"To promote educational, cultural and social exchange ... between international students and members of ... Harvard" is the main goal of the Harvard University International Students' Association (HUISA), which held its first annual board elections last Wednesday night.
The election was brief as only seven HUISA members ran for the seven available posts. Rafi Ahmed, Ramani A. Aiyer, Henri Gillet, Mary T. Lynch, Felix Twaalhoven '79, Salim Walji and John D. Weston '80 will take over next year from the present governing board, which was appointed last November by Faculty advisers Archie C. Epps, dean of students, and Jennifer Stephens, director of the International Office.
Started in the fall of 1975, HUISA did not sponsor many activities because the students involved were reluctant to commit their time, Kalani S. Brady '77, HUISA's treasurer, said.
Last spring, the association members wrote a constitution, and in November the International Students Office started to assist them.
The organization still has problems in stimulating participation, according to members. Only 20 people attended the election.
Brady said he hopes to generate further interest in HUISA this spring. HUISA will tentatively sponsor the showing of two films, a luncheon lecture series, excursions to local museums, displays in the university libraries, and a Hawaiian-style "luau."
Nur O. Yalman, the third faculty adviser for HUISA, underlined the need for the organization, referring to the large number of foreign students at Harvard. Over 1300 graduate students and almost 300 undergraduates represent 103 countries at Harvard.
Epps said he hopes the organization will "provide a welcome for incoming international students and a focus for international studies."
Students who were interviewed support a more active HUISA.
"I am very pleased," said John A. Bacquie '80, of Jamaica. "I hope it will take the form of something structured," he added.
Linda E. Berzin '80, a French citizen, said she is "very excited" about the concept of HUISA. "When I arrived at Harvard, I sort of lost touch with the international world," she said.
Brooks P. Newmark '80, of England, said he liked HUISA's ideas and added, "A bunch of international students can give a lot to each other and to the University."