A global student voice, united behind one document
On Saturday, the 14th of May, the European Students’ Union (ESU) became the first student organisation to formally adopt «The Bergen Declaration,» a global student declaration drafted by student activists from around the world. NSO and ESU jointly took the initiative to invite student activists from the student movements in Brazil, Canada, Columbia, Burkina Faso, Burma, Zimbabwe, Kazakhstan, Spain and the Pacific island of Niue together to compose a document which demonstrates a statement of values for a global student voice.
Press release from the National Union of Students in Norway, 25.05.16
– The document has, from beginning to end, been formed by a diverse group of students from every continent. When we arrived in Bergen there was no single word written on the paper. It is nothing less than impressive that we managed to write such a document together, says a proud Helge Schwitters, officer for international affairs in NSO.
The Bergen Declaration is an open document which will be spread to every student organisation in the world, and the goal is that as many as possible will adopt it. The ambition is that we will bring student organisations closer together and use it as a foundation for closer cooperation and the building of a network which can develop into a global movement.
– The final paragraph in the Declaration sets out an ambitous and visionary course – we wish to develop a formal cooperation across continents. Students need a united global voice. The major debates which affect our education and future may not be taken without students there in the room, says Schwitters.
A common global student voice has been something NSO has wished for for many years. When NSO was granted the hosting of the ESU general assembly in Autumn 2014, the starting pistol was fired to work actively on achieving it. With ESU as a driving force we have managed to reach out to a large group of organisations outside of Europe and the other national unions of students in Europe have been impressive in the work which has lead up to Bergen. Now we need support to take the next steps.
– We cannot stop now and believe that a declaration alone will improve students’ representation. We must work to create forums for the organisations which support the Bergen Declaration. We are looking for supporters, and challenge the Norwegian authorities to join in in this important project of democratisation. Representation and inclusion of the future generation will be a crucial key to ensure sustainable development in the world, concludes Schwitters.
The National Union of Students in Norway (Norsk studentorganisasjon/NSO) is a national organisation for 33 student unions at Norwegian universities and university colleges. In total NSO’s member institutions represent some 230,000 students. NSO works for students’ academic, social and economic rights. More information is available at www.student.no.