On Campus

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.

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