Embracing Diversity

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An estimated 100 billion people have been born since the dawn of time. These people

have had different appearances, come from different countries and territories, have

been brought up with different mindsets and have spoken different languages. They

have eaten different food, have had different lifestyles and have belonged to

different generations.

The only sure trait that every single person has had in common is that they were all

unequivocally unique and different.

This is what we call diversity.

 

Embracing Diversity

More and more, we see an emphasis on “accepting and embracing diversity” in both

our professional and personal lives. Socially and politically, there is a huge focus on

eliminating discrimination of any kind and equalizing the treatment of every

individual.

To some, embracing diversity exists only on a surface level. Tolerating and accepting a

different culture, different lifestyle or a different way of thinking is just that –

tolerance. This is by no means negative, but embracing takes much more effort and

much more understanding, and the benefits are much greater as well.

 

Let’s take a deep dive

Every person you have ever walked past, spoken to, befriended or ignored – they have

had a lifetime of experiences that shaped them into who they are today.

Instead of generalising, accepting and tolerating a group of people, assess a person

and interact with them on an individual basis. Ignore the labels that are placed on an

individual (nationality, religion, age, gender) and purely look at the experiences that

have shaped him/her. Understand and appreciate how these different experiences

and upbringings add on to their character.

Put yourself in their shoes and make a connection to their experiences. You don’t

have to love every single difference – just understand and appreciate them.

That is embracing diversity.

 

The Benefits

When we acknowledge these differences, embrace them, and respect them, we can

accomplish what we never thought was possible. We can join ideas together, birthing

from different environments, mindsets and perspectives. We can forge more efficient

teams combining a variety of strengths and experiences. We can be surprised with the

connections we make to a person who is different than us.

Most of all, we appreciate a person so much more after embracing their diversity and

what makes them different – their trials and tribulations. Everyone is different – no

two lives are the same. Sympathize, emphasize and appreciate differences.

 

Putting it into Action

All it takes to be understanding is to start a conversation.

In the next 2 weeks, more than 800 delegates from over 118 countries and territories

will gather in India at AIESEC’s International Congress 2015. We invite you to join us

virtually through our live stream and enjoy conversing with young people from all

over the world.

Rediscovering Humanity in Myanmar

Giancarlo

Yangon, 12 o’ clock. A 7-9 year-old girl wanders on the street selling some sort of dried vegetables. She carries them, together with several other bags of all sizes containing more products and the small amounts of money she already collected, on a long metal bar that she holds on her right shoulder. The bar seems heavy, even if well balanced on her tiny shoulders, but her eyes are the chilled and happy eyes that all children with no big worries have – even if to our eyes she would have the right worry for so many things.

As she walks, she passes by an old woman, made heavier by her age, by her blindness, by an injured ankle. The woman sits on the floor, in the dirt, with a whole different energy coming out of her pale eyes. She is begging.

Then, Magic.

The young girl gets closer to the woman, tells her something, drops her metal bar on the floor and starts helping her to stand up. Two more women and a kid join her in the effort. The old woman suffers, but manages to stand. The girl gets back the bar on her shoulder and stands in front of the lady, grabs her hand, puts it on her left shoulder, and gets back to sell her veggies. The heavy bar on her right shoulder, the heavy hand on her left shoulder.

She has to walk a bit more slowly now, but that seems fine to her. A woman gets close to them and gives her an umbrella as a gift – it is about to rain, as always. A boy buys the veggies. Another boy gives her a bag with some food. Another woman gives her some money. The old lady gets it, and I get it as well: the young lady will share her daily harvest with her. Gratitude is tangible on her foggy face, and the entire neighborhood is joining this scene of humanity, two generations in one body, together in front of the challenges of life.

Humanity: the same humanity that spreads, in these days, thousands of young people collecting offers and aid for the victims of the floods hitting the country in the past week. The same humanity that stopped the loud music in the middle of a club party yesterday night, to have the whole club’s staff collecting offers as well. A humanity that fills this country where people have no surnames: some say because life is too hard and ephemeral to be attached to any sorts of legacy or heritage, I like to think it’s because in Myanmar it does not matter “whom you belong to”, you will always be a man and a brother, and we will share the good and the bad of this life in the best possible way.

Help us to #UpgradeYourWorld

AIESEC is thrilled to take part in #UpgradeYourWorld initiative Microsoft has launched in order to find its 10th Global Nonprofit Partner!

From July 29th until August 23rd, people around the world will vote for their favorite non-profits, which are making the world a better place. The winner, chosen by the public vote, will become the 10th global nonprofit partner of Microsoft and win $500,000, technology and support from Microsoft to continue to #UpgradeYourWorld.

How can I vote for AIESEC?

If AIESEC is your favorite global non-profit, share your vote on
1. Twitter: Tweet mentioning@AIESEC and hashtags #voteand #UpgradeYourWorld
2. Facebook: Visit this Facebook post from Windows.(http://on.fb.me/1JS8oFB). Comment by tagging @AIESEC #vote #UpgradeYourWorld.
3. Instagram: Post tagging @aiesecglobal and hashtags #vote and #UpgradeYourWorld

Example: I #Vote for @AIESEC to #UpgradeYourWorld. Let the youth voice be heard across the globe. Join & tweet

4. You can also vote by going to the official #UpgradeYourWorld page, adding our Twitter or Facebook handle (@AIESEC) and sharing this post on one of the two social media platforms.

Feel free to include text, photos or videos that showcase how AIESEC upgrades the world every day, how we impact communities across the world and what makes us unique. If you do this, please make sure the media meets the criteria listed above.

When should I vote?

You can vote once every day from July 29th until August 23rd.

 

Why should I vote for AIESEC?

AIESEC has been developing young leaders for more than 60 years now in more than 126 countries and territories. Through membership and global internship programs we have developed leaders we believe will help push the humanity forward; leaders who are are self-aware, world citizens, able to empower others and always strive to find solutions.

In the last five years, we mobilized more than 90 000 young people who went on volunteer internships abroad to undergo personal development journey by volunteering to tackle major global issues such as eradicating poverty, improving literacy, combating climate change, improving cultural understanding and many others.

In the past five years we also helped more than 23 000 young people find global professional paid internships in the companies of our partners. Global professional internships have not only contributed to young people developing personally and professionally, but have made then more employable and better prepared for the future.
Being the 10th Global Non-Profit Partner of Microsoft would help us scale our impact, help thousands of young people activate their leadership potential and bring us a step closer to our organization’s mission and vision – Peace and Fulfillment of Humankind’s Potential.

Thank you so much for choosing to vote for us!
For any additional information, please visit http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/upgradeyourworld