Photos by Armen Simonyan
Few know how this day was established. It underlies bloody and tragic events that left their indelible trace in history.
On October 28, 1939, in Czechoslovakia (seized by the Fascists), students and professors come out to the street to celebrate the day of formation of the state of Czechoslovakia (October 28, 1918). However, the celebration turns into bloodshed after student of the Medical Faculty Jan Opletal is executed. His funeral goes on to become a protest during which dozens of students are arrested.
In the early hours of 17 November, the Ss and Gestapo encircle student hostels, arresting nearly 1,200 students and sending them to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, and most of the students are sentenced to death.
By Hitler’s order, all Czech higher education institutions close their doors until the end of the war.
Two year after those tragic events, students fighting against Fascism hold an international meeting in London during which they decide to mark the 17th of November as Students’ Day to commemorate the patriotic and martyred students.
On November 17, 1946, the World Student Congress in Prague declares November 17th as International Students’ Day.
Armenia started celebrating International Students’ Day upon a decision of the Government of the Republic of Armenia in 2014. On that day, Armenian universities celebrate the day with various events and concerts.