World Student Christian Federation: Structure Introduction
The life of WSCF is based on local ecumenical groups of students in universities and colleges who work, study and pray together. From these local groups come national movements which meet together at least annually to maintain and inspire their corporate lives as movements. Each country then belongs to a WSCF region that 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. The regions work together to form a global network of student movements which is known as the World Student Christian Federation. The global federation is served by Officers and an Executive Committee, an Inter-Regional Office, General Secretary and Inter-Regional Women's Co-ordinator. The highest decision-making body of the World Student Christian Federation is its four-yearly General Assembly.
WSCF Structure: Local, National, Regional and Global Structures
WSCF Structure: Local Student Christian Movements
Most local Student Christian Movements are ecumenical student organisations that hold regular meetings within a particular university or college. 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.
Local movements may belong to a regional collection of movements within their country and all are affiliated to SCM and WSCF through their national movements.
WSCF Structure: National Student Christian Movements
WSCF is a federation of around one hundred national Student Christian Movements which mainly involve university students although some also include high school students.
The national member movements are very varied, ranging in size from less than 20 members in Singapore, to 60,000 in Indonesia and up to 200,000 in Egypt. Some are highly structured organisations, while others are student-led grass-roots movements. All conform to the standards of affiliation or association of the World Student Christian Federation, which are based on the aims of the federation as follows:
In all its work among members of the academic community WSCF aims;
|1. ||To call them to faith in God - Father, Son and Holy Spirit - according to the Scriptures and to discipleship within the life and mission of the Church;|
|2. ||To help them to grow in Christian life through prayer, study of the Bible and participation in the worship and witness of the Church;|
|3. ||To help them to witness Jesus Christ in the academic community;|
|4. ||To bring them into fellowship with one another in mutual service and to support efforts to serve all students in their needs;|
|5. ||To help them to strive for peace and justice in and among nations;|
|6. ||To help them to work for the manifestation of the unity of the Church;|
|7. ||To help them to be servants and messengers of God's kingdom in all the world.|
In order to become an affiliated member of WSCF, a national Student Christian Movement must display that its aims, work and nature are in full harmony with the aims and work of the Federation as above. This includes the empowerment of students in their search for spiritual truth and in the service of Gospel justice and peace. Because of the multicultural, international and ecumenical nature of WSCF, these aims are faithfully met in diverse ways by SCM groups in different contexts.
Affiliated national movements must have more than one branch and at least one of their branches must be based in an institution of higher learning. One student group cannot apply to become an affiliated national member movement, unless that group is made up of numerous separate groups - as in the case of a number of denominational groups forming one national ecumenical council. In general, there should only be one affiliated national movement in each country although there are some exceptions.
In order to affiliate to WSCF, a national Student Christian Movement must also give evidence of its stability, strength and growth as a movement.
Associated movements are able to participate fully in the regional and international activity of the WSCF. However, becoming affiliated gives a national movement full membership and hence voting rights at the General Assembly.
For more detail on the life of local and national movements, please go to SCMs.
WSCF Structure: Regions
All national member movements belong to a WSCF Region and participate in the leadership of that region through its elected committees (Regional Committee, Women's Committee, Project and Programme Committees). WSCF has six administrative regions; Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America and Caribbean, Middle East and North America. The federation's programme in each region is directed by its elected committees and by its regional staff (Regional Secretaries, Regional Women's Co-ordinators, Regional Project and Programme Co-ordinators). The WSCF Regional Offices are based in Nairobi, Hong Kong, Budapest, Buenos Aires, Beirut and Toronto.
Regional Committees are responsible for the programmes, staffing and budget of their regions and are responsible to the global Executive Committee and the General Assembly. Regional Committees are made up of executive staff, elected members from national movements and the elected offices of Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson and Treasurer. Regional Committees aim to represent the regions' movements and cultures as broadly as possible and to maintain student and gender balance in their membership.
Each Regional Committee elects two members to become part of the global Executive Committee of WSCF. Regional Committees also elect two further members to act as proxy members of the Executive Committee and an executive staff member of each region also takes part.
WSCF Structure: Global (Inter-Regional)
"The World Student Christian Federation unites Christian movements or associations of students and other members of the academic community in the regions and throughout the world and promotes cooperation among them" (WSCF Constitution).
Globally the federation's work is governed by its General Assembly which is made up of WSCF global and regional staff, WSCF Officers, Executive Committee and representatives from national member movements.
Voting delegates to the General Assembly from affiliated national movements must be balanced in terms of gender and student representation. The General Assembly meets every four years to guide the life of the federation. It reviews and assesses the situation of WSCF and its member movements and sets the priorities for programmes and policy in the next four year period.
The General Assembly elects the WSCF Officers (Chairperson, Vice-Chairpersons and Honorary Treasurer) and Executive Committee who oversee the work of the federation between General Assemblies. Officers assist and advise the WSCF staff in the day to day work of running the federation and keep them in touch with the priorities of the General Assembly.
WSCF Executive Committee (ExCo) members are nominated by each of the six regions and elected by the General Assembly. ExCo is responsible for overseeing and assessing administration, programming, finance and personnel matters at the global level. The WSCF Executive Committee meets in person at least twice between General Assemblies and remains in regular contact with the WSCF global staff and administration via electronic mailouts and meetings.
The WSCF General Secretary and Inter-Regional Office in Geneva provide co-ordination between the regions, organise global programmes and meetings, manage finance and administration and produce global publications such as the newsletter Federation News and the journal Student World. The General Secretary is supported in the Inter-Regional Office by an administrator and the WSCF accountant. The Inter-Regional Women's Co-ordinator is based at the Africa Regional Office and oversees the women's and gender justice programmes of the federation.
The specific tasks and responsibilities undertaken by each group in the WSCF Structure and by each role within WSCF can be found in the articles of the WSCF Constitution and Bye-Laws.
WSCF global advocacy and ecumenical roles
As one of the largest student organisations in the world, WSCF has consultative status with the United Nations (Category II) and with UNESCO. WSCF has advisory status to the World Council of Churches Central Committee.