Universities: Past, Present, and Future


Monday, June 14, 2021, 12:30pm to 2:00pm


Online Only

"Student Impact on Higher Education Globally: Perspectives from Leaders of Regional Student Union Federations and the Global Student Forum"

Attend this event via Zoom (advance registration required)


Manja Klemenčič, Lecturer on Sociology and Lecturer in General Education, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University.


Peter Kwasi Kodjie, Secretary General, All-Africa Students Union (AASU).

Sebastian Berger, Executive Director, Global Student Forum (GSF).

Martina Darmanin, President, European Students’ Union (ESU).

Musarrat Maisha Reza, Chairperson, Commonwealth Students’ Association (CSA).

Bianca Borges dos Santos, Member of the Executive Secretariat, Organización Continental Latinoamericana y Caribeña de Estudiantes (OCLAE).

Cosponsored by the Mahindra Humanities Center and the Weatherhead Research Cluster on Comparative Inequality and Inclusion.

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Students have for centuries organized into a variety of representative institutions - unions, guilds, councils - which defend and represent their collective interests. Today, student unions are distinct political institutions which function in every higher education system. Institution-based student unions associate into national unions and these further associate into regional student union federations. Student unions are the single most important mechanism of student impact on higher education. While organizational models of student unions and modes of student representation share many common characteristics worldwide, there are also notable regional and national variations.

This seminar seeks to reflect on the commonalities and differences in student unionism globally: What are the organizational characteristics of student unions? How are students represented in higher education governance? What impact students have on higher education and how this might be changing? The seminar brings together the the distinguished student leaders of the All-Africa Students Union (AASU), Commonwealth Students’ Association (CSA), European Students’ Union (ESU), Organización Continental Latinoamericana y Caribeña de Estudiantes (OCLAE), as well as the Global Student Forum (GSF) which these four regional student federations jointly founded.