The International Young Catholic Students (IYCS) Movement, also known as Young Christian Students, is a Catholic Action Movement of the Apostolate of Laity. Traditionally, IYCS is an evangelization agent in schools and student milieu (secondary schools and higher education). However, with our world facing unprecedented challenges to global peace, security and development like the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change crisis among others, IYCS has evolved to guide Young Catholic Students to become architects and agents of positive social change, following in the footsteps of our Lord Jesus Christ, and bearing witness to the Gospel Values of Love, Sharing, Caring, Social Friendship and Solidarity.
IYCS is also a Movement of Children and Young People, each with the reality of his or her own life. In today’s rapidly changing world, many of these children and young people’s lives are exposed to suffering and manipulation. IYCS is therefore offering a platform through which the needs of Young Catholic Students can be addressed, their voice can be amplified, and their engagement can be advanced.
The International Young Catholic Students achieves its purpose, aims and objectives through:
1. Education and Formation with a Spirituality of Action and Reflection: As a Student Movement for, among and led by secondary and tertiary students (while also present in some places at the primary level), the International Young Catholic Students (IYCS):
- Educates, trains and skills students in leadership (students lead themselves in different forms of groups at all levels), problem analysis and solving (to question, analyse and solve the problems of society), integration of faith and life (through a diversity of methodologies like the Review of Life: See-Judge-Act), and prepares these students to be active students and agents of change in our world (through a sense of moral integrity and development of students’ skills and responsibilities as leaders in our communities).
- Stimulates National Young Catholic Students Movements and groups to participate in the integral formation and holistic development of their student members.
- Studies the problems arising from global issues, to reflect on their causes from the perspective of the poor and marginalized, to propose solutions in accordance with justice and the dignity of the human person and to encourage National Movements to also undertake such studies.
- Provides students with resources, pedagogies and methodologies to help them integrate their Christian Faith in all aspects of their lives, so they can become leading agents of change in building a more just society.
2. Lay Church Movement: As a lay church movement at the service of Students, the International Young Catholic Students (IYCS):
- Brings together secondary and university students seeking community, formation and action, in the framework of the Catholic Church, at local, national, continental and global levels.
- Promotes the active participation of students in the life and activities of the Catholic Church at the local, national, regional and international levels.
- Promotes ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue among students and student groups.
- Fosters with the approval of the local hierarchy, the foundation of national movements or groups in those countries where no such organization exists.
3. Global Movement of Action for Positive Change: As a Student Movement present in Africa, Asia, Europe, Middle East, Latin America, North America, the Pacific and coordinated at the local, diocesan, national, regional and international levels, the International dimension of the International Catholic Students (IYCS) Movement is vital to helping local Young Catholic Students (YCS) groups to go beyond themselves to discover their global and universal identity. This is achieved through:
- Promoting and celebrating our global diversity and communion through sharing our joys, concerns and vision, and by undertaking significant common actions with other YCS movements throughout the world.
- Being the voice and speaking out (from a Student, Catholic and Faith-based perspective) on behalf of IYCS members and in solidarity with the oppressed in many important forums including the United Nations, UNESCO and UNFCCC, and other global events such as the World Social Forum and World Youth Day.
- Promoting a global consciousness and solidarity by initiating and encouraging international and inter-cultural exchanges, exposures, dialogue and collaboration.
- Providing an invaluable space for Young Catholic Students and the National YCS Movements to connect with one another and to reflect and take collective action on common issues.
- Promoting collaboration between member organizations and the coordination of their international activities and actions.
- Cooperating with other international organizations as far as possible, especially with youth organizations.