International student organizations joining forces
Every six months, multiple student organizations with diverse professional backgrounds meet in the Informal Forum of International Student Organizations (IFISO) to identify common priorities, exchange expertise, build capacity, discuss partnerships, and build bridges of collaboration. This year’s IFISO network consisted of 11 multi-disciplinary student organizations, covering areas such as engineering, law, pharmaceutical studies, veterinary medicine, physics and medicine.
IFMSA was present at the IFISO Autumn Meeting 2018, held in Istanbul, Turkey, between the 11th and 15th of October 2018, and it was represented by the Liaison Officer to Student Organizations (LOSO), Teodor Cristian Blidaru. This meeting is a great opportunity for our Federation not only to share projects and expertise but also to connect with other students and explore opportunities for future collaborations.
The meeting started with an introductory part in which all representatives gave a short presentation about their organization, having internal structure and capacity for advocacy as the two main themes of discussion. For the rest of the day, IFMSA was in charge of facilitating the session on setting priorities and building bridges. The goal of the session was to have student organizations from diverse areas working together and focusing on a single priority, relevant for all. Tackling a problem with a lot of totally different visions proved challenging but very productive in the end, as two plans for possible future projects were drafted.
The focus of the second day was capacity building by sharing the best examples and expertise from each organization. Participants attended different training sessions about innovation, communication with members, advocacy, training structures, finances and more. The session about grants and fundraising was of a particular interest for IFMSA, as it provided a good know-how for applying to grants. The final day of the meeting was a great opportunity for IFMSA to approach different student organizations and propose a collaboration. We have started discussions with the European Federation of Psychology Students’ Associations to explore the possibility of raising awareness about mental health together in the future and with the European Law Students’ Association to strengthen our knowledge on human rights. Also, during the meeting, IFMSA worked closely with the already traditional partner, the International Veterinary Students’ Association.
In the end of the event, the future of the structure was discussed and IFMSA’s Liaison Officer to Student Organizations was nominated as one of the members of the IFISO Management Team for the next 6 months.