Wednesday, January 4, 2012

AIESEC is Changing Our World

I am currently writing from the San Francisco International Airport after wrapping up AIESEC US's 2011 Winter National Conference. It was a hell of a week with infinite highs, a few lows, sleep deprivation, laughs, tears, and more inspirational people than a person could hope to meet in a lifetime, let alone a week.

The Delegation from AIESEC Ohio State, minus Frank

For those of you at the conference, I wanted to commemorate some of my favorite moments to perpetuate the motivation long after the conference. Please, comment and let me and the world know yours.

For those AIESECers not at the conference, this glimpse could never capture the life-changing experience. You absolutely HAVE to attend a national (or international!) conference.

And for the non-AIESECers, I hope this emulates the essence of our organization and our Mission Statement, "Peace and the fulfillment of humankind's potential," and helps you to understand why we give our all for AIESEC.

This conference was jam-packed and flew by in a blur of elections, legislation, planning, and inspiration. But what really captured everything we have poured our hearts into this week were 3 stories last night during the open mic sharing session.

The first was a girl who went on an AIESEC traineeship to Egypt last year. AIESEC in Egypt is known for their quality experiences, great reception, and many of their opportunities pay very well. Unfortunately, she arrived the day the revolution started. She was received by the AIESEC chapter that was hosting her and still experienced excellent reception. While their county was in turmoil, they befriended and supported her throughout her stay. While the rest of the worldly institutions were evacuating their citizens from Egypt including embassies and many businesses, she stood by her friends' sides as they fought for their rights and freedom. She stayed and was part of the revolution. That is AIESEC.

The second story came from a boy of Indian descent from UGA. He was born in the US, grew up in America, and brought up proud of who he was and what he believed in. Unfortunately, in this land of religious freedom and civil rights, he was harassed all through school for being different. He was made to believe that he didn't fit in because of who he was. He then went and spent a year in India. Even after learning two of their languages and being among people similar to him, he was not accepted. They refered to him as foreigner, someone who was not like them and, in many ways, not accepted. After 2001, he was profiled and mistaken for Muslim, Middle Eastern, etc. He was losing faith in people because of their ignorance and intolerance and losing confidence in himself to find his place. Then, at a university involvement fair, he found AIESEC and people who not only accepted him as is but celebrated who he was. Because of AIESECers, and what we work toward, his faith in himself and in mankind was renewed. Let's face it, at this point there were few dry eyes in the room. THAT is AIESEC.

The final story I would like to share is that of a military vet who completed 3 tours in the Middle East, including Afghanistan. During the conference he celebrated one year of being out of the service. He shared that when he returned to school he joined AIESEC because it was an organization that worked toward cultural understanding and peace with the objective of avoiding exactly what lead to his tours overseas. Over his short AIESEC experience thus far, he has become even more dedicated to what we work for because he sees the results and that it is working. His best moment happened on the first night of the conference, when he sat down with an international delegate from AIESEC Afghanistan and they reminisced about the beauty of the country, the culture, the people, and of course, the food. He thanked us all for working toward this greater good because AIESEC has been one of the only things to help him heal and on a larger scale, we are working to heal the world. THAT IS AIESEC.

For those reading, I hope these stories inspire you to change the world for the better the same way it is inspiring 400 delegates who have just dispersed from San Francisco. They have been unleashed to take the world by storm with personal and professional development, exchange and cultural understanding.

AIESECers, Every exchange is the opportunity to change a life, to change their world-view and to change the world.  
Go Change the World!


  1. Good stories Lauren, those are my favorite stories too. Have fun in your TN, see you soon!
    P.S. I am going to create a blog soon, will let you know :)

  2. Actually crying and smiling right now. THAT is AIESEC.

  3. SMH!!! Thank you for sharing, I am so happy to hear that you are fine and that everything turned out okay. This Blog will help me and many others! Your experiences will be engraved in your heart and memories for a long time but now you can be for sure that you have every little aspect of your adventures documented! Fun and funny for us all!
    Below are some of the crazy things you just shared! I can't even imagine but at the same time, you had me ROTFL as if you were telling me in person. Thanks for the vivid and elaborate explanations, lol

    Try to make a long drive home last minute the day before you leave on a Friday the 13th to pack, organize you life, be with family. If you try... you will get hit by a snow storm and slide off the road into a ditch. Ok, you probably won't, but I did. Thanks goes out to a good Samaritan firefighter who pulled me out of a giant ditch with his truck. *sighs in envy of 4-wheel drive*
    Have your drunk uncles help you pack. They have to know a girl can't pack for two months in 20 minutes, even if bribed.
    Get 2 hours of sleep both nights leading up to your departure. Whoopsie :)

  4. Woah...O.O I didn't think it was possible to become any more inspired by AIESEC than I already am, but apparently it is! Hi, Lauren, I'm a new member of AIESEC Ohio State, so that's how I heard about your blog. I hope that when you get back, you'll share plenty of stories with us newbies! ^^