How Young People Contribute to Changing The World Everyday

Written by Ivana Gusic, Head of Public Relations and Marketing at AIESEC in Austria

This is not a story about current conflicts that are happening in the world. It is not about rockets flying over our skies or ending wars. It is about smaller things. Little things. But the kind of little things that keep a person going forward; that bring the spark into everyday and strengthen the belief that this world is worth fighting for.

In a small town in Hungary named Gyor, 50 young people from AIESEC in Austria attended a conference to plan for the upcoming year and cover numerous topics relevant for the executive bodies gathered there. This conference itself is special because it brings together young people from 6 different countries: Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Austria, Serbia and Brazil. But that is another story altogether.

AIESEC Conference in Serbia

AIESEC Central European Congress gathering young people from Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Austria.

The moment that matters happened towards the end of the conference.

I was holding a session — last session of the day about external exposure (since I am Head of PR and Marketing). I was very skeptical of how it would go because everyone was tired from the six-day conference, which was almost over.

There was a part of the session that I completely forgot about; this small task which turned out to be the spark of greatness. I remember I almost skipped it. You never know what is going to be the biggest moment of the day. Usually the moments you believe will be insignificant turn out to be big ones.

The task was to “Discuss in pairs the topics that we, as voice of youth in Austria, could write about; topics that AIESEC is really passionate about; topics that may seem ordinary, but matter.”

After a couple of minutes, it was a moment to share. I thought a couple of people would share and that’s it.

It started with a few remarks and turned into fiery exchange of ideas and opinions.

Forty young people in leadership positions voiced their opinion, passionate about making a change in their hometowns and their country — from educational gap between formal and informal education and skills and experience required to find a job today, to racism in the world and Austria and how to tackle the integration of immigrants for a more peaceful and tolerant world. The issue of aging population and how to empower youth to ensure a sustainable development. Women leadership today in the world and in AIESEC (which is abundant with women in leadership positions).

Internationality and positive aspects of it in today’s globalized world, where conflicts seem to appear like fireworks. Start-ups and the concept of entrepreneurship and innovation as solutions for challenges facing the world today. Tackling social challenges and addressing those that are relevant in a country.

And many more. At least 20 people were actively sharing and feeding of each other’s ideas.

AIESEC Public Speaking

I was standing on the stage, listening to one person after another saying their opinions, listing topics they are passionate about and they would like to write about. I remember I didn’t want the exchange of ideas to stop. I was so overwhelmed by the passion about the issues mentioned and flabbergasted by a wide variety of interests. Forty young minds awake and aware of things that don’t work and willing to do something about it. Have you ever witnessed something like that?

I haven’t before.

I remember that when my enthusiasm and disbelief settled, I was angry — at people saying that youth today is passive; that we don’t care about anything but ourselves. I remember standing in the room with 50 people who paid to come to a six-day conference when they could have gone to the seaside like their friends did. I remember them talking at 7pm in the evening about issues in the world and at home they were passionate about and wanted to solve. And I remember one thought above all others.

That there is greatness in young people. They are aware of the world they live in — technology has made us interconnected and informed. They are passionate and they have an opinion. They are ready to be heard and to contribute to changes if the world will let them.

So how can we empower them? How can we make sure they get a say in what kind of world is being built for them? What kind of world they will live in?

Maybe you’re thinking now that we’re young and that we’ve got a lot to learn yet. And this is true. We don’t know everything. But we have ideas and we are ready to learn. And we’re worth it.

So it should begin today, because 5 to 10 years from now, some of those forty people will have leadership or executive positions. They will have the opportunity to decide which course we take, for better or worse.

Imagine if everyone thought like that. Imagine if everyone cared. Imagine if the world was made up of this type of young people — interested, aware, concerned and willing to participate and change the world for the better. Imagine the world they would be able to build.

And help them — help us build it.

AIESEC Conference

This story was written in contribution to the AIESEC Everyday Leader Series, which showcases stories of everyday leaders who are changing the world. Share your story with the world.

How World Peace Begins With Everyday Leaders

AIESEC World Peace series highlights the stories and lessons from thought and everyday leaders from around the world on how World Peace may just be attainable. Contribute your story.

World Peace.

It has been humanity’s eternal, elusive dream. A dream that has inspired influential leaders like Nelson Mandela, Aung San Suu Kyi, Wangari Maathai, and Malala Yousafzai, to rise from being an ordinary citizen to becoming a leader to make a significant difference. There is also AIESEC’s very own alumnus Martti Ahtisaari, who was the 10th President of Finland and 2008 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for his “for his efforts on several continents and over more than three decades, to resolve international conflicts.”

Ahtisaari states that AIESEC helped him “discover new passions about diversity and diplomacy.”

Leaders like Ahtisaari are not super heroes, but human beings just like you and I who have strived to achieve extraordinary accomplishments. They are everyday leaderswho care about the world and take action to defend human rights.

Ahtisaari AIESEC

The peaceful freedom fighter Aung San Suu Kyi was once faced at gunpoint, but she did not give in. Instead, she demonstrated absolute courage and clarity by walking without fear to the line of soldiers and with the guns pointed at her, and walked passed it. Nobody was killed.

What would you have done in this moment?

The Lady Gunpoint

In the movie The Lady, Michelle Yeoh portrays Aung San Suu Kyi’s extraordinary life, challenges, road to peace and democracy in Burma, and is a compelling movie that showcases the power of nonviolence. The strength of this iconic woman is outstanding, and is a role model to show that fear cannot conquer our common humanity.We all live our own lives and we often turn down activities by saying “I’m busy.”

Pushing for world peace does not mean we all need to be walking in front of guns, but to take action even in the smallest ways. It is as practical as dedicating even a few hours a month volunteering for a cause that improves the lives of others, and yourself.

Being an everyday leaders means you are actively seeking for ways to improve the well-being of others in your community. An everyday leader can be as simple as:

  • Showing more compassion and empathy to those around you
  • Joining your grandparents for dinner even though you’re busy with work
  • Calling your loved ones to remind them of how thankful you are for their support
  • Volunteering for a social cause because it will make a difference in other peoples lives
  • Leading a peaceful movement of people to actively advocate for positive change in your community

These everyday actions, make a significant difference because you are now actively participating in your community.

Three specific TED Talks that will alter your perspective on the road to peace

In the Road to Peace playlist on TED, “these speakers offer inspired ideas, practical advice and real-world examples from around the globe of how it just might be attainable.”

Jody Williams, Nobel Peace Prize Winner in 1997 for her work toward the banning and clearing of anti-personnel mines advocates for society to have a more realistic vision of world peace. The talk focuses on rethinking world peace to human security, and enabling people to live dignified lives.

Scilia Elworthy a three-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee and founder of Oxford Research Group that seeks to develop effective dialogue between nuclear weapons policy-makers worldwide and their critics, talks about how to deal with extreme violence without using force in return. Exploring the themes of how to overcome bullies ranging from countries to individuals without any violence in return

Julia Bacha a filmmaker who produced Budhrus discusses the power of attention, and how we often media and audiences pay attention to the violence, but not the non-violent leaders and peacemakers of the Middle East region that may very well bring peace to the region. Bacha advocates for us to pay attention to nonviolence.

AIESEC Youth Leaders

Progress will come, when all of humanity is awakened, moved to take action and not idly sit by to wait for change.

Young people around the world need to strive to become an everyday leaders and make positive change happen by taking actions that improve the lives of others.

How will you get involved in the global community and create positive change?

Submit and share your everyday leader story with us. Tweet us at @AIESEC or engage with me at @gdondon

 

 

9 Reasons Why You Should Be A Global Teaching Fellow | Game of Thrones Edition

What is it like to be a teacher? We have always heard people say, “Teaching is the noblest of all professions!”. Why so?

Teaching is more than just instructing what is given in texts and books. It is a process of imparting knowledge and information at the same time offering an inerasable impact through guidance and change.

What if you had the opportunity to teach? An opportunity that makes you a pioneer individual in our process of creating a new generation of young teachers to combat educational inequity is something that cannot be easily ignored.

AIESEC India is providing a rare opportunity of a completely sponsored international teaching opportunity for two fellows that enjoy teaching, and want to learn in a new environment. And while the lookout for the same is on, we are here with more reasons that illustrate why YOU should be taking up this opportunity in a classic ‘Game of Thrones’ manner.

 

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#1 It’s now or never

Now is the time you have. Instead of wasting it away falling for the belief that goodness will eventually be yours, you should aim out of the ballpark. In fact, days are numbered, obviously. If you have dreamt of being a significant change maker on this planet, then you must start now and this is something you could start with. Start young!

 

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#2 Strike a noble profession off your bucket-list

As mentioned before, teaching is a noble profession. It takes a high level of selflessness to take a responsibility such as teaching and supporting a weak learner.

 

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#3 Pick up a new skill or two

While participating in the fellowship, you will find several occasions where you will witness new processes and ways of work you were not familiar to earlier. Learn new work tips and tricks – this could be something as simple as maintaining log books or making administrative decisions. These new skills may have the potential to serve you for a lifetime.

 

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#4 Become independent

Most of the Indian youth tends to be overly dependent on their parents’ resources. Although it is seen as a matter of parental care and support, it is important to fill one’s own big shoes. A global fellowship will be a perfect chance for you to become more independent and responsible.

 

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#5 Treat yourself to travel, tastes and traditions

Most of the times, work puts a full stop to relaxing holidays and stress-buster breaks. What if the two can be combined? If the excitement of a new place, its people, history and heritage can complement a work opportunity it hosts, work will no longer be taxing. Visit new places and taste all that you have never heard of!

 

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#6 Challenge yourself

A brand new environment may not be the most comfortable surrounding to settle down in. However, it is the little challenges that gets you going. Stepping out of the comfort zone has always proved to be a forte helping one shed shyness, become self-confident and face each day in a better manner. Hence, challenges become a sandbox for learning and improvising.

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#7 Teach and learn at the same time

It is only in the profession of teaching does one come across interesting learners that end up teaching something new in their process of learning. There are different types of learners, each with abilities of various degrees. It is while spending time with a variety of unique learners that one learns new things about people as well as oneself.

 

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#8 Build an appealing curriculum vitae

Pre-métier experiences help you align yourself to the path of your dream job. They are a trial ground that enables you to get your basics right. The fellowship program will highlight the experience column in your CV, enhancing it in a suitable manner. It will project your intentions and help you make the best out of it for the future.

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#10 Discover your self-worth

A step towards something as fine as a global youth fellowship is a sign of the burning desire to walk the talk. Understand the power of the attitude you hold towards yourself. Rely upon and trust your own feelings because this opportunity will remind you of what you are truly worth.

 

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In order to overcome problems faced by and in the educational sector, there is a need for collaborative action among governments, international organizations, corporations, universities and NGOs. This calls for fostering strong leadership, creativity and purpose in young individuals.

 

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The Youth Global Fellowship Program answers the above issue and you could be one of the two fellows that can win a sponsored fellowship abroad. For more details, visit http://youthglobalfellow.aiesec.in

 

Ready to take the throne?

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Be a global leader, in the truest sense.

AIESEC at the World Conference on Youth in Sri Lanka

“We are not the leaders of tomorrow, we are the leaders of today”
– Opening remarks by Jayathma Wickramanayake, Sri Lanka’s first Youth Delegate to the UN

Last week Sri Lanka hosted the World Conference on Youth. Over 1,500 young people representing 169 different countries gathered in the capital city of Colombo for this conference which has been held all over the world every few years since 1936. The United Nations is currently in the process of drafting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the replacement for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which expire in 2015. The biggest problem with the MDGs was that there was little to no youth participation, even though youth were the ones who were responsible for carrying them out. The young people at this conference and around the world are determined to make sure their inputs are considered this time around.

The purpose of the conference was to gather youth input from all over the world to produce a joint outcome document between the government representatives in attendance and the global representation of youth, officially called the “Colombo Declaration on Youth.” This document will be taken back to the UN headquarters in New York City to be considered in the negotiations of the SDGs.

Participants came from all over the world and were fully funded by the government of Sri Lanka. Delegates included youth from marginalized backgrounds, youth leaders and experts, Sri Lankan youth delegates, national youth delegates representing 200 nations, and youth from international youth-led organizations—including AIESEC. Cassandra Ruggiero, Global VP of Public Relations for AIESEC International, and myself as the AIESEC Representative to the United Nations, who represented AIESEC at the conference. There were roughly 20 other AIESECers in attendance from Sri Lanka and the rest of the world.

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The biggest testament to the strength of the AIESEC network was that anyone you asked about AIESEC had either participated in a program or definitely knew all about it. Whether or not they were formally a part of our organisation, everyone had the mindset of an AIESECer: determined to make the world a better place through youth leadership.

Cassandra was able to step in for a missing speaker on the Globalization and Youth-led Development panel to share these values with an audience of nearly one hundred people. She was given only 5 minutes to prepare after being asked to speak on the panel, a tribute to the ability of AIESECers to adapt under pressure to any situation. After speaking on the panel, we ran a side event on “Becoming the Leader the World Needs” to help delegates reflect on their leadership journeys so that they can take the excitement of the conference back home and make an impact in their countries.

While many side events focused on presenting information on different thematic areas, AIESEC’s event stuck to a youthful vibe that allowed delegates to learn from their past experiences in leadership and start to figure out what they feel their strengths are. This was just a taste of AIESEC’s leadership development program that runs for each of their members around the world.

“By figuring out how to be the best version of yourself, you can be a better leader for the world, and have more impact in whichever path you choose.”
Cassandra Ruggiero

The Millennium Development Goals have done a lot over the last 14 years to change the world we live in, but take a moment to think about how your leadership can shape the world post-2015. There are many avenues within the United Nations to express your vision for the future, including the MyWorld Survey, but the most important thing for you to do is think about your own community/village/town/city/country/world and figure out how you can make an impact, starting today.

To read more about the outcomes of the World Conference on Youth, head to their blog

Entrepreneurship 101 with Intel

We live in times of a changing, knowledge-based economy. Leaving the industrial age behind, we entered the age of information. Nowadays, job markets require different set of skills; the so-called 21st century skills, such as critical thinking, collaboration, problem solving, team work and many more. The concepts of “intrapreneurship” and “entrepreneurship” have become highly appreciated. But even though the world has changed, education has not followed. There is a huge gap between the knowledge and skills formal education provides and the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in today’s business world.

Intel wants to follow up on the change.

Michał Dżoga, Head of Corporate Affairs (CEE Region) says, “At Intel, we believe that everything we do should matter to society.” That is why at the Europe Youth to Business Forum, Intel ran a workshop with 100 young leaders about the importance of entrepreneurship, start-ups and innovation.

Hard data proves that the entrepreneurship culture in Europe is weaker than anywhere else. This could be associated with the difference in perception the USA and Europe have regarding the outlook on failure when starting your own company. In the USA, failure is accepted as part of the natural process of learning and growing. Most of what you learn as an entrepreneur is by trial and error. In Europe however, people tend to be too cautious in their desire not to fail, which prevents them from taking healthy risks necessary for the success of their company.

Michał Dżoga asked the delegates at the workshop a powerful question – How often do students start a company straight after college and succeed without previous experience?

It happens all the time!

When starting up, it is important to remember that you don’t have to have absolutely everything in the beginning, because that’s very hard to achieve. The idea is to start and constantly add to what you have. As Michał said “There are more interesting ideas than good companies on the market.“

Another tip to keep in mind about entrepreneurship is that idea is small part of the investment; implementation is everything. In a science project, an idea is worth a lot. But since globalisation influences start-ups, someone else may be doing your project already. That’s why it is important to start as early as possible, with good mentoring and guidance.

At Europe Y2B Forum, Michał Dżoga also revealed the secret of Intel’s success “We really believe in what we are doing. People who were there in the beginning are still with the company. What Intel is most proud of is Moore’s law, named after its co-founder Gordon Moore, which states that the number of transistors on a chip will double approximately every two years. The company uses this as a guiding principle for growth and advancement. Intel has the legacy to foster innovation and leadership, which are embedded in the DNA of the company.“

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As part of this legacy, Intel is organising the Intel Business Challenge, an event which brings together the best engineers and scientists from around the world to present how they plan to make the world a better place through innovations and entrepreneurial skills! But the Intel Business Challenge is not only about the competition, but more about the platform that will help you fine tune your idea and gain mentorship and guidance from entrepreneurs all over the world.

Find out more at intelchallenge.eu. Apply, become an entrepreneur and make the world a better place!