bring young people from all over the world together and serve as a platform for exchange and getting to know each other as well as for discussion and working out ideas to solve recent problems. The official language of the conference is English.

ISWI 2013 - moving YOUth

"Almost everything that is great has been done by youth."

Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881), British Prime Minister, parliamentarian, statesman and author

There have been many things written and said about youth. For some people it is a period of time; for others a state of mind. Some associate it with things like being young and powerful, exploring the world and discovering oneself, questioning old habits and bringing in new ideas; others link it with destruction, disrespect or disorder.

However, over recent years young people, especially, have pushed things forward and changed the world. They have taken action and raised their voices against injustice and dictatorship. In the “Arabian spring”, for instance, they demonstrated for freedom initiating changes that affected the world in general and many countries in particular.

But it is also young people who have been especially affected by the world's recent economic and financial crises. Being confronted with high unemployment rates, many young people try their luck in other countries while others stay in their own and raise their voices. Movements like "Occupy Wall Street" or "Los indignados" ("The Outraged") have formed to discuss and to change not only the economic system, but also the opportunities of participating in the political decision-making process.

At the same time the world has to face events like the disaster in Fukushima, events that question once again the ability of mankind to control technology, and to respond to continuing climate change and its results. If we are young people, we are left with the feeling that it is we who must find an answer to these challenges, for we want to preserve the planet.

So what does youth mean today and what does it mean to be part of it? What are the interests, aims and hopes of young people? What are their fears? We, the young people involved in the organization of ISWI 2013, want to tackle these questions and so we want to invite young people from all over the world to discuss the possible answers with us. ISWI 2013 is meant to serve as a platform onto which young people come together for open dialogue in an atmosphere of mutual understanding and tolerance.

In workshops, discussions and lectures as well as individual conversations and group work it will be possible for them to exchange views, experiences and ideas on topics that currently move them. We want all at ISWI 2013, to think together about our role as the young generation, to find solutions for the challenges we are facing and, as the title suggests, to move things.

Who is ISWI?

Sign leading to ISWIThe “Initiative Solidarische Welt Ilmenau e.V.” (ISWI e.V.), established in 1992, is an incorporated society and NGO led by students who organize the projects as volunteers. Its status is that of a non-profit and benevolent organization.

We set ourselves the goal to fight against social inequality, racism and intolerance as well as to promote mutual understanding. To reach this aim, we organize projects that raise awareness to recent problems and offer an open platform to get to know each other, exchange views and work out solutions for these problems.

Our main project, the “International Student Week in Ilmenau” (ISWI), takes place every two years since 1993 at the Ilmenau University of Technology.

Picture: Wolfram Schubert