The International Young Catholic Students (IYCS), also known as the International Young Christian Students, is a Specialized Catholic Action Movement that was inspired by Joseph Cardijn (the founder of the Young Christian Workers). YCS is a student Movement for, among, and led by secondary and tertiary students, (while also present in some places at the primary level), accompanied by adult animators and chaplains, that is concerned with the issues facing students and seek to raise awareness and action among students on broader issues of social justice, in solidarity with the poor, the oppressed and the marginalized through her famous methodology of “review of life” otherwise known as SEE, JUDGE, and ACT.
IYCS was granted an Operational Status with UNESCO and General Consultative Status of ECOSOC in 1998 in UN bodies. We are recognized by the Holy See as an International Catholic Organization (ICO) and since the IYCS World Council in Kampala in 2007, have the private juridical statute according to the Canon Law 298-311 and 321-329. Since the international and regional coordinations were established, a relationship has existed with the International Movement of Catholic Students – Pax Romana (IMCS-Pax Romana). From the late 1960’s, this relationship was strengthened, and led to the creation of joint regional coordinations in Latin America, Europe, and the Middle East, as well as the move in 1977 of the International Secretariat of IMCS-Pax Romana from Fribourg, Switzerland, to Paris, France, to share same office with the IYCS International Secretariat. In Nairobi, we also occupy the same office building. The International Coordination known as IYCS Secretariat today counts 85 national movements spread across seven regions i.e. Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, North America and the Pacific; of which there are 34 National Movements are in Africa.
IYCS in Africa started in Madagascar in 1937. By 1948, the movement had spread out to West and Central Africa and later to Eastern and Southern Africa. Between 1970 and 1982, the movement was organized into five sub regions called sub regional coordination: West Africa (Anglophone), West Africa, (Francophone), Eastern Africa, Southern Africa and Central Africa, with the regional secretariat in Nairobi, Kenya. Currently, IYCS is active in 34 countries in the five sub regions. The Africa regional coordination is symbolic of the Young Christian Students unity in diversity. It works towards the development of continental social transformation programs. The teams since inception have been able to expand the scope of the secretariat’s responsibilities from unification to promotion of common orientations, theological reflections, leadership training and responding to contemporary challenges that either directly or indirectly affect the youth like continental conflict, unemployment, diseases etc.