Culture of Everyone®: IU International University of Applied Sciences launches campaign for diversity, tolerance and democracy


Employees of IU International University of Applied Sciences advocate democracy, tolerance and diversity with the #CultureOfEveryone campaign.

Erfurt, 5 February 2024. In the current social situation, which is characterised by uncertainty and in which our basic democratic order is under threat, IU International University of Applied Sciences (IU) stands firmly for the indispensable values of tolerance, democracy and a culture that includes all people. Within IU, these values have been practised by students and staff alike as a "Culture of Everyone®" since its foundation more than 20 years ago. Together, they are now also campaigning for an open, respectful and diverse society outside the university.

Dr Carmen Thoma (COO)

"A Culture of Everyone at IU is not just a slogan, but a promise — to our students, our staff, and our entire community. We believe that education is the most powerful tool for building bridges, expanding horizons, and creating an environment where everyone has the opportunity to realise their full potential. Let's stand together for an inclusive and open-minded future," says Dr Carmen Thoma, COO of IU International University of Applied Sciences on LinkedIn, one of many IU voices currently expressing their personal stories and thoughts on social media. 

IU's trademarked term Culture of Everyone® stands for a corporate culture that thrives on diversity, openness, tolerance and respect. More than 130,000 people from all over the world study at Germany's largest university, and more than 4,000 people from over 87 nations work here. Each and every one of them plays an important role in maintaining a culture in which everyone feels safe, heard and tolerated. This is also the essential basis for IU's mission to empower people worldwide with the most personalised education by breaking down barriers to higher education. 

Social media campaign to strengthen democracy 

To show how important an open and respectful working and living environment is, IU is launching a campaign on social media. More and more IU employees are posting pictures or texts with the hashtag #CultureOfEveryone and explaining why this is so important to them. IU also invites everyone outside the university to join this campaign to strengthen our democracy.

Dr Sven Schütt, CEO of IU International University of Applied Sciences, kicked-off the campaign in a LinkedIn post and is leading by example (see LinkedIn post). 

In a clear statement, the CEO of IU also emphasises IU's stance against intolerance, racism and any kind of threat to our democracy: 

Dr Sven Schütt (CEO)

"We all have a responsibility for one of the most precious gifts, a treasure that we often take for granted: our democracy. But in today's world, in which xenophobic and totalitarian tendencies are gaining ground, we must not remain silent and inactive. 

We, as Germans, bear a particularly important responsibility because of our history. We have seen where hatred and intolerance can lead. Our country has risen from a very dark past and guilt to stand up for hope, tolerance and peaceful coexistence. We must continue on this path with determination. 

Tolerance and international understanding are the cornerstones on which our prosperity rests. They enable us to recognise diversity as a strength, to learn new things and to continue to develop. In an increasingly interconnected world where education and knowledge know no borders, it is essential that we remain open to other cultures, ideas and perspectives. This openness is at the heart of IU's mission and vision. 

We want to democratise access to education. This is only possible in an open and tolerant democracy. At the same time, 'tolerance becomes a crime when it applies to evil', as Thomas Mann admonished us Germans. Each of us can not only share this message, but also actively live it in our everyday lives. 

It is not just about spreading words, but also about standing up for our democratic values every day. We can stand up for our opinions among friends, acquaintances or colleagues when intolerance or undemocratic beliefs are voiced. We all have a voice – let's use it to strengthen our society and secure our future and the future of our children. I hope that many people will share this call in view of the dangers to our democracy, trust and tolerance." 

Further initiatives for diversity and tolerance 

In October 2022, IU received the TOTAL E-QUALITY award for its personnel and organisational policy geared towards equal opportunities and diversity. IU also supports the "Weltoffenes Thüringen" initiative launched in Thuringia (IU's headquarters) in 2024 and is a signatory to the Diversity Charter, through which IU has been officially committed to an appreciative and unprejudiced working environment since 2019. 

Based on its educational principles, IU has launched several initiatives of its own to sustainably support and empower students. For example: 

  • In 2022, IU awarded around 5,000 scholarships to students from developing countries; an increase of over 60 per cent compared to the previous year. 
  • With the Study Access Alliance, IU supports students in African countries and is constantly looking for further educational or financial partners. 
  • IU offers special scholarships for people with disabilities, single parents and career changers, including the "Women in Tech" programme to promote women in IT and technical professions. 
  • With a wide range of admission options, IU enables many people without a traditional university entrance qualification to study. The proportion of first-year students at IU without an Abitur is seven times higher than the national average; 70 per cent of IU students come from families without an academic background. 
  • IU is the first university in the European Union to be a member of the UNESCO Global Education Coalition, which provides students in crisis situations with access to relevant subjects and credits. 
  • IU offers individual further education opportunities with inclusion-friendly study formats and equips people with knowledge and methods for a sustainable future with degree programmes such as Sustainable Management

More information about IU's corporate culture at: https://www.iu-careers.com/en/culture/


With over 130,000 students, IU International University of Applied Sciences (IU) is the largest university in Germany. The private, state-recognised educational institution with its headquarters in Erfurt began operations in 2000 and is now represented in more than 35 German cities. Students from over 190 nations design their studies according to their needs: whether practice-integrated dual studies, flexible distance learning or individual “myStudium”, which combines online self-study and campus life. IU wants to give people worldwide access to personalised education for a fulfilled and self-determined life. In more than 250 bachelor's, master's and MBA programmes, including over 50 in English, IU teaches students key skills relevant to the future. A digitally supported learning environment and the use of AI solutions help students to achieve optimal learning results and experiences. IU is one of the first universities in the world to have developed and deployed its own AI-supported learning buddy. IU cooperates with over 15,000 companies and supports them in the academic training of professionals. Partners include Motel One, Vodafone, AWO and Deutsche Bahn. Further information at: iu.org

The AI-supported learning buddy "Syntea" is now available as a public demo version in the ChatGPT store at the following link: https://chat.openai.com/g/g-P5olqoCPc-syntea