The KAIST Herald met with Aamir Malik and Jauwairia Nasir, the two presidents of the newly formed International Students and Scholars Association Committee (ISSAC), to learn more about this new player in the international scene at KAIST.
In your response to the question “What does ISSAC stand for?” on Facebook, ISSAC’s answer was “you.” I’ll ask a follow up question. Who exactly is “you?”
For a long time, the only mode of representation that has existed for the international community has been KAIST’s International Student Association (KISA), which as you can tell from the name leaves out the researchers who are as core to the international community as any student demographic. In terms of representation and networking between members of KAIST’s English-speaking community and those of industry, it had been noted over time that KISA was rather ill-equipped to deal with some issues that arose — particularly the academic ones. Simply put, there existed a conspicuous vacuum and as you probably know, nature abhors vacuums.
The formation of ISSAC is an attempt at filling this vacuum. Our stated purpose is to facilitate the forging of strong ties, both academic and social, firstly between “you” and other members of KAIST’s international community, secondly between “you” and the various administrative bodies at KAIST, and lastly between “you” and South Korea’s robust industry.
For undergraduate students to researchers? That sounds like a very large spectrum of interests to represent.
Actually, if you contemplate much deeper about the vacuum we mentioned earlier, those said interests are really not that divergent. There are very many entities at KAIST that serve as a link between the students, the administration, and industry but there is a catch. Most of them run their activities exclusively in Korean. One of our responsibilities is to provide an English alternative to this.
Tell our readers more about ISSAC’s structure.
As currently constituted, ISSAC is made up of three complementary branches. First, we have the executive cabinet, a group of nine who are charged with the decision making and day-to-day running of ISSAC. It is here where you will find the various coordinators, directors, and representatives. By definition, the two presidents are members of the executive cabinet. Next is the general cabinet. They are those who assist the executive cabinet in their duties. And last and most importantly we have “you” — the students, researchers and alumni who by default are members of the representative cabinet.
You mentioned that ISSAC will be involved in organizing activities. Anything worth looking out for this semester?
By now we are certain you have heard of the upcoming industrial trip to Hyundai Industries on November 22. This particular project has received such an overwhelming response that we have scheduled a second one in the first week of December to accommodate for demand. Other projects that we have in the works include the alumni homecoming, mini conferences, group research, and much more. Everyone is encouraged to participate.
Finally, is there really a need for two presidents? Is this one of those cases where two heads are literally better than one?
Exactly. The presence of two presidents is a stab at running the organization in the most efficient way. One president will be a representative for the students and scholars while the other will represent the alumni.