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FriNov 17

International Students Day – November 17, 2023

International Students’ Day is on November 17. It’s a day when we remember the bravery of thousands of students in Prague who fought for national pride and the right to higher education. In 1939, Nazi forces arrested and executed nine protesters without trial and sent over 1,200 students to concentration camps. Many did not survive. International Students’ Day commemorates their sacrifice. And while we seem worlds apart today, the right to education and peaceful protest remains a struggle in many countries. On International Students’ Day, let’s strengthen the resolve to protect the rights of our youth and support them by directing them towards the right resources such as Scholaroo — a platform providing information on scholarships and resources for acquiring education.

History of International Students Day

For insights into International Students’ Day, let’s first trace the events leading up to it. When Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933, the Third Reich staked aggressive claims over territories outside Germany’s borders. The Nazis first annexed Austria in 1938, Hitler’s home country. Next, they forced Czechoslovakia to give up parts of its territories. Germany occupied the Czech regions, forcing Slovakia to split into a satellite state.

In 1939, students of the Medical Faculty at Charles University in Prague held a demonstration to commemorate the formation of an independent Czechoslovak Republic. The Nazis brutally suppressed the gathering, resulting in a student Jan Opletal’s death.

Thousands of students turned up at his funeral procession – an event that transformed into an anti-Nazi demonstration. The Nazis responded by shutting down all Czech education institutions. In a shocking display of brute power, they arrested over 1,200 students and sent them to concentration camps. But the worst was yet to come. On November 17, the Nazis rounded up nine protesters, executing them without trial.

Historians believe that the Third Reich allowed the funeral procession because they anticipated a violent outcome. It would give the regime the validation they needed to close down all Czech universities, dealing a severe blow to rebellion from academics and student activists.

November 17 is International Students’ Day, to remember the courage of student activists during the 1939 Nazi storming of the University of Prague. The first observance took place in 1941 at the International Students’ Council in London. It was there that students decided to introduce International Students’ Day, to be observed every November 17.

Since then, many organizations and international student groups have continued to observe the day. The day is a public holiday in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. It is formally called the “Struggle for Freedom and Democracy Day.”

International Students Day timeline

Student Unrest Reaches Tipping Points

In Prague, the Nazi forces violently suppress a student gathering to celebrate the anniversary of independent Czechoslovakia. 

Young Minds and Lives Lost

The Nazis execute nine protesters without a trial on November 17.

The First International Students' Day

Led by several refugee students, the International Students’ Council in London marks the first International Students’ Day. 

History Repeats Itself in Greece

On November 17, the Greek military junta crushes the Athens Polytechnic by storming the gates of the university.


Do you give gifts for a Masters graduation?

Yes, you do give gifts for a Masters graduation. Think about it: If your loved one took the time to share their good news with you, what better way to show your support than by giving a meaningful gift?

What are some great graduate degree gift ideas for him?

You can never go wrong with a classy custom duffel bag that he can use to travel or go to the gym with. A laptop bag is a great graduate degree gift idea for him, especially if it has that rugged, old leather feel. You could also give him a gift card. Think more practical than sentimental; focus on gifts that he’ll not only love but also ones he’ll use.

What are some great graduate degree gift ideas for her?

Graduate studies call for a lot of late nights that result in under-eye bags and face puffiness. Get her a face roller to smooth all this away and bring on the radiance. You could also gift her a full day at the spa where she can get her nails done, receive a massage, and enjoy full-on pampering. Customized jewelry is another great graduate degree gift idea for her; you can never go wrong with that!

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