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Global student voice to be heard – Bergen Declaration unites unions across boarders

Composed by a student body from around the world the ‘Bergen Declaration‘ sets out to create a global student movement  that spans across borders and is a statement of values for a global student voice. The European Student Union (ESU), representing 48 unions across the globe, is the first to formally adopt the declaration this month. ESU in a joint initiative with The Norwegian Students’ Union (NSO) invited numerous activists from student movements across the world – ranging from Burkina Faso, to Brazil and the Pacific – to create the declaration. It aims to develop increased cooperation between diverse student organisations and build a network, giving them a united voice on the global stage. 

The declaration seeks to connect student organisations for cooperation and to mobilize the global student voice to be heard on critical topics as:

  • Education as a human right, ensuring access and equity.  Education systems should be inclusive, egalitarian and free for all.
  • The threat of commodification of education and neglect for quality.
  • The defence of student rights – also ensuring all students have the right to representation and to self-organise.
  • Democratic education systems that are built on principles of academic freedom, encouraging freedom of speech and ideas.
  • Calling on states to create initiatives to protect education institutions increasingly affected by conflicts in the world.
  • The need for governments to actively work towards developing global frameworks of recognition for tertiary qualifications.

Furthermore the declaration calls for establishing the role of students as equal partners in their education, the right of self-produced/determined media on campuses, and strongly emphasizes the role of education in equipping global citizens with the necessary skills to tackle societal, environmental and economic sustainability challenges , towards a new development model.

Going forward, the declaration as an open document will be shared with all student organisations across the world and invitations to participate in a dedicated seminar with ESU’s members in May are extended. Communication technologies play a key factor in enabling this new movement to stay globally connected, build a common knowledge/experience base, and collaborate in real time.

The declaration indeed is highly ambitious in its aim to develop formal cooperation across continents and cultures, but faces the challenge of opening  a channel for the inclusion and representation of the future generation that is, as a NSO representative states, "key to ensure sustainable development in the world’’.    

European Student Union – press release

The Bergen Declaration (also available in French)