Ut Omnes Unum Sint – That They All May Be One
The WSCF, founded in 1895 – the oldest international student organisation – brings together people from all Christian faiths and traditions, encouraging dialogue between students of diverse cultures. It is where the voices of the national youth movements in the six regions come together and connect.
The World Student Christian Federation (WSCF) is a global federation of student Christian groups. WSCF is ecumenical – welcoming people from all Christian traditions and encouraging dialogue between students of different traditions. WSCF has members from Protestant, Orthodox, Pentecostal, Roman Catholic and Anglican traditions and from other faiths.
As a federation of student movements, the WSCF empowers and connects responsible young leaders around the world in their path to changing tomorrow. We encourage a culture of democracy to mobilize youth to become pro-active in society, promoting positive change through dialogue and action between different traditions and cultures.
The WSCF is the oldest international student organization, founded in 1895 by North American evangelist and global ecumenist John R. Mott. Mott's ecumenical vision and missionary zeal also contributed to the beginnings of the World Council of Churches (WCC). From the outset WSCF has been crucial in the formation of leaders for the ecumenical movement. The WCC owes much of its founding leadership to former members of the WSCF.
The local and national groups that make up the Federation are largely known as Student Christian Movements (SCMs). In some cases the youth or student movement of a national church or other ecumenical organisation is a member of the WSCF. While university, polytechnic and other tertiary students make up the bulk of SCM membership, high school students are also involved in some movements. Students who join an SCM are encouraged to study their Christian faith and their world with the same depth and passion they bring to their studies. SCMs are renowned for their openness to searchers as well as believers and for a strong commitment to social justice.
Today, WSCF connects two million members in over 90 countries, having over one hundred affiliated national movements which span the six WSCF regions: Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America and Caribbean, Middle East and North America.
The WSCF was established in 1895 at Vadstena Castle, Sweden, by students and student leaders from ten North American and European countries. Key founders included John R. Mott (USA) and Karl Fries (Sweden).
There is a close historical connection between the WSCF and the Young Men’s and Young Women’s Christian Associations. Mott, for example, was leader of the YMCA, and with the help of YMCA colleagues he developed the vision and strategies for forming an international federation of autonomous and self-directing ecumenical student movements. Much of the subsequent work of establishing and linking SCMs was done with the assistance of YMCAs and YWCAs.
FROM GRASSROOTS MOVEMENTS TO A GLOBAL PLATFORM
The life of WSCF is based on local ecumenical groups of students called SCMs – Student Christian Movements – in universities and colleges who work, study and pray together. Presently there are 117 affiliated student groups in 94 countries, reaching out to over 2 million members worldwide.
Some local movements are denominational that belong to a larger ecumenical association. In some cases an SCM group is an integrated part of the life of a Christian college or Theological college. Local groups operate different models of leadership appropriate to their cultural context. Most of them are led by a combination of people who take responsibility for organising the group’s study and dialogue programme, movement building, finances, outreach and activism.
CONNECTING TWO MILLION MEMBERS IN OVER 90 COUNTRIES.
WSCF regions brings its various national movements together to work on common projects and programmes on a regular basis. Each region is supported by salaried staff and a Regional Committee oversees its operations.
WSCF has six regions; Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, Middle East and North America. WSCF regional programme and administrative staff operate from their regional offices in Nairobi, Hong Kong, Italy, Buenos Aires, Beirut and New York.
SCM or Student Christian Movement is the most commonly used name for the WSCF-affiliated ecumenical student groups who meet in schools, universities and other tertiary institutions to study, work and pray together.
Most local SCMs are ecumenical student organisations that hold regular meetings within a particular university, college or school. Some local movements are denominational student and youth groups which belong to a larger ecumenical association. In some cases an SCM group is an integrated part of the life of a Christian college or Theological college.
Local groups operate different models of leadership appropriate to their cultural context. Most groups are led by a combination of people who take responsibility for organising the group's study and dialogue programme, worship life, movement building, finances, outreach and activism.
The General Assembly is the most representative and highest decision-making body of the World Student Christian Federation. General Assemblies or General Committees of WSCF have taken place since the federation's foundation meeting in 1895.
The four-yearly General Assembly involves every national member movement of the federation along with WSCF Executive Committee Officers, Inter-Regional and Regional staff. The General Assembly quorum must include at least half its member movements and the voting delegates should be balanced in terms of student and gender representation. Also in attendance at General Assemblies are stewards from SCMs who work to support the assembly's programme and administration, guests from partner organisations and resource people providing input during the assembly programme.