Knock. Knock.

How do you relate to your neighbors in your culture? Is it normal to invite them to each other’s house for a cup of tea and a chat? Do you limit your interaction to a polite hello and a smile? Or do you perhaps wait in your apartment when you hear them in the corridor, just so that you wouldn’t have to talk to them?

 

Like many things that are part of your daily life that you’re used to, you can start taking your neighbors for granted. Like people, countries have neighbors. And like people, a country can have a troubling relationship with their neighbors. We humans can sometimes be quite territorial and when we think that someone is trespassing on what we consider ours. People can keep on fighting for decades, and countries can keep on fighting for centuries.

 

 

If you run out of eggs while baking, can you knock on your neighbor’s door and ask to borrow some? Or if you hear a knock on the door, is your first thought going to be about whether you remembered to lock the door properly?

 

But it takes to two to tango. Who of us wouldn’t like to live in a neighborhood where you know that you can trust the people around you for help. Trust is so easy to be lost yet it can be earned by fostering kindness – you have to give a reason for trust.

 


How well do you know your neighbors on the other side of the border? Do you help each other out or do you turn your back, do you take them for granted? Maybe it might be a good idea to go knock on that door and ask if there’s something you could do for them, something they needed help with. A world citizen would consider the world as their neighborhood. Which door will you be knocking on next? Knock Knock.

The Digital: An oblivion or awakening?

Blogpost Writer: Laura Sabrina Al Bast 

Have you noticed how social media explodes with hashtags uniting people together in times of crisis? #YesAllWomen and #BlackLivesMatter are one example. Unity and solidarity on a digital platform has become a new norm for seeking justice.

In George Friedman’s book on geopolitics, The next 100 years, he mentions how the past, civilisations were oblivious to each other, it was almost impossible for people from across the globe to connect. It wasn’t until the 15th century onward with Europe becoming the centre of the world building colonies, spreading imperialism and inducing trade that humanity stopped living a self-enclosed life.

icon-digital-mediaIndia, having been a British colony itself, suffered terrible famine in both 1770 and 1873. Yet reporting on famine was forbidden at the time as any information on food supply could have been of aid to the enemy at the time. It wasn’t until an English journalist, Ian Stephens, reported on the famine through English newspapers as opposed to the restrictions he and his colleagues found in local Indian newspapers that the world  had become aware of the famine and in turn sent aid, though extremely late. Following that example as many, scholars came to various conclusions about the media:

  • The media has a role in preventing disasters such as famine
  • The media serves as an early warning system
  • The media, as a watchdog, can pressure governments to act

And so based on the Famine of Bengal in 1943, two economists discovered that governmental action was faster and stronger in areas where there were more newspapers in comparison to areas with fewer newspapers.

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17 years into the 21st century, we have a different kind of media; digital. Anne-Marie Slaughter, CEO of think-tank ‘New America’ says that the essential fault line of the digital age is between open and closed. In elaboration, it’s the idea of openness that includes transparency of information, access to information, and constant connection. In particular, it is received through networks of social media; Facebook, instagram, youtube or twitter. Because of that, news today travels in a blink of an eye in comparison to decades ago when news often never left the country in which they occurred.

Last week, Famine was declared in South Sudan. The story was picked up by various news agencies across the world with the World Food Program and UNICEF almost instantly planning ahead to provide food, nutrition and treat children with severe malnutrition. And though there might be a long way ahead for the problem to be resolved, yet the digital media did its deed.

In AIESEC, we aim to develop world citizens of the young leaders in our network; interested in world issues and seeking to always be informed. In an era where we are criticised for spending so much time using technology and sharing stories on social media, maybe we should consider the benefit of the ongoing digital storm; Access, transparency, and connection.

 

World NGO Day: Celebrating Civic Engagement

Blogpost Writer: Laura Sabrina Al Bast

Who hasn’t seen all the social media posts endorsing the power of youth engaging in travel, volunteerism, innovation, or entrepreneurship. It’s everywhere; conferences popping up with speakers high in the tech or media industries, competitions on sustainable innovations and startups, or even grants or fellowships for young entrepreneurs. It all sounds amazing, and unfortunately exclusive to a portion of youth who’ve already broken the barriers of their comfort zone.

It must be admit, not everyone has a great idea to save the environment, report a story on a political occurrence, or even merely speak on stage in front of hundreds. But does that mean that not all youth are worth development? The truth is, youth engagement is necessary and almost obligatory to have a better future, but not all youth are presented with opportunities that often develop their hard and soft skills that eventually gives them leverage to speak up and act. It’s not that youth are uninterested, it’s that the platform presented in certain countries may not be presented in others.

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That’s where the role of the non-governmental sector in youth civic engagement becomes needed; NGOs have no specific qualification or academic standard that a young individual needs to achieve for them to be part of civil society. The NGO sector plays a crucial and central role in supporting young people in exploring their roles as political actors for example, as it lays as the connection between the state and the civil society. Whether we like it or not, our lives are connected to the policies administered by the nation-state in which we reside, and so working towards a vision of peace, eradication of violence, education, or empowerment does not mean you’re working for college-credit or volunteering hours, it means you’re exploiting your citizenship. It no longer requires a degree or high-standard qualifications to be part of the non-governmental sector, it just requires a will and continuous civic engagement.

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Research found that  “it is the lack of civic participation that leads to a community’s demise.”, what NGOs attempt to do when it comes to youth development and engagement is create a network through schools, universities, and communities to form a bond of  motivated and engaged individuals when it comes to issues that involve the betterment, development, or fostering of certain issues in respective countries.

AIESEC is proud to celebrate World NGO Day as an International Youth-run organization concerned with developing young people’s leadership potential by providing them with a platform to explore cultural civic engagement and community development opportunities with NGOs and institutions in over 120 countries around the world.

Looking for a job…or a future?

Blogpost Writer: Laura Sabrina Al Bast 

There are always going to be challenges; not the right job, indifference and lack of motivation, time. But there will always be opportunities, if we seek them properly and take enough risks to defy every single obstacle that has put the young under the epidemic of unemployment, social unrest and inequality.

The Economist described it best when it called this generation, jobless. It’s true, there are not enough jobs. Not the right kind of jobs at least. The life our parents lived had a set path, the life we live today has been moulded by technology and various waves of economic changes that having a stable career is not and won’t be an option.

Youth today are not looking for jobs, they are looking for a future. There’s a difference.

 


The Economic and Social Council Youth Forum ’17 was concluded yesterday – a platform that was provided for youth to engage in dialogue with member states and share ideas on innovation, collective action and solutions to global problems.


At this forum, a panel was held at the Digital Media Zone moderated by AIESEC Global’s president, Mr. Neils Caszco. The panel’s objective was to unravel the unique challenges of unemployment among young people and highlight the global efforts and innovations to create decent and sustainable jobs for youth.

One particular insight presented by speaker Mr. Christopher Eigeland, a UN Youth Delegate from Australia is that “it’s becoming increasingly clear that a university degree is no longer enough to often get you a job, or a job that you want.” Which is true, the world has evolved, and though great benefits it has brought forth but it has also pushed youth to exert more effort; seeking alternative education and learning mechanisms that would advance both their knowledge and grant them transferrable skills that the market looks for -skills are not taught in a classroom but sought after on-ground.

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The real question isn’t why youth are left sinking in a sea of unemployed futures, but rather how can they swim back up for a breath of opportunity. Simple; open a blog, manage a social media page, seek dialogue with policy-makers in the government, hold immense dedication and perseverance, look for your passion and most importantly, volunteer.

 The future isn’t about how much money you earn and products you consume, but rather how much change you bring forth and experience that consumes you.

Once you work towards the development of yourself and a local community foreign to your own, you realize how the path you thought should be pre-set for you is rather one you set for yourself. In a day and age like this, what we as AIESEC do and why we do it becomes not just relevant, but necessary. Our organization envisions peace and fulfilment of humankind’s potential through cross-cultural opportunities for an individual to develop key leadership skills; self-aware, solution oriented to problems that push your innovation to extremes, empowering and open to new experiences, and most importantly, a world citizen constantly interested in issues that could shape the future you seek. So yes, The Economist rightly described our generation as jobless. But what we realise today is that we may be a jobless generation, but we are not futureless.

 

Conversations, Leadership, and Youth

Blogpost Writer: Frans Astala


You know and I know, that the country is celebrating one hundred years of freedom one hundred years too soon.” – James Baldwin


These are the words James Baldwin wrote in a letter to his nephew more than half a century ago, being later published as part of his book The Fire Next Time. He was at the time, of course, referring to the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s. In the light of recent events and the racial tensions that have grown worse in the United States, the words have an eerie feel to them. If you just changed the amount of years passed would the quote still hold true?

Today is Martin Luther King Day, a day celebrated in honor one of the most iconic leaders of the 20th century.  A Baptist minister by profession, King ultimately became one of the best known frontmen of the Civil Rights movement demanding equal rights to everyone during a time when racial segregation was still the norm.

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However, the Civil Rights movement was more than only one man. How successful was it in achieving its goals? Recently the issues that gave birth to this movement have resurfaced in the public discourse, manifesting itself as a new public movement, Black Lives Matter.

In some ways you could look at the Black Lives Matter movement as a reincarnation of the Civil Rights movement. Both movements stand against the injustices of racism, both of them mobilize and unify, but also divide people. The bigger a movement grows, the more diverse it will become in thought, and the more opinions you have on what actions should be taken. Some say that today the issue has become politicised but most people agree that we should be able to talk about human rights without politics.

Even with all the ambiguity, one thing is for sure; the young generations want to see change and are ready to make it happen. The question is how to best channel all that will into something that will create impact. Everyone wants to voice their opinions but who is actually willing to sit down and listen? With the polarization we have today this is undoubtedly what the world needs.

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As a youth movement that wants to create a positive impact in the world, AIESEC is always looking for ways to address current issues through different initiatives. The YouthSpeak Forum, for example, is about providing a space for young people to discuss relevant issues in an inclusive way, bringing together many stakeholders, ranging from students to businesses, and trying to find solutions to challenging problems as one.

Times seem not to be favouring working together, but in the end change can only be brought through unity. Even if it’s hard sometimes, maybe for the sake of having a constructive conversation it is good to try to see beyond what you think a person represents, and actually listen to what they have to say. We can never know what mr. King would’ve said about what’s happening today, but his words are still relevant.


“I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.


 

 

 

2017: Here’s Four.

As the new year begins, so does a page unfold to a new chapter marking 365 pages of you and what you can do to make the best -and worst- out of this millennial age.

New-Year-Goals

  1. Typically, travel.

Be it for a week, six, or 40. Do it.

The notion of traveling abroad brings forth numerous layers to be discovered. Ibn Battuta, a medieval Moroccan traveler and scholar, said that travel leaves you speechless, and then turns you into a storyteller.

As millennials of the 21st century, the world is slowly becoming ours as a whole, where the boundaries and limitations of citizenship no longer stops us from exploring what’s beyond our territorial comfort zone.

Embark on a journey that combines adventure with volunteerism that contributes to the UN’s 2030 agenda of sustainable development, you become what we call in AIESEC, a Global Volunteer.

 

  1. Read more

I know, I know, it’s a typical suggestion often appealing to a few of us especially with the rise of the digital age, where stories go viral or are rather more interesting if they were in video form.

Knowing that millennials live in an an age where they compete to innovate, develop and grow and thus seeking purpose and meaning behind their work, reading comes as their fuel.

So for 2017, read more.

Reading books that range from classic novels, fiction and non-fiction, to political and cultural essays and management magazines, you’ll give yourself a boost in the following categories: self-discovery and self-assessment, memory improvement, smarter decisions, and most importantly less stress.

My personal recommendation:

- The Next 100 Years by George Friedman,

- A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

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  1. Participate: Your society, your government, your life.

One of the guiding principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is participation as a fundamental right. Today, movements to empower youth are bigger than ever, especially as the united nations is exerting major effort that includes the Not Too Young to Run campaign, launched by the office of UN Youth Envoy and the UNDP.

In AIESEC, we believe that we must engage young people and decision makers through cross-sector collaboration. Our youth movement is united for positive change. Through the YouthSpeak survey collecting over 160,000 responses, we are able to convert energy into action. We continuously invite youth to voice their opinion and have their voices heard, create an empowered society for positive impact, and  develop leadership through the development of their communities.

  1. Stay informed

Recent events ranging from the U.S. Elections, Brexit, attacks in Berlin and Istanbul, and the situation in Syria and Yemen amongst so many more atrocities our world faces today has brought forth an unfortunate phantom called ‘fake-news’.

As youth, driven change-makers, citizens of humanity, and most importantly the future of this earth, we have a responsibility to seek and challenge information to better understand the world that we will face every single day.

So choose your channel be it following social media feeds, downloading news apps that send you regular notifications, watching the news on TV or reading your daily local newspaper.

Journalist Rachel Shabi wrote [for Al-Jazeera] that propaganda is a part of war but that the media had been broken, unable to usefully analyze, report or inform.

Why is this important? My personal input is that, to develop leaders that are solution oriented and identify as world citizens, an important step is to stay informed. Because being interested in world issues and showing resilience in the face of challenges requires knowledge that is well-rounded and media that is well-consumed.

 

The Dangerous City

More than half the world’s population lives in cities. That’s a large number of people huddled between the shadow of skyscrapers, traffic lights, and a countless amount of everyday challenges.

Sustainable development goal #11 calls for sustainable cities and communities; the notion of making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. You see, the world population keeps growing, which leads to cities expanding, pollution rising, and a dire need for urban planning.

World Leaders have adopted the New Urban Agenda back in October at a United Nations Habitat III Conference in Ecuador. The agenda helps in the rethinking, planning, managing and living in urban cities today, pushing forward cities that are resilient and inclusive that serve as engines of prosperity and centres of cultural and social well-being.

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On that note, a variety of global projects emerged to serve the targets of SDG #11 and the New Urban Agenda, and that is to respond to the norm that Crisis is the new normal for cities in the 21st century; be it natural, economic or social.

Yet In Caracas, Venezuela, deemed a dangerous city, and named the most violent city back in January, there’s a narrative taking place that might question the effectiveness and efficiency of building resilient cities in the face of inevitable challenges. According to a researcher at the International Development Research Centre, author Roberto Briceño-León, the city has witnessed a severe weakening of the rules that govern between people and groups, and an increase use of arbitrary power.

The world is not free from calamity; economic, social, environmental or political. Global initiative to include youth in decision-making and various steps taken forward towards a proper urban plan for safer, resilient, and inclusive communities is in place.

The real question is, how can the ink on all the planning papers, transform to tangible solutions? The road to 2030 will tell.

For a louder youth movement.

Speak up louder.

Make sure every single statesman and government representative has heard you. Make sure the sweat that has trickled on your forehead as you work long hours, the bags that formed under your eyes up late at night studying for your expensive degree, or the stress of searching and re-searching for innovative ways to tackle social issues in your community are worth it. Make sure that the time and effort spent arguing to have options for your own future count.

We are the largest youth generation in history, a generation powered by purpose. The power we have as one is indestructible because we are a generation that knows what they want, and how to achieve it. But there’s one small problem, easily projected in the youth voter-turnover in this year’s U.S. Presidential elections. Youth continue to hold the lowest percentage of voter-turnover in the United States, despite being the most educated generation in American history, and the most diverse demographic. We are a generation that isn’t moved by money but by a connection to what matters.

youthImageSome of the voters believe that might have found an alternative to the systematic structure of political rule in their nation, others followed a faith they had for a candidate or another. Regardless of the result, the revolutionary road towards freedom and peace might have just gotten bumpier, but the journey is not over. Because whether we like it or not, we can make a difference.

68% of over 160,000 young individuals (and counting), who filled the YouthSpeak Survey powered by AIESEC since last year, believe that the world is going to be better by 2030, with their biggest fear haunted by the lack of humanity, wars, corruption, global warming, and lack of resources.

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Despite a majority believing that influence is strongest when exercised by the government, 21% according to the YouthSpeak survey, believe that youth-led organizations have a dominant potential as well. You can’t just hope to will change, you must act to soar.

Imagine this, more than 1.8 billion young millennials are loud enough to break through the walls of bigotry and hatred. We bath in the shimmer of diversity, we are proactive and innovative to find solutions to support sustainable development, our eyes are drenched with the kohl of a resilient ambition for a better future. We understand what it’s like to feel stripped of choice because we don’t have enough experience, are not qualified, what do we know; equating our youth with naivety.  

Dr. Adesina, President of the African Development Bank said it best:

“…it is a pivotal moment in history which requires young women and men to be actively engaged in entrepreneurship, policy making and civil society movements.”

Youth will stop at nothing, and be stopped by nothing.

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We aim to reach 1 million YouthSpeak responses by the end of 2016. Speak up louder, because you can.

Fill the Youthspeak survey today: http://aiesec.org/youthspeak/

 

Should I?

How do you make sure that when it comes to wildly important things as a representative of human race you contribute to something bigger than yourself?

Of course you make sure that your efforts are contributing to one single goal in our case it can perfectly be eradication of poverty.

Let’s think about some statistics: wealth of richest 1% equals to other 99%. To put it simply we are living in a state that has 1% of people that own the same as rest of the world combined.

Eradication of poverty does not mean that as a human race we have all the wealth simply divided for everyone in the world, but to make sure we create conditions to people that lead to equality in all senses there might be. That only can be achieved by developing every single SDG out of 17. They complement and support each other. Even one cannot exist and be improved by us not cooperating.

PEACE… Perfect condition that can be imagined.

It does not necessarily mean only avoiding a war. Peace can symbolize a world that does not have conflicts that arise from cultural, religious, or other aspects of differences in humanity. It can also symbolize being in harmony with yourself.

Should I?

What can be better than creating an ambition for ENTIRE WORLD that will unite us and convert ideas into actions? Sustainable development goals are created and planned to be achieved. And for that you need to involve in a plan the biggest youth run organization.

As youth…As millennials it is our main responsibility to take control over the wheel and lead the change.

We all think that is hard to start an action, but the only requirement that there exists is to take a first step.

Dare to believe and dare to achieve!

Why should youth care about the sustainability?

Exactly one year ago, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals. During this time the initiative Youth4GlobalGoals become one of most powerful movements towards the SDGs. The reach has crossed more than 120 countries and territories around the world.

According to the YouthSpeak Survey results, only 46% of young people know about the SDGs. However, they are the ones who will experience the consequences of implementation of the Goals the most. The level of engagement of young people in the Agenda today will directly result in the state of the world in 2030.

While majority (68%) believes the society will be in better state in 2030, young people still ask the question about who is responsible for implementing the SDGs. In reality, youth still relies on the public sector while it’s partnership between public, private sectors and civil society that will be a key to success this time.

Starting from the adoption of the SDGs, the United Nations has created The Lazy Person’s Guide to Save the World, which outlines kinds of small actions that will help to achieve the SDGs. AIESEC believes that each and every young person can play an active role in the Agenda.

Youth 4 Global Goals campaign was created to mobilise young people to take action towards the SDGs. It has a set of initiatives aimed to make people aware about the Global Goals, understand them and act:

  • Youth Speak Survey: the survey got 162,292 answers until today, engaging people across more than 120 countries. The result is the voice of Millennials giving an opinion about what SDGs they would act upon, what kind of motives and fears they have.

  • Youth Speak Forum: an event realized around the world that brings together young and senior leaders to form a space for inspiring conversations and creation of actionable ideas around global issues. In various countries governments and UN agencies have supported the event. The output taken from the Latin American version was presented in PrepCom3 in July that presents youth inputs to new Urban agenda. During the last 6 months event was run in 121 location engaging 23,500 people.

  • Youth Speak Projects: considering the insights got in the Survey, AIESEC is running the social projects around SDGs and Millennials needs. This is how a young person gets an opportunity to directly contribute to an issue he or she relates the most to, while developing the leadership potential.

Organizations like Asian Development Bank, PVBLIC Foundation and UN Habitat were the founding partners of the campaign and many more are joining the movement now.

To learn more about the Youth4GlobalGoals campaign, visit youth4globalgoals.org

Visit the website! Y4GG

Tanya Landysheva

Global Head of Public Relations

AIESEC

tanyal@ai.aiesec.org