International Centre: Dr Sarah Wilewski - Productive Variety

2023-11-15 Dr Sarah Wilewski is head of the new International Centre. This unit will combine and advance the areas of responsibility of the Language Centre 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 Centre 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 areas, new working structures are created which aim to drive and shape Leuphana's internationalisation 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 Centre and in our collaboration with colleagues from other departments. Internationalisation is a shared value and a shared task."

Sarah Wilewski studied English, Romance, and Educational Studies 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. There she completed her master's degree in European Enlightenment and her doctorate in Cultural and Political History, which also took her to the Ecole normale supérieure in Paris for a while. Her years abroad left their mark on 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 commonplace 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 internationalisation of studies: "Broadening your own horizon can't start early enough. Students benefit from discourse in heterogeneous groups and learn to act productively in other cultural contexts. University can help to cultivate this insight."

Most recently, Sarah Wilewski was coordinator of the "Young Universities for the Future of Europe" (YUFE) at the University of Bremen. This is an alliance of ten European partner universities and additional non-university partners, which started its pilot phase in 2019 as part of the European Commission's European University Initiative, and successfully acquired the corresponding follow-up funding in 2022.

Sarah Wilewski has also worked as a project manager for the Mercator Foundation's science funding programme 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 Excellence Initiative of the German federal and state governments.

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 university. I am very receptive to bold, well thought-out innovation models. ", says Sarah Wilewski.


  • Dr. Sarah Wilewski