Sunday, May 17 at 16:05

Farewell and Goodbye...

We experienced a great time together with all of you. Thanks for that. For this is maybe the last blog entry, we wish every participant of the ISWI 2009 a secured travel home or wherever you are going to go. And of course we would be happy to see some of you again in 2011! Enjoy your lives and make efforts on reaching the goal of this year's ISWI, to help making the idea of equal human rights real all over the world.
We send special greetings to the organisation committee and to all members of our documentation group. You were great!

We will meet anyhow, anywhere, anytime...for sure. Bye Read more

Saturday, May 16 at 16:06

AVA Coming up

The Closing Ceremony will start in a few hours. I'm really sad, actually. ISWI went by so fast, I again hardly had a chance to meet many of the iswicipants. Anyway, here's a greeting to Erik and Andreas.

Read more

The ISWI car

The design group did a grat job last week!

Read more

Documentation Book is ready

After a 22-hour editing and layout session, we've finally finished the documentation booklet early this morning. It's 110 pages contain all the goodness from the blog plus a lot of new, original texts and pictures from the student week.

While the real booklet is still being printed, you can already download a low-res version here.

We've also uploaded both of the newspapers published during the week: tuesday edition and thursday edition. (And yes, we're aware of a certain redundancy in the latter issue. Thats intended. Notabug) Read more

What you could do today

Good morning, Ilmenau!
Our ninth day has a varied program:

11:00 - final groupwork & participant lectures
16:30 - lecture (please ask the infopoint)
19:30 - closing ceremony (Audimax) Read more

Weird toys at the

Read more

Friday, May 15 at 14:11


5 euros for a Maβ (one liter of beer, oh yes!) was the price established yesterday in the Oktoberfest celebrated in D club (we know… it’s still May… but any excuse is valid for having fun). With the company of an orchestra, the environment of this typical german celebration was really good. The characteristic bayern outfit, as well, could not miss. Bretzel and Weißwurst were also a delight and with a Prost! everyone was invited to the party.

Read more

What you could do today

Good morning, Ilmenau!
Our eighth day has a small program:

09:00 - leccture Brian Wood
11:00 - groupwork
13:00 - more groupwork Read more

Thursday, May 14 at 23:59

Retrospective ... the seventh day

All of our ISWIcipants got up early after a long part at the a-MAZE-in' Human Rights yesterday night.

The Thuringia Day led them to Erfurt, Weimar, Eisenach and the Kickelhahn.

Before taking off, the documentation group handed out the second issue of the ISWI-newspaper.

In the evening, the movie "I am Sam" led to a lively discussion at the Audimax. Read more

A Tribute To The ISWI

We made jokes about it, we spread rumors and we filled our lazy breaks with imagining them. And then we actually found them: ISWI-Children!
Well, to be honest, we only found one and to tell the truth it is, by definition, not a real ISWI-Child. An ISWI-Child would have been conceived at ISWI. But as the parents of this sweet little child met at ISWI eight years ago and then nearly instantly decided to stay together, this is a story worth telling.

He was a German, She was a Mexican. “I first saw her at the international brunch, performing a polka on the stage. Next time I met her by incident in the club, we had a great conversation and, yes”, he smiles, “That's it.” At the end of the week they decided to spend more time together and went on holiday to Madrid, for two and a half months! Two years later they were married and another four years later, their little girl was born – an ISWI-Child.

So that's love that overcame distance, culture and language. If it comes to love, all that doesn't matter any longer. Read more

Overcoming Fears

Today I learned a lesson, that I'll never forget again. In the course of the day I lost my faith into the underlying good in every human being and then got it back. I went desperate and then was fulfilled with happiness again. And this is my story:

At the Workshop-Day I did the kind-of-reception job and was responsible for all the technical stuff. We did offer some laptops for the workshops but there was a clearly made instruction: ONLY give laptops to group-leaders! So everything went well, everybody got what he wanted, everyone was happy until that guy appeared. He asked for internet-access and I, in my overall state of confusion and lack of sleep, handed him a laptop out. He left me his ID in return. No problem, right?

The drama began about one hour later, when we started to clean up and packed all the stuff. The last workshops ended and the guy didn't appear again to bring the laptop back. I got slightly concerned now, if I did the right thing by handing out the laptop or if it would have been better to keep it at the desk. I mean, what value does a plastic yellow ID-Card have compared to a laptop? What if he just ran away? Half an hour later I was really nervous if I'd ever see the laptop again and started asking people if they know the guy. I began to get angry about my own naivety to believe that people are basically honest and really just loan such valuable things as laptops.

At this point nearly everybody else was already gone, except me and that empty bag. When I then talked to the organization-team and they got mad at me and were moaning about the missing (“lost”) laptop, I really really went desperate and was somehow convinced that this guy decided to keep the laptop.

So can you imagine my face when he appeared about two minutes later? This wonderful participant was self-consciously smiling at me and apologized for letting me wait for so long. I felt so relieved! Not only because I had the laptop back, but also because all those ungracious thoughts about the missing trustworthiness of foreigners proved to be wrong! I got my faith back.

And so I'll carry on believing in the underlaying good in every human being. Because that is, in my opinion the first step to overcome fear, hate and prejudices: TRUST. Read more

Intercultural communication and the understanding of others

After a burning discussion about the Israeli –Palestinian conflict, Ahmed EL Garhy from Egypt ran a soft discussion about intercultural communication and accepting others to help getting people back to ISWI’s mode
A documentary under the name” Whose song is that” was played afterwards and the audience liked it very much, as it simply showed people’s perceptions towards other cultures.
Participants also had the chance to give a brief overview of how can cultural influence affect the relationship between people specially if they have different cultural backgrounds.
Mido, Egypt Read more

The Times they are a-MAZE-in'

“Ich bin frei”. That is the first article stating probably the starring v.i.p - human right. Surely the most demanding event of this year’s ISWI was the amazing Human Rights Labirint built in only two days. At first designed for open air, later on adjusted to the Ilmenau weather and brought inside the Ice Rink, the maze complies handcraft, painting, drama, broadcasting, roleplaying and many more, meant to give an insight on the effects of the Human Rights violations.
At 9.05, the doors were open to the people. And right from the start, I had the feeling of guilt or of committing a crime, as we were greeted by some strict security that checked our bag and backpacks.
The suspended cameras augmented the feeling of supervision and high level security, as you got more and more confused about the no sign entries and swirling corridors. Throughout the whole maze-journey one could express his opinion towards the violations of human rights, whether it was by voting, drawing, writing or simply making a choice. Or at least that’s what I thought until I got “arrested” for taking notes and not speaking German. What a wrong feeling, that of deprivation, in any way.
Like in everyday life, the situational absurd was put in the limelight by the irrationally suspected objects: a pack of garlic with the title of a flower, a pear which was actually an apple, some feathers called stones.
You could not guess many opinions, that is why I asked some visitors about their opinion. Thomas(Germany) really enjoyed the chaos buzzing around and inside the maze and his favourite part was the mirror which said “suspected terrorist”; he would have liked a bit more pictures, but the overall impression was a positive one, especially that he finds the concert idea and organisation really good. Amr(Egypt) enjoyed quite a lot the idea and the set up of the TV show inside the maze, as well as the “mine fields” with the skeleton and the hanging rope. Rares(Romania) thinks the coffee trade wheel was one of the best set ups, together with the minefield lockers. He also has a message for the organisers: “Ohne Tasche, ohne Competition!”.
People hazed in every direction. Closing walls, fake exits, wrong corridors. In a way, having the iswicipants enter the maze was an act of art itself. With all of us exploring the space at the same time, the crowd movements themselves became the solution to the puzzle – so that, as a group, each of us helped to guide all of us through this maze of human co-existence. Read more

What you could do today

Good morning, Ilmenau!
Our seventh day shows the beauty of Thuringia:

08:00 - Thuringia day (train station)
21:00 - movie night + discussion: "I am Sam" Read more

The interviews with the bands at the Open Air

Kafkas are against traditional approaches, as well as borders between
different kinds of music and so they like to mix different music styles. The rock
band added some electronic music to their last album. In their songs
they stand for the rights of women and children, as well as they stand strongly against homophobia.
In their song lyrics Kafkas express their support for animal rights. The guitarist of the band, Daniel Korn is a teacher at primary school. He says he's a very strict teacher, despite his underground, informal clothing and life style. Band members do not have any special ritual before the concert, as they think that anything like that is boring.

The guys from the ska punk band Rafiki were strongly motivated to visit the ISWI. Mostly they sing about various social problems that are highlighted by media. Lorenz and Andreas from Rafiki were studying in Ilmenau and were participating in the previous ISWI. Rafiki was the youngest band on the concert and they were glad about performing on one stage with two other older and more experienced bands. Rafiki traditionally drink a bottle of beer and have a hug before the concert.

Rentokill, the melodic hardcore band from Austria, visited the ISWI during their tour. The conception of this year's ISWI influenced their decision to perform here on the Open Air Festival. The members of the band follow veganism. They support animal liberation and clean environment. Touched by meeting the refugees from Chechnya personally, the band has written few songs about the conflict in that region. It is important for the band to sing about their own experience. Rentokill do special exercises for muscles and for voice before the concert. Read more

Finding Nemo

"Can you write about the Making of a-MAZE-ing Human Rights?" ... how can I say no where there are so many subject to cover? "Of course I will...if I have to"... When I asked who's in charge of if, I was told that Nemo is the "guilty" one for the entire stuff there. And this is how began my adventure in finding Nemo...

Before going at the working-in-progress-labyrinth in order to find Nemo, I went, together with my colleague, Wolfrang-the photographer, at the Info-Point to be sure he's there. Of course, they told me he's still working there. Great, then we went just right there to catchy him. There was no Nemo. "He's at a meeting in the campus somewhere, he will come in one and a half hour". We can wait then...So we took pictures. Of the empty Eishalle, of the scheleton we found there (of someone who lost himself in the labyrinth), of butons from the music/light desk, of the lake outside, of the ducks on the lake... Each car arriving there was a good reason for us to believe that Nemo is inside. I did not even know how he looks like so I always had to ask Wolfrang "Is it him?". No reaction, no Nemo, no more things to take pictures of, no fun. 30 minutues later there was no Nemo aroung. Neither 40 minutes.

So, no Nemo, no article. Here the opening time begins. I go inside, visit the labyrith and after that...guess what: no surprise, I am going to find.....Exactly, you guessed. I go outside, I ask, I don't know the way he looks but I am looking for him. A friend of mine knows him, sees him, we are running through the labyrinth..and he is close, so close..please staaaaaaaaaaaaay....and I caught him.

Here it comes the part that normally it should have been the main info of the article: more than 50 persons involved in making the a-MAZE-ing Human Right labyrinth, "a loot" of wood, plastic from sponsors and some Ilmenau-nice-people, 100l of beer consumed, more than 100l of coffee, 80 meters long, 200 pieces of wood plus another hundreds of pieces for connexions between them, around 4.000 nails, 2 working days to make it real plus several unslept hours and at least two really happy but tired faces - Nemo's and Kristie's, the ones I talked to. For those who did not notice it, the labyrinth was composed of three main areas, each of them with a symbolic meaning: the beginning - about the violation of Human Rights,the middle - human rights today,and the end of the labyrith about what each of us can do protect and respect the Human Rights.

To end up with a trivia fact: even some of the guys involved in this project got lost in the labyrinth will working there.

Note: Nemo, I've just been told that you don't like when people make the connexion between the movie and you name, buy it's so late and I am so tired, I won't have the time to change the article so please don't get mad at me :) Read more

Wednesday, May 13 at 23:59

Retrospective ... the sixth day

The Workshop Day gathered together the participants in an activity which enabled some of them to be "group leaders" for a day.
Later on, we had Landolf Scherzer's lecture, the expert in German Democracy and political systems.
In the evening, the aMAZEing Human Rights Maze was a warm setting for interraction between the participants, as well as another great opportunity to hear some good live music.
In the end, clubbing 'round the campus, neverending parties. Read more

workshop day- children education

Children’s Education in Indonesia

For ‘Kumpul Bocah’, a newly founded Indonesian NGO that advocates the right to an adequate education, children are a top priority. The organisation’s statement, handed out during the session makes this very clear: “Children are a gift from god to continue this life…” Kumpul Bocah’s public relations representative, Umi Habiba, a student of Ma Chung Unversity, shared her idea of organizing young people who are willing to help in volunteering, promoting the importance and awareness in educating and enriching children reaching also to those who could not afford it otherwise.

By ravit benaim Read more

The Way To Ilmenau!

Written by: Ahmed El Garhy
Starring: Ahmed El Garhy
Directed by: Ahmed El Garhy!

15 trains, 1 plane, a ferry and a Taxi! 5 welcoming messages… here we go:
I started my journey on the 28 of April at Cairo airport; yes ….10 days before ISWI starts, I first landed in Madrid, Spain after 5:25 hours of flight. Then I took a train to Barcelona in 2:35 min and that was the best mean of transport that I ever experienced in my life. From there I took another train to Cerbere on the French-Spanish borders, it took 4:20 instead of the planned 3 hours as because of “technical problems”! Then…..-take a deep breath first!- I took an overnight train for 8 hours by mistake to Paris in the north instead of Marseille!

I woke up in the morning to find a very big billboard: Bienvenu à Paris!

I kept laughing for almost half an hour and asked all the people around me and they assured me that I’m in Paris!

I had to stay there for the whole day to catch the next train to Marseilles, it took almost 3 hours. Then from there I took another train to Nice in the Côte d’Azur for another 2:20 hours.

After waiting for some time in the train station as usual, I took the next train to a city on the French-Italian borders called “Ventimiglia” after spending a day and a half in French train stations :).

From there, I missed the last overnight train to a major Italian city, and that all because I missed the train from Nice as the ticket was written as 6:34 and I said by the EGYPTIAN mind set, well… it is quarter to seven then!

The funniest part was in Ventimiglia where I asked the lady in the train station…..”are there any more trains to Italy tonight?”, and she yelled at me: “We are already in ITALIAAAAAAAAAAA!”

I had to spend the night in the train station again! But I didn’t miss trying my first Italian Pizza over there  and it was awesome!

Next morning I took a train to Milano which should have taken almost 6 hours, but I saw on the map that the Leaning Tower of Pisa is on my way, so I changed my plans!

I went to Pisa then I took another train again to Florence for another 1.5 hours. Then from there I went to Roma through 4 hours train trip again!

The next day I took a train to Venice in another 7 hours then a ferry there for 15 minutes.
Afterwards I took a train to Verona in 3 hours then another one to München in 8 hours through Austria!

From there I took the FINAL train to Saalfeld, and guess what: The German train was late for 1.5 hours! So I missed the last connection to Ilmenau!

But! There was a German gentleman sitting beside me, and FORTUNATELY he was the only one going to Ilmenau in the train! He asked me if I’m going to ISWI! He is a student there and he contacted the Info-Point for me to wait there till 2 AM!

We took a taxi to Ilmenau then I guess that I was looking somehow similar to… a human being :)

1-Being punctual even for few seconds is a MUST!
2-Work on your French not to go to Paris instead of Marseilles!
3-Study the Italian map well! Ventimiglia is ITALIAN! Read more

Anarchy in the Ilm Valley

Tuesday night ISWI held one of the most awaited events, the Open Air concert. The plateau in front of the Humboldtbau was one happy place, as it hasn't seen such a large number of people gathered together in one night in a long time. Maybe last ISWI.
Around 8 p.m., the place was already crowded with people and the beer stands were selling quite well. One more hour and the crazy night was about to begin.
At about 9, the first band started performing. Kafkas, from Germany, a punk-rock band of vegetarians and vegans. After presenting themselves as Lady Gaga, they started the show with their comic wigs on. The public was quite shy at the beginning. During the first tune, there were only 7 people in front of the stage, while the rest preferred watching from the distance. At the beginning of tune number 2, there were 9 people in the front row. At the middle of the song, there were 11, and at the end, 16.
The brilliant idea was stated before the beginning of the third song: “Let's make a Polonaise, everyone!”...and the snake got bigger and bigger with each bass note.
After about one hour, the next band went up on the stage – Rafiki. Trumpets, guitars, drums, all put together in some ska mixture that made people dance and bounce while drinking their bear, eating their wurst or their icecream. Some small raindrops tried to stop the party, but no one minded them. “Let there be beer, wurst and punk!” the Humboldtbau plateau was singing.
After such a crazy prolonged warm-up, the third band got up on the stage, around 11 p.m. Rentokill, from Austria, travelled quite some miles to meet and sing for the ISWI people. They started a bit slow for the already aroused audience, but their later tunes described themselves best: noisy, fast, energetic.
A great night for punkers, a funny one for hippies, a jolly one for bohemians, a heavy one for everyone.

Read more

A nice song to go with the afternoon

The docu group is a really big fan of this amazing artist:

Read more

By the you have the Workshop day

In the middle of ISWI you have the chance to speak up about the issues you are interested in. In the morning at the Humboldt building participants proposed themselves topics of discussion and had the opportunity to be teachers for at least 1h and 30'.
There have been 4 sessions, taking part in three different buildings: Humboldt Building, Kirchoff Building and Helmholtz Building.

Voila the final result:
Humboldt Bulding:
Gabor - Dance as a wordless conversation
Tobler R. - Intercultural competence in communication
Eliasu - Children right is human right
Heussler - Photography
Charly - Presentation of Cameroon
Najib & Pinastika - An outline of global civil and political rights (Indonesia)
Johnmary - HR in the era of globalization
Sieglinde - Practice our right to VOTE: Philippine voting Amro- The Palestinian rights of return
Mohamed - Architecture and culture in Morocco
Mido - Intercultural communication to get rid of stereotypes
Tadeu - Voluntary work and exchange of life
Ethel - Public-private partnerships for peace
Elena - The right to marry the person of your choice
Mariana - Human rights - senseless?
Advanced sleep and relaxation :) - seriously, this is was a topic too (maybe based on our current needs :) - Kirchoff Building
Ricardo - Get active
Sibel - Housing rights
Bashil - Violence in universities
Martin - Your passion as a tool for social transformation
Monti - Humanitarian work - what is it?
Jose Miguel - Death penalty - right to consular information

Helmholtz Building
Susan - Letter writing for Amnesty International causes
Emmanuel - War against poverty
Umi - Informal Children Education in Indonesia
Simon- Finding freedom through personal values
Ayo - Right to medical care in Nigeria

We hope that the workshop sessions worked well and helped you to enrich you cultural and emotional background as well :) Read more

Workshop Day Schedule

There is a kind of change in the workshop schedule.

Have a look HERE ! Read more

'The UFOs are coming' day.

This is what the initial title of the Workshop Day was supposed to be, but due to technical problems, we couldn't do it.
So, wake up and smell the coffee, the workshops already begun, but the lazy ones that are reading these lines from their bed can still go there and join. Move!
:) Read more

What you could do today

Good morning, Ilmenau!
Our sixth day is workshop day:

09:00 - What is "Open Space"?
09:30 - 1. workshop
11:00 - lunch is an hour early today
12:00 - plenary assembly
12:30 - 2. workshop
15:30 - lecture by Landolf Scherzer
20:00 - a-MAZE-in' human rights Read more

Weapon of Choice, 01:15 a.m.

Read more

More photooos

We have a new photographer who can provide you, you hungry people, more photos of this year's ISWI. Here it goes Irene's blog:) Read more

Trip day.

Today, the docu group actually went out of the office (yes, that really happened!)and had a fun trip to Erfurt, at the MDR studios, which are the TV studios for the whole region of Thüringen.
After a 30 minutes car trip with our three nice drivers, we were greeted at the studios by a former Ilmenau student and HSF member who took us on a guided tour through the studios.
We started by visiting the "kids' zone", a special studio designed for kids shows, where some workers were building some future scenery. We moved on to the room where all the news is broadcasted from; here, we saw how all the magic is done(i mean we were shown a professional reading prompter) and our group participant, Ahmed, broadcasted some virtual news in Egyptian.
Later on, we saw the room of the "bad guys", the ones that give instructions through the headphones to the cameramen and the editing studio. Many buttons and colours and wires.
The last stop was at the radio station. Where we learnt that the phones which are in the studio don't ever ring, they just show a white-yellowish light. That's why we never hear ringing phones at the radio..
The participants asked some questions which our guide answered kindly and then we headed back to Ilmenau. There was an office meeting waiting for us to assign tasks and plan the rest of the day.
If you're reading this blog post just now, on the 13th of May at 00:19, put your pc on standby and go to the Humboldtbau, there's some action going on:)


Read more

Tuesday, May 12 at 23:59

Retrospective ... the fifth day

The workgroups started their job as usual, at 9 o'clock.
The EAZ was a sad building from 11:00 to 15:00, while the docu group was in Erfurt.
One of the best lectures of this year's ISWI was held at 16:30 by Ulrike von Pilar, on humanitarian actions and the work of Medecins Sans Frontieres.
The Humboldtbau was a happy building today, as it had quite a lot of visitors nearby - the Open-Air concerts gathered there around 500 people (?) for some live performances.
Now, the clubs for tonight:
*BC: Hip-Hop feat. Iyho&pekalle
*BD: Open-Air Aftershowparty
*BH: Open-Air Aftershow(geöffnet ab 23Uhr)
*BI: Karaoke Night.

Have a wunderbar night! Read more

Freaking out

Well, you all know about lectures, the opening ceremony, the street festival and the work groups, because you attended it. But you don’t know, what happened backstage! Do you have any idea of how crazy people need to be to organize an event such as the ISWI? We found some pretty amusing stories about those freaks and so here we go: What about one of the ORG-Team members, that’s for sale for 50€? If you’re interested, please mail the info-point, stating your name, telephone-number, address and confession-size. These information will perfectly fit into the litter environment of the info-point.

The night shift is sleeping under the desk and not waking up until the first participants stand in front of him screaming for help. Stunned by their sudden appearance the guy jumps up, blinded by daylight, and heads right up to the… glass door? You know what happens next.

But ISWI-helpers don’t only get confused about the arriving of the day, but also about telephone-calls and bills. I don’t know if you heard about the two participants that were (parallelly) locked up in the bath room for two days and calling for help? There was a quarrel and panic, someone wanted to call the police, the firemen, security and an ambulance… until the poor guy at the info-point recognized that everyone around him was. It is said that the fake locked-up participant was someone to be found in the docugroup…

Later on there will be more Info-Point Chaos Report. We have an open account! Read more

What you could do today

Good morning, Ilmenau!
Our fifth day continues with your participation:

09:00 - groupwork
13:00 - groupwork
16:00 - lecture by Ulrike von Pilar (Audimax)
20:00 - open air (campus) Read more

Nasty stuff around campus

Offering a good quality of alcohol, we challenged you participants with a heavy serious questions colleting your impression so far.

We would like to apologize in advance to those of whom we forgot their names….

Swiss vs. Nigeria

Do you find the bathroom to be comfortable enough for all your personal needs?

N: ‘yehhh, its ok….’

What is the craziest thing you did in the bathroom?

N: ‘I probably kissed a girl…. In a club’

Disappointed from the boring answer, we hoped to get the repulsive details from the swiss guy …

S: ‘ oh yehh, they are ok, they are very clean…..’

Cleannn….a character that is to be highly important, no doubt…..

Gorgina ( made up name) form one of the minimally number of states in eastern Europe has commented on the question by stating the basic fact ‘ well…paper and water, what else do you need…’

Mr. Michael Jackson from Cameroon stepped right into the point ‘ I think my room is better…’ he said, inviting me to a round tour…

The winner though had given us with a different point of view… Ohad, from the holy land of Jerusalem. ‘I think I could make my entire day in the bathroom. Usually when I have a phone discussions, long ones then I keep them in the bathroom. This is because there it has a very romantic atmosphere. The problem is that people had come to understand that is what I do, they hear the echo of the toilet….’

Mirror mirror on the wall who is the most beautiful women of them all …

In awarding the most prettiest girls, we would have to say that….Micheal wan the douze point in answering Mediterranean girls , sucking up (….) to the interviewer. On the list of course there was the girls from Russia, Spain, Finland, Argentina and….mmmmm the rest of you …well, I guess you are ugly.

Bad boys, bad boys what you are gonna do, what you are gonna do when we come for you….

‘ sorry guys… you are missing something… some fire’ sais Gorgina.. Well, just to play fair and honest, Julia from Kazakhstan is very much excited ‘ they are amazing, they are very beautiful and they have nice character…’ I can relate my friend, strong character is very much important.

Have you already found someone?

Julia: ‘ mmm…not yet but I have no doubt that something will happen…’

by Ravit&lumina

Read more

Workshop Day … is you

Many of you will probably be a bit confused about Wednesday’s workshop day -What will happen there? In true ISWI style, the shortest answer might be: „whatever you like; and we’re going to help you!

During yesterday’s group work and your personal discussions, all of us have started to discover some of the diverse dimensions of this year’s ISWI theme, “Human Rights”. Not all of these can and will find a place in the official group categorization, yet many merit some discussion. Creating a time and space for such ad-hoc exchanges is the goal of the workshop day.

During an initial plenary meeting, anyone will be able to propose a discussion topic, lecture or brainstorming session. The important thing for an initiator is not to have extensive knowledge of the issue at hand (although that helps) or to have a prepared PowerPoint presentation. What counts, instead, is your enthusiasm and interest.

In a second step, your session will be assigned to one of our 30 rooms and given a time slot. Then, wait for like-minded people to assemble and enjoy the open, argumentative atmosphere of your workshop. As for me, I’m really looking forward to finding out which sessions will emerge and to participating in a few exchanges myself.

Rules of an open meeting

  • Whoever comes is the right people
  • Whatever happens is the only thing that could have
  • Whenever it starts is the right time
  • When it's over, it's over

Read more

Weather forecast

The rainy weather in Ilmenau is not surprising. The city is proud of the blue sky and a peaceful scene of dancing goats. However you are unlikely to meet a real goat in Ilmenau, or to enjoy any sunny weather. People say that here either the level-crossing is down or it's raining. It means that it is sunny if the level-crossing, which is on the way from the university to the city center, is down. After you were waiting for the long time to cross the road, the next moment when the level-crossing is up and you make a step foward, the rain will immediately start. Pretty confusing, isn't it? But it's very close to the truth.

The weather in Ilmenau is mostly rainy and totally unpredictable, unless it is a prediction made for the next second.

The participants of ISWI 2009 are now surely familiar with the local weather conditions. Just remember the storm on Saturday night! The rain that lasted the whole Monday, was the reason to transfer the Art on the Street Festival into the university building. The good thing is that you can always be sure what clothes you need to take with you to Ilmenau. There have to be at least few rain coats in the bag.

The weather forecast for the next three days promises us warm, sunny weather. But I wouldn't be too sure about that... Read more

Retrospective ... the fourth day

Fourth day for ISWI =
- the first group works;
- lectures all around the campus and the town;
- Art on the Stre..Mensa;
- parties, parties, parties;

Fourth day for the docu group:
- coffee
- coffee
- coffee
- michael jackson vs. darth vader
- coffee
- disney soundtrack
- reviews
- holsurub
- coffee. Read more

Die with dignity?

Over the last fifty years there were a lot of debates about legalizing the voluntary euthanasia. If a physician-assisted suicide can either be considered as rescuing a person from senseless suffering or it has to be considered as a murder? In two of these cases the human dignity is supposed to be violated. Killing a person, even according to her decision violates the basic human rights and dignity. To the contrary, by not executing the person's wish, the term of death with dignity cannot be used.

This example shows how differently the term of human dignity can be interpreted. If you look up in several dictionaries for the word dignity, you will find a number of several definitions, which will only prove the difficulty of distinguishing the term.

The first article of the Declaration of Human Rights postulates that „all human beings are born equal in dignity and rights“. The question is, can we rely on such an uncertain term, like dignity, by using it in the documents of international importance?

These questions were raised in the introductory lecture for the Human Rights and Science group given by Udo Schuklenk, PhD in Bioethics. Despite the difficulty of discussing such ethical questions, listeners were interested and inspired by the beautiful style in which the lecture was given. So unlike other speakers Mr. Schuklenk did not leave the participants alone, but joined them for further discussions in the afternoon. Read more

Kill Bill v. The Antjes

Breaking News: the Police Office of the city of Ilmenau just informed us that a disaster of large proportions is about to occur and disturb the quiet and cosy town of Ilmenau.

Bill, the well-known killer who has yet remained uncaptured by the German Police, despite being searched for almost 4 months, came to Ilmenau. His first victim is one of the celebrities of the town: the orange Antje mysteriously disappeared from her home at the train station. She was last seen staying there, probably waiting for the ISWI participants. Locals claim that it was the storm that took it away, but an official source claims it was in fact kidnapped and abused by Bill during the night of May 9th. Quasimodo, her brother, is still in the city centre but has been put under maximum surveillance by the Ilmenau Rathaus.

The other two brothers of the famous family are still being kept away from people's eyes to guard them from Bill's bad intentions. An upstanding citzen, Beatrix Kiddow (aka The Bride) informed the Rathaus via fax that she herself is going to guard Anne and Happy Hitler, the other two new Antjes. A special team of doctors was send to fix Anne's nose (septical deviation, according to the last medical results) before being shown to the public. Happy Hitler, her younger brother still suffers from hitlerofobia (by rising both her right and middle hand and imitating a well-known gesture).

Special agent Knuwu, in charge with this case, just informed us that they will keep things under control. It's just that now he's out to lunch with this chick, he'll be back later.
Read more

Monday, May 11 at 23:59

Cause this is thrilleeeer, thriiiilleeeer night.

That means the docu team is drinking a lot of black coffee while preparing the newspaper for tomorrow morning.
And since we can't be out there partying with you (mothe&% $*#%%s), we've just made some total requests at the ISWI radio and waiting unpatient to hear our music on.
Lisa is doing the photos.
Klaus is doing the layout.
Katha is chatting on icq.
Friedrich and Tino are staring at my display.
Ravit is doing the interviews.
Mariana is doing some undefined stuff. On the net.
Storbeck is talking uncomprehensible german.
Lumi is doing the Antjas article.
And i am slightly spinning on my rolling chair. Read more

"Dancing Salsa"

The salsa rhythm was really contagious today evening. People from all over the world started to move their hips and feet in one of the Mensa´s rooms. Especially, the Latin-American people enjoy this reunion because it reminds them the music that is usually played in the discos of their countries. Peruvian, Argentinean and Brazilian were the firsts of being there.

Read more

"Diary of a traveller" Part one

Knowing new people, learning a little bit more about their cultures and countries, exchanging experiences and discussing about human and world issues constitute the main reasons of the arrival of thousands of students from all over the planet.

The sports events were taking place… and, meanwhile, if you went closer, the phrases “what’s your name?” and “where are you from?” were heard like in a chorus.

Luis Schanks and Lourdes Wong are two students from Lima, Peru and, despite they come from the same city, they just have met. The journey for them was really long.

There are no direct flights from Peru, so they had to do one intermediate landing and, after that, took the train. However, according to their opinions, the trip was worth it.

German landscapes were the first thing that captured their attention because in Lima the outlooks are not as green as here. They have been only one day in Ilmenau but already made lots of friends.

One of those is Ksenia Naberezhneva. She comes from Russia and arrived on Friday night. She makes a philosophy’s PhD back home and remarks that, at the moment, she could not be in a better place because “Germany is the cradle of philosophers”.

The trip was a little bit long and her body was still tired but she was truly happy of being there. The sports event constituted her first impression of the ISWI and she was amazed of the capoeira group.

Like her, Branka Vukojevic and Mariza Menger were enjoying this sport-art and its particular rhythm. These girls come from Croatia and study law. They traveled by train but didn’t arrive directly. They stayed one day in Munich, where they had their first perspective of the german culture. “We only knew that we couldn’t miss drinking a ‘Maß’” they told.
“It is great here, I am so glad that we could be able to come” said Mariza. “We didn’t have the certitude of coming until last week” she added. They were also quite excited about the upcoming activities and pleased of the friendliness of everyone. “I like so much this kind of events because all the people are so open and nice” commented Branka.

Fabricio Ribeiro was with them too. He comes from Brazil and also had to make an intermediate landing. He went first to Paris and, then, to Berlin. This is his first time in Europe.

He studies environmental engineering and, three months before the trip, started with german lessons because he wanted to know, at least, the basic expressions. “If you know how to say ‘Prost’, everything is perfect” told Andy – from Germany – to him.

Fabricio is delighted with the weather in Germany. He heard that here was really cold and prepared himself… “These sunny days are like in my country” he happily said. “Let’s rest a while under the sun before the lecture starts” quickly added.

Read more

“War situations in peace: The defense of Human Rights"

Geopolitical aspects of human rights: culture – borders – globalization

Dr. Angelika Köster-Lossack worked in the Bundestag (german parlament) as a politician of the Bündnis 90/Die Grünen coalition for eight years. During this time, she participated in different commissions of Human Rights, which made possible her broad knowledge about geopolitical aspects and world conflicts. She studied indology, anthropology and sociology in the Heidelberg University, where later started teaching. The University of Maryland and the College of Social Work in Mannheim had also received her lectures. She has been interested in India and its surrounded countries for the last 45 years, being a member of the German-Indian Society (Department of Heidelberg). With examples of her own experiences and life, she held a lecture where she developed a global and political view of the violations of Human Rights.

She started with a review of own-experienced cases of violation of Human Rights in political aspects, such as the Genocide in Rwanda, the conflict in former Yugoslavia, the conflict in Chechnya, the East Timor independence process, the Oslo process between Israel and Palestine, the negotiations in Sri Lanka, the Cambodia’s massacre, the internal problematic in Pakistan, the war in Afghanistan and the Tibetans autonomy vindications.

Although no issue was treated with a deep analysis on account of time reasons, it was possible to formulate a panoramic perspective of what has been going on around us and how it has been reflected in our society. For instance, the people in Cambodia, ten years after the massacre, still weren’t able to regain their happiness. Another example of this constitutes the blindness of the Pakistan government regarding basic needs of their population, which forced people to find their own solutions: the region of Pashtun was so poor that parents sent their children to madrassas, where some of them were taught in violent ways. With this, she wanted to point out that “also in peace, people can have war situations and Human Rights violations”.

“Human Rights will not play a role if there are economical interests, geopolitical interests or political closeness” she affirmed and added that, unfortunately, no implementation of Human Rights can be possible until people overcome their own prejudices. Entire ideologies like racism and apartheid were created from prejudices, so how can be Human Rights guaranteed in these contexts? What happen with the whole concept where Human Rights come (each person’s respect and well-being)? As she mentioned, is everyone’s duty to analyze and contemplate what’s going on, being able to unblock our minds.

Other important topics were borders and globalization. The first one constitutes control lines, which serve as planned inequality among one population over another. USA and Mexico, Israel and Jordanian, Gaza and Egypt constitute cleared examples. Human Rights cannot be limited with unfair reasons such as a passport’s nationality. The second issue, globalization – as she explained – is nothing new. The only adjustment and advance is its technological way. She said that people still carry with them their “postcolonial baggage”, where the thoughts of colonized and colonizers persist.

The lecture ended with the gratitude of all the participants and an interesting round of questions. Figures such as Gandhi and Martin Luther King were mentioned as examples of fighters for Human Rights and models of equality. With their final mention, Dr. Köster-Lossack gave the audience a tangible pattern to follow. §

Read more

movie night in bc club

Yesterday BC club pleased their visitors with the movie night. A delightful comedy “L‘auberge espagnol” was on. “L'auberge espagnole" literally translates as the Spanish inn, but it's also a French expression for a place where cultures are mixed together like a mess. So, both translations fit the film by writer-director Cédric Klapisch's greatly. The film depicts the adventures of a young boy called Xavier(Romain Duris), who has applied for international programme “Erasmus” and went to Barcelona in order to learn Spanish. He rents apartments together with multinational company of students: the English Wendy (Kelly Reilly), the Spanish Soledad (Cristina Brondo), the Italian Alessandro (Fédérico D'anna), the Danish Lars (Christian Pagh) and the German Tobias (Barnaby Metschurat), the Belgium Isabelle (Cécile de France) and Wendy's brother William (Kevin Bishop) join the group. The actors create true-to-life image of the European youth, who spend a year abroad, finding their love, friendship and having fun, of course, not forgetting about their studies. The atmosphere of passion, romance and friendship bring to life on the screen. The film is full of funny scenes and comedic episodes. It appealed much to the audience, as the constant laughing was heard all the time in the club and the mood of watchers was very positive. Although it is not natural for comedies, the end is quite sad. But, nevertheless, this entertaining and captivating film give a deep and lasting expression to everybody and, I think, can’t leave anybody cold! Astapova Polina Read more

Is health a Human Right?

What is health and is it a part of Human Rights? How many children reach the age of 5 years old in poor countries? What did the Helsinki declaration include? These were just a few questions on the introductory lecture for the Medical Care group.
The lecturer of this work group was dr. med. Peter Tinnemann. Participants discussed about Globalization and Human Rights in both poor and rich countries. The lecturer spoke also about tipical medicinal problems, the vital needs of poor patients or death rates. It was also the oportunity to speak about doctors' work and responsabilities. Students exchanged their experiences and spoke about the situations in their countries.
„I'm for the first time on ISWI“ – declared Peter Tinnemann, doctor at the Berliner Charity and member of Medecines Sans Frontieres. - And it is great that we speak about Human Rights, problems which touch all th people and also to have feedback from students all over the world. Festivals like this one are really important. Not just for the students, but also for us, lectures, because like this we have the
chance to share our points of view.
By Marta

Read more

Photojournalism: Behind brown eyes

Olivia Heussler, a freelance photo-journalist, independent artist living in Zurich and the co-founder of Swiss Agency lookat photos has presented today, Monday, the 11th of May her last project. ´The Dream of Solentiname´Nicaragua 1984-2007, a photo book, 280 pages, telling the history of the establishment of Nicaragua.
‘We are what we see. We show what we want to show..’ stated Heussler when interviewed to an article, ‘The Lens as a Witness: Photography as Advocacy in the Struggle for Human Rights ‘ 2008, by Rikki Gunton. Presenting with the student the Human Rights spiral, she was more interested in fact whether they had actually heard about it before, taking an active part in asking them questions.

Living in Nicaragua for several years with no electricity nor radio at first, part of an organized brigade aiming to help the people, working in agricultural fields, Hussler is telling the story behind the pictures. Arranged in a chronological order, showing a large number of black and white photos in order to control the development of her work, ‘photography’ she sais ‘ is my language , my autonomy’.

Heussler, graduated in Photography at the Zurich Art School, is performing a workshop during this whole week as part of the photography group. An exhibition of her work will be held at the Humboldtbau building. More of her work you can see at

By Ravit Benaim Read more

No, earlier things were ok, it's now that they're going really mad.

we're still waiting for those songs and home baked cakes, you know? Read more