A student engagement story for peacebuilding: Young WILPF workshop at ISWI 2017
by Marie Cucurella, coordinator of the Young WILPF Network, and Sankalp Pawar, member of the Initiative for World Solidarity.
In May 2017, the International Student Week in Ilmenau (ISWI) under the motto ‘Global Justice: A Fair(y) Tale?’ will be held in Ilmenau, Germany. ISWI is an international student organisation, founded in 1993, campaigning for peace through several projects and events, with impact on and collaboration with people from across the globe.
Given the shared objectives and similar areas of work, Young WILPF will collaborate with ISWI to hold a workshop at the conference. Young WILPF will cease the opportunity to present the newly conceived toolkit on youth and peace activism. There will be also be an info-stand sharing information about Young WILPF with participants of ISWI 2017.
Significance of student engagement and call for participation
The voice of youth has played a definitive role in shaping our world. Young activists have in the past stood up and continue to stand up against injustice, prejudice, patriarchy and war.
We live in an age of connectedness facilitated by modern technology. Youth networks have been further strengthened to coordinate and collaborate, take action and inform each other. But being young and/or a student in a global network is not enough. One must choose to stand up for a cause and be willing to contribute to fixing and refining the state of the world.
It is to encourage young people to stand up that ISWI is organising its conference from 12 to 21 May on ‘Global Justice: A Fair(y) tail?’. It is to encourage young people to be committed that Young WILPF will hold a workshop and a discussion there, on youth and peace activism. The youth network help enhance the reach of WILPF by encouraging youth participation.
Every small action, even those that some may perhaps not consider as activism, can actually have an impact on one’s surrounding and thereby on the world at large. Starting with little steps, being aware and informed, one can gain the courage and the needed madness to carry out larger audacious projects. The youth must not wait for the right skills, time, or better circumstance to engage in making a difference.
Functioning and impact of ISWI as an organisation
With around 30 active members, ISWI association functions as a non-profit student organisation. Transparency and democratic decision-making form the key features of ISWI as an organisation. Every member has an equal opportunity to share opinions, take up responsibilities and also to put forward criticism.
As an initiative for peace building and peace education, the impact of ISWI on its members and everyone it has associated with, has been positive and even life changing.
In Ilmenau, ISWI has been contributing to the cosmopolitan culture on the campus and in the city, benefiting the lives of students and locals alike. To encourage international exchange and solidarity, ISWI organises several events. They bring people together and foster tolerance, mutual understanding and respect, thus strengthening the core values ISWI is based on.
The newly formed sub-group, the ISWI Peace Project (IPP) is actively working to highlight peace related topics and align with the global peace movement through participation in campaigns and actions. Nuclear disarmament action, autonomous weapons, political developments in conflict areas, and ethical and moral standards in university research are some of the topics that the group aims to work on and that it shares with WILPF
ISWI 2017 ‘Global Justice, A Fair(y) Tale?’
ISWI 2017, dedicated to the topic of ‘Global Justice’, will be held from 12 to 21 May 2017. In today’s world, justice can represent solidarity, a uniform distribution of resources, or free access to quality education for all. It can also encompass aspects such as the balance between economic prosperity, social and environmental welfare, and the fight against discrimination based on ethnicity, religion, gender and sexual orientation. In a way, global justice could mean to give every human a fair chance to live their life with dignity and, thereby, to contribute to the global society.
ISWI 2017 aims to bring forth a broad discussion with different interpretations of the concept of global justice and possibilities of establishing such a form of global justice. Under the motto ‘Global Justice: A Fair(y) Tale?’ the participants will engage in 10 days of group work, lectures, workshops, including one held by the young WILPF network, discussions and presentations.
The conference does not intend to provide simplified answers or easy perfect solutions to the world’s many problems. It is rather a sincere effort to build a dialogue and to combine ideas of the global youth. Change through effective engagement is the underling goal of this meet, both for ISWI and for Young WILPF.
If you found the conference meaningful and in alignment with your work and expertise, you can hold a workshop/lecture/discussion at ISWI 2017 or suggest appropriate speakers/organisations by contacting inhalt (a) iswi.org