The World Union for Jewish Students (WUJS) is hosting its 47th Congress online this week, allowing for Jewish students and activists to learn, debate, be inspired and work towards advancing the safety and success of Jewish students on college campuses around the globe.

“Congress comes at a time when Jewish student and community life is being disrupted all over the world and has left our students with very legitimate concerns over what lies ahead for them and their communities,” said executive director Naomi Mittelmann Cohen. “WUJS Congress 2020 will enable student leaders to work together to combat new challenges that they face in the age of a pandemic while creating new ideas and visions for a safer, more inclusive and just future.”

The Congress is taking place through a series of online events from Dec. 27 through Dec. 31, drawing in hundreds of student leaders from more than 40 countries in presentations and sessions with key decision-makers, influencers and personalities from the world of politics, entertainment, media, education and culture.

“The reality is that the coronavirus has changed pretty much everything about how we live our lives and interact with one another, but we also know that we need to be prepared for the day after,” says Mittelmann Cohen. “Young and informed Jewish leadership will be more important than ever. This Congress gives us the chance to convene, debate and decide on impacting on the key issues facing our community.”

Panels covering advocacy, leadership, inclusion and media bias go hand in hand with sessions on how to impact a change in policy, democracy, culture and preserving Jewish memory.

Isaac Herzog, chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel, says “particularly now, as students across the world struggle with the implications and difficulties created by the COVID-19 pandemic, WUJS is connecting Jewish students and students unions across the world and providing them with education, connectivity and the tools to become the leaders of today and tomorrow.”

Jonathan Braun, president of WUJS, says the importance of the Jewish student community must be recognized particularly in these times of communal challenges. “The strength of Jewish students to be leaders through value and fortitude, and not through power, is what makes our voice so critical. We are at a time and place where our world demands change. This Congress will afford all of us the chance to be part of that discussion and discover practical ways for the younger Jewish generation to be integral players in how our community responds and adapts in the coming months and years.”

As a democratically elected body with representation of student groups from around the world, WUJS has seats and voting rights on the Executive Committee of the World Jewish Congress, the Zionist General Council and the Zionist Congress of the World Zionist Organization, the board of the Jewish National Fund (KKL). It is also active in representing Jewish interests to the United Nations and UNSECO.

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