Standing in front of the gate of Ukraine embassy in the Hague, SIB, one of the biggest international student associations from Groningen, was taking a group photo together, just after their one hour conversation with Ukraine ambassador minutes ago. All the group members who came from Northern and Western Europe, North America and East Asia put on the biggest, warmest smile on their face to the camera; it was SIB’s annual trip.
SIB is an international student association in Groningen; they organize lectures on Monday nights and host conferences dealing with international topics, such as politics, world religions, environmental issues, terrorism, economics, development aid and human rights. And Besides these weekly lectures they have the yearly Diplomats Dinner, Dies Natalis conference and on every trip they visit institutions like embassies, ministries, parliaments, so do this year.
Such association drew a lot of attention from international students. Grace, a Japanese girl who is a sophomore in Groningen University said: “The first time I heard of SIB was during Kei week, and they were like academic as well as interesting for me, so I signed up for the membership immediately.”
How did SIB come into existence? It all began with the founding of the Dutch Student Association for Federal World Government (NSFW) on October 19th 1947 at the Krasnapolsky Hotel in Amsterdam. It became a national student association with two departments: Groningen and Leiden. In the wake of World War II, people were concerned with the question of how to prevent another such war in the future, and this was also an important issue to students. In 1948, it was changed to Dutch Student Association for Legal Order (NSW), since a world government was no longer seen as the only solution to sustainable peace. Eventually, in 1962, the NSW again decided to change its name, this time to Student Association for International Relation (SIB) and the primary aim of the association was now to raise students’ interest for international relations.
“The SIB has always depended on the enthusiasm and commitment of its members. They are the driving force behind our association and their support keeps the SIB a growing and thriving association. ” Lotte Huiberts the former SIB President said.
This year, many new students joined SIB and became an active member in it. Zsa-Zsa van Wijk who is the President SIB-Groningen Board 2018-2019 said: “With almost 500 members, the SIB is the largest international student association in Groningen. Almost half of our members are international and all our activities are held in English. All students can join the SIB, regardless of where you come from or what you study.”