Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 18, No. 9. July 1, 1954
World University Service — Kyaw Than Addresses Students
World University Service
Kyaw Than Addresses Students
Kyaw Than is a Burmese—he was lecturer in history at Rangoon University—and is at present the associate general secretary of the World Student Christian Federation, which unites S.C.M. groups all over the world. He has travelled in Europe and Asia, and visited Australian universities before coming to New Zealand. So that besides being intensely interested in World University Service, he has also wide experience in its work.
The aim of W.S.C.F. is to bring Christ's message into the University; its concern is not only the soul but with the whole person and his needs. So realising the sufferings after World War I, it established European Student Relief, to bring some material aid to the students. In 1931. because of the Sino-Japanese War, this aid was extended to the Far East, and the organisation became known as International Student Service: and after World War II as World Student Relief. Several other relief organisations Joined with W.S.-C.F.—Pax Romana, World Union of Jewish Students, and International Union of Students. The latter is based on certain ideological interpretations of the University and its functions, and some of its leaders are Marxist, but it should not be thought of us totally Communist. A few years ago I.U.S. re-examined its charter and its attitude to relief work, and as a result formed a separate organisation—International Student Relief. About the same time I.S.S. was reconsidered and reorganised, emerging as World University Service.
It believes that there is a community of the students throughout the world, transcending national, political, and religious difference, and that this community should express its concern in mutual service. W.S.C.F.. though definitely Christian in Us basis, can co-operate with other organisations, especially in meeting need; and as long as that need exists it is the Church's duty to act. So it has been trying to break down the division of relief service; and last year, at Vienna, at a leaders' meeting I.S.R. and W.U.S. agreed to cooperate.
W.U.S. aims not solely at material relief for the sake of relief, but at "relief through human encounter." Its programme is divided into five categories: 1, student living and lodging. 2. health. 3. education equipment. 4, refugee services. 5. mutual education i.e. exchange of ideas and experiences. Last year approximately £60.000 was divided among these. Local committees, which are headed by lecturers and professors, arrange distribution of relief and raising of supplementary funds; e.g. for a hostel in Indonesia 20,000 Swiss francs were needed; W.U.S. sent 8.000 about 7.000 were collected locally, and the rest was to come from Government subsidy and other sources.
Kyaw Than also spoke of what some Australian branches of W.U.S. are doing: taking charge of certain projects e.g. collecting money for building up libraries in Asian Universities—and of the Graduate Employment Scheme, by which some graduates have already gone to work for the Indonesian Government.
Only by such creative development—trying to help our fellow students—can we help solve some small problems as far as human relations in the world are concerned.