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samedi, mai 03, 2003

 

{*} It's officially confirmed - the ISC-Symposium (the people who are sponsoring my trip to Switzerland) have dis-invited China participants. We're hoping that they don't dis-invite Singapore students too :(



Dear XXXX,

For the past few weeks, unsettling news about the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) has reached us daily. The International Students Committee (ISC) has followed the spread of SARS very closely and we are deeply concerned about the frightening development of this illness and its effects.

The personal health and safety of each individual participant of the ISC-Symposium has the highest priority for us. Therefore, the ISC has not failed to intensify its contact with the World Health Organisation (WHO), The Swiss Federal Department of Health and the health authorities of the State of St. Gallen.

The experts from the health authorities have now informed us that, based on the high risk of infection during travel, participants from the WHO designated SARS affected countries should therefore be strongly advised not to attend the 33rd ISC-Symposium.

Aggravating the entire situation for the ISC, the cantonal government of St. Gallen stated in their directive of May 2, 2003, that "the ISC is not permitted to accept any Symposium participant departing from a WHO designated SARS affected country immediately before the Symposium or any participants who have travelled in one of the SARS affected countries - People Republic of China and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region - within 10 days prior to their arrival in St. Gallen."

The ISC is obliged to accept the inevitable and to conform to the directives of the authorities and so it is with our deepest regret that we must inform you that we must withdraw your invitation to attend the 33rd ISC Symposium. As your outstanding contribution qualified you for participation in this year's symposium, we are doubly sad not to be able to welcome you to St. Gallen.

As much as we understand your disappointment - surely enormous - and though we also share it, we cannot alter this decision. The cantonal government of St. Gallen can find no alternative to this situation - also in the interest of your health and your safety. We hope that you will understand that no further demands can be made against the ISC because the SARS epidemic is an act of God and as such beyond our control.

We are fully aware that each student who takes part in the competition for the ISC Wings of Excellence Award makes a considerable contribution both to the content and the success of the ISC-Symposium. Therefore, after the Symposium we will send you a certificate stating that your work belonged to the 250 best contributions of 2003. Naturally, you will also be accepted into the organisation of ISC-Symposium Alumni. Because it is a matter of great concern to us that each winner of the contest have a chance to be heard, we have decided to publish your contribution on our homepage at www.isc-symposium.org. In addition, we will compile all the papers of the ISC-Symposium on a CD with videos and narrative and send it to you.

Dear XXX, we are sincerely sorry not to be able to meet you personally at this year ISC-Symposium. You know that during the past weeks, the ISC made every effort to make your participation in the Symposium possible, but, sadly, this terrible disease has intervened. The entire situation makes us feel miserable. Having to withdraw invitations to the most brilliant minds is utterly depressing and constitutes the blackest day in the history of the student competition. We hope and we pray that you and your family are well and that the terrible threat that is looming over your country will very soon dissipate. We hope to stay in touch.

With our best wishes,
ISC-Symposium


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