6 Questions For Start-Up Shipitwise Marketing manager

Viktorija describes herself as 20 something years old rebel who moved to Estonia from Lithuania.  After couple of years in university she decided to leave and move to another country to see what will happen. So far she does not regret any of her decision.

We met up on an untypically warm and rainy February night in an upcoming hipster neighborhood in Tallinn. Had a cup of tea and a lively discussion about start-ups, start-up culture in Estonia and how Vik has made her way into all of this.

What do you do exactly?
I study in Estonian Business School and as well I work in Shipitwise as a marketing manager. I am a growth hacker. The start-up is very new and fresh and is in a developing stage. My goal is to make the start-up grow.

So, I must ask, why start-up?
After finishing my AIESEC experience, everything was circulation around start-ups and everything seemed very sexy about it and I did not see myself getting into a corporate world. Start-ups are very flexible, they have a different work flow then traditional companies, start-ups are very global, and as a non-Estonian speaker that environment suited me very well.
I recommend being part of a start-up because of an idea and mission, because it is different, because it is interesting, and there is a lot of room for personal growth. Start up is an experiment, and I would recommend it for a young person likes a bit of chaos. You learn everyday something new, you become stress resistant, and you become faster learner. I find people to be bit different in start-ups: They are more open minded and it seems to me that Estonian start-ups in general are more culturally diverse, more tolerant, more collaborative then other companies, which makes it very unique place where to work. I feel like if I were to sit in my office just for the whole day, I would learn a lot just by being there. So it is a place full of energy, ideas and learning and sometimes it seems like the room is about to explode because the room cannot contain all of it. But start-up is also about actions. You have the confidence to do it because you have people around who will guide you, mentor you, give advice, and you get the sense that you are not doing it on your own.

Well, is your typical work day sexy then?
Yes, it is actually. I would not say that I wake up and feel sexy, it is not about that.But every day it feels like I am doing something that is actually needed and it feels like I am learning at the same time. At the end of day I feel like I gave something that I have and took from it as well. Everyday ends with a win-win situation. It is a very sexy job.

 How has your time in AIESEC contributed to your current career?
So when I joined AIESEC 3,5 years ago I started very randomly: I was a member, a project manager, I was part of Human Resources, then I found myself being on communications team, which turned out into marketing team and at that point I knew little about marketing or communications. But I decided to put effort into it, I was learning about the topic, I studied a lot. And I discovered that I really liked it. I was drawn to it because it is not stable. The world of marketing and communications is constantly changing, you need to learn all the time and know what is happening in the field. It is like computer software that needs to be constantly updated. When I moved to Estonia, I got a position in AIESEC National Board as a Vice president of Marketing and I thought that I was going to share my knowledge, experience, working on what I know but I learned a freaking a lot during that year.

When it comes to recruiting, what do you think start-ups need?
It is hard to say start-ups in general, every start-up has their own needs, own directions, but for what I personally see is that, especially young start-ups, they need to recruit a dynamic team because in the beginning it is all about the team, and if the team cannot work together, the start-up cannot move forward. I still don’t know what magic they do in Shipitwise, but the team is insanely great. Like really.

What might Estonian start-ups look like in the near future?
I believe in the next couple of years we will probably see more virtual reality on the market, machine learning, and artificial intelligence, because this is what has become sexy right now and will attract young people.

 

Volunteering experience in Egypt

Chengcheng Feng – Egypt

Duration of project: 6 weeks

Type of exchange: voluntary work about women rights in Egypt

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Hi! My name is Chengcheng Feng, from Shanghai University of China and studying in University of Tartu as an exchange student now. I went on a volunteering to Egypt for one and half month, which is really my first experience for working as a volunteer abroad. I have a strong desire to be connected to something interesting and special about outside world, which means a significant aspect for me to learn about myself and the world deeply. Egypt is a dream place that I desired to go when I touched the history there since secondary school, especially in my undergraduate University that made me have a new sight to Africa due to an ethnography called The Nuer. That is mostly the reason why I choose the project to do a research for promoting women rights in Cairo, Egypt. Such an amazing internship gave me an unprecedented experience which meant a giant challenge for me as well at the early time in Cairo. I wanted to do my best to experience the new world and do something good for the people in need. Once arriving, I was arranged to live in a hostel with another two Chinese girls and two Brazilian girls in downtown of Cairo which was 5 kilometers far from my workplace Giza.

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There were two groups in this project . The one was about doing research which was included connecting materials about local community and the situation of Muslim women especially via fieldwork and talking with local people in some certain spots, and there were another two partners working with me in Egyptian Business Women Association of Giza. Also, I need connect much more databases from internet and write some papers for the NGO-EBWA. Above were the main tasks of mine from 11a.m. to 17p.m. on workdays (Sun-Thu).

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Another group was the part of organizing conferences in the city 6th of October where had 20 participants there. They were in charge of discussing some co-ordination topics and building web site and so on. If it was necessary, we need also go to the city 6th of October to attend some significant conferences and events.

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When I was beginning to do fieldwork here, I was made to face a first big challenge which was about the local language Arabic. In order to get them ideas and thoughts, I started learning some simple words and dialogs from my project manager and the manager of hostel and asked help from one of my work partner who was from Libya and could speak Arabic.

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Later, I did face to another problem that was about hostility and lack of understanding from my communication objects. I didn’t have any good idea to solve it, only I could do was to be more patient and participated in their events and treated them by heart. I knew it need much more time to be familiar to them, so did them.

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Besides the work, there were another  interesting and unforgettable things to share here, which were about the holiday arrangement by local aiesecers. Although there were only two days-off in each week, they still companied us to famous Pyramid, luxor, B&W desert, Alexandria harbor, Sinai and Red sea ever, which made us get more awareness of the Egyptian geographic culture and the folklore customs. It was one of the parts which left a deep impression on me. For me, it was also a good chance to find friends from throughout of the world. We lived together, worked together and enjoyed the food and scenery here, which brought us much more understanding and respect for each other and the different cultures.  

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Volunteering experience in Brazil

Richard Riispere – Brazil
Duration of project: 8 weeks

Type of exchange: voluntary work in project Gaia

Hi! I’m Richard from Estonia and I went volunteering to Brazil for 2 months. This was my second volunteering project so the reason I decided to do this again was because I felt like a learned so much and had an amazing experience on my first time that I wanted a bigger challenge for myself. I wanted to go further from home and do something I really care about and do something nice for the local community.

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So I ended up going to Brazil, São Carlos to do project Gaia, which was about discussing environmental problems in public schools and teaching them about my culture. I chose this project because I really care about the environment and I wanted to teach kids how to be more sustainable and I also wanted to gain some teaching experience. My main tasks were to give classes of 50 minutes or 1h 40 minutes at two public schools and prepare new topics to talk about every week.

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My travel to Brazil was long, about 30 hours total and at first I was thinking what ifI hate it here? What if I want to go back home it will be 11,000 km away. But I got used to the town really fast and I started to feel like its my home. It was a student town with lots of students and student events so it was rarely boring.

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When I started classes I was totally worried that the students would be bored and too noisy and I wouldn’t be able to handle it. I was teaching students from ages 12 to 17 and I had a translator. But ever since my very first lesson this fear was gone and I started to feel confident because the students are really interested in other cultures! Later I also learned tricks to keep them from sleeping because the scientific things when talking about the environment are not that exciting for them.

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The first week I just talked about Estonia, showed them some cool pictures and videos about things like sauna, the Estonian sport kiiking, and told them about what Estonia is like. The second week I talked about the environmental problems in my country, the third and fourth week I gave them tips how to be environmentally friendly and showed before and after pictures of how the environment has changed due to the problems that we have. The fifth week was the most fun at school because we organised a dynamic quiz about what we learned so far for the students with another trainee from Hong Kong who I was doing a lot of classes together with! For the sixth week we organised a workshop which was divided into two parts. The first part was where students had to make bracelets out of old clothes and flower pots out of plastic bottles. The second part was where they had the chance to write Chinese calligraphy.

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The local life in São Carlos was that there was always something to do because there were other trainees from Mexico, Hong Kong, Colombia, Ecuador, Netherlands etc. who wanted to hang out, go to parties or to lots of local events with music and dancing! There was also a cool observatory and a zoo where I would go multiple times.

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I lived with 6 students in a house that they rented and I really liked it because of the student atmosphere and it was never boring. On the weekends I would go travelling to different cities or to amazing natural places or to visit another Aiesecer’s family in the state up north. Sometimes I would stay in the town rest or in one case help my hosts with the party they were organising.    

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Finding friends wasn’t hard at all because everybody is just so friendly in Brazil and people are interested in you because you have come from a different culture. The biggest challenge was the language because not a lot of people speak English in Brazil. But I enjoyed this challenge! Because I wanted a challenge and this way I was learning a lot of the Portuguese language. I really enjoyed this experience and this challenge. I am really proud that I did this project and I feel like I impacted a lot of kids in a positive way and taught them something new and useful that they can use later in their lives to make the world a better place.

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In Brazil I tried so many different foods I have never tasted before, seen animals I didn’t know existed, everything is totally different and cool but the people here are the best but my favourite thing would be the people because they are really friendly and nice! I would suggest this program to anyone really, going abroad with AIESEC is an experience of a lifetime and the bigger the challenge the better because even though you will be teaching others, you are also growing and learning at the same time about everything around you!

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6 weeks of volunteering experience in Hungary

Kristiine Kukk – Hungary

Duration of project:  6 weeks

Type of Exchange:  Voluntary work in youth camps

See oli esimese ülikooli aasta järel, kui ma leidsin, et Eesti on minu jaoks liiga kitsas ja maailm kutsub. Leidsingi ennast siis juba juuni kuus Ungaris. Kuigi mu projekt toimus Budapestist eemal, suuruselt neljandas linnas Miskolcis, veetsin ma algul lõbusalt aega pealinnas.

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Minu jaoks oli vabatahtlikuks minemine võimalus maailma näha – seega alustasin juba Budapestis oma kultuurilist seiklust, kus täna kohalikule AIESECile elasin ma nädal aega koos kohalikega ning avastasin riiki Hong Kongi ajugeeniuse ning Somaalia poistega.

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Edasi suundudes avastasin, et mu projekt oli võrdlemisi erakordne – meil oli nimelt koos 17 vabatahtliku tervest maailmast – alustades Indoneesiast ning lõpetades Kanadaga. Olime kogu aeg ninapidi koos – oli ajaks siis hommikusöök või õhtune hambapesu – tegime kõike koos.

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Projekt seisnes selles, et korraldasime vabatahtlikega noortelaagreid. Need toimusid kahes vahetuses – kokku siis 2 korda 2 nädalat ning mõlemas korraga 30-40 noort. Kuna meil oli võimalik tutvuda ning mõjutada nii palju noori, tundsin, et sain tõesti midagi kasulikku maailmale tagasi anda.

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Laagrite vaheajal oli võimalik ka reisida, nii et sain oma elu seikluse reisides nii Montenegros kui ka Serbias, mille puhul sain kogetud nii närvikõdi kui ka erinevate kultuuride kiikse. See oli täpselt see, mida oma suvelt otsitakse, ainult mina reisin nagu kohalik.

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Pärast projekti suhtleme me endiselt vabatahtlikega koos ning oleme lubanud kõik üksteise pulmades käia. Olen käinud külas ka oma parimal sõbral Itaalias.

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Need 6 nädalat tegid kroonilisest ülemõtlejast kellegi, kes võtab elult viimast ning suhtub elusse teisiti – nagu meile meeldis öelda „halaraa“ (relax, don’t worry kreeka keeles).

Volunteering in Georgia for 6 weeks

Tarmo Tikk – Georgia

Duration of project: 6 weeks

Type of exchange:  voluntary work around Georgia and writing  blog posts about it

 

I volunteered in Georgia for 6 weeks. I was mostly in Tbilisi, but we traveled around Georgia quite a lot so I stayed in some other cities as well for a shorter period of time.

How I ended up in Georgia was pure coincidence. Firstly, I knew that there was an organization called AIESEC because couple of my friends were active there and I also knew some people who had volunteered through AIESEC as well. So I decided to volunteer and wanted to do it in a country I had never visited before. I was just looking at different projects and when I saw this Georgian one, I knew this was the right one. Just the gut feeling. Everything looked really good, it was about traveling around Georgia and writing about it. Sounded perfect to me. I had never been to Georgia, but I had heard good things about it, so I was ready to go. Also Estonians and Georgians had just made a movie together called “Tangerines” which made it even better.

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Like I said the project was about traveling around Georgia and writing blog posts about it. We visited different places and the furthest location was visiting the black sea and staying there for some days. Also every volunteer had to make 4-5 presentations about their home country on different topics like history, culture, stereotypes etc. Everything didn’t go according to the plan with the project, but in the end we took maximum out of our time in Georgia.

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I love to travel and since AIESEC provides really good ways to discover new cultures I decided to try their program. It is a really awesome way to travel and get to know the locals. You won’t feel like tourist, but rather like someone who lives there. You can get used to every day life and get the real cultural experience.

How to sum up Georgia? Georgians are friendly. There is no question about it. We ended up having drinks with random people without being almost able to talk with them. But we still ended up having a good time. Since we lived in the suburbs of Tbilisi there weren’t any foreigners besides our group so we got lot of attention. But it was always safe. You could go out at in the middle of the night and you still felt safe. Nobody was going to steal your wallet or cellphone.

Also traffic is chaotic in Georgia, but you get used to it. Taxi drivers can be crazy, but that happens a lot in southern countries.

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The most fascinating part about Tbilisi for me is that it’s so controversial. You walk in the city center and at the next moment take one street to another direction and you see the whole other side of Tbilisi. Broken houses, unclean streets and completely different architecture. And if you move to the suburbs of Tbilisi its like a whole different world out there.

What I will always remember from the project is the people I met. All the volunteers where really friendly, but I found couple of really good friends whom I still talk a lot. I met an Iranian guy, who I have already visited in Iran and a Czech guy, who I am planning to visit and also Ukrainian girl, with whom I become really close and now she is my girlfriend with whom I have a long distance relationship which I couldn’t imagine having before the project.

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Also all the parties we had and we hitchhiked from Tbilisi to Batumi which was like 400km one way and it was adventurous to say the least.

If anyone is even thinking about doing this, then JUST DO IT. There’s no question about it. It’s normal to have some fears or maybe not be sure about it or some other questions you may have, but trust me they will somehow disappear once you make the decision to go and when you have already at your chosen country, you will see that all your uncertainties that you had before the project where only in your head. I can honestly say that this project changed my life, and things that I thought never going to happen happened just because I decided to go and give it a chance.

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Discovering Croatia in 6 weeks

Richard Riispere – Croatia
Duration of project: 6 weeks

Type of exchange: voluntary work in project Discover Dalmatia

 

 

I had decided to participate in an AIESEC project by the summer of 2015. I heard about it from a friend who just went on a project the summer before, and told me about the amazing experience he got. I started to feel jealous because I didn’t want to be any worse. It took a lot of courage to finally click on the „apply“ button but after that everything went quickly and five days later I was on my way to Croatia to work as a volunteer in project Discover Dalmatia. I chose this project because there wasn’t anything really connected with my major in school but I thought I would still learn a lot by getting to know the history and culture of Croatia, develop my English skills, broaden my mind by getting to know different cultures and living outside my comfort zone.
 

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Everything went so fast when so it wasn’t even enough time to start to feel anxious. Late in the evening of my first day in the coastal city of Split I finally arrived to the apartment where I was going to stay with the rest of the 7 members of our team. Half of the team was there, including the Korean girl whose name sounded like “Hello”, so as you can imagine I was a little confused at first but we all agreed to later to call her by her last name. The other half of the team was on the city’s promenade, the Egyptian guy was going to accompany me to meet them, and we sat on the bus. The bus was really noisy, people were screaming, and at that moment I thought that this was the culture shock I was going to have. Are people going to be yelling and screaming around me for 6 weeks?! As an Estonian who isn’t really used to that kind of intense environment, I soon learned that Croatians are actually people who are really down to earth, love to drink coffee, and have a quite calm demeanour.
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The second day was the introduction seminar at the local youth club, and dividing our roles within the team. Our job as a team was to promote tourism in the region of Dalmatia by managing social media pages by posting pictures, videos and articles about local sights. One of the jobs also included writing blog posts which was going to be my main responsibility. During the project I wrote 12 blog posts about different sights and we did a lot of team work by helping each other take pictures, videos, make articles more interesting, take interviews with locals etc.
 

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Most of the project was about visiting lots of sights and studying the history and culture behind them, taking pictures, making videos and making interviews with locals. Every week we would have a plan that we would visit certain places, and have goals connected to these places to accomplish. Every day was busy with lots of traveling by bus, and on foot. We would collect materials of a location starting before noon and return home in the evening and usually spare at least one day in the week to edit pictures, videos and write posts in the youth club or at the university. One day would be a resting day where we decided to go to the local mall to watch a movie, spend a day by the sea or take trip on one of the many islands of the Adriatic Sea. Every day was very fun even though it was a challenge to live with 8 people of different cultures in one flat, but quickly everyone clicked and became best friends. It was impressive for me that my team members were so open and understanding about all their issues which is different for my other friends in Estonia.
 

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The last week of the project involved participating in Global Village which involved every member of the team to present the culture of their countries in the local mall where everyone had their own stand.
 

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The thing I will most remember about this experience is the time we took a ferry to the most distant island from mainland Croatia. Since there were six of us going there, we rented a scooter and a car because the bus lines were not good on that island. Later in the evening we saw a very beautiful sunset and slept on the beach with lots of stars in the sky since this place was far away from light pollution of the cities.

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I feel like I learned so much from this experience and that’s why I have decided to participate in another project of AIESEC to gain teaching experience. I would recommend this project to every student even though it might not be connected to many of your majors. This project develops teamwork skills, English skills and communication skills and mainly gives an opportunity to learn about the culture and history of the coastal Croatia and spread it to other people around the globe. You will make lots of life-long friends, have an international experience to add to your CV, which is a big advantage compared to other students when applying for a job. Besides Croatia is truly an amazing country with beautiful nature, culture and mountains, I was in awe since my very first day until the end of the project.
 

STARTER’15 – The first National Conference of the term 15.16

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The AIESEC conference is an event, where every single piece of our actions (membership, the power of our vision, the work, our network etc) start/continue making sense & create a massive learning experience. It is a powerful weekend full of knowledge, fun and new/old friends. The conference is an opportunity for the members to receive trainings, develop strategy, discuss issues, demonstrate leadership, learn and share about cultural differences, network &  have loads of fun.

In Estonia, in total, during the year we have 4 3-day conferences and we already have kicked off our term with the first National conference called STARTER’15.

The Theme of the Conference: The Global World (One World)

Organizer of the conference was LC Tartu and was held in Kõrveküla Põhikool.

8 facilitators from: Poland, Sweden, Spain, Portugal, Finland.

Shortly, in STARTER’15 we learned and discussed topics like:

  • The purpose of AIESEC’s existence and the unique way we achieve it.
  • What are some of the current issues happening in the world? Why does AIESEC need to exist today?
  • Announced the member roles for AIESEC in Estonia.
  • AIESEC’s unique platform to allow students to become leaders through practical experience.
  • Functional track, where the members got their basic knowledge on what they are going to do in their function.
  • AIESEC in Estonia.
  • Leadership.

We finished off the first evening with each LC, MC member, and international FACIs presenting a booth at Global Village (about their traditions) following a Movie Night themed socializing party. AIESEC in TLU created a little video to showcase what it is that we want to give to the members and to people connected to the organisation.

As mentioned, in the conferences we have lot’s of trainings and discussions, but we also have lot’s of energizers, traditions, games, coffee and snack breaks, socializing, meeting the ALUMNIs, have externals coming to share their stories and knowledge on different topics. The conference is held in English and includes lot’s of different nationalities.

And pictures say more than 1000 words.

I’d like to say that conferences really are so much fun and full of learning points and as no individual member has the same experience in AIESEC, neither is any conference the same!

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UN ECOSOC Youth Forum

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.

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Karolina Piotrowska representing the International Coordination Meeting of Youth Organisations

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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.

 

 

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25 Years Fall of the Berlin Wall – stories of AIESEC’s youth of 1989

The first thing you get to know when you hear about AIESEC is that it was established in 1948 with the aim of creating a new leaders’ generation: the generation which would avoid the Second World War’s horrors.

Years have passed, but our motto is still the same: “Peace and fulfilment of humankind’s potential

But in the 1989, the risk of a third world war loomed like never before, and the epicentre, was once again, in Berlin.

Luckily things went differently: the wall fell down and the iron curtain itself was down for good. After one of the most dreadful times in our history there has come a new chapter in the life of many people, and AIESEC was there.

10268530_10204942813432615_5368278937817466925_nStefano Boccaletti, Leonardo Cullurà and Claudia Siracusa, three generations of leaders were in Berlin of the night of November 19, 989.

A month ago I had the pleasure to meet them and to hear their stories.

Claudia started up:

“I just became an AIESEC member and I had to find an excuse to justify my getaway in the middle of semester. I told my father that I had been awarded with a journey for my scholar merits, but the lie was definitely worth it!!!”

For Stefano that would have been one of his last international meetings since he was close to the end of his term and he wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

“The night of the 9th of November, was set in my AIESECers’ agenda as an outdoor global pyjama’s party. Suddenly, someone started shouting in German, that “the wall is being demolished”. None of the Italian delegates could speak German but it didn’t take long for us to understand what was happening.”

Leonardo told us that they have managed to steal a street sign to use it as a hammer. Suddenly they saw Claudia jumping on the wall and singing it with a few Danish.

The emotion and the trembling voice while telling us the story is beyond imagination.

The year after that, Claudia has become the AIESEC Brescia’s Local Chapter President, while Leonardo was voted the President  of AIESEC in Italy. In their motivational speeches they both reminded that it is us, young people, who can change the future.

Ana Julea, AIESEC in Italy

 

See the inspiring story of AIESEC’s first Secretary General, Victor Loewenstein:

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Victor Loewenstein’s Berlin Wall Story 

The Race to Improving the World Beyond 2015

Did you know there are only 500 days left until the end of the Millennium Development Goals?

As 2015 is slowly approaching, the world is closely watching to witness the accomplishments of the 8 MDGs, set by the United Nations back in the year 2000.

So where are we now? How much did we achieve?

“The world has reduced extreme poverty by half, efforts in the fight against malaria and tuberculosis have shown results, access to an improved drinking water source became a reality for 2.3 billion people”, etc. says The Millennium Development Goals Report 2014.

Let’s take a closer look at the goals and progress reports from this video:

1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger – 700 million people have been lifted out of poverty, but 1 in 5 still live on less than 1.25 dollars per day in developing countries. And although the world has reduced extreme poverty in half, 842 million people around the world still suffer from chronic hunger.

2. Achieve universal primary education – The number of children with no access to primary school education decreased from 102 million in 2000 to 58 million in 2012. While the amount has significantly decreased, the number of out-of-school children is still alarming.

3. Reduce child mortalityUnder-5 mortality rate was reduced almost by 50%, but a lot more needs to be achieved if we want to achieve 2/3 reduction.

4. Improve maternal health – Maternal mortality ratio is down 45% since 1990. However, every day about 800 women die from causes related to pregnancy and childbirth.

5. Ensure environmental sustainability – Since 2012, 2.3 billion more have access to improved drinking water, but 748 million still use water from an unimproved source.

For more statistics, take a look at:

 

While we ought to celebrate our achievements and recognize the progress we’ve made, we shouldn’t forget how far the world is from where we want it to be. Working on these issues is not priority only now or only until 2015, but every day.

How can we contribute to this?

On August 19th 2014, 700 young people from 124 countries and territories gathered at the Global Youth to Business Forum, an event bringing together top young leaders and experts, business and thought leaders, with the aim of generating new, actionable ideas that will impact the world and its future.

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They spent the whole day discussing the topics ranging from Diversity and Inclusion, Technology and Innovation to Climate Change, Sustainability and Changing Education. Together, they have come up with action steps that could help improve each of those areas and move the world forward. Stay tuned for our report to find out about the solutions youth and business co-created together!

Don’t forget that we have only 500 days left until MDGs. At the same time, let’s not forget that impact is a daily responsibility. This is why AIESEC offers volunteer internships that help tackle social topics such as cultural understanding, education and literacy, social entrepreneurship, environment, health and lifestyle and many others. For more information, please visit: http://globalcitizen.aiesec.org

This is how we contribute to making an impact every day and helping move this world forward. Share with us:

How will you contribute to bringing the world closer to the vision of 2015? 

 

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

Where Do All of the Good Women Go?

Every morning, I sit at my desk as Global VP of Public Relations for AIESEC International to do my daily news scan. I am instantly flooded with new articles about women not being represented enough in the top leadership positions; blog posts on how women need to take every opportunity they can at work; and reports on how to encourage female Millennials because we’re facing a leadership gap.

I then take a look around me.

In my office, there are women everywhere. Out of twenty-two full time staff on the global executive team of AIESEC, eleven of them are women – three of them are at the upper management level. Around 50 percent of our 100,000 members are women. As an organisation we are rich with “up and coming” young female leaders.

Even down at our national level where we have offices in 124 countries and territories, young women are consistently represented in the highest leadership positions. “I decided to run for President of AIESEC in India because I had something to offer and I had a vision for where I wanted the organisation to go” says Ramita Vg, Global VP Product Development for AIESEC International. “I never questioned myself because I would only be the second female President. I did it because I felt responsibility for the organisation.”

So if at a younger age our women are still striving for these upper leadership positions, where do all of the good women go?

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg ignited an international conversation about women and ambition with the publication of her book Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead. Her argument that women need to overcome internal barriers in order to advance as leaders has provoked significant debate. Skeptics claim that Sandberg’s message simplifies a complex problem and ultimately blames women for not making it to the top; supporters believe she is inspiring women to aim higher in their careers and offering practical advice to help them succeed.

From looking at the way our young women advance in AIESEC, we can pinpoint to four possible reasons why they do not make it to the upper leadership roles:

1. They are satisfied enough not to apply for these positions.

It is not always a natural next step to apply for a higher position within an organisation or to seek out more responsibility in a higher labeled role. Regardless of being a male or female, if someone is feeling happy, challenged and fulfilled in a particular position, they may not have the urge to apply to a higher position. It may be that they are already happy in their current role and in the impact they are creating. Generally, when people are happy they do what they can to keep that feeling.

2. They choose to have other priorities.

Not every woman will decide to put her career first. This comes down to what the individual defines as success; as their end goal for their lives. Some will choose their education level; others will decide that attaining a certain position will determine their success. For some the salary they make and the materials they own determine their success. Some women will decide that having a family and children is their idea of success. Each woman will have their own definition of success, and this does not always coincide with taking leadership roles within an organisation. There are certain tasks and behaviors that upper level management roles will demand that are unable to be balanced with other priorities. Maybe what needs to change is the way we view leadership roles and what is needed to fulfill them? If you were to ask someone what a typical day looks like for a C-level executive, they will most likely describe it with long hours, back to back meetings and an overall demanding lifestyle. Maybe the typical life of an executive needs to be redefined so that the opportunity can be taken by more individuals than just those who strictly prioritise work.

3. They are not in the right environment.

A woman may be skilled enough to take on a leadership role, but if the environment around her does not encourage and support her to do so, it could never happen. This is down to the system and people that make up the work environment she is in. If the system is not open, progressive and does not embrace diversity it is very hard for a woman to push her way through it. If the people around her are not encouraging, and are not showing and supporting her through the path of advancement, she may never know the opportunity is open for her. Creating an environment that supports any skilled person, no matter their gender, to take on a higher position is the responsibility of the company or organisation.

4. They hold themselves back.

Do women question their abilities to take on larger roles and responsibilities? Does the male-dominated boardroom intimidate them? We can think of many questions when we look at the substantial drop in female leaders as we move up the corporate ladder. Is there a change in their ambition as they get older or are there other factors stopping them? In her books Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead and Lean In for Graduates, Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO, states that women often do not aspire to more in their careers and in their leadership journeys. Maybe it is because they don’t think about it, or they don’t believe that they could actually succeed in reaching the goals they set for themselves; as women tend to not believe enough in their capabilities. After determining that they want to be a leader, women need to lean in and take every opportunity regardless of their fear of failure.

PwC is one global company that identifies with the Lean In movement and is committed to supporting an environment that will help women to achieve their full potential. The firm believes that it will take a collaborative effort of companies, leaders and from women themselves to start to close this leadership gap. According to U.S. Chairman and Senior Partner Bob Moritz, “Leaders profoundly influence the aspirations of the people who work with them, which is why ambition requires mutual accountability. Companies have a responsibility to provide opportunities and support women as they explore career possibilities and life choices. That’s why PwC is leaning in.”

On 24 April from 4:30pm GMT, PwC will be hosting its first-ever global forum on women and leadership. The event is part of “Aspire to Lead: The PwC Women’s Leadership Series,” which includes a number of programs and workshops designed for college students who are looking to build their leadership skills.

Sheryl Sandberg will share her perspective, and answer questions on the challenges women face when transitioning from campus to career in a special live webcast. The event will be broadcast live from Facebook’s campus in California.  A replay will be available shortly after the live broadcast and translated versions of the webcast will be available the week of 5 May.

We encourage you to participate in this discussion by tuning into the live webcast or watching the replay at www.pwc.com/aspire. In addition, this webcast is open to anyone, so please share this unique opportunity with those in your personal, school and professional networks.

Maybe if we can get young women to start planning their career goals now, we have a better chance of helping them get there – and hopefully gain more good leadership that the world desperately needs.

The topic of women in leadership sparked a conversation throughout our office that we want to continue – stay tuned for more content coming in the next few weeks!

Solving Youth Unemployment in Europe

“There are 26.2 million people unemployed in the EU today – an increase of more than 9 million people from 2008. This trend has significant economic, political and social consequences for Europe. The challenge for European leaders is to solve this puzzle and to help citizens find sustainable and long-term employment opportunities.”

(www.iiea.com – The Institute of International and European Affairs)

Sustainable and long-term employment opportunities do not include just generating new job posts, but also educating and preparing youth to be ready for responsibilities these job posts bring. Nowadays Millennials complain about the lack of open job posts, while businesses argue that Gen Y lack the needed skill sets.

Who is right and who is wrong?

Rather than taking one side, let us consider the fact that there is a gap in expectation setting from both sides: what young people want from their employers vs. companies’ expectations from their employees and the type of employee they would be more likely to hire. Imagine what would happen if we aligned supply and demand – the kind of the jobs young people are looking for and developing the set of characteristics young people need to perform in their dream jobs.

What is also often disputed when talking about youth unemployment is the mindset young people born as Gen Y share – they are ambitious but not humble; they expect excellent conditions from the get go; they are not prepared to start from scratch and work up the ranks, rather demanding everything right now. How can we make sure young people understand what is needed in order to land their dream job? How can we shift the current mindset?

As often happens, challenges arise from more than one source; it is the combination of everything mentioned above. On one hand, the education young people are acquiring is leaving them unprepared to deal with today’s job market reality. They lack practical knowledge, skills and strategic thinking, which are usually not acquired through formal education. And on the other hand, employers seek young people who are ready to dedicate themselves to work, learn and advance but who nevertheless have some previous experience or at least certain set of characteristics and skills. Do we as young people know what these characteristics are? And are we developing them?

On April 7th in Warsaw, Poland, Europe Youth to Business Forum will gather all stakeholders important in solving the issue of youth unemployment – young people, educators, government and business. They will have the opportunity to discuss and generate ideas on how collaboration can lead to solving this challenge in the region.

Join us on livestream (bit.ly/EuropeY2BF) and contribute to flipping the switch on youth unemployment in Europe!

The Need for Positive and Inspiring Leadership

AIESEC and ING share the same commitment towards leadership development, because in a world advancing at an unprecedented pace, we need leadership more than ever in order to tackle the arising challenges. However, as the world is changing, leadership is evolving too – adopting new forms that correspond to the 21st century lifestyle and culture. Nowadays, individuals are not leaders per se, but because they are experts in an area there is demand for, because they know how to build a culture, impact people and start a movement.

In order to build and nurture the right culture and develop the right kind of leadership, it is important to start from the “Iceberg principle” – What is it that we value and how will we behave according to it? People perform best when they are motivated and when they work on something they genuinely believe in, guided by values and ethics established within a shared culture.

That is why ING aims to build positive, inspiring leadership from the inside out and does this by encouraging employees to really know themselves; because leadership begins with self-awareness.

ING Bank will be facilitating a workshop at Youth to Business Forum Top Leaders Edition on February 25, 2014 where Mr. Robert Scholten, Country Head for Greater China will give participants a chance to learn about the ING Orange Leadership behaviours and how they are also applicable in the day-to-day life.

Join us on our official Facebook channel www.facebook.com/GlobalY2B and watch live to find out more about the type of leadership that is developed in this international bank.

Five reasons why we need to talk about the future of leadership today

1. The turning point is approaching: post-2015 Development Agenda

The year 2015 is approaching and with it the turning point for the current Millennium Development Goals. All eyes will be on the United Nations and the post-2015 developmental agenda. It is the right time to start thinking about what the future holds beyond 2015. Leadership nowadays is culture-oriented and issue-based, striving to be not just a concept, but a socially responsible solution for the challenges the world is facing. Once we define challenges we want to tackle in the future, we can be set to shape the type of leadership young people will need to be able to solve world’s burning problems.

2. Keeping up with the swift pace of changes in the world

The world is changing at an unprecedented pace and it is necessary to have a visionary outlook in order to predict challenges and start generating possible sustainable solutions. Today’s professions did not exist 10 years ago and we probably have not yet anticipated the professions of tomorrow. However, by ensuring we are developing experts aware of the world they live in, we are one step closer to being in charge of our future, keeping up with the evolution and not falling behind.

3. Value-based leadership development among Gen Y

Technology has changed the way we perceive the world and has influenced the lifestyle of a new generation – Gen Y. It has created interconnected, intertwined society, but has also contributed to information overload, or in other words “information glut” and “data smog”.

T.S.Eliot once asked “Where is the Life we have lost in living? Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?”

Technology did not only change our lifestyle, but also a much deeper aspect of society – the one comprised of values. Since the values that guide people have shifted, we have to ensure that the values the world is built on today, will not endanger any aspect of life in the future. While it is encouraged to live in the present, shortsightedness can prove fatal, as seen by the state of the climate change today.

4. Generation Y to lead the world in the future

Representatives of Generation Y will comprise 75% of the workforce by 2030. It is crucial to understand the way they think, work and act in order to provide the right opportunity for them to develop skills they will need in the future and in order to ensure the right kind of leadership is in store for tomorrow. If provided with an interactive and informative learning platform, young people will be able to develop their potential to the fullest and use it to contribute to their society.

5. Understand. Define. ACT. (in that order)

We should define the type of leaders we want to develop in the future. The first step to developing leaders is knowing what kind of leadership we would like to see in the future. Dynamic? Collaborative? Impactful? Inclusive?

It is important to remember that leadership is not an end goal, but a solution. There are no easy fixes for the challenges we are facing. But the best way to tackle them is to invest in youth – young leaders who will one day decide about the future of our world. In order to achieve that, it is necessary we begin today.

What type of leadership would you like to see in 2030?

Join us on our official Facebook channel www.facebook.com/GlobalY2B and watch live on February 25th, as we discuss the future of leadership on Youth to Business Forum Top Leaders Edition.

AIESEC showcased for quality internships at the EU Parliament

AIESEC present at the discussion on Quality Internships at the EU Parliament

What is a good-quality internship? Should internships be unpaid? How can an intern’s contribution be valued within the company where they work?

These were some of the questions raised during the panel discussion that took place at the EU Parliament in the heart of Brussels. Hosted by the European Youth Forum and Microsoft Europe, the event aimed to share views on the topic of quality internships with European employers, European institutions and interns themselves.

With a vast amount of internships in Europe lacking learning content, payment and any quality criteria that could enable a young person to benefit professionally from their first experience in the world of work, AIESEC came as an example to follow and a strong ally of existing partners.

Sylvie Laffarge, Director at Microsoft praised the hassle saved by recruiting interns through AIESEC regarding visa issues and working permits. She coined the cooperation as “priceless”.

Also speaking at the event was an AIESEC intern, now working at JA-YE Europe and originally from AIESEC Romania: Diana Draganescu who spoke about the confidence needed as a young graduate to enter the labour market. She emphasized the need to start supporting more consistent organisations such as AIESEC to facilitate the process of young people getting internships around the world.

This was followed by several comments from the audience, mostly from youth currently interning at the EU institutions – who complained about the lack of clear rules and regulations regarding interns.

The EU is currently working on a Charter on Internships and Apprenticeships and hopes to get it signed and approved in the near future.

In the meantime, AIESEC showcased its good-case practices successfully and aims to set itself as a reliable provider of high quality interns and internships.

 

AIESEC present at round table - Jide Okusanya (MC Belgium), Dina Ismail (MC Belgium), Rachel Whitehead (AI), Laurence Dumont (global coordinator), Bettina Guirkinger (GST), Rafael Rarvalho (MC Belgium)

AIESEC present at round table – Jide Okusanya (MC Belgium), Dina Ismail (MC Belgium), Rachel Whitehead (AIESEC International), Laurence Dumont (Global Coordinator for Alcatel-Lucent), Bettina Guirkinger (Global News Team), Rafael Rarvalho (MC Belgium)

 

AIESEC finds itself surrounded by brilliant leaders at the Social Good Summit

Happy Monday everyone!

This week I have been given the fantastic opportunity by our lovely UN representatives, Tami and Eliane, to attend Mashable’s Social Good Summit at the 92Y in New York City.

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The Social Good Summit is a three-day conference where big ideas meet new media to create innovative solutions. Held during UN Week from 22-24 September, the Social Good Summit unites a dynamic community of global leaders to discuss a big idea: the power of innovative thinking and technology to solve our greatest challenges.

I started off the day in the Digital Media Lounge, where hundreds of journalists and bloggers gathered to watch the day’s events and surrounded themselves with camera equipment and gadgets. It really felt like the “blogger-sphere” for me. I have never seen anything like it!

The organisers at Mashable and the United Nations Foundation have really done a great job bringing the right profile of speakers – previous heads of state, current United Nations representatives, entrepreneurs, activists and celebrities – to speak about development, the world we live in and how we need to act to eradicate poverty.

I spent most of the day absorbing the knowledge in the room, meeting fantastic social entrepreneurs and even meeting some AIESEC alumni!

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You may recognise this amazing and approachable fellow – the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations – Jan Eliasson, whom is an AIESEC alum and supporter from AIESEC Sweden. I spoke to him after his keynote around the Human Right of Water and Sanitation for all. He remembers his AIESEC years with joy and sends his regards and support to AIESEC’s entire network.

One of the main themes of the day seemed to be around young people and development, and their push for a better world.  Some of the most high-profile speakers – from HRH Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway and Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever, to Ben Keesey of Invisible Children Inc. and Helen Clark, the administrator of the UNDP – spoke about this generations ability to speak up and act swiftly to create the change they want to see. They even brought people in who demonstrated these actions; one of the most impressive for me being Jessica O. Matthews of Unchartered Play, Inc. who created a soccer ball that when played with generates electricity.

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If there is a lesson I have learned from the first days of Social Good Summit, it’s that there are a lot of young people that are trying to take action and are doing some pretty cool things. There are also a lot of platforms – like Ryot.org and Change.org – that help young people to take action when they don’t know how. What we need to make sure happens, is that all groups – from youth and corporate to government and civil society – come together to put in all efforts for the last 900 days of the 2015 Millennium Development Goals so that whatever comes next does not seem so difficult.

Social Good Events are happening all over the world in conjunction with the Social Good Summit. AIESEC in Brazil has been supporting the creation and organization of Social Good Brazil Seminar on the 24th of September that will be available via livestream with English translation.

Check out their website for more information (www.socialgoodbrasil.org.br/2013/live) or follow the conversation on twitter by using @socialgoodbr, #socialgood and #2030NOW

The end of the IANYD and ICMYO Meetings – just the start of AIESEC’s involvement with the United Nations

Hello again everyone.

I have been quite absent over the last few days, I know. I actually have been running around from meeting to meeting to event to meeting, and it has been an amazing experience.

I have taken part in the IANYD – Inter-Agency Network for Youth Development- Meeting as well as the ICMYO – International Coordination Meeting of Youth Organizations- Meeting over the last four days. As I indicated in my last post, this is the first time AIESEC has participated actively in these types of United Nations affiliated events in a very long time, so this week has been very informative for myself and for AIESEC as an organisation.

We are much more aware of the strategic focuses of the United Nations when it comes to youth, and specifically what the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth Ahmed Alhendawi is trying to push within the United Nations. Even more importantly, we have identified points of collaboration with other youth organisations; something AIESEC has been very happy to do for a few years now.

I really believe that AIESEC now can see many more ways we can contribute to the United Nations work, and how we can continue to fight for the World We Want with other youth organisations around the world. Working with other youth groups to make sure that the youth agenda is pushed, is listened to, and is committed to by member states is how we will make it happen. Youth have spoken up, and have already started taking action – it is time for our leaders to help us make it happen.

 

Day 1 Wrap Up: How to make Youth-SWAP more actionable

Hello everyone,

Day One of the IANYD conference proved to be a long and informative one. Learning more about the Youth-SWAP, and how the United Nations wants to move forward with making sure it is implemented is quite an intense discussion.

I spent a large part of the day with one of AIESEC’s New York based representatives Eliane, and she helped bring me up to speed with the youth initiative and what AIESEC’s role could possibly be.

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There was a lot of emphasis on what the role of youth is with the UN. The Director of the United Nations Population Fund, Babatunde Osotimehin described it nicely by saying it is now the time that the UN is talking with and not talking to Youth.

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In the afternoon we split into working groups to come up with recommendations for the UN on how to take action on their commitments. I joined the working group on employment and entrepreneurship, because I thought AIESEC had a lot to contribute in that discussion.

The conversations with the people at the table were great, but for some reason they left me wanting to hear more- not necessarily more around SWAP, but more around action. As AIESECers, we are very used to having one year to make an impact; we have to move quickly, and start implementing right away or we risk doing nothing with the one year term we have. Sometimes this leads us to have the “legacy syndrome”, where we do anything to leave our mark, sometimes reinventing the wheel when we don’t have to. But overall, it teaches us that we must move fast to make an impact.

Youth-SWAP was released in 2012, and a year and a half later, it seems it is still not clear on the actions it wants it’s member states to take. If the UN really wants to make an impact in the area of Youth, which I feel it genuinely does, it needs to figure out how to work more swiftly and smart to start taking actions that improve the lives of young people now.

I will be talking a lot more with some of the other youth organisations, but also Ahmad Alhendawi, the UN Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth, whom is so passionate around making sure that the Action plan on Youth works! I hope that we can not only identify ways that we can make sure the commitments for employment and entrepreneurship are met, but also the role that AIESEC can play in these plans.

My question to you, and I hope you participate in this discussion:
If the overall goal of the employment and entrepreneurship focus area is to ensure greater opportunities for youth to secure decent work and income, what do you think the first actions need to be? And how can the UN and Youth organisations make this happen?

AIESEC goes to the Big Apple to participate in UN Youth Action Plan discussions

Hello from New York City!

As AIESEC International, we made it a priority this year to really understand the role AIESEC is playing as the largest youth-led organisation in the world with the United Nations, as well as with the Secretary-General’s focus on Youth.

In January 2012, the Secretary General laid out his five-year Action Agenda which laid out five generational imperatives to be addressed by the United Nations requiring the mobilization of all the human, financial and political resources available to the Organisation. Working with and for young people is one of these imperatives.

AIESEC is attending the Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development’s (IANYD) Open Meeting from the 18-20 of September with other Youth-led Organisations and Networks to understand the System-Wide Action Plan on Youth (Youth-SWAP), contribute to discussions on creating concrete proposals for partnerships between these organisations and the United Nations entities, and establish mechanisms for accountability and increased participation in implementing the strategies.

The UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth Ahmad Alhendawi with be participating in the week events to provide more information but to gain our ideas and support for the mandates he has taken by the United Nations for the Youth Agenda.

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I will be live-blogging from the conference to give you an update on conversations, but also to gain your insight and questions so I can share it with the group of experts that are here to listen to our ideas and concerns, and use them to improve the strategies and programmes for Youth-SWAP.

Check out some information about the System-Wide Action Plan on Youth HERE

If you have any questions or comments, you can tweet them to the conference by using the tags: @UN4Youth #openmeeting or tag @AIESEC or me @cassruggiero

I will keep updating you as the week goes!

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