The International Student Week

The International Student Week in Ilmenau (ISWI) is a conference organised by students, for students. Since 1993 it has taken place every two years, on the campus of the Ilmenau University of Technology. Over 380 participants from more than 80 different countries took part in the last ISWI in 2015. ISWI stands out among similar conferences because of its extensive thematic portion, which revolves around a central topic and consists of small-group work, discussions, lectures and debates on the topic. The topic itself is usually inspired by current conflicts and areas of tension, as well as by global developments. The main aim is to give participants from all over the world the possibility to get to know each other, exchange their opinions and work on potential solutions, independently of their personal, social or cultural background. The official language of the conference is English.

The following list gives a review of the past ISWIs:



Main Topic


ISWI 2007 Time to think  Education

Prof. Dr. Gesine Schwan

(former president of Viadrina European University)

ISWI 2009 Right now! Human rights Hina Jilani

(former United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Human Rights Defenders)

ISWI 2011 Crossing borders Freedom

Stéphane Hessel

(diplomat, ambassador, author, former French Resistance fighter and concentration camp survivor)

ISWI 2013 Moving YOUth Youth

Vandana Shiva

(Environmental and biodiversity activist, philosopher, women’s rights activist, winner of Right Livelihood Award)

Jose Antonio Abreu

(Composer, economist, politician, child care worker, activist and founder of the largest musical project in Venezuela, the Sinfónica de la Juventud Venezolana Simón Bolívar)

ISWI 2015 Dare to care Responsibility

Jakob von Uexküll

(Writer, lecturer, activist, former member of the European Parliament and founder of the Right Livelihood Award Foundation)

The people behind ISWI: The association ISWI e.V.

The ‘Initiative for World Solidarity Ilmenau’ (ISWI e.V.) is a non-profit incorporated society established in 1992. Its aim is to provide a voice against social injustice, racism and intolerance, as well as to promote intercultural tolerance and understanding. With this aim, our volunteers organise projects to give the participants the possibility to get informed, to think critically about current topics, to discuss them with one another and to exchange their ideas, as well as to find solutions to existing issues.  Our biggest ongoing project is the ‘International Student Week in Ilmenau’ (ISWI).

If you are interested in more information on ISWI e.V. and its projects, please visit our homepage.