Students forum to take place in 1999

August 28, 1998

A small group from the University of British Columbia is planning a Commonwealth conference for students to be held next year in Vancouver.

The Commonwealth Universities' Student Congress will try to bring together 200 students to discuss human rights, sustainable development and other issues facing Commonwealth countries.

Organisers hope the conference, which is set for August 1999, will become a biennial event. It will try to match the diversity of the ACU conference with representatives from all 54 member countries of the Commonwealth.

Organiser Christopher Gorman began last year to work on the idea of an international gathering of students. "We would like to make a serious input on issues," said Mr Gorman, whose group has deliberately left national student organisations out of the preparations.

Mr Gorman, a 22-year-old political science student, expects it will cost C$650,000 (Pounds 0,000) to set up the congress. He has been seeking sponsorship and support from Canada and abroad. His university has given the congress an office, some equipment and support from its president, and Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade has provided some seed money.

The project, which is being run by 11 student volunteers, is a collaboration with the Commonwealth of Learning, the Vancouver-based distance education organisation, and the local branch of the Royal Commonwealth Society. The Association of Commonwealth Universities has also promised support.

Mr Gorman can be reached at gorman@unixg.ubc.ca

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