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Why we’re all right and wrong

We have all had experiences of arguments where we feel like we’re talking to a wall. No matter how you phrase it, the other person just seems to be incapable of understanding what you’re saying. At some point you might as well just give up because it feels like there’s no point. Or maybe you get so frustrated and angry that the whole thing escalates into a fight. In the end, probably both of you have left the conversation convinced that the other person is a complete idiot with no understanding of how the world works.

When discussing topics that divide people, we usually focus on what is right or wrong or what is true or false. Because we look at things from different perspectives, two people disagreeing can both be right at the same time. To a fish, a swimming duck looks like a pair of paddling feet, whereas a fox only sees the part of duck that is on the surface. Or a meal. Yet both see the same duck.

 

Trying too see things from a different perspective can be hard…

 

Unlike fish and foxes, people have the ability to exchange ideas in a conversation. And more importantly, people are able to engage in dialogue. A dialogue is not just about two people expressing their thoughts or opinions about a certain topic, It’s about trying to understand the way other people see and experience the world, their perspective.

 

You can’t make someone understand an idea from your own perspective. To be able to make someone understand your opinion, you need to be able to explain why you see it in that light, and also to understand how the other person might feel differently. So it doesn’t really matter who’s wrong or who’s right, that is what people usually focus on, it’s about understanding why and how the other person sees things differently.

 

… but it pays off.

 

There are many things that give us a perspective, and one of the most powerful perspectives we have is given to us by our culture. If you grow up in a country where it’s not customary for women to be part of the working life, it can be hard to understand why that should be the case. If you grow up in a secular society, it can be hard to understand the role spirituality can play in people’s lives. The more our experiences differ, the more different are our perspectives, and the more difficult it becomes to understand one another. It takes will to be able to do that.

 

When having conversations with people from different cultural backgrounds, the differences of our experiences become obvious, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to understand each other. People often see changing your mind as a bad thing. But in fact it can be good, as new ideas emerge when people aren’t afraid to open up and trust each other in a conversation.

 

In addition to having arguments with idiots, we’ve all had long, late night conversations with friends that stretch into the morning. Contemplating on life and the world, both of you walk out of the conversation with the feeling that you’ve learnt something new. You’ve deepened your understanding about things, and perhaps see things in a different light than before. This is what a fruitful dialogue is. So even though it’s not easy, don’t be afraid to have those late night conversations with people who might see things differently than you do. With or without a glass of wine, depending on your perspective.

Still relevant.

For the past 2 days, countries in Europe have been celebrating Victory Day, the day that the Second World War ended in Europe. The United Nations declared the 8th and 9th of May as the Time of Remembrance and Reconciliation for Those Who Lost Their Lives during the Second World War. It draws attention to what was the most important outcome of the war. That is not which countries were on the winning side, but what was the price to pay for the war. It is estimated that over 50 million people died because of the war, both civilians and soldiers. Many countries lost a significant portion of their population, and perhaps the most shocking event of the 20th century, the Holocaust, took place. The scale and the brutality make the second world war the deadliest conflict in all of human history.

 

 

And for the hope that that record will never be broken, AIESEC was founded. It can be hard to relate to how people felt in the years following the war. There was a relief that the killing had ended, but there must have been a sense of disappointment in humanity. The Nuclear bombs developed and used during the war showed how efficient the human mind is with coming up with ways to obliterate one another.

 

A group of young people came to the conclusion that the key to preventing a war like that ever happening again was cross-cultural understanding. Zealous nationalism had created an atmosphere of hatred before the war.  By developing leadership among the youth we would prevent this from happening. They founded AIESEC, an organization striving to achieve peace and fulfillment of humankind’s potential.

 

 

Unfortunately conflicts haven’t ended, but nothing in the scale of the second world war has happened since. As time passes, there aren’t so many people left anymore who actually remember the war, reminding us how it was. History is bound to repeat itself, and that’s exactly why it’s important to carry on the legacy. The economic stagnation has weakened the belief in future for many, and now we’re hearing voices reminiscent of those before the war, looking for “the other” to blame. And this is not just in Europe, but all around the world. Although AIESEC was founded in Europe, it has grown into a truly global organization being represented in more than 120 countries and territories. AIESEC aims  to engage young people all around the world and to challenge them. Increasing cross-cultural understanding is still relevant, and this is why AIESEC keeps working on developing leadership in youth through providing cross-cultural experiences. This is the AIESEC way. AIESEC is still relevant, but aren’t we all responsible for achieving peace? We place our confidence in youth, yet leadership must always be taken up by the individual. It is a quality that can be developed in anyone.

 

 

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.

Hunger is not over.

I sat at the restaurant, completely full and not entirely sure if I wanted to continue trying to swallow the last piece of garlic bread or just leave it on the plate for the waiter to take away. Somehow, I didn’t think that I could have asked for a smaller portion or what I had not eaten would end up in the garbage.

Two days later, this is what I see in the news: “Somalia’s Prime Minister, Hassan Ali Haire, says 110 people have died from hunger in a single region in the past 48 hours amid a severe drought.”

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Almost immediately, all the wrong choices I made come to my mind. How much have I wasted throughout my entire life? How can I be so self-centred that I never stopped to think that the piece of bread that I did not finish could have fed someone who has been starving for weeks?

Truth be told, I was naïve enough to think that hunger was not a world issue anymore. With many things happening in the world, with many conflicts around us, I stopped thinking that hunger has taken as many lives as any other gun has. As soon as reality hit me, I knew that we needed to raise awareness on this issue once again. We need to remind ourselves that hunger is not over.

Hunger is still haunting people, taking their lives away.

 

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Last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that Somalia was at risk of its third famine in 25 years. The last one, in 2011, killed almost 260,000 people. Right now, close to one million people are in need of emergency food assistance. An additional two million people are struggling to meet their basic food needs and risk falling into a food security and nutrition crisis if they don’t receive sustained humanitarian assistance.

Do you know what is like to die from hunger?

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According to the British Medical Journal, it’s when a lack of food has led to an 18 percent loss of weight, the body starts undergoing physiological disturbances. The body metabolism gets increasingly dysfunctional, affecting the brain and other vital organs. At that point, therapeutic feeding treatment is necessary to save their lives, as the body has lost the ability to process normal foods. When people have insufficient food over several weeks, it leads to organ failure and eventually death.

Also, did you know that young people make up 42 percent of the population in Somalia?

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What we are achieving for 2030 is to end hunger and ensure access by all people, in particular the poor and people in vulnerable situations, including infants, to safe, nutritious and sufficient food all year round.

However, ask yourself how are we, humans, contributing to this target?

Somalia is not the only country living this reality; let’s not ignore what still claims the lives of many people every day. Our world needs us to work together against the evil that threatens to take control. Do something.

Leave no one behind.

How Teaching Vietnamese Children English Impacted Me

Tay Ninh is a small, provincial city that borders Cambodia and Vietnam. It is a gentle and slow city with people who have an affinity for shrimp salt and rice paper.

When I first came to Tay Ninh, I didn’t know what kind of impact I would be making. But I soon quickly realized how much four young foreigners with little fluency in Vietnamese could do to a little community.



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My AIESEC exchange in Vietnam pushed me from becoming a curious, stray traveler to an English school teacher, helping 40 kids learn and giving them the opportunity to discover about other cultures. What I hadn’t realized was how much I learnt along the way.

In Tay Ninh, I learnt how salt is formed, how rice paper is made and how chopsticks are put together. I’ve learnt that kids—no matter their background or classroom—can be naughty, and rewards with music or lollies at the end of the day remedies all. I’ve learnt the importance of an English education, particularly in rural areas where children are often thought of as working in low-income jobs on a farm or at a factory in their future, and that learning English would give them the chance to compete with students in the city, a chance for them to obtain a stable job and therefore a better future.


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There are few foreigners that visit Tay Ninh and even fewer that have the opportunity to connect with the locals of this town. And it is therefore, more difficult to find people or places to help them practice English or to help carry English conversations so that they can learn by doing. But I feel privileged to have been able to be one of those few foreigners and to have been on the other end of those conversations for the past month.


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When I think of my exchange, I think of the wide-eyed, curious children at the orphanage constantly asking me questions about Australia and airplanes and my hometown. I think of the high-schoolers and our conversations on politics, education and how they got away with doing last night’s homework. But most of all, I think of the locals I’ve connected with on a day-to-day basis, the countless lessons on how to live, placing value on the things that you have around you and never taking things for granted. I feel privileged to have indulged in the lives of the people of Tay Ninh. I will always remember fondly of my time spent here.


My name is Linh, I am from Australia and I went on exchange to Vietnam. This is my leadership story, start your own story here: http://opportunities.aiesec.org/



What do you think about Linh’s story? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

AIESEC and IE partner to enable leadership development for Millennials

Partners Dinner in Belgium

Niels Caszo – President of AIESEC International, Kim Goddard – Director of B2C IE Business School and Anna Otalora – Global Partnership Development Team of AIESEC.

Advocating Sustainable Development Goal #17 Partnerships for the goals, AIESEC has been creating strategic partnerships with organizations and companies to offer more opportunities for Millennials and its development.

That is how AIESEC and IE Business School have been working together for more than 8 years now.

The main purpose of this collaboration is to promote opportunities to develop young leaders with values for the world, so we can find engaging content delivered by both around world trends, webinars for Millennials and opportunities offer.

“IE and AIESEC have been partners now for over 8 years, both aiming to bring out the very best of the future generations.  Both firmly believe in the importance of creating sustainable excellence though celebrating all aspects of diversity and innovation. At IE, we have approximately 4.000 students from 131 countries undertaking degree programs each year. Through educating young talent in a strong values-based environment, we both aim to create entrepreneurial and responsible leaders who will in turn have a positive impact on the world through their decisions. Based on such strongly-aligned values, a partnership with AIESEC is fundamental to IE”.

Kim Goddard

Director of B2C, International Development department

IE Business School

What we have been doing?

  •  Take a look to the last Webinar we delivered together: “Technology Leadership in Times of Disruption”. 

Professor Paris de l’Etraz talked about innovation, disruption, leadership in organizations and gave some extra tips about it.

 

 

  •  Thinking about leadership development, IE offers with AIESEC  5 scholarships of 25% discount every year on the following Master programs:
  • Master in Management Master in Finance
  • LLM in International Business Law
  • Master in Market Research and Consumer Behaviour
  • Master in Architectural Management and Design
  • Master in Design for work retail and learning environments
  • Master in Visual and Digital Media
  • Master in Corporate Communication
  • Master in Business Analytics and Big Data
  • Master in International Relations Global MBA
  • Master in Customer Experience and Innovation
  • Master in Talent Development and Human Resources
  • Master in Cybersecurity
  • Master in Real Estate Development
  • Master in Global Corporate Compliance (LLM)
  • Master in Global Taxation (LLM)

Apply here for a scholarship & let’s open together the door of your future!

What is coming?

According to Youth Speak, the global millennial insight survey, 3% of the Millennials that answered selected “Housing and Urban Development as the sector that need technology the most. With this context Smart cities is the topic that will connect AIESEC and IE for the next months.

During March of this year, we will invite you to be part of our webinar hosted by the Dean of the Architecture Faculty, Martha Thorne.

Stay tuned with our social media channels to be up to date with the news, content and opportunities we are bringing with IE.

Also, take a look…

If you are considering the next steps in your career, take a look to IE´s Master programs, an offer with online, part-time or even full-time studies. Click here to know more.

A Life-Changing Volunteering Experience in Brazil

When people ask me about my exchange, there’re a thousand moments that come to my mind. But the first thing that I think of, is actually a person. Today I want to tell his story, that left a mark on mine – no doubt that forever.


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This is Emanuel’s story, one of the children with whom I worked.

I frequently noticed that Ema turned away from the rest when he was not paid attention to, and that he got deeply frustrated when a game did not work for him.

One day I asked him “What’s wrong?” in my Portuguese that was not so good back then. He said he would tell me when I was able to speak Portuguese properly. I quickly promised that I was going to make a bigger effort. He stuck a lot to me since that day.

Another day he was not able to play a game but instead of turning away like he used to, he grabbed my hand and led me to a little room in the NGO. He told me that I had learned to speak Portuguese better and that he was going to tell me his story.

He doesn’t have a father, which happens a lot here. He has eleven siblings and he confessed that his mother beat him when he messed something up. “To her, everything that I do is wrong, you know?”. He told me that one day he ran away from home for two days and his mother never realized that he was not there. So he liked a lot being with us (me and other five volunteers from around the world). He liked it when we asked him questions, when we encouraged him to participate – what he liked the most was that we looked at him. THAT WE LOOKED AT HIM!

My eyes filled up with tears. I acknowledged that I deeply admired him. He laughed and invited me to his place. I was not sure about going there because of his story and for fear of the unknown. He insisted day after day until one day I went there with him. His house was the size of a bathroom and no one – and I mean it, no one – paid attention to him. But he was standing there, holding my hand and with a smile from ear to ear. It was then that I understood – what he wanted was for me to see his reality.



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Once he showed me his belly. He had a burn of an iron. He asked me to kiss him so he would get well. I always told him that love cured, I guess he got it from there. When we were leaving, he asked me when i was going back to Argentina. I said that the following day was my last in Brazil.

“Can’t I go with you?”
“No, Ema. But you’ll always be in my heart, and I’ll be in your heart too.”
“Yeah, I know that. Cause you’re my mum!”



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Finally the not so long awaited last day arrived. Ema avoided me all day. He was mad because it was the end of my project. A couple of hours before leaving I looked for him and led him to the backyard. I told him that every time he stared at the sky and sees a tilting star, it was me thinking about him. He looked at me and said: “Every time you see a star that’s still – that are many many more- it’s me thinking about you.” This was the last time we talked. Even today Ema has no idea how much he changed me.

Going on an exchange is not about changing the world, but if the experience changes you then something in the world changes. AIESEC is as stewardesses explain, in the event of turbulence be sure to adjust your own life jacket before helping others, but never ever forget about others. I came back from Recife with much more than what I gave.

Months later I continued volunteering in AIESEC in Rosario, trying to give back something to the organization that had given me so much. During an afternoon in July, a young guy came in and straightforwardly said: “Hey! How are you? I’m Emanuel. I would like to go on exchange as a Global Volunteer next week. Is it possible? I’ve been checking some projects out and I like Giramundo very much. I’ve decided my destination as well, Recife, Brazil. What now?” I was shocked at his confidence, and I must admit, because of his name and the fact that he wanted to work in the same project in the same city I had a week later Emanuel was on his exchange in Recife, Brazil. Once there, he texted me this picture:

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“Can you imagine who did it? I was assigned you NGO! I was just introducing myself and said I was from Argentina when a little boy came running to me and hugged me. He shouted “Just like my mum Aldi” and was so full of joy. Isn’t it crazy that for him Argentina means you? He’s drawing and writing to you now and he wants to do everything in Spanish, so he got me here helping him with the language haha! Huge kiss from here! And Aldi, keep doing what you’re doing! You changed the world for this kid.”

What Ema has no clue about is that he changed my world forever.

My name is Aldana, I’m 22 and I went on exchange to Brazil to do volunteer work as part of Giramundo Project. I worked for achieving social inclusion in a NGO located in a “favela”, with kids from the third sector.

This is my leadership story, start your own story here: http://opportunities.aiesec.org/



What do you think about this amazing story? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

VOLUNTEERING AS A SOCIAL PHENOMENON

According to Wikipedia – Volunteering is generally considered an altruistic activity where an individual or group provides services for no financial gain “to benefit another person, group or organization”

How much of this definition resonates to young people? Youth nowadays is defined by the qualities that represent their place and role in social relationships. This part of society is common power, that can innovate because it doesn’t take rules as something given and is ready change and challenge them to be extraordinary. As a quote says:

“Bulb was not an evolution of a candle”

Volunteering is a way of building social relationships, developing it and finding new usage of our skills and moral foundations. By those activities we gain new knowledge, skills as well as we learn how to be support system of other individuals.

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There are 7.4 billion people on this planet and one of them is YOU! A person right now reading those words from your mobile device.

Have you ever asked yourself a question: “What if?”

I bet you have, because I have too.

If you are not willing to learn, no one can help you. If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you. If you study hard you will play in the end. You have school, you have University while others don’t have a place to study. Try taking your chance and study to be a very important person in this world and DON’T SAY I can’t.

Education is the most powerful weapon that you can use to change the world, but what kind of education are we talking about? Let’s find that out.

The world is not just a planet. It is collection of all the stories that exist on it. We are certainly made out of stories and it is our decision whether we live with just one or embrace/create others.

What does it have to do with exchange?

EVERYTHING! Once in a lifetime we get a chance to share this story, to exchange it with people surrounding you to educate each other and impact the society.

We live in a world where knowing only one story is so bad, that people become dangerous parts of society. So why don’t you tell your story, educate those who don’t have privilege to attend schools by exchanging what you have for what they can teach you in return?

We are all the time talking about importance of first step, but you already did it by reading those words, so why don’t you take the second one?

You see, with your first step, you still have one foot anchored and supported by something solid. But with the second step, you have to shift your center of gravity so that your entire body is no longer supported by anything solid.

This holds true for those of us who are considering to go on exchange. The mistake we make is to think that we will fall if we take the second step. As a human you will only fall if you never take the second step.

What will you do today to take it?

Make it a tiny step.

But make the step.

Because the step after that will become clear in that very moment.

 

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