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The following is the second of a series of four articles written especially for the Crimson by Mr. Francis Deak, dealing with the foundation and development of the European National Student Unions and the Confederation of International Etudiants. The writer is vice-president of the latter organization.
I pointed out in my first article that it was a current opinion among European students that something must be done to prevent the recurrence of the disaster of a war. I showed also that this was, at first, not the feeling of the mass of the students. The majority of them still stood under the immediate influence of the bitterness of the recent war; they had to be educated up to this new spirit of understanding.
Outlines Organizations Growth
In order to demonstrate clearly how this new spirit was spread among an increasing number of students, how it found the way slowly but surely to the student community of each country. I should like to give a brief outline of the organization and development of the European student bodies, both national and international.
At the end of the War, we find in Europe only a few National Student organizations: in Belgium, France, Spain, Roumania, and Germany. The National Union of French students held its annual Congress in November 1919 at Strassburg, to which it invited the student, delegates of the Allied countries, and there was founded, upon the initiative of the French students, the Confederation Internationale des Etudiants. It was provided that the National Student Unions embodying the majority of students of each country, were to be the members of the Confederation, and that the countries where there were no such organizations could be admitted as "free members", that is, members not having a vote in the meetings. It was provided also that the aim of the organization should be "to create friendship among students of the entire world; to bring about liasons and coordinate the activities of the different student organizations and to help the expansion of intellectual life both morally and materially." It was decided further that the "Confederation shall not be engaged in any political religious or racial questions whatsoever.
Central Powers Were Excluded
The students of the former enemy countries were not invited to this Congress; thus the C. I. E. started as an organization of the students of the Allied and Associated Powers, and it seemed at first that it would even increase and strengthen the differences and controversies which divided the former belligerents. At the Congress of Strassburg the National Student Unions of Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Poland, Roumania, Spain and Tchecho-Slovakia were registered as full members, and the representatives of America, Denmark, England, Greece, Holland, Italy, Norway, Scotland, Sweden, Switzerland and Yougoslavia as free members.
Former Enemies Admitted
Carried on chiefly by the students of the neutral countries, the campaign to create a better spirit of cooperation and to reconciliate the students of the ex-belligerents, began almost immediately. The C. I. E. Congress at Prague in April 1921 saw the admission as full members of Denmark, England, Finland, Holland, Norway, Sweden, Scotland, Switzerland and Yougolavia. During the following three years the spirit in the C. I. E. was completely changed; the controverseries were more or less settled.
The question of the admission of Germany as a full member, presented the most difficult and delicate problem to the C. I. E. The only way to solve this problem at least temporarily was through an agreement of practical cooperation. Since the Warsaw Congress, this cooperation has been carried on in a very satisfactory way. Germany is now represented at all meetings of the C. I. E. and in view of the importance and excellent work of the Deutsche Studentenschaft, its representative has always been invited since then even to the executive meetings of the C. I. E. although Germany is not yet a full member. It is interesting to note that the next executive meetings of the C. I. E. Will be held next month in Berlin at the invitation of the Deutenche Studentenschaft.
Now Includes 29 Nations
Today, the National Student Unions of 29 countries are full members of the C. I. E. Germany is cooperating as associated member, with the utmost loyalty, and eight student bodies of countries where national organizations are not yet in existence are registered as free members. Through the American Student Federation founded in Princeton on December 12, 1925, we hope to secure a complete cooperation among the students of America and those represented in the C. I. E.
The Council of the C. I. E. is made up of the representatives of these National Unions, each of which send five delegates to the Council. This main Council meets once a year in the capitol of one of the countries which are members of the organization. The Council then appoints committees to investigate problems of international interests and make reports and recommendations, which are then considered by the Council.
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