Document Type


Publication Date



The World’s Student Christian Federation established the European Student Relief (ESR) organization in 1920 in order to respond to the refugee and hunger crises emerging in the wake of World War I in Europe. Although nearly forgotten today, it was the first truly international ecumenical relief agency in the world. This article tells the story of ESR in reference to its efforts at building interorganizational coalitions and as a force for “internationalism.” The ESR’s story is instructive as the world marks the hundredth anniversary of the end of World War I and is once again confronted with refugee crises.


Originally published in International Bulletin of Mission Research, Volume 42, Issue 4, 2018, Pages 295-315.