Saturday, November 29, 2014

AIESEC: Not just another “Leadership” organization

Written By: Onusha Ahmad

The word “Leadership “has become one of the most excessively used words in recent times. It is either a “Leadership” conference that you have been invited too or asked to join an organization that claims to produce future “Leaders”.

One such organization that is aiming to produce future leaders is AIESEC. AIESEC is the world’s largest student run organization with its headquarters located in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

Their motto is, “Empowering Young People for Peace and Fulfillment of Humankind's Potential”.

I sat down with the Vice President of Branding, Communication and Information Management Hussain Dewani and Sheeba Asad who leads the Social Media Team for AIESEC in Karachi as the Brand Cops met for their first portfolio meeting of the new quarter.

When asked what exactly AIESEC is, this is VP Branding and Communications had to say, “AIESEC is an international platform where an ordinary student can showcase their talent and could help the world to connect with their country. AIESEC was established back in 1948 after World War II when the students of European countries believed in the fact that the world needs peace and that it could be done when different people from around the world strive for it.”

It has been sixty six years since the inception of this organization and now this is where they stand.

“It is 2014, and we are connected to 125 countries and territories, have 100K members, more than 500K international interns, and more than 87K partner organizations. AIESEC has recently collaborated with United Nations for the Post 2015 Sustainable Development Goals Discussion”, adds Dewani.

So what really does make this organization different from all the other student run organization? Well here it is.

“When we talk about breaking the cultural barriers, we make people go out of their comfort zone and work in a diversified environment. AIESEC offers Global Internship program to students. Through these programs, Students can either work on a Social Project abroad or at a Corporate Company abroad. AIESEC also provide unlimited leadership opportunities to its members and welcomes new ideas to be implemented. So far, more than 70% of AIESEC Alumnus has taken leadership opportunities in their community according to our recent survey’, says Dewani.

“AIESEC gives you the chance to work in an environment which gives you an ample scope of growth along with leadership opportunities, pushing forth the 'leader' in you. In addition to that, it sends people on exchange and has interns from abroad coming in for local projects, giving you a 'Global' edge. Therefore, it can be concluded that it makes you a 'Global Leader'”, adds Sheeba.

But how exactly does this international student run organization compete with other societies present in university? Well this is how they do it.

“A lot of student organizations work but not many of them have a clear vision. Not many of them strive to create better leaders, neither are they are concerned about the voices of our youth. AIESEC stands out from them in a much brilliant way and provides life changing experiences to its stakeholders.” says Dewani. Also students experience cultural diversity and a corporate exposure. When we talk about going Global, we collaborate with a lot of companies who support our cause which eventually gives a chance to those who are connected with us to be globally known.”

“Also university societies cannot provide its stakeholders with an opportunity which is aligned to their career goals, they do not work globally, and not many of them have 100,000 members connected with them. AIESEC is different from them in terms of numbers, purpose and vision. We do not plan to compete with them because we have a different purpose from any of the university society”, adds Sheeba.

When asked what sort of projects AIESEC Pakistan usually did and what they helped with, this is what Dewani had to say.

“In Pakistan, we mostly facilitate projects related to Culture, Women Empowerment, Environment sustainability and Education. Our projects create a global impact by changing the perspective of our international interns. They then realize how different Pakistan is and what they witness over media is not completely correct.”

“Social Media is a great tool to create awareness about AIESEC. AIESEC is the largest youth based organization in the world and the majority of people using social media fall in the same age bracket as AIESECer’s. Hence, users of social media are the target market for AIESEC as an entity. It can be effectively used to create a positive image about the organization”, says social media leader Sheeba Asad.

When asked about the plan for this organization, Hussain Dewani had this to say, “I plan to achieve the Global recognition of our country. Pakistan is known for Bombs, Drones, Taliban, Disasters, etc. I want people to look up to us and say that the great people like Prof. Abdus Salam, Malala, Samina Baig and more are from Pakistan. I want our country to be recognized in United Nations Peace Summit, I want the youth of our nation to rise and strive for something meaningful and this can all be done with AIESEC's platform”.

Right now AIESEC is busy with their next big camping called Youth Speak. When asked what this movement all about was, Sheeba Asad had this to say, “Youth Speak is basically a youth based survey that gives young people an opportunity to voice their concerns, opinions and ideas on social issues, be it on a local or global level”.

With this new initiative AIESEC aims at voicing the concerns of the youth.

With leader like  Bill Clinton, former president of United States, Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of United Nations & Peter Wuffli, former CEO of UBS. There are a lot of more leaders AIESEC has been creating and they are already giving their contribution to make their society much better place.

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