The Inauguration of the World Health Students’ Alliance

Student collaboration touches each and everyone of us, from daily sharing of notes in university to projects and advocacy. We seek to join forces with our colleagues to be bigger, stronger and refresh our ideas. That is why almost every general assembly we approve memorandums of understanding, where we clearly define how are we going to work with our fellow organisations. Yet sometimes, we tend to forget that this is not the end of the road that we have decided to walk together.

World Health Students’ Alliance (WHSA) idea was born in Prague, during the World Health Students’ Symposium (WHSS) in 2011. Medicine, Pharmaceutical and Dental students international decided to create a platform where they can join forces in order to advocate for health as a whole and not only on their own perspectives. Sadly, shortly after signing the agreement we all got concentrated more of our internal issues, reforms, structures.

Now came the time to revise something that we have forgotten. We initiated a meeting of International Dental Students’ Association (IADS), International Pharmaceutical Students’ Federation (IPSF) and IFMSA, in order to revise the agreement that we have, talk about the structures and ways to move forward with the original ideas of the Alliance, to work on advocating our common goals.

On November 17th, during the International Students’ Day, the three organisations met in Prague’s Charles University, where we opened the event in which the Alliance idea was born in 2011, to sign the declaration of Wolrd Health Students’ Alliance, where we unite our efforts to fight common challenges together, to advocate for the best outcomes for the community, to improve interprofessional relations and to support each other in achieving our visions.

November 17th was not chosen accidentally, since historically it has 75 years ago, on October 28th 1939, during one of the biggest demonstrations against the occupation of Czechoslovakia, a student of Charles University, Jan Opletal was shot, dying few days later on November 11th. His funeral on November 15th , originated the last big demonstration, led by students of city of Prague, against the occupation by the Nazi army. In November 17th 1939, the Nazi army retaliated and stormed all the student dormitories, sending more than 1000 students to concentration camps and executing 8 leaders of national and international student unions and 1 professor. Since 1941, this date is recognized as the International Students’ Day.

We have commemorated the International Students’ Day by once again joining forces and as also honoring effort of students, being the key to change in the past and present. We are working on establishing some technicalities. We will keep you al posted about the work of the Alliance!

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You can find the declaration here:
http://www.ifmsa.org/Media/Files/World-Health-Students-Alliance-Prague-Declaration

Press Release: http://www.ifmsa.org/Media-center/Press-Room/The-International-Students-Day-Marks-the-Inauguration-of-the-World-Health-Students-Alliance-WHSA#.VHB5kPmG-So

Entry written by Kornelija Macevičiūtė, IFMSA Liaison for Students’ Organizations 2014/15

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