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New all-male CISA committee to represent Australia’s international students

Samantha Chew

Tue Jul 25 2017


A new executive committee for 2017-2018 has been elected to represent Australia’s diverse international student community at the Council of International Students Australia’s (CISA) recent National Conference in Canberra.

Leading CISA as its President this coming year is University of Technology Sydney student Bijay Sapkota. Studying a Bachelor of Engineering, Mr Sapkota is a proud community contributor who currently occupies a position as a council member at the University of Technology Sydney. He was also awarded NSW International Student of the Year 2016.

Aligned with this year’s conference theme, “Students at the Heart of Best Practices”, the new members of the executive committee striving to bring international students more in best practices include:

  • President: Bijay Sapkota

  • Vice President: Ahmed Ademoglu

  • General Secretary: Christian Mbonu

  • Treasurer: Vincent Taviala

  • Public Relations: Arjun Madathil

  • Welfare: Zaheer Qazi

  • Equity: Hill Yang

  • Undergraduate: Lizhan Lyu

  • Postgraduate: Florian Spalthoff

  • VET-TAFE: Manifred Mletsia

Student thoughts and reactions

Not all students are confident in the new team, like Monash University student Fionna Hutama who believed that having an all-male committee may lead to gendered decision making.

“[I] don’t think their decision-making and thought process[es] would encapsulate and be inclusive of all international students,” she said.

A male student from the University of Melbourne, who wished to remain anonymous, voiced similar concerns.

“It’s weird that all of the members elected are male and I don’t think it reflects well in how they would want to represent the international students,” he said.

Meanwhile, Monash University student Lekhaa Nair had her own reservations about the new committee but tried to remain optimistic.

“When any woman’s interest is represented by a group of men it always makes me uneasy. As long as the men in the committee take women’s perspectives into consideration there won’t be a problem, but that is very rare, especially in cases involving discrimination and sexual assault,” she said.

Meld has contacted CISA for a comment on this story but did not receive a reply by the time of the article’s deadline.