My Leadership Story | Ekta Panjwani

  Wherever you turn, you can find someone who needs you. Even if it is a little thing, do something for which there is no pay but the privilege of doing it. Remember, you don’t live in the world all of your own.”

-Albert Schweitzer

A simple act of care and selflessness can create an endless ripple. Volunteering is the realest example of how little actions can make huge positive differences and that the population who volunteers embraces the joy of giving.


Ekta, a student of IIT ISM Dhanbad took her first bold step of traveling alone and volunteered in an environmental project for the development of farming in Sura Karta , Indonesia through AIESEC.


She worked in a project called Green revolution. Purpose of the project was to help the villagers with sustainable farming.  The project included planting trees in different places, and teaching villagers how to cope with problems like shortage of land with the help of vertical gardens.  She volunteered in different schools with a group of volunteers from different countries and spread awareness among kids about environmental concerns.  They taught the community how it was possible to make useful things out of the trash and worked together to make recycled products. From concepts like waste management to essentials like taking care of the crops, everything was explained with the help of content delivered through seminars and presentations with the help of local volunteers.




         “If you know you have to, you will.

I believed in the stories I heard. So I decided I have to go. I had to do something better for Indonesia. If not changing every reality then at least doing what I had an opportunity to do and making a difference in whatsoever way I was able to.”






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As mentioned in the State of Global Volunteering Report, 2015


“ Youth volunteering is especially important in countries where young people predominate and where rapid social change is leading to dislocation, loss of traditional structures and unemployment. Young people volunteer their time and skills for a wide variety of reasons, such as idealism, hope for a better world, wanting to gain skills for future employment, to keep busy and to contribute to their own society.”


Everyone gets a chance to create their own stories and do things that are out of their comfort zone and are different than what they would usually pursue. For people like Ekta who take up opportunities like this, they get to experience a life unbound and they embrace the courage to live it thoroughly. Volunteering is a beautiful concept amidst a world where every country has problems and needs help. It is about ordinary people making extraordinary differences, being a part of solutions to problems across the globe and making friends everywhere they go.     



Also in cases of international volunteering, you get to live a story in a country you don’t know and people you just meet. You get to travel alone and learn so much about yourself in just a short span of time. Placed in the most dynamic situations you get to be the best version of yourself. It’s about getting out of your comfort zone, embracing your true self and exploring a community in its rawest form.


a4      “The best thing about Indonesia is its people. Every place I went I found a new family and when  I seeked help for travelling from the local people, they wouldn’t let me go alone and would accompany me until they were satisfied I had understood them.

           The most special thing I have left in Indonesia is my host family. It was like I am their daughter and I was at home. I never imagined I could be so secure with someone I just met.” 





Volunteering is the art of realizing that in the end, you are a part of something bigger than yourself and whatever it is that you are a part of is a consequence of every little thing that you do. No other concept explains the art of giving as well as volunteering does.  It can change your life and can lead to love, it can be a source of happiness and do a lot for you, it can save lives and moreover, it can move a nation.

“ Today when I see all the difference I have made, it looks so difficult and different. But I feel so happy I have done something so valuable.  Volunteering is not easy. It is a big investment and you always get more than you give. Having a different language did not mean I couldn’t create bonds or volunteer.  I was living a beautiful experience.”


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This is one leadership story out of thousands of stories lived every year through AIESEC exchange. When are you living yours?






Blog by: Khyati Ghai

Turning back time for Education


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Following is an article written by Shivika Jain, a member of AIESEC in Delhi IIT who is passionate about writing. Read on to know what she has to say on education.

If you had the power to dial back life by 5 years, what is the 1 thing you would have mastered by today?


Very recently, I came across a cartoon on the internet, which had a variety of animals- an elephant, a monkey, a bird, a penguin, a goldfish, a seal, and a dog- being asked to give the same kind of examination to judge their capabilities. What was the task? Climbing a tree.


Sadly for us, the picture very well depicts our education system today, where everyone is asked to keep their strengths aside and work at what is deemed important by the society- bookish knowledge.


No, I’m not saying that its not important to know our history, our language, or any of the knowledge that we gain throughout our school life.


But what if, instead being asked to start working on our strengths and interests at the age of 18, we were asked to do the same when we were maybe 11 or 12 years old? What if I started learning more about history as soon as I realised that it was my strength and my interest? Or what if I started practicing photography at the age of 15, instead of waiting till grad school?


Yes, the sound of that is tempting but challenging at the same time, but who is afraid of a challenge? From what I feel, it’s only a matter of perspective.


India has one of the largest youth forces in the world, and if used properly, our youth is very much capable of moving the world- literally. We are young, we are resourced, and we are educated. Only if we are trained in a somewhat different way than the present, today’s youth can be the force of change our society needs.


Coming back to my 1st question, if you had the power to dial back life by 5 years,

4563728611_b8dfefca0d_zwhat is the 1 thing you would have mastered by today?



Shivika is doing what she had always wanted to do since childhood. If you want to take the leap too, sign up for the Global Leader program at!

AIESEC Participates at UN ECOSOC Forum on Youth

This generation of young people – the largest the world has ever seen – has a historic opportunity to end poverty, combat climate change, create jobs and fight injustice, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told a Youth Forum at UN Headquarters in New York this morning as he called on the participants to get involved in shaping a future sustainable development agenda.

Today, there are 1.8 billion young people, representing one quarter of the world’s population. Many struggle to find work, and are often hit hardest in conflict. The Secretary-General says that it is time now to see this huge cohort as a force of change that harbours the ingenuity and creativity to help solve the world’s most daunting challenges.

The event started with a keynote address urging an uptick in investment for children around the world, children’s activist and 2007 International Children’s Peace Prize Winner, Thandiwe Chama, called on delegates to be “on the right side of history” and place “our rights, the rights of children and youth, at the heart of the SDG agenda.”

“There’s no doubt that young people are facing multiple challenges to meet their potential but they are not giving up,” emphasized Youth Envoy Mr. Alhendawi.

“Everywhere I go, I see how the youth want to be connected to the United Nations; they will not miss any opportunity to volunteer and to advocate. They will participate at the Model UN just to simulate what’s happening in the rooms with delegates. Today we are not simulating. This is the United Nations in action.”

As the UN representative on all things relating to young people, Mr. Alhendawi said that a “sense of ownership” is critical to the success of the future sustainable development agenda. The 1.8 billion young people worldwide are ready to “carry their share” of the post-2015 development.

AIESEC representatives Karolina Piotrowska and Tala Mansi are present at the forum to voice our opinions in the role of Youth in light of the upcoming launch of the UN SDG’s.

AIESEC Karolina Piotrowska
Karolina Piotrowska representing the International Coordination Meeting of Youth Organisations
AIESEC United Nations ECOSOC Youth Forum
Tala Mansi from AIESEC speaking about Youth at the forum

Tala Mansi spoke on the panel voicing “the importance of youth development, bridging the gap between employment and education, and creating individual commitment and awareness of SDG’s from the bottom up.”

The engagement of young people is key to ensuring the successes of the SDG’s as young people will be the ones implementing these large global initiatives. AIESEC has engaged tens of thousands of young people in voicing up their opinions via the YouthSpeak survey where it captures their opinions on the challenges they face in reaching their fullest potential.

We further encourage young people to take ownership of the issues they care about and not sit still waiting for change to come. As we firmly believe that the world needs new leaders and our generation are the ones who need to step up, have courage and stand up for what matters to us.

The world needs your leadership and it’s your time to step up and take responsibility. When was the last time you spoke up about issues that mattered to you?

You can learn more about the ECOSOC Youth forum here.



Living Diversity for World Peace

The World’s Very Real Need for Cultural Understanding

AIESEC emerged from a period in time when cultural understanding was at an all-time low. In the years following the Second World War, the whole of the European continent was ravaged to the ground. Each nation was coping with its own grave losses, and between all countries there was tremendous disconnect. Not only was there pressure to educate and create individuals capable of rebuilding their countries, there was also the very real need to repair damaged European relations.

Looking at the world today, one can’t help but notice striking similarities. Devastation, turmoil, anger, despair—none of these are strangers to us, even though it has been seventy years since the end of what is dubbed the deadliest conflict in human history.

Furthermore, what the world suffers from today is not the disconnection within a continent, but rather, the tensions within an entire planet. We suffer today from disconnect between continents, between nations, within countries, within communities. We are suffering from differences in ideology, in religion, and in culture. And it is becoming abundantly clear that such differences can have fatal consequences.

“Solidarity” (Source: ABC News)

In the first week of January, the world was deeply shaken by the Charlie Hebdo shooting that occurred in Paris—an event that has resulted in global repercussions for numerous other nations. It has also drawn attention to a number of ongoing conflicts throughout Europe and the rest of the world.

In the days that followed, the world saw two categories of reactions: outbreaks of conflict and marches of solidarity.

In the week that followed the shootings, fifty-four anti-Muslim attacks were reported in France. Conflicts escalated in reaction to Charlie Hebdo’s resumed publication with the controversial cover—in Niger, violent protests resulted in the deaths of ten people, with dozens injured, and a number of churches burned. Similar protests also occurred in Pakistan and Algeria.

Stop Charlie Niger

Meanwhile, over 100,000 people in France took to the streets for candlelit vigils in demonstrations of solidarity. The slogan, “Je suis Charlie” (I am Charlie in French), became simultaneously an endorsement from freedom of speech and a way to honour the victims of the shooting. Similar vigils took place all over the globe in the UK, the US, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, to name a few. In what officials called the largest public rally in France since World War II, up to two million people marched in a ‘unity rally’, joined by more than 40 world leaders.

Two weeks ago, a youth was stabbed to death in Dresden, Germany—a city that has been the hotbed for anti-immigrant and ‘anti-Islamisation’ movements by the organization PEGIDA (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West, in German). This, in turn, has resulted in numerous counter-demonstrations across the country against racism, calling for cultural acceptance and tolerance.

Dresden Germany Marches

Looking at these stories, a ripple effect becomes clear—the current issues now are either recurring or ongoing reactions to other issues. The stories become convoluted into an overarching narrative of conflict. We must understand, however, that intolerance is equivalent to blindness. With cultural tensions on the rise, how are we to reconcile our differences?

What would the world be like if instead of differences, we choose to see similarities? Like the unity rally, which brought masses of people and a multitude of nations together—for the first time since the Second World War!—what would the world be like if we reveled in diversity, instead of seeking to destroy it?

We return again to the original mission of AIESEC: “to expand the understanding of a nation by expanding the understanding of the individuals, changing the world one person at a time”. As stated in our “Why We Do What We Do” video, “When you see the world, you can begin to understand it. And when we understand it, we can begin to change it.”

It’s a big world out there, made up of many, many individuals—7 billion of them, to be exact. Here in AIESEC, one of our six core values is Living Diversity. We believe that everyone, because of their own culture and place in life, has something valuable to offer, and we seek to encourage the contribution of each individual.

Each and every one of us has a choice every day—will you choose peace?

Why Play By The Rules – Imagination

Why always play by the rules? At first, this statement seems like a very rebellious defiance, a blatant retort. But this line is not actually a statement, it is a question. It is a question which begs us to think outside the box, to play the game in a new way.

Why always follow the rules if you can do something amazing and something beautiful by doing something different altogether?

Rules here do not necessarily mean written rules and laws. They also include guidelines and parameters according to which we have to function. However, if we were to always follow set guidelines and trends, there would be no innovation in the world; there would be no new, no brilliant and crazy idea which would change the world, just like the idea a few people had in the first half of the 20th century, to start an organization named AIESEC, which wanted to expand the understanding of countries by expanding the understanding of the individuals, one person at a time. It was a crazy idea, one completely different from anything that was happening, one which was a strange idea to many, and just look where that idea is today.

Perhaps the best way to not play by the rules is coming up with an idea which is so unique and so simple that there are no rules made for it. And to do that, we have to use the strongest weapon mankind possesses; imagination.

Imagination has no rules, no boundaries, no limits. Why play by the rules when you can imagine? Why play by the rules when you can create them?


Imagine, just like John Lennon did in his song, and create something so beautiful that rules do not matter.

John Lennon – Imagine :