The Informal Forum of International Student Organizations (IFISO) is meeting held in Autumn and Spring, once in a biennium, whereby representatives from different international student organizations meet to exchange expertise, strengthen their capacities, discuss collaborations and partnerships, and identify common areas of involvement. Currently the IFISO network consists of a multi-disciplinary mix of 28 student organizations, covering more than 2 million students all together, and IFMSA is part of this network.
The Autumn IFISO was held in Lisbon, Portugal from the 17th to 20th of November 2016. IFMSA, represented by Batool Wahdani, our Liaison Officer to Student Organizations attended the meeting along with 14 student organizations from different fields including pharmacy, veterinary medicine, engineering, law, agriculture, history, geology and more. This IFISO was a great opportunity for us to meet other organizations and study the possibility of future collaborations.
On the first day of the meeting, each of the representatives gave a short presentation about their organization, its vision and mission, the capacity of its members, and what different fields it works in. In addition, StudyPortals representatives gave a session about their organization and how it collaborates and works with other student organizations. StudyPortals is an International Study Choice Platform which aims to empower the world to choose education, by making study choice transparent globally. IFMSA has an agreement with StudyPortals, and through the IFISO we had the chance for a face-to-face meeting with their representatives, to discuss the agreement and possible fields of collaboration. Student representatives also attended a best practices workshop about Grants and Fundraising, which was a good opportunity for IFMSA to get to know about useful grants and how to apply to them.
On the second day, participants attended different training sessions about public relations, innovation, alumni, finances and more. IFMSA facilitated two sessions: one about forming alliances between student organizations and one about the different training structures in such organizations. A proposition to create a Symposium about Student Leadership attended by members of partner student organizations and held every two years, whereby students from different fields will have the opportunity to discuss issues related to students worldwide, was the outcome of the first session. Student representatives agreed to assess the possibility of this symposium and to start working on this proposal.
This meeting was a great opportunity for IFMSA to approach different student organizations and propose collaborating with them. In addition, IFMSA discussed its agreement with StudyPortals and the agreement will be renewed. IFMSA will also be working with other student organizations on the outcomes of this meeting especially the international students symposium.