Canadian student groups absent at global meeting

Conference aims to forge common student agenda and foster international cooperation


Student leaders from around the world recently met in Paris to prepare for the July 2009 UNESCO World Conference on Higher Education (WCHE).

Organized by the International Cooperation Working Group of the European Students’ Union (ESU), the conference was held in an effort to forge a common student agenda for the WCHE and to foster greater international cooperation among student organizations.

Representatives of 17 student organizations attending the meeting produced a Global Student Statement on Higher Education. The ESU noted that the statement represents a unified student perspective which “will enable the global student movement to speak with one voice at the WCHE”. The full statement may be downloaded here in .pdf format.

The ESU also pointed out that the student movement has “lacked a strong, coherent and global voice in recent years”. This was evidenced by the notable absence of representatives of the International Union of Students (IUS), which has struggled to remain active in the post-communist era. The IUS website appears to have not been updated since 2002 and the Prague headquarters of the group was closed in 2006.

Also notably absent from this recent international student cooperation effort were Canada’s national student organizations. Quebec students were represented by the Fédération étudiante universitaire du Québec.


Canadian student groups absent at global meeting

  1. …and if the CFS did attend, this story would be posted over in another area of Macleans On Campus with the title “CFS sponsors junket to Paris”. Hilarious.

  2. The hilarity is entirely lost on me. My writing here is independent from that of other MacLean’s OnCampus bloggers, much as columnists write from different perspectives. If you have an issue with the content of other blogs, you may consider taking it up with them directly.

  3. Dale, I think James makes a fair point.

    I have no doubt that had the CFS (or CASA for that matter) sent someone over to Paris to sign on to this thing (which appears to me to have been a worthwhile effort, and something Canadian student groups *should* sign on to) then they would undoubtedly have been criticized for wasting student funds, not consulting students, going on a junket, and so on.

    This is not on you of course – I agree with you. This is just one of those occasions where no matter what was done, it would be wrong, at least in someone’s eyes.

  4. Both the CFS and CASA are completely impotent. I’d rather have an independent local student union than a beaucratic national union.

  5. Steve,

    A “national” student union is just a summation of like-minded local student unions…and they are only as impotent as those local student unions let them be.

    Look at the list of signatories to that statement:


    All national student unions. It would be impractical in the extreme to have individual student unions sign-on to this sort of thing…

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