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International Students' Day - Celebrate Diversity

International Students' Day - Celebrate Diversity

International Students' Day is a celebration of multiculturalism, diversity and the worldwide student community. But why is the day SO significant?

Student Protests - Prague, 1939

Well, it all began on October 28, 1939, when students of Charles University in Prague protested against the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia.

During the protest, Nazi's shot student Jan Opletal, who later died from his injuries on 11 November.

Jan Opletal Student

Jan Opletal Student (Source: Radio Prague International)

Jan Opletal's body was due to transported on November 15, from Prague to his hometown in Moravia. But thousands of students turned up for his funeral procession in protest at the Nazi regime.

Jan Opletal Funeral

Jan Opletal Funeral (Source: Radio Prague International)

Jan Opletal Funeral Procession

Jan Opletal Funeral Procession (Source: Radio Prague International)

In response, Nazi authorities took drastic measures. They closed all the Czech higher education schools. Arrested over 1,200 students and sent them to concentration camps. As well as executing nine student leaders and teachers, without trial, on November 17.

The names of the nine students and professors are as follows:

  • Josef Matoušek (historian and associate professor)
  • Jaroslav Klíma (student of law)
  • Jan Weinert (student of Bohemistics and Germanistics)
  • Josef Adamec (student of law)
  • Jan Černý (student of medicine)
  • Marek Frauwirth (student of economics)
  • Bedřich Koula (student of law)
  • Václav Šafránek (student of architecture)
  • František Skorkovský (student of law)

International Students' Day

The idea was to commemorate the shocking acts carried out on students during the Nazi occupation of Czech.

So, in England, 1940, a small group of Czechoslovak Army troops, former elected student officials, decided to renew the Central Association of Czechoslovak Students (USCS), after its removal during the Nazi occupation.

The British National Union of Students of England and Wales (NUS) discussed the idea with other foreign students fighting the Nazi's from England.

And on 17 November 1940, Edvard Beneš, President-in-Exile of Czechoslovakia helped to re-establish the USCS in London, one year after the tragic events in Czech.

Edvard Beneš, President-in-Exile of Czechoslovakia

Edvard Beneš, President of Czechoslovakia (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

During 1941, the NUS made efforts to promote November 17 to students of other nations. This was to acknowledge the day in commemoration, celebrating and encouraging resistance against the Nazis, as well as the fight for freedom and democracy in all nations.

National Union of Students Logo

National Union of Students Logo (Source: National Union of Students)

Fourteen countries agreed and signed the following proclamation:

"We, students of Great Britain and its territories and India, North and South America, the USSR, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, France, Greece, China, Holland, Norway, Poland, Yugoslavia and all free nations, to honour and commemorate the tortured and executed students who were the first to raise their voices to reject Nazi oppression and condemn the occupation of 1939, proclaim November 17 as International Students' Day."


Today, International Students' Day has evolved to become a nonpolitical celebration of the worldwide student community. In particular the multiculturalism and diversity of international students and their contribution to local communities.

Universities tend to celebrate by showing off their international student numbers and the contributions that students give to the local and wider community.

Students tend to celebrate by showcasing their social responsibilities and volunteer causes in the local and wider communities. They also raise and discuss relevant issues, which can often involve protests and demonstrations.

The day attracts a lot of involvement, donations and focus towards organisations and charities, as well as celebrating the achievements of students all around the world.

University lecture hall

University lecture hall (Source: Pixabay)

Student Barista

Student barista making coffee (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Student litter pick

Student litter pick (Source: Flickr)

Student bartender

Student bartender (Source: Pxhere)

Kent Rowing Ergathon to Switzerland, Crohn's & Colitis UK

Kent Rowing Ergathon to Switzerland, Crohn's & Colitis UK (Source: Archive)

Student river clean

Student river clean (Source: Pixnio)

Student nurses bursary cuts demonstration

Student nurses bursary cuts demonstration (Source: Flickr)

Medical students learning from teacher during class

Medical students learning from teacher during class (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

fStudents graduating university

Students graduating university (Source: Pixabay)

The International Students' Day/Leydon Logo

Symbolising the well-known student mortarboard, the Leydon logo has been adapted for International Students' Day.

International Students' Day Leydon Logo

International Students' Day Leydon Logo (Source: Archive)

Students, this day is for you! You work incredibly hard, contribute to the local community, volunteer, voice your concerns, work jobs, join clubs and organisations and you make Canterbury what it is today.

We have always been vocal about supporting students through sponsorships and alike and we're honestly so proud of all that you achieve!

For that, we thank you! *raises glass*

However you're commemorating, celebrating or demonstrating on International Students' Day, we hope you have a fantastic day! You've earned it!

Don't forget to share this article with your friends and celebrate all students!

Cover Photo: Students in lecture (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

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