The World Health Students Alliance (WHSA) celebrates the International Students Day held on the 17th of November 2016, and considers this day as an opportunity to harness the power of collaboration between students and to encourage meaningful youth involvement.
The World Health Students Alliance is the largest inter-professional healthcare alliance. The current Alliance is a partnership between the following organizations: the International Association of Dental Students (IADS), the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), the International Pharmaceutical Students Federation (IPSF) and the International Veterinary Students Association (IVSA). WHSA was established to bring together all healthcare students to share their experiences and to better address health challenges facing the society. The partner organizations believe that as the most active part of a society, students have the will and power to make the world a better place.
Since 1941, the 17th of November has been marked worldwide as the International Students’ Day. Several universities celebrate it as a day of multiculturalism and diversity, but there is a tragic story behind it, 77 Years ago on this day, Nazis viciously executed nine students and professors, sent more than 1,200 students to concentration camps and closed all Czech universities. During this incident, the students showed great courage that should never be forgotten. On this day, students commemorate their legacy and remind themselves not to be passive, to raise their voice and to make positive changes.
Students all over the world continue their commitments to fight for human rights, adequate education, healthier communities and a brighter future. The World Health Students Alliance is committed to strengthening the meaningful youth engagement of our students. Global health is a growing inter-sectoral field, with many aspects and challenges, and as we are medical, dental, pharmaceutical and veterinary students, we understand that our fields interconnect and meet in global health. The four student organizations in this alliance are committed to advocate for the best interests of our communities, to improve the culture related to health professions collaboration, and to work together in common advocacy topics related to global health. The WHSA partners thrive for youth involvement, which is vital to help develop sustainable positive health outcomes, as youth are some of the most powerful change agents in the world. The WHSA acknowledges that our strength comes from being united, and acting together against the challenges that face students, their communities and global health.
The International Federation of Medical Students Association – is a youth-led and youth-driven organization, representing an inspiring network of 1.3 million medical students in 122 countries around the globe, with the vision: A world in which all medical students unite for global health and are equipped with the knowledge, skills and values to take on health leadership roles locally and globally. In IFMSA, we care about meaningful youth involvement, as its one of our main focus areas in external representation. Within our advocacy efforts that concern specific health issues and changes, we underline the importance of involving youth in shaping the world of tomorrow and encourage our members to have a voice and be involved at all levels of decision making in global health.
The International Association of Dental Students was founded in 1951 in Denmark, in order to serve the needs of dental students throughout the world. Representing the interests of more than 200,000 dental students in 50 countries worldwide, the Association strives for dental educational and scientific excellence throughout the international student projects and initiatives it manages. Today, we want you, the students, to understand that you have responsibilities to use your talents for the benefit of the society. You must decide, as Goethe put it, whether you will be an anvil or a hammer, whether you will give to the world in which you were reared and educated the broadest possible benefits of that education. Of the many special obligations incumbent upon an educated person, we would cite three: your obligation to the pursuit of learning, your obligation to serve the public, your obligation to help those in need. We want all of you to realize that every day you have the power to change and improve the lives of people around you and we urge you to act and make a difference!
The International Pharmaceutical Students Federation was founded in 1949 by eight pharmacy student associations in London. The Federation now represents approximately 350,000 pharmacy students and recent graduates in over 80 countries worldwide. IPSF is the leading international advocacy organization for pharmacy students promoting improved public health through provision of information, education, networking, and a range of publications and professional activities. As students of a profession, we understand that advancement of knowledge of our own students is vital to making positive impacts in global health when we begin practice; while we aim to promote public health specifically, a major focus of this promotion is involved with engaging our members to participate in improving quality of education in their faculties.
The International Veterinary Students Association is the largest veterinary student organization representing approximately 30.000 veterinary students and is run by voluntary efforts of those students. IVSA exists to benefit the animals and people of the world by harnessing the potential and dedication of veterinary students to promote the exchange of veterinary skills, education and knowledge. IVSA hopes to raise the overall standard of veterinary education with its projects and educational opportunities focusing on animal welfare, one health, education, soft skills and wellness.
We call on the global community of students to stand and work together to demand fair education with high standards and excellent quality for all. This should give students the ability and chance to achieve their goal of one day being high-quality and stress-free veterinarians.
With the World Health Students Alliance representing a collective body of over 1.8 million students in the world, we are a powerful voice to encourage change on a global level. However, we recognize that change on a global level needs to start with those 1.8 million individuals working on their local level. In honor of the students who work tirelessly to better themselves and the world around them, the Alliance calls for action on all levels; we call on legislators involved in the education system to alleviate the financial and housing burdens that students face in an effort to invest in the improvement of their society, we call on the Alliance and other health profession student organizations to advocate together throughout the year on common topics related to global health education, and we call on students themselves to see the value in professional development and the quality of education in the betterment of their local community.