International Center: Dr Sarah Wilewski - Productivity in Diversity

2023-11-15 Dr Sarah Wilewski is head of the new International Center. This unit will combine and develop the areas of responsibility of the Language Center and the International Office.

„The pressing problems of our time don't stop at borders," says Sarah Wilewski. ©Leuphana/ Ciara Burgess
„The pressing problems of our time don't stop at borders", says Sarah Wilewski.

"The International Center combines different perspectives and pools expertise. The aim is to jointly rethink existing processes, advance established areas of activity, and open up new fields of activity," explains Dr Sarah Wilewski. By reorganising the previously separate units, new organisational structures are created. The aim is to develop Leuphana's internationalization activities more dynamically. "Open communication and the feeling of working together towards a common goal is essential for me - both within the team at the International Center and in our collaboration with colleagues from other departments. Internationalisation is a shared value and a shared task."

Sarah Wilewski studied English, Romance Studies, and Educational Sciences at the University of Cologne. The opportunity to complete a year abroad at the University of Oxford proved to set the course for her academic and professional career. She soon returned to Oxford from her home in the Lower Rhine region. In Oxford, she completed her master's degree in European Enlightenment and her doctorate in Cultural and Political History, which also allowed her to spend some time at the Ecole normale supérieure in Paris. Her experiences abroad have shaped her: "Internationalisation is an important topic - in university policy as well as in everyday university life. The pressing problems of our time don't stop at borders," says Sarah Wilewski.

International exchange has long been a feature of daily life in academia and cooperation across national borders is well established. Sarah Wilewski emphasises the increasing importance of international networking at an institutional level and the need for a progressive, modern take on internatioanlising the curriculum: "Broadening your own horizon can't start early enough. Students benefit from heterogeneous learning environments and learn to navigate intercultural contexts. Universities can help to cultivate this ability."

Most recently, Sarah Wilewski was Institutional Coordinator of the "Young Universities for the Future of Europe" (YUFE) at the University of Bremen. This is an alliance of ten European universities and additional non-academic partners in the context of the European Commission's European University Initiative. Subsequent to the pilot phase, which started in 2019, the alliance obtained the relevant follow-up funding to continue its work in 2022.

Sarah Wilewski has also worked as a project manager for Stiftung Mercator’s science funding program in Essen and at Humboldt University Berlin, where she was part of an inter-institutional team involved in preparing the Berlin universities' joint application for the national Excellence Initiative.

Interdisciplinary work and strategic planning are focal points of her professional work: "Leuphana fascinates me as an employer. It is different from the traditional German universities. I am rather receptive to bold, well thought-out innovation models.", Sarah Wilewski says.


  • Dr. Sarah Wilewski