International Students' Day 2020

Until International Students' Day are 53 days, ie 1 month and 22 days.

In 2020 International Students' Day is on November 17th (tuesday).

November 17 is worldwide known as International Students’ Day – an observance of the student community. Although students love different celebrations and show a lot of enthusiasm to participate in the events of this day, it actually commemorates a really sad moment in the history.

The date of the observance is the anniversary of the 1939 Nazi storming of the University of Prague. After the demonstrations taking place on November 17, 1939, nine students and professors were murdered, and over 1,200 were sent to concentration camps. Within two years from that date many efforts were made to establish November 17 as a day of commemoration and resistance against the Nazis also among students of other nations. At first, fourteen countries such as Great Britain, France, Greece, China, Poland or Norway have proclaimed the date as International Students’ Day.

Many observances of the day focus on commemorating those sad events of 1939 and on highlighting the need to fight for freedom and democracy. In 1989, for instance, a mass demonstration with nearly 15,000 participants was organized in Prague in order to express dissatisfaction with the ruling Communist Party of Czechoslovakia. This important event was an indirect incentive to spark the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia. Another important observance of International Students’ Day took place in Greece on November 17, 1973. Students of the Athens Polytechnic decided to go on a strike and protest against the Regime of Colonels. They barricaded themselves and started to broadcast pro-democratic contents through the radio station. On November 17, a tank crashed through the main entrance of the Polytechnic to stop the protesters. Luckily, no students were killed, but some of them were seriously injured.

Nowadays, many universities around the world hold special events on November 17 in order to prove their support for multiculturalism and diversity. The day is also an opportunity for all students to raise their voice with regards to the equal access to education. For this reason, many student organisations take part in various events connected with International Students’ Day, as well as spread the word about it in their social media. There is also an organisation – Organising Bureau of European School Student Unions (OBESSU) - that annually raises awareness for students’ rights.

Did you know?

In the United States, November 17 is not the only observance dedicated to students. In fact, it is a part of the International Education Week, which is an opportunity for all students to draw attention to student related issues, celebrate the benefits of international education, and encourage others to student activism.