Going Global to South Africa

Hear Satwik Rajani’s global experience to South Africa.

“I went to South Africa for an AIESEC internship.

I worked for a project called S.M.I.L.E run by a South African not for profit organization that focuses on the empowerment of youth, education, illiteracy training and career guidance. I was teaching students Maths, English and Physics and was also the head of the photography workshop in the summer school.

This internship has been a definite eye opener more than anything. It challenged the way I perceive the world and opened my eyes to various things around us that I take for granted. I interacted with young ambitious people from over 15 countries. It really gave me a sense of being part of something bigger and made me realize the power I have to change the world.

Leaving in a different country, speaking a different language and living a different lifestyle never sounded simple till I experienced it which got me thinking of the various other things in life that I thought would have been impossible but might have just been in my reach.

I would definitely recommend this experience over any vacation or summer school, simply because of the depth of human interaction and the self learning. I would like to thank AIESEC for exposing me to a different meaning of life.”

If you too want to have such an experience, sign up now!

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History of International Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day and we ardently celebrate it. But have you ever paused to think why we are doing this? Did you ever think that maybe there was a reason behind this and if there is, then what is it? I think I can safely say that you didn’t.

Did you know that International Women’s Day has been observed since the early 1900’s? Here’s a brief history of Women’s Day.

1908 march

Great unrest and critical debate was occurring amongst women. Women’s oppression and inequality was spurring women to become more vocal and active in campaigning for change. Then in 1908, 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights.

In accordance with a declaration by the Socialist Party of America, the first National Woman’s Day (NWD) was observed across the United States on 28 February. Women continued to celebrate NWD on the last Sunday of February until 1913.

march 101910
In 1910 a second International Conference of Working Women was held in Copenhagen. A woman named a Clara Zelkin (Leader of the ‘Women’s Office’ for the Social Democratic Party in Germany) tabled the idea of an International Women’s Day. She proposed that every year in every country there should be a celebration on the same day – a Women’s Day – to press for their demands. The conference of over 100 women from 17 countries, representing unions, socialist parties, working women’s clubs, greeted Zetkin’s suggestion with unanimous approval and thus International Women’s Day was the result.

Following the decision agreed at Copenhagen in 1911, International Women’s Day (IWD) was honoured the first time in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland on 19 March. More than one million women and men attended IWD rallies campaigning for women’s rights to work, vote, be trained, to hold public office and end discrimination. However less than a week later on 25 March, the tragic ‘Triangle Fire’ in New York City took the lives of more than 140 working women, most of them Italian and Jewish immigrants. This disastrous event drew significant attention to working conditions and labour legislation in the United States that became a focus of subsequent International Women’s Day events.

On the eve of World War I campaigning for peace, Russian women observed their first International Women’s Day on the last Sunday in February 1913. In 1913 following discussions, International Women’s Day was transferred to 8 March and this day has remained the global date for International Women’s Day ever since. In 1914 further women across Europe held rallies to campaign against the war and to express women’s solidarity.

On the last Sunday of February, Russian women began a strike for “bread and peace” in response to the death over 2 million Russian soldiers in war. Opposed by political leaders the women continued to strike until four days later the Czar was forced to abdicate and the provisional Government granted women the right to vote. The date the women’s strike commenced was Sunday 23 February on the Julian calendar then in use in Russia. This day on the Gregorian calendar in use elsewhere was 8 March.











1918 – 1999
Since its birth in the socialist movement, International Women’s Day has grown to become a global day of recognition and celebration across developed and developing countries alike. For decades, IWD has grown from strength to strength annually. For many years the United Nations has held an annual IWD conference to coordinate international efforts for women’s rights and participation in social, political and economic processes. 1975 was designated as ‘International Women’s Year‘ by the United Nations.

2000 and beyond
IWD is now an official holiday in Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China (for women only), Cuba, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Madagascar (for women only), Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal (for women only), Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Zambia. The tradition sees men honouring their mothers, wives, girlfriends, colleagues, etc with flowers and small gifts. In some countries IWD has the equivalent status of Mother’s Day where children give small presents to their mothers and grandmothers.


The new millennium has witnessed a significant change and attitudinal shift in both women’s and society’s thoughts about women’s equality and emancipation. With more women in the boardroom, greater equality in legislative rights, and an increased critical mass of women’s visibility as impressive role models in every aspect of life, one could think that women have gained true equality. The unfortunate fact is that women are still not paid equally to that of their male counterparts, women still are not present in equal numbers in business or politics, and globally women’s education, health and the violence against them is worse than that of men.

However, great improvements have been made. We do have female astronauts and prime ministers, school girls are welcomed into university, women can work and have a family, women have real choices. And so the tone and nature of IWD has, for the past few years, moved from being a reminder about the negatives to a celebration of the positives.

So make a difference, think globally and act locally! Make everyday International Women’s Day. Do your bit to ensure that the future for girls is bright, equal, safe and rewarding.

Working Class Heroines


Do we want the door opened for us, or would we rather do it ourselves?

India today is an enigma of many kinds, but on the front of gender sensitization and equality, there is a gaping chasm that separates what a woman can and cannot do. While urban India has awakened and slowly warmed up to the education and employment of girls and women, there seem to be no social advancements to creating a physical, intellectual and emotional environment that supports this. Safety and security of women after dark still looms large and there’s no telling when this dark cloud will disperse.

Urban Indian women today have stepped out of their worn out shoes of being another’s wife, daughter and mother and are boldly striding to workplaces, university classes and their independent homes and defining new, dual roles for themselves. This positive sign is a reflection of a metropolitan societal revolution supporting the advancement of women, but a lot more still remains to be done for India on the whole.

Whether it’s reservation in parliament, compulsory education for the girl child, incentivizing the birth of a girl child or sensitization of society at large, the ‘problem’ of women empowerment and equal opportunities across India still exists. Even more dismal than the policies supporting the rural development of women is the representation of women of character today. Objectified to a fault, women today for the most part are visualized as creatures of desire, rather than beings of substance.

In a focus group interview conducted by AIESEC India, with young girls aged 20-23 across the metropolitan cities, it was startling to note that all of their role models emanated from within their families- grandmother, mother and sister. While this is a positive sign that today’s families have created the right space for their daughters, it is disheartening that no singular female role model comes to the fore of a young woman’s mind.

It may be ungrounded to say that the future of India is inextricably linked to the education, development and employment of women. However, Rahel Chakola, 23, an associate in the field of interactive education in Bangalore believes that the equation is simple: Educated Women = Educated India = Developed India.

AIESEC is an organization that does not discriminate on any grounds, gender included. It is in this organization that I first understood the ability of leadership to transcend gender, race, colour and religion. Ironically, it is here that I have only had girls leading me and heading teams that I was a part of. This is the fabled land of equal opportunity where I witnessed girls succeed and supersede their peers, because of the safe, encouraging and comfortable environment it provided for their personal and leadership development.

AIESEC India Women's Day

AIESEC India Wins Global ING Award

Global Leaders Summit

In February 2013, the country representatives of the world’s largest youth run organization – AIESEC came together to form the global association that we are today for the Global Leaders Summit in Serbia. This event brought together 220 President of AIESEC from 110 countries and 30 members of the global executive board of AIESEC. The current and newly elected presidents of AIESEC in India – Ramita Vig & Anubhav Razdan represented India at this summit.

In the two weeks that they were there they discussed topics on relevant international issues and the importance of improving and developing leadership in young people. The result was that they created strategies to build a better future for young people throughout the world through the products & services that AIESEC provides i.e. leadership, international internships and the chance to participate a global learning environment.

Ramita Vig and Anubhav Razdan

One of the monumental events that took place at this summit was the ING Award Night where ING awards those countries that have performed exceptionally in the year. AIESEC in India had the absolute honour to receive the ING Award for Contribution to the Global Network. AIESEC India was selected for this award from the network of 110 countries for the second consecutive time.

On winning this award, Ramita Vig – President of AIESEC India says, “This is only a by product of the hard work and commitment of our membership that strives to deliver. The members believe in the power of experiences that they provide and simultaneously understand the responsibility that they have to provide such leadership experiences to individuals.”

Winning an award is not only about the recognition that you receive. It is about knowing that we are on the right path in helping AIESEC deliver high quality experiences to the youth of the world.

We thus invite you to be part of our movement to further accelerate us towards developing every young person in the world.

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Getting to know Anubhav Razdan, the President (elect) of AIESEC India

Anubhav Razdan23 year old Anubhav Razdan won the elections for the position of Member Committee President of AIESEC India on the 30th of January 2013. Anubhav is currently the Regional Director for the South Region of AIESEC India and won the election standing against 4 capable candidates from the current Member Committee of AIESEC India and a Local Committee President. His application theme was based around the concept of “Transformation” and he envisions for AIESEC to transform the experiences it provides, these experiences then transform people and the people transform India.

Here is a candid discussion with Mr. President (elect), AIESEC India.

Tell us something about your Delhi roots, your educational background and family.

I did my schooling from Amity International School, Noida. After that, I went on to pursue a Bachelors degree in Business Administration from Indraprastha University in Delhi. I am ethnically a Kashmiri and my family consists of the mother, sister and grandmother. I had lost my father at a young age and it was my mother who brought up both me and my sister, with not many resources but very strong values. I have some extremely vivid memories of my younger days in New Delhi.

What are your interests and hobbies?

I like reading about global and national issues, technology, design and philosophy. I am very fond of sports – love to watch and play football and swim. Also, as is evident from my Facebook page, Travel & Photography are two passions that I’ve recently discovered.

What is your vision for AIESEC India? What would be your key role?

I can see a transformation – a rebirth of sorts – letting go of the past to strive towards a bigger and better future. My key role here will be helping our membership reconnect with their individual and the AIESEC values, to use them as an anchor for future actions and innovation.

What is the kind of leadership you think AIESEC India requires in the coming year and correlate it with your style of leadership?

I think AIESEC India and the world at large needs daring and value driven leadership. It is our individual and collective values which guide our actions. Once we identify a strong set of values, they can act as an anchor and at the same time propel us further to take risks & try new things in our journey through this organisation. AIESEC gives you the platform to take those risks, explore those new opportunities which progress the individual and hence the organisation forward. Nowhere else will we be presented with the option of doing the kind of things we do here, at such a young age. The only question that remains is if we take those options.

How is AIESEC India contributing to India’s development and future?

AIESEC India contributes to India’s development & future by providing individuals & organisations an opportunity to engage with our purpose. India as a country needs young people who don’t just talk, but take the initiative and bring about CHANGE. A continuous stream of passionate young Indians must go out and get things done – in politics, in social set-ups, in corporations, in education, in research, in medicine – EVERYWHERE. AIESEC India provides India with this breed of young Indians who have spent their formative years in an extremely dynamic and challenging organisation.

What do you want to do after AIESEC? How do you think AIESEC will help?

I want to work in the sphere of human capacity development and start my own enterprises – one of which will be a restaurant. I want these ventures to also present enriching employment opportunities for the urban poor.

Through AIESEC, I seek to become more independent and interdependent, by taking back a network of driven and committed individuals. AIESEC till now has made me a lot more confident, broad minded and entrepreneurial.

What is your parting message to our readers?

I would like to revisit what Charles Darwin had concluded that it is not the strongest or the most intelligent, but the most adaptable of species that survive. The world that we live in requires us to be constantly changing and evolving. It is here that the youth have a pivotal role to play, spearheading the transformation through their proactive initiatives.