213 World Student Christian Federation (WSCF) TRANSFERRED TO YALE UNIVERSITY DIVINITY SCHOOL LIBRARY IN OCT 2018, 1895 - 1995 (Fonds)

Archive plan context



Dates of Existence:1895
Administrative / Biographical history:Over a century ago, the World Student Christian Federation began providing a meeting place for young Christians from all churches and nations. Students from ten North American and European countries established the WSCF in 1895 at Vadstena Castle, Sweden. Key founders include John R. Mott (USA) and Karl Fries (Sweden). Historically, WSCF is the first international student organization and, together with YMCA and YWCA, it is among the oldest youth movements.

Throughout it's rich and active history, the Federation played a fundamental role in both the modern missionary and ecumenical movements. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, WSCF encouraged students to engage actively in the work of spreading the gospel, emphasizing the importance of mutual communication, cooperation, and challenge with the mainline institutional churches. The Federation has and continues to work for unity in the church and in the world.
Places:Headquarter in Geneva, Switzerland
Legal status:Non-governmental organization (NGO)
Functions, occupations and activities:The World Student Christian Federation calls students to live out the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, providing a meeting place for students across boundaries of culture, race, and denomination. It is a space for leadership development, empowerment of women, a critique of higher education in the context of globalization, the development of alternatives to globalization, as well as the exploration of a theology and spirituality rooted in the hopes and struggles of students worldwide.
Internal structures / Genealogy:The General Assembly meets every four years and is the highest policy making body of the Federation. The Executive Committee, the Federations decision-making body next to the General Assembly, meets once every 12 to 18 months-coordinating work and decisions via email in the interim.
Following the 1968 General Assembly, the WSCF underwent a process of regionalization in order to relate the work of the Federation more closely to the needs and realities of students and their specific contexts around the world. The 108 national movements and contact groups of WSCF are grouped in six regions: Africa, Asia-Pacific, Latin America & Caribbean, North America, and the Middle East. Each region has its own Regional Assembly, elected Regional Committee, and a Regional Office. North America has two movements and the regional work is jointly coordinated from Canada and the United States.

Identity statement

Reference Code:213
Parallel forms of name:Fédération Universelle des Associations Chrétiennes d'Etudiants (FUACE)
Other forms of name:WSCF


Related corporate bodies, persons or families:Young Men Christian Association (YMCA)
Young Woman Christian Association (YWCA)


Name of creator(s):World Student Christian Federation
Archival history:WSCF archives in WCC Archives, Geneva:
In the 1970s, it was decided to transfer the WSCF archives to the WCC Archives for storage, description and microfilming. Until 2004, there have been several additional transfers. Since 1988, much has been achieved in terms of putting into order the numerous WSCF archives located in Geneva. This has been done with the help of three interns and several volunteers who haved covered the periods of 1919-1931 and 1945-1968, as well as the minutes collection. Preliminary work has been done on the reports and publications.
What remains to be done are the periods of 1931-1945 and 1968 to the present day, as well as finishing the labelling and entering into the computer of previous periods, the minutes reports and publications collection series.

Regional Archives of WSCF:
Since regionalisation in 1968, much of the programmatic work of the Federation has been carried out by six regional offices; a large part of the WSCF archives [since 1968] are in the regions:
- for Africa, most of the archives are in Nairobi; they need to be sorted out and transferred to a permanent place. A few additional archives are in Yaoundé and need to transferred and sorted out.
- for Asia and Pacific, most of the archives are in Hong Kong, and some in Tokyo, for the period before 1968. Part of them still need to be processed, sorted out and transferred.
- for Europe most bof the archives are in Geneva. The part that went to Yale came to photocopy.

(undated note [before 1995] on the WSCF Centennial History and Archives Project found in the WCC archivist office, Hans von Rütte, 2012).

The WSCF archives were transfered from WCC Archives to Yale Divinity School Library in Ocotber 2018

Extent and medium

Creation Date(s):1895 - 1995
Level of description:Fonds
Type of Archival Material:Paper
Quantity:1037 boxes
Running Metres:115.22

Access and Use

Conditions of access:Open access

Allied Materials

Existence of copies:A selection of the WSCF archives has been microfilmed.

Description control

Institution identifiers:Archives of the World Council of Churches
Date of description:2003


Entries:  World Student Christian Federation (WSCF) (Other Organisations\W)
  Sister organization (Subject\WCC General)


Permission required:None
Physical Usability:Without limits

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