Identity – Who are we?

The ISWI 2013 is ded­i­cated to the topic “Youth”. It is tak­ing place from the 31st of May to the 9th of June, 2013. We in­vite stu­dents from all over the world to dis­cuss the dif­fer­ent as­pects of youth. Prob­lems shall be shown and pos­si­ble so­lu­tions will be worked out.

We have di­vided the main topic into sub-groups, deal­ing with a spe­cial part of the topic. The par­tic­i­pants have to de­cide, in which group they want to get ac­tive dur­ing the week. There­fore they are writ­ing an ap­pli­ca­tion to us, which in­cludes three es­says; one con­cern­ing the motto, one con­cern­ing their mo­ti­va­tion to join ISWI and con­cern­ing their choice of the work-group. The stu­dents with the best es­says will be in­vited. For ISWI 2011 over 3000 ap­pli­ca­tions reached us. The groups con­sist of not more than 20 par­tic­i­pants and are lead by two grou­plead­ers, who are mostly stu­dents from our uni­ver­sity. In the end of the week most of the groups pre­sent their re­sults in a clos­ing cer­e­mony.
Here is an out­line of our planned groups:

1) Identity – Who are we?

Who am I? What am I for? These are the central questions most of us try to answer our whole life through. In our youth, we are especially concerned with searching for and developing our identity by trying out our limits, learning and thinking. Society, family, community and friends are there to accompany us in this process but while in some cases this help can be overwhelming, in other cases helping hands are sought in vain. Then again, what does identity mean and is there perhaps more than one? Is it possible to lose one’s identity? What about people travelling between cultures or taking over other cultures? What impact does their behaviour have on a person’s identity? How much is identity self-made rather than given by others? What role play things like tradition, politics and religion? These are questions that could be discussed within this group.

2) Our virtual identity – Living a virtual life

Before the media revolution initiated by PCs and the Internet, virtual identity only played a secondary role, being found only in the arts – literature, theatre, role plays and movies. That changed with the invention of the new media. Nowadays, computers and the Internet are a big part of many young people’s lives all over the world and our virtual alter ego plays an important role. We use it to get linked with each other via social networks, to talk via instant messengers or to post information, photos and videos on certain platforms. We meet as avatars in virtual worlds or online games. But who is this avatar? Is our real-life identity the same as the virtual identity we use on the Internet? Do we have to live more than one life at the same time? And how about people who do not have opportunity to use social media or who deliberately refuse to use them to protect their privacy? Are they excluded from social life? What is the impact of the shift from real life to virtual reality on personal identity? Is it possible to lose oneself in the virtual world? How to deal with phenomena like cyber-bullying or libel? These are some of the questions you can discuss within this group.

3) Young people’s language – How do we communicate?

Language is an essential part of communication and culture. Without being able to understand their language, it is nearly impossible for us to understand the culture and habits of others. That is why many young people learn foreign languages and use them to connect and communicate with each other all over the world. But how is it possible to communicate without misunderstandings? Is it a solution to have some kind of “world language” that can connect us all? Or is it a better way to use latest technology to help us in translating and learning new languages? What about the sign languages of deaf people? Another important aspect of language to discuss is its power to distinguish oneself from others, e.g. from the parent generation, the state or other groups of young people. Young people often create their own words, expressions, slang or codes. How does young people’s language develop and which examples of such languages or slangs exist? What is their influence on the original language and vice versa? Furthermore the language is affected by the change of our communication due to the use of media. What influence does the increasing use of indirect communication via computer or phone have on our society? How about the use of abbreviations or emoticons? Where do you see the limitations of current communicational forms? And is there a possibility to overcome them? These and many other questions can be discussed within this group. In addition you can even think about creating a new language, if you want to ;).

4) Youth subcultures and scenes

Culture can be seen as a dynamic process, always changing and reinventing itself. It includes things like language, history, habits, traditions, arts and science and it determines our behaviour and views. In the constant change of culture, adolescence plays an important role, because adolescence is the time when young people begin to explore, question and change their own culture and that of their environment. But is the change of a culture a task of the youth and merely driven by it? Is it some kind of generation conflict? Adolescents bring in new ideas and thoughts to a culture, try out new forms of expression and attempt to answer the challenges of their lives. Sometimes this results in the creation of youth subcultures or scenes like punk, hip hop or hippie culture in opposition to the experienced main culture of their parents or peers. But what is “main“ culture and who decides on it? What is the starting point of youth subcultures and how do they develop? How do the main culture and the subculture influence each other? Another aspect to discuss could be the reaction of societies and cultures to subcultures and scenes that do not fit their values and rules. What does it mean for a society to have many subcultures?

5) Education

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” (Nelson Mandela). Education can equip us with the ability to question and understand our environment and change it for the better. But how should education be organised to serve this high aim? How can we overcome the obstacles to access for everybody to education, obstacles like the lack of money or traditional mistrust? What role in educating a person does the formal educational sector play with its schools, universities, teachers and lecturers and what influence has the informal sector with things like family, communities, clubs and associations? What is necessary to learn and which educational concepts enable young people to achieve their aims? How can pupils and students participate in the structure and the learning process? How can things like discrimination or bullying be avoided? What to do about people who have the opportunity to learn, but are not motivated or willing to? During these groupwork sessions you can share your experiences, think about problems and develop possible future solutions that can be discussed further.

6) Training and working life

Adolescence is the time in life when young people make up their mind about their future. They begin to dream and plan, think about their aims and make choices for their social as well as their working life. But how free are we to choose? What are the obstacles associated with things like gender, disability, social or educational background and how can they be overcome? Another point to discuss is the organisation of labour and the labour market. How have these changed over the last decades? Who has access to the labour market and who influences it? What are the demands and are they realistic? How can work under appalling and precarious conditions or things like child labour be eradicated? What role can associations like the ILO, the trade unions, the state or employers play in this regard? How can the work be organised so that everybody is able to fulfil him- or herself? What is the social value of employment? Is it necessary to be employed throughout your lifetime or are there other ways of securing your livelihood?

7) Love and sexuality

A relationship between two people is always very private and yet at the same time also a public affair, where the society interacts with the individual. That is why love and sexuality as part of a relationship are treated very differently in various societies and communities with all their diverse social, cultural and religious backgrounds, so that many conflicts arise. But how far should the society have the possibility of restricting things like sexuality, contraception, cohabitation or marriage? How is it possible to initiate a factual and unbiased dialogue about love and sexuality and how can taboos be addressed? How can we overcome stereotypes and prejudices that otherwise might lead to sexism and violent actions? Which part do gender role models play in this regard?

8) Free time

The concept of free time is to have a period of time when you can freely decide what to do, without having obligations or appointments. The intention is probably to relax and recover from hard work, to socialise and spend time with the family and friends, to leave behind the daily routine. But what is free time today? What role does it play in adolescence and how much free time do young people have in the diverse countries? How do young people spend their free time and who influences their decisions? What roles do money and consumerism play? Who is responsible for organising free time activities and what schemes and concepts exist? How can young people be enabled to take their free time and to use it creatively and responsibly? Can spare time activities be combined with education? Where can young people find free space for their own ideas and support for their own projects? What about volunteering or sports? Where is the separation between hobby and job? How to find the right balance? These and many more questions can be discussed within this group. Furthermore you can think of new free time activities that you can introduce to all ISWI participants after groupwork.

9) Health

Health is a basic human need and a basic human right. But while in some countries many people struggle to achieve a healthy environment, wholesome food, clean drinking water and basic health care, in other parts of the world people do not value about these, taking them for granted, as long as they are not themselves immediately threatened. So, one point that can be discussed during groupwork is how to ensure all these basics for everybody. How to organise a working health system and how to finance it? What about generic drugs and patents on drugs? Another point to discuss is how people can be made aware of their own need to pay attention to their health. Childhood and adolescence, especially, are an important time for prevention and learning to live a healthy life. How to support young people in this process and in coping with problems like poor diet, excessive expectations, stress or bullying? What role do physicians, parents, the educational sector as well as the civil society and the media play? What about sports, healthy food and drinks? Which effect have campaigns for prevention and information? Can the introduction of restrictions, bans or taxes help?

10) Addiction

In the matter of addiction, most people think first of drugs and the emotional discussions on legalisation, drug abuse and crime. Many people, especially young people, have lost their lives because of addiction or drug wars. Therefore this is a difficult subject to discuss objectively and dispassionately. Why do people take drugs and why do people produce them? What are the effects and dangers of drugs? Where to draw the line between hard and soft drugs, between controlled consumption and addiction? What about drugs for medical or traditional reasons? How to prevent drug abuse? How to help the addicted and their environment? How to fight drug-related criminality? Beside drug addiction there are also mental addictions and disorders that play a more and more important role. The “new addictions” connected with the Internet, concerning things like pornography addiction, excessive online gaming or chatting are, for instance, widely unknown and the subject of only recent research. How to make the society aware of these problems and how to deal with these addictions as the “drug” is ever present?

11) Personal crises, personal happiness

During Childhood and adolescence a lot of unexpected things happen, which turn our lives in new directions and which must be coped with as part of life. But how to deal with these events? On the one hand you can exchange ideas on how to overcome personal crises. How do we show that we have a problem and how could our environment be sensitized to interpret our signs and respond appropriately? Which strategies exist for the support of people in difficult situations and the prevention of psychological and social problems? Where to draw the line between letting the person solve the problem on his/her own and intervening? When is professional help needed? On the other hand you can talk about happy times. In good times it is so easy to forget the bad times and to forget about helping people. How can we learn to stay down-to-earth and share our happiness with others? You can bring in your personal and professional background into the sessions and perhaps work toward creating some kind of guide.

12) Generations

The relationship between the generations can be characterized by two concepts – the generation conflict and intergenerationality. While the first term emphasizes the difference between generations, the second one describes the relationship of dependence and how they interact. What is the role of the younger and older generation in these concepts? Where do the major conflicts between the generations lie and where are the differences and common features between them? In this regard, you can talk about respect and hierarchies. Are there duties of the younger generation towards the elder and vice versa and if so, what do they include? Furthermore, you can discuss the situation of societies with a changing population age structure. What challenges do they have to face with a very young or a very old population? How can a society cope with such a trend? How to ensure that no generation is left behind? How can we overcome prejudices on both sides and establish a dialogue between the generations? How can the different generations benefit each other? During groupwork you may share your experiences and views and think about best practice examples for intergenerational projects.

13) Discrimination and equality

“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.” This is the first article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 December 1948. It was a big step for equality, but more than 60 years later discrimination still exists. What examples do you know and how does discrimination show? What is the origin of discriminating acts and ideologies? What is the role of the cultural and social background, what of the environment? How to respond to discriminating acts and ideologies? What strategies against discrimination exist and how can equality for all people without distinction of any kind be promoted?

14) Inclusion

To enable disabled people to live their own life, to recognize their dignity as human beings and include them in every sphere of life – these are some of the main ideas of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities of the United Nations. This convention underpins work on equal opportunities for every person in the world. But how are the rights stated in this convention implemented and what is the current situation of disabled young people in the diverse countries? How to overcome structural and everyday barriers and discrimination in everyday life? How to compensate for disadvantages and guarantee rights? What are the possibilities offered by the latest technology, barrier free design and architecture? What strategies for the “inclusion” of people with disabilities exist? And how can society be made more sensitive to the challenges disabled persons are facing, especially the ones such with invisible impairments and disabilities as chronic diseases?

15) Participation and commitment

To take part in elections, to organise an exhibition, to protest or strike, to help older people do their shopping – these are all examples of participation and commitment. But what role do participation and commitment play for society as a whole? How can we ensure participation for everyone and what ways of participating are there? You can discuss how decisions about political, economic and social affairs are made and what part institutions like governments, parliaments, parties, students’ or trade unions, lobbyists and non-governmental organisations play in the decision-making process. What about non-institutional social and political movements? What is their starting point and what are the initial demands? How do they develop and change and what is their influence? Are these movements especially driven by the youth and can they be seen as an indicator of participation? What technologies and strategies do they use and what is achieved? Another point to discuss within this group is social, educational and cultural commitment within society. How important are these forms of commitment for society? Which forms of it exist? How are they supported and, if financially, where does the funding come from? Here, you can bring in your own experience of working in activist initiatives and associations and collect best practice examples to encourage your fellows towards participation and commitment.

16) Economy

As economy is an important part of society it is always problematic, when national economies get into a crisis. People all over the world feel the aftermath of the recent financial and economic crises. But how did the crises affect the societies and politics in the affected countries and what did they do to the people? Why are young, well-trained people suffering particularly from high unemployment rates and how can they be helped? What were the reasons for the recent crises and what can we learn from them? Who was involved and what remedial measures were taken? Were these crises a sign for an imbalance between economic powers? What should the economy of the future look like in order to avoid such problems? Can we go ahead with the nationally-based economic policies of recent times or should new ways be found, such as a common economic policy shared by all nations? Is what is needed more regulation or a change of the economic system? What about sustainability in this regard? What other economic concepts exist? Who is in charge and able to adjust or change the economic system?

17) Consumption

As human beings we need food, clothes, a home and many basic resources and manufactured goods to meet our needs. Thanks to developments in productivity it is possible these days to meet the needs and wants of many people, but still there are many who have no access to essentials like food or water, because either they are not able to afford the costs or because even today in their regions there are shortages. So the question arises of how it may be possible to satisfy the basic needs of every human being. Another point to discuss within this group are consumers’ rights and responsibilities, and the ethics of the production process. How, where and when was a given product manufactured? What resources were needed to produce it? What were the conditions the workers had to do their job? What were the ecological and social effects of its production? Is the product safe and healthy? How to control and regulate these aspects? How to obviate bad conditions of production or unhealthy products? What can every consumer do in this regard? What about ideas like regional production or fair trade? What about consumption as status symbol and the artificial creation of “needs”? What is the role of the media and what are the social effects?

18) Globalization and mobility

In recent times there is much talk on globalization. But what actually is globalization and how does it affect the life of young people? What are the opportunities and threats in a globalized world? Does globalization only mean economic globalization or is there also political and social globalization? What is the effect of international movements and networking; what is the contribution of international youth meetings and conferences to globalization? How important is the aspect of mobility? With fewer physical borders and a global labour market it has become easier for many people to travel, work and live, wherever they want. But how does this affect the regions and societies they come from, and the ones they go to? What does it mean to them, if this is their only opportunity to earn money, and what does it mean to the community, friends and family they have had to leave behind? How can we ensure that everyone is able to enjoy freedom of mobility without incurring disadvantages or being forced?

19) Child and youth protection, young people’s rights

Although adolescents are not grown-up, they are also no longer children. That is why laws and justice in many countries distinguish between childhood, adolescence and adulthood, according adolescents more societal rights and duties than children. But what norms and habits are the basis for this? Where to draw the line between the different types status? Should whether parents or the state make decisions in respect of the children or adolescents and if so, to what extent and until when? What rights do juveniles in the different countries have, e.g. when do they have the right to vote? How do adolescents learn about their rights? Are there any campaigns? Do you think they have enough rights? And what duties do they have? Do they still need protection? What problems do young people face and what are the dangers they should be protected from? Who decides on the child protection measures and how are they organised in your country? What are the consequences if young people come into conflict with the law? What are their reasons for becoming criminal or violent? What roles do the social background, media or the society play? How are young criminals treated within your society; are there any strategies to counteract juvenile delinquency?

20) Science and technology

To make our life easier, faster, more comfortable and longer – these are the high hopes and the positive image connected with science and technology. Looking into history, it can be seen that progress in science and technology has enabled many societies to develop. But what about negative effects and what about issues of responsibility? Are science and technology value-free or who defines their value? How is it possible to prevent negative effects and to talk about ethics in association with science and technology? Does it make sense to limit or forbid research or to ban certain forms of technology? How independent should science be and how independent is it in fact? What influence does finance have? What about science for military purposes? Another question arises concerning the impact of latest technologies and scientific results on society. How do latest technologies and research change the culture and how does the society react? And how to enable everybody to get access and not be left behind? Concerning this, concepts such as those of intellectual property, patent protection and the open source movement can be discussed.

21) Environment and sustainability

Industrialisation and economic growth within the last century brought many achievements and wealth especially for the so-called developed countries in the world. But the other side of the coin is being seen more and more – an increase in natural and technical disasters, in pollution, in the exploitation and destruction of nature and of living space for people and animals in many parts of the world. But how can we all live together in a world with limited resources and a growing population without destroying it? Is it possible to combine comfort and wealth with the conservation of nature and natural resources? Or do we have to change our lifestyle and relinquish privileges? How can we guarantee a minimum life standard for everyone without destroying nature? What does sustainability mean in this regard? Who is responsible to solve problems and how can we support affected regions? How to raise awareness of these problems? What about environment movements? How do they act, how do they influence society, politics and economy? What is the role of youth within these movements? These are some of the questions that can be discussed within this group.

22) Media

Our generation is very much affected by media of all kind. We have grown up with picture books, books, comics, magazines, TV, radio, audio cassettes, CDs, MP3, VHS and DVD, PCs, computer games, game consoles, the Internet and social media, mobile phones, smart phones and that is probably not all! Which media do young people use and what are their reasons, their motivation? What are the opportunities and threats brought by media use? Within the group, you can also discuss the chances and risks inherent in web 2.0 and social media, as they become ever more important. Is the world getting closer or are we becoming increasingly lonely by sitting in front of our computers and neglecting the “real” social life? What about things like data security, content-control, censorship or the sale of data? Another aspect is the depiction of young people in the media. How do media report on juveniles and their concerns? Furthermore you can think about media made by young people for young people and create your own media format.

23) Faith and religion

One can have faith in many different things – love, justice, freedom, human rights, science or a supernatural being, a god. What do you believe in? How does religious faith differ from faith in general and what is the difference between faith and religion? Within the group you can discuss the role of faith and religion in the lives of young people. What are the pros and cons of commitment? How to deal with religious conflicts, hatred or terrorism? Where does religious freedom end? How can we promote tolerance and establish an unbiased dialogue between different religious groups?

24) Future

To have a look into the crystal ball or to consult the stars – mankind has always been interested in predicting the future with more or less trustworthy methods. Nowadays, simulation, mathematics and scientific results are used to take a look into the future in nearly every aspect that can be based on numbers. But what is the quality of these predictions? Where are the limits? How to take them into account in decision making? Is it possible to change the predicted future? How to communicate predictions, especially if they are negative? Who is responsible, if the results, e.g. predictions of natural disasters, are not published and many people die? And how to control and verify the scientific results? Beside these scientific approaches, the arts and philosophy also deal with the future, thinking about future societies and how recent trends are likely to develop. But what ideas for future societies exist? What will be the challenges of our future world? And what proposals are there to deal with it? What are genuine trends for the future? In literature and film the genre “science fiction” describes the world of tomorrow using scientific or quasi-scientific results and then letting fantasy race ahead. But what world-view does science fiction describe and does it have lessons for us? What influence do these utopian or dystopian descriptions about the future have on our society and do they remain up-to-date?

25) Literature

Lyric poetry, drama or prose – these are all forms of literature, that affect the reader or the audience differently. Regardless of the form – written or printed on paper, read by a person or an audio record, in form of a website or an e-book or even interpreted by actors – literature moves us and makes us think. And sometimes literature is the voice of a whole generation – romance for the romantics or beat literature for the beat generation. But what is the literature of our generation? Is there literature especially for adolescents? What do young people read and write? Which subjects do they choose? What is in your mind and what do you want to tell your generation? You are invited to read and produce your own literary texts during the groupwork and share them with all ISWI participants at the final presentation.

26) Music

Music has the power to influence our mood, to express our feelings and to make us think. But what is contemporary music and what sorts of music attract adolescents nowadays? What kinds of music do you know and what are the characteristics of the several genres? How have they developed and interacted? What is their message? What is the influence of the music business? How do online music platforms or Internet radios change it? How are young musicians able to produce and promote their music? How are they supported? How is it possible to make a living from music? What about copyright and creative commons? Beside discussing these questions you can bring along your instrument and play during groupwork.

27) Photography

Timing, lighting, equipment, experience – all that and much more is involved in taking pictures. Organised or spontaneous, analogue or digital, taken with a mobile phone, a professional camera or a web cam, reworked or not – these are all parts of different artistic styles. And it will be your decision which technique to use and which picture to take; there will be many opportunities during ISWI 2013. You can also shoot a conceptual photo series on the subject “youth”. We invite you to bring your camera along, take pictures and exchange with other photographers on latest technology and your experiences. Some cameras will be provided by the organisers. Beside the practical part you can also discuss the responsibility of photographers as witnesses of events and recorders of news. How does photography influence society and media? How to ensure that pictures show the truth? What role does photography play in political and social movements?

28) Film

When pictures learned to move, the people were fascinated by the new medium. By watching a film, you can be immersed in a different place, time or even a whole new world. But films have also caught moments and documented events. And still today, films can make a deep impression, especially as the medium is developing further, e.g. by using high definition and 3D technologies. Currently, there are many different film genres such as comedy, action, romance, thriller, horror, fantasy or documentary. During groupwork you will be able to exchange your view on films, the different genres, film-making and the film industry. How are adolescents depicted in movies and how do these movies affect young people? Moreover, you can shoot your own movie, e.g. you can document ISWI 2013 or make a short film on youth or on a subject connected with it. The group will be supported by the campus film club “hfc” and the campus television station “iSTUFF”.

29) Theatre

As long as theatre exists, its main aim is to entertain, but also to hold up a mirror to society. Examples are the political satire of classical antiquity, Shakespeare’s histories and tragedies or the plays of Bertolt Brecht. A concept that has recently become more famous is improvisational theatre. Who inspires you? What are the subjects you would like to address? What is your message? You are invited to discuss your ideas and try them out on stage together with fellow students from all over the world.

30) Dance

Through dancing we can express our emotions. You can feel the anger and passion behind a tango, the happiness and ecstasy of a Charleston or the harmony and calmness of a waltz. Ballet can even tell whole stories. Sometimes dances were also used as a form of social protest, e.g. the Capoeira. Within this group you can discuss different types of dances and try them out. Would you like to create a choreography of a dance and perform it at the end of our student festival? What comes to your mind when you think of the motto “moving YOUth”?

31) Design

Web comics, street art, recycled art, stencils… and still there is so much more creative work to be found and made. We hear of guerilla artists who knit through town centres, plant flowers or add comments to ads on billboards. We read witty little cartoons that are observing our everyday life. We are excited about recycling artists who create art out of our trash. So what would you like to create? What is your tool and style? What is your message? Get creative at ISWI 2013.

32) Fashion

Inventing the latest trend, designing the latest style – many especially young designers think and work on the clothes, shoes, bags and accessories of tomorrow. But who are they and what do they design? Where do they work and what inspires them? Should fashion be a status symbol or available for everybody? What about responsibility of producers and consumers? What about movements for vegan and/or organic production, fair trade or second hand fashion? More points to talk about are the ethics of fashion and of setting trends. What about modelling and stereotypes of what is beautiful? What power do labels and symbols have? What about fashion in a political and cultural context, like using certain symbols or a dress code? Beside the theoretical discussion, you will also have the opportunity to create and present your own fashion.

33) Architecture

Architecture can be seen as a hybrid – on the one hand it is art, a form of expression, on the other hand it should be useful and pragmatic. But how to combine these two aspects? What are the ideas of young architects and how do they realize them? What are their influences and what are their aims – designing new buildings or the modification of old ones? How do they include nature? Another point to discuss is how architecture for the youth should look. How to create a school, a high school, a university or a youth club? What should they contain and what designs already exist? How to grant free space for the ideas and dreams? What about “Universal Design”, which was developed to ensure movement without restrictions? How to integrate renewable energy like solar panels? All these things can be discussed within this group. You can bring in your ideas and design models.

34) Documentation

The documentation group will report on ISWI 2013 in a frequently appearing newspaper and a concluding book of the proceedings, with articles and interviews as well as photos. As member of the documentation group you can take a look behind the scenes of a student conference, talk offstage to artists and lecturers and create a souvenir for all participants of ISWI 2013. You will also have the opportunity to take part in radio shows in cooperation with the campus radio, “hsf-Studentenradio”, and to accompany the filming team of “iSTUFF”, the campus TV.

ISWI 2013 – Moving YOUth

Al­most every­thing that is great has been done by the youth

The de­f­i­n­i­tion of “youth“ is dif­fer­ent all over the world. Whereas youth by Ger­man law is de­fined as the time be­tween 14 and at­tain­ing the age of 18, the UNO con­sid­ers it as the time be­tween the age of 15 and 25. There is no in­ter­na­tion­ally con­sis­tent term for youth. Young peo­ple ex­press their “youth” dif­fer­ently de­pend­ing on their ori­gin. Though, a clear de­f­i­n­i­tion is not im­por­tant for us. We would like to see “youth” as a stage in every­one’s per­sonal de­vel­op­ment, form­ing part of find­ing their own iden­tity and ma­tu­rity. That is what our as­so­ci­a­tion is aim­ing for through ISWI 2013.

The col­lec­tive youth of our world can cre­ate a new basis for the up­com­ing fu­ture. By shap­ing the world with its most di­verse peo­ple, cul­tures and states the youth is more than nec­es­sary to cre­ate a com­mon ground for fu­ture gen­er­a­tion’s in­ter­ac­tion.

Nowa­days, every human being is greatly af­fected by di­verse cul­tural, re­li­gious, po­lit­i­cal, eco­nom­i­cal as well as so­cial in­flu­ences and con­straints which build a dis­tinct iden­tity. Fash­ion, music, (po­lit­i­cal) com­mit­ment as well as the way to enjoy ones free time are means to ex­press these unique iden­ti­ties. Be­cause a lot of teenagers are easy to im­press, a high level of sup­port and pro­tec­tion is needed, which at the same time does not limit their in­di­vid­ual rights and free­dom.

But, is every­thing done by the youth ac­tu­ally right? The focus dur­ing our con­fer­ence also is going to be on dis­cussing the youths’ ac­tions and at­tempts. The ideas of the youth often are
in­com­pat­i­ble with ex­ist­ing mod­els and con­cepts. The new tech­nolo­gies – avail­able all over the world – make it eas­ier to dis­cuss peo­ples’ needs and aims and to or­ga­nize them­selves more ef­fi­ciently.

We want to offer a plat­form for all par­tic­i­pants and in­ter­ested peo­ple, to ex­change opin­ions about this some­times dif­fi­cult stage in live. We want to do so in group work, work­shops,
dis­cus­sions, lec­tures and in­di­vid­ual con­ver­sa­tions. We want to ex­change ideas, per­spec­tives and ar­gu­ments, to view the topic through dif­fer­ent per­spec­tives.
To pro­mote and cre­ate a tol­er­ant and open minded world, we think of ap­pro­pri­ate be­hav­iour be­tween peo­ple as nec­es­sary. Un­der­stand­ing each other’s rea­sons and mo­ti­va­tions as well as
being open for other coun­tries prob­lems is in­dis­pens­able. ISWI wants to achieve an in­ter­na­tional ex­change and a peace­ful to­gether.

There­fore we want to ini­ti­ate an open di­a­logue, get every­one´s at­ten­tion to ex­ist­ing prob­lems and out­line dif­fer­ent points of view. The final aim is to work out ideas and so­lu­tions for the
found is­sues to­gether with all par­tic­i­pants, lec­tur­ers and in­ter­ested peo­ple.