Not until the end of last year did I personally have any idea what AIESEC is and more importantly the direct impact that it would on my life. The word AIESEC is the French acronym “Association Internationale des Étudiants en sciences Économiques et Commerciales” which, translated into English means International Association of Students in Economic and Commercial Sciences. Despite this very specific name -that was formed at its conception- all the 90,000 current members now come from all areas of study at the college level. AIESEC is basically a youth run organization that promotes leadership as well the exchange of life experiences literally across the globe. This is done with their primary product of exchange where university students travel to different parts of the world either as interns or volunteers and (for lack of a better word) gain experience. What makes this specific exchange program different is that it is all student run! University students are the ones that call the different companies or social programs in need and arrange and negotiate for the different internships, as well as process visa’s, arrange housing for the incoming student etc. As an African university student I encourage all of you to join and contribute to the AIESEC philosophy!
AIESEC in Tanzania is relatively young compared to its global counterpart (over 50 years old!) but they have made remarkable growth over the last few years. This March they held their annual National Meeting, comprising of all AIESEC entities in the respective 7 Universities across Tanzania. The main aim was to elect the leaders for the next term and to reinforce the AIESEC ideals in all the members.
Day 1 – Opening Ceremony
On the 19th of March 2014 delegates of the Achievers conference had the colorful, cultural wild, exhilarating opening ceremony.
Externals from AIESEC Alumni, Tigo Tanzania, Lake Victoria Environmental Communications, as well as a parent graced the event with their honorary presence. “What you do today will determine your destiny tomorrow,” was the main theme of the event. For me, this sums up the whole concept of Achievers. If you are not willing to put in the work today there is no way that you would be able to be successful tomorrow. The externals continued to give delegates motivating and moving words of wisdom; from the importance of prioritizing to conquering the fear of failure. Speaking to some of the delegates after, no one was left feeling uninspired.
Additionally to keep the delegates lively and entertained were the famous AIESEC role calls and the cultural performances. Saying that it was all very “spectacular” would be putting it lightly.
Day 2 – Elections
The official theme of Achievers 2014 is “do more, achieve more.” So why does this matter? And more importantly, why is this relevant today in Tanzania and Africa as a whole? As Africans we are so quick to shout out who we are, while forgetting what defines us. On the surface this may not seem to be much of a difference between the two but once you think about it they are not the same as all. As a result of attending the conference I am now a firm believer that what you achieve defines you, it’s that simple.
Continuing with that theme AIESEC Tanzania had their annual elections. “There is no greater honour then having your peers chose you to lead them,” words coming from one of the applicants that asked not to be named. Hearing this put it in perspective for me, it showed me just how serious these youth were about the whole thing. With a rigourous application process made up of introductions speeches, presenting your manifesto’s, in addition to the final motivation speech the applicants had their work cut out for them. AIESEC is a youth international organization so besides their fellow Tanzanian AIESECers, the applicants also had international representation in the form of Kenya and Nigeria.
We as Inspire Afrika would like to congratulate all the elected members on their win. We cannot wait to see what 2014/2015 holds for AIESEC Tanzania!!!
Day 3 – Managing Your Brand
With the help of PWC and Standard Charted the AIESECers were challenged to know, love and breathe the AIESEC brand. The whole concept is born on the back of the fact that once an AIESECerm always an AIESECer, this wouldn’t be possible if the members don’t own and understand the brand and ideals. Thiswas done by a representative from PWC and one of the facilitators who took the members through the ‘brand’ concept. The best way to do this would be to analyze the logos of AIESEC and PWC because the logo of a respective company is its biggest representation.
In the afternoon session the delegates had to put what they had learnt in the morning into practice. The sale simulation was very exhilarating as the delegates had to pretend to sell the AIESEC brand to the Standard Charted; as they would have to in real life situations in order to arrange for internship programs. As the delegates were divided into their respective universities as teams competition levels were high, everybody was in it to win it. This of course made the whole exercise even more efficient and I’m sure that all the delegates took something from the day in general.
Day 4 – Youth to Business Forum
I can shamelessly say that going into this conference this was all that I was waiting for, in my opinion this is what I was looking forward to. It gave the delegates the opportunity to have interactive sessions with the experts. Do you realize how rare this is for university students? In today’s modern world where who you know is more valuable than what you know, meeting these company representatives and having the chance to form relationships with them should not be taken lightly! Theoretically it should be about more than networking, the focus should be about learning as much as your brain can retain. This was made possible by a panel discussion focused on curbing youth unemployment which was the theme of the Forum. The panel consisted of representatives from partners of AIESEC drawn from all sectors of business in Tanzania.
Finally the delegates were divided into three different workshops according to personal interest and passion. These were;
- · Lake Victoria Environmental Project (Facilitators) – Environmental Issues
- · AIESEC Lead Committee – Globalization
- · Sahara Records – Business Integration
Talking to the delegates after comments included “Youth to Business has changed my life,” “I now know how to make a contribution to the conservation of Lake Victoria,” which is only the tip of the iceberg.
All in all the event which doubled as the closing ceremony was a big success. Delegates of Achievers 2014 you now have the inspiration to get out there and DO MORE, in order to ACHIEVE MORE!!