International Solidarity Forum

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About the ISF

The International Solidarity Forum (ISF) is an annual training event hosted at the United Nations and World Youth Alliance headquarters in New York City. The forum brings together active and certified WYA members from around the world and subject matter experts to participate in lectures and discussions on topics relevant to ongoing international policy debates. Previous themes include Sustainable Development, HIV/AIDs, Reproductive Health, Migration and Development, and Good Governance. 

Conference Speakers


Farr A. Curlin, MD, is Josiah C. Trent Professor of Medical Humanities in the Trent Center for Bioethics, Humanities and History of Medicine; Co-Director of the Theology, Medicine and Culture Initiative at Duke Divinity School; and Senior Fellow in Duke’s Kenan Institute for Ethics. Before moving to Duke in 2014, he founded and was Co-Director of the Program on Medicine and Religion at the University of Chicago. At Duke, Dr. Curlin practices hospice and palliative medicine, and he works with colleagues across the university to develop opportunities for education and scholarship at the intersection of theology, medicine and culture. He has authored more than one hundred and thirty articles and book chapters dealing with the moral and spiritual dimensions of medical practice. Dr. Curlin’s work focuses on the relevance of religious ideas and practices for the doctor-patient relationship, the moral and professional formation of clinicians, and care for patients at the end of life.
After graduating in June 1995 as a Doctor in Medicine at the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium, Benoit Beuselinck spent several years working in Development Cooperation in Africa and Latin America. In 2003, he started an internship in Internal Medicine and Medical Oncology in the University Hospitals of Leuven (KULeuven) and the Georges Pompidou European Hospital in Paris (Université Paris-Descartes). In 2010, he became a staff member at the Department of Medical Oncology of the University Hospitals Leuven. He was appointed Professor of Medicine at the KULeuven in October 2015. Since the approval of euthanasia in Belgium in 2002, Benoit Beuselinck has taken several initiatives to show the shortcomings of this law. He actively contributed in 2014 to the mobilization of pediatricians against the extension of the law to children and in 2015 to the mobilization of psychiatrists against the application of euthanasia to patients with psychic suffering. He has published several studies and book chapters on the meaning of life in the suffering person, based mainly on the theories of Viktor Frankl.
Stephanie Woodward is an attorney and Disability Rights activist based in Rochester, NY. As the co-founder of Disability EmpowHer Network, Stephanie is committed to empowering young women with disabilities through transformational learning experiences. Stephanie attended Syracuse University College of Law where she earned her J.D. with a certificate in Disability Law and Policy and her M.S.Ed. in Disability Studies. Stephanie is a proud disabled person and member of ADAPT, a national grass-roots community that organizes to assure the civil and human rights of people with disabilities to live in freedom. She has been arrested multiple times while advocating for Disability Rights. Stephanie is also a member of Not Dead Yet, a national, grassroots disability rights group that opposes legalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia as deadly forms of discrimination and she has also spoken on opposition to legalizing assisted suicide at conferences and other public forums as well as in media interviews.
MMag. Dr. Gudrun Kugler, Mts majored in Law and Theological Studies on Marriage and the Family. She holds a PhD in International Law and serves as a member of the Austrian parliament (ÖVP), and is the human rights spokesperson of her party. Before that, she was a member of Vienna’s Regional Parliament from October 2015 where she especially covered human rights, European affairs, and integration of refugees. Gudrun was the director of the Catholic online dating service which operates in nine languages and in 13 countries. She founded the Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians in Europe. Since September 2008, she is a visiting professor at the International Theological Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family in Trumau, Austria. From 2001 to 2004, she worked as a director of WYA Europe. She is married to Martin and has four children. They live in Vienna, Austria.


Kristen Hanson is Community Relations Advocate for the Patients Rights Action Fund (PRAF), a national, secular, non-partisan leader in the defense of the rights of patients, people with disabilities, elders, and the poor from the threat of legalized assisted suicide. She did her undergraduate work at The University of Miami, and earned a master’s in Education at SUNY New Paltz. She is the widow of JJ Hanson, a Marine Corps combat veteran, and late president of the Patients Rights Action Fund. At 33, her late husband, JJ, was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer and given only a few months to live. He went on to live for over 3.5 years, dedicating his final days to fighting the legalization of physician-assisted suicide. Kristen continues to share their story to provide hope to people in similar circumstances and to challenge policymakers and medicine to reject such a dangerous public policy. She has been published and interviewed in media outlets such as the Washington Post, the New York Post, and CBS Sunday Morning News.


Grégor Puppinck, PhD, is the Director of the European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ). In 2016, he was appointed member of the Panel of Experts on Freedom of Religion or Belief of the OSCE/ODIHR. Since 2000, he regularly serves as an expert representing the Holy See in committees of the Council of Europe, currently in the Committee of experts on the System of the European Convention on Human Rights (DH-SYSC), under the Steering Committee for Human Rights (CDDH). After passing his Master of Law from the Law School of Pantheon-Assas (University Paris II), he graduated from the “Institut des Hautes Etudes Internationales” (IHEI) where he specialized in International and European Law (1999). Grégor Puppinck holds his Ph.D. with a dissertation entitled “The Author of the Bioethical Norms”, where he studied the elaboration of the norms at the crossroad of ethical, scientific and legal normativities (Summa cum laude, 2009). He has lectured on human rights, international and constitutional law at the Law School of the Universities of Mulhouse and Strasbourg and has authored several books and numerous legal articles published in several languages.


Mislav Barišić joined WYA by attending WYA’s Certified Training Program (CTP) in Croatia in 2014. He served as president of WYA Croatia, is a longtime CTP trainer, and was active in a number of WYA projects. He is a graduate of the University in Zagreb where he studied the Law and has a degree in French Language and Literature and Philosophy. His interest in philosophy, politics, history and science are something that led him to the position of Director of Advocacy at WYA Europe which he currently serves.


Hrvoje Vargic is originally from a small town of Đakovo in the eastern part of Croatia, but moved to Zagreb when he was 18 to pursue his studies. He holds a BA in Business and Master of Arts in Economics from the University of Zagreb. Prior to being selected as WYA Europe Regional Director, he worked as project manager for a business consultancy company. He also holds a second BA in Philosophy and has finished the MA Philosophy Program of the University of Zagreb. He is a Phoenix Institute alumnus, from which he was awarded a Diploma in Advanced Studies in Political, Economic and Social Sciences. Hrvoje was one of the founders of the WYA Croatia Chapter in 2012, and was part of several other civic initiatives in Croatia. He has given several speeches in different symposia and conferences, published a scientific article in a peer reviewed journal, and co-authored a book on EU project management. He is happily married to Maja, who is his greatest supporter.

Application Requirements

To apply to the International Solidarity Forum you must:

Application Form


Deadline of application is on January 15, 2021.


Please email with any questions you may have.


Applications are now closed.

Who can participate in this event?

The ISF is open to all active and certified WYA members. Applicants who have good recommendations from their regional office have increased chances of being accepted.

How do I become a WYA Member?

WYA Members are young people between the ages of 10 and 30 who sign the WYA Charter. Visit to sign the WYA Charter. Please note that new members typically will not qualify to attend the ISF, but are encouraged to become active and participate in their regional Emerging Leaders Conferences.

What is the Certified Training Program and how do I enroll?

The CTP trains WYA members in the core principles that form the mission of WYA. It discusses key concepts related to Human Dignity including freedom, solidarity, and culture, among many others. WYA members can enroll in the program for free. Each of the 6 WYA regions conducts three batches of online trainings every year. To enroll, visit The program is scheduled over the course of approximately 3 months, so those wishing to attend the 2018 ISF who have not yet completed the CTP are encouraged to sign up for the autumn 2017 scheduled program in their region. Please note on your application if you are currently doing the training.

When will I be notified of the application decision?

Accepted applicants for phase two will be notified of the application decision three to four weeks after they have submitted their online application form.


Is there a registration fee?

Registration fees will be waived for this year’s ISF but members are welcome to give based on the suggested donation. 


Can I only attend on selected dates?

All selected delegates should be available to attend the live lectures and the negotiation sessions that will take place in between the official lecture dates.

ISF 2020  | Reproductive Health

March 2-5, 2020 | New York City, New York 
Declaration negotiated by participants: Declaration on Reproductive Health
Facebook photo album

ISF 2019  | Good Governance and Human Flourishing

March 25-28, 2019 | New York City, New York 
Declaration negotiated by participants: Declaration on Good Governance and Human Flourishing
Facebook photo album

ISF 2018  | Human Dignity and Bioethics

March 5-8, 2018 | New York City, New York 
Declaration negotiated by participants: Declaration on Human Dignity and Bioethics
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ISF 2017 | Migration and Development

March 27-30, 2017 | New York City, New York 
Declaration negotiated by participants: Declaration on Migration and Development
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ISF 2016 | Population and Environment

March 7-10, 2016 | New York City, New York | Webpage
Declaration negotiated by participants: Declaration on Population and Environment
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ISF 2015 | Health and Education: Keys to Development

March 31-April 4, 2015 | New York City, New York | Webpage
Declaration negotiated by participants: Declaration on Health and Education
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ISF 2014 | The Family: Backbone of Development

March 31-April 4, 2015 | New York City, New York | Webpage
Declaration negotiated by participants: Declaration on Family and Economic Development
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ISF 2013 | Health and Sustainable Development

April 15-18, 2013 | New York City, New York | Webpage
Declaration negotiated by participants: Declaration on Health and Sustainable Development
Blogpost: “ISF: A Participant’s Recap” by Anabelle Basterrechea
Blogpost: “Heated Discussion on Sustainable Development on the ISF”
Facebook photo album

ISF 2012 | Sustainable Development: The Priority of Persons

Event details: April 16-19, 2012 | New York City, New York | Webpage
Declaration negotiated by participants: Declaration on Sustainable Development
Blogpost: “ISF: Experience from Delegates” by Paula Bitange
Blogpost: “ISF: Experience from Delegates” by a member from Nairobi, Kenya
Facebook Photo Album

ISF 2011 | Population & Economics: Investing in the Human Person

Event details: March 21 – 24, 2011 | New York City, New York | Webpage
Declaration negotiated by participants: Declaration on Population and Economics

ISF 2010: Maternal Health

March 21-24, 2010 | New York City, New York
Outcome document: Declaration on Maternal Health

ISF 2009: Dignity and the Human Person: Foundations of a Rights System

March 22-25, 2009 | New York City, New York
Outcome document: Declaration on the Philosophy of Human Rights
Listen to the talks:

Human Dignity as a Foundation for Human Rights

Dr. Paolo Carozza, Notre Dame Law School

Human Rights and the UN

Ambassador Hilario G. Davide, Jr., Permanent Representative of the Philippines to the UN

The Relational Basis of Human Solidarity: Why Humanitarian Duties Are Not Enough

Dr. David Thunder, Princeton University

Drafting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Dr. Habib Malik, Lebanese American University

ISF 2008: Assisted Reproductive Technologies and the Human Person

March 26-29, 2008 | New York City, New York
Outcome document: Statement on the Uses of Assisted Reproductive Technologies
Listen to the talks:

The Science of Assisted Human Reproduction

Nigel Cameron, 26th March 2008

New Eugenics: PDG and Beyond

Nigel Cameron, 26th March 2008

Would you want to be an Embryo in 2008? 

Margaret Somerville, 27th March 2008 

(Speech Unavailable)

The Right to a Child and ART

William Hurlbut, 28th March 2008

The International Human Market

William Hurlbut, 28th March 2008

ART and Feminism

Therese Jacob-Hargot, 29th March 2008

ISF 2007: Population and Development

April 10-14, 2007 | New York City, New York
Outcome document: Declaration on Development

ISF 2006: Good Governance

March 27-30, 2006 | New York City, New York
Outcome document: Declaration on Good Governance

ISF 2004: Women and Development

November 15-20, 2004 | New York City, New York
Outcome document: Declaration on Women


November 12-15, 2003 | New York City, New York
Outcome document: Declaration on HIV/AIDS