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Salient. Official Newspaper of Victoria University of Wellington Students Association. Vol 40 No. 11. May 23 1977

ISC a Success

page 6

ISC a Success

The 1977 International Students Congress was held at Victoria University from May 7 to May 10; It was a great success. More than 200 student representatives and leaders from all the campuses throughout New Zealand attended the 4-day conference. Guest speakers were invited from various organisations and institutions. They included representatives from the labour Dept, the Foreign Affairs Dept, the Counsellor for Overseas Students, rep from the Working Women's Alliance, guest speakers from the South Pacific and University of the South Pacific, the National Director of the Overseas Students Service in Australia, speakers from NZUSA, universities and others.

The topics covered during the conference were very wide ranging from Overseas' Students' welfare problems to South Pacific and South East Asian affairs. The participation and response from the international audience during the discussion time was very encouraging. The friendly atmosphere and the spirit of "Strength Through Understanding" prevailed throughout the congress. At the last session many resolutions were passed. Among these was one which called for the annual holding of the Congress. This shows that the representatives appreciated the importance and significance of such a Congress.

Cutbacks Discussed.

Perhaps the issue which has the immediate concern of the students during the conference was the "cutback on overseas students.' As this issue was discussed in the first session, there was a heated debate between the students and the reps from the Labour and Foreign Affairs Dept. The latter gave some reasons for the drastic action but was rebutted by the Congress. It was clear that the reps tried to evade the questions of the floor which who believed that the reasons for the policy lay far from the excuses given.

The Language Achievement Test for Overseas Students (LATOS) was rejected by the Congress as one of the main criteria for admission into N.Z. educational institutions. The Congress also challenged the validity of the statement given by the government reps which reasoned that LATOS really tests the English standard of the Overseas Students. However, a proposal to carry out a LATOS test on the Kiwis so as to "get the proof" was refused by the reps.

During the second session on May 8, reports were submitted by representatives from all the campuses briefing out the actions taken so far concerning this cutback issue. After listening to the reports, the Congress decided that the actions were not enough, and thus an action committee. (N.O.S.A.C.) was formed to start a campaign nationally and internationally against this policy. A press statement was released (published in Evening Post on May 12), and a telegram of support was sent to demonstrators at the Pacific Basin Economic Council (PBEC) meeting in Christchurch.

Cultural Evening

The cultural evening held on May 8 was organised by the WMSSA. Various interesting cultural items were put up by the different clubs and associations from the seven centres. The night's performances were filled with applause and encouragement from the audience. The cultural evening was indeed educational as well as entertaining. Perhaps the highlights of the evening were the sketches put up by AMSSA and MUMA (Massey centre.) The former presented a sketch on the cut-back issue, encouraging all concerned to support the campaign against the policy. The latter's sketch depicted the plight of the squattors who defied eviction orders from the authority. The sketches undoubtedly reflected the aspiration of the people and the problems they are facing.

Malaysians, Kiwis, Fijians, and Samoans took part in the cultural events — these included songs, folk dances, instrumentals and solos. The guitarist solo, Don Franks, got everyone joining in the chorus with his attractive composition, "Detente — I can't Trust You Anymore."

The evening ended with a slide-show presented by a member of the Lincoln College, showing the interesting international community life there.


The party held on the evening of May 9 was quite different from what we normally would have, but in no way was it Mow-key.' There was booze, songs, and folk dances all night But all had made the evening 'the way they wanted it'. That was certainly the fullest participation we could get. There were sing-alongs; group dances the exotic "fambos-dance" had created great excitement, the "snake-dance" had to crawl through the corridor. The mealtime film-show' The Train" was thrilling indeed, so much so many were "carried away" from their delicious 'Hangi.' Another outstanding feature of the evening was the continuation of private but yet cordial discussions and conversations among some small groups.


The farewell gathering on the evening of May 10 seemed to be an extension of the previous night's warmth and laughter. In addition there were impromptu speeches by those who had something to say anyway. Songs of friendship and solidarity were sung. After the "Auld-Lang-Syne" hands were shook until they were sore and wet. The atmosphere was so "warm" that all were reluctant to disperse. Oh, what a night!


The Congress showed that more students are becoming aware of the social and welfare problems happening at home and around the world. The actions to be taken, the good response and the full participation during the Conference manifested itself the Conference manifested the great concern of the students for the welfare and basic rights of their fellows. The success of this congress has reinforced the foundation of friendship, understanding and solidarity between the New Zealanders and the Overseas Students.

I look forward to attending the next Congress in 1978 to be held in Christchurch.

Solidarity Forever, Overseas Student.

P.S. Credit should be given to those cooks and kitchen hands of exotic international dishes throughout the Congress from morning till evening. The significance of the various international clubs taking turns to cater for more than 200 is certainly the development of the spirit of co-operation and understanding.

The Asian Students' Association publishes a bi-monthly magazine ASA News on issues concerning ASA, its constituents, South East Asia, the Third World and many other topics.

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