62nd AIESEC International Congress
Global Youth to Business Forum
Date: August 26th, 2010
Venue: Indian School of Business in Hyderabad, India
Topic: 600 Student leaders from 110 countries gather at the 62nd AIESEC International Congress. They plan to do things differently.
Mediapartner: The Future Leadership Institute *
(*Between 2007 and 2011 the Institute temporarily carried the name ‘The Wall Street Journal Future Leadership Institute’)
The Future of Leadership
Spend a day with the youth leaders of AIESEC—an organization with 45,000 young leaders from 110 countries and territories, and you realise that we are on the eve of one of the greatest revolutions in management history.
The energy and vision of our young entrepreneurs tells us that the business of the future is going to be different. “There are factories being designed, completely solar powered, that give back more clean energy to the world than they use” said Brodie Boland an AIESEC alumni and now PhD candidate at Case Western Reserve University, “and through new business at the bottom of the pyramid we are learning how to eradicate poverty through profitability.” Indeed, when you listen carefully to AIESEC’s young leaders describing their visions – ways to harness the best in business to conquer the digital divide, usher in a bright green economy, and create dignified economic empowerment – you realise that we are entering into an era of innovation that erases the choice between doing good and doing well.
When you go to your first AIESEC global meeting, three things immediately strike you. The first is the astonishing energy and positivity of the young leaders, not the negativity of hopelessness but the optimism of people who know how to lead and rally others to a better future. Second, you see a model of a worldwide learning community that values diversity and knows how to see the global world through a wide-angle lens. Thirdly, you see people who know how to make each other successful. One partner attending the AIESEC conference and sharing his story of leadership said: “If I would have joined AIESEC as a student my success would have come faster.” How could it be otherwise? AIESEC might well be the largest youth leadership resource in the world; it has an estimated network of 800,000 alumni globally.
In the following pages you will sense the optimism and energy and hear the views of our future business and society leaders. The comments, stories and views of the future are from the most recent AIESEC International Congress in India and its Global Youth to Business Forum (Y2B), where 600 young leaders from 110 countries and territories gathered to talk about Harnessing Youth Innovation, Labour Mobility and Diversity and Sustainability and Responsible Corporate Behaviours.
For any business leader that wants to know what our young leaders are thinking about, paying attention to, or are passionate about, this special report in The Wall Street Journal Europe will be important for you.
by David L. Cooperrider, PhD
The Helicopter View
Hugo Pereira on the highlights of this year’s AIESEC International Congress.
On August 26th, 2010, the 62nd AIESEC International Congress hosted its Global Youth to Business Forum for over 600 delegates from 110 countries and territories at the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad, India. The forum included keynote speakers and interactive workshops with delegates and prominent representatives from over ten companies that currently hold global partnerships with AIESEC.
AIESEC is the world’s largest student-run organisation, a premiere choice for youth to develop their personal and professional skills, and a platform that facilitated 10,000 international internships and provided over 10,000 leadership experiences for the year 2010. But for AIESECers there is still one question – how can we take the impact we make to the next level? At the Global Youth to Business Forum hosted this past August at the Indian School of Business, we explored different solutions to this question of increasing impact. With 600 co-creators, 3 tracks, 10 open-space discussions and 88 simulations all inside the walls of one of the world’s most prestigious educational institutions, AIESEC´s leaders sought to find the answer to this question by presenting unique situations, raising thoughtful ideas, and exploring their own potential as the future of global leadership.
The scope of their discussions at this forum focused around three key topics: Harnessing Youth Innovation, Labour Mobility and Diversity, and Environmental and Corporate Sustainability. Featured partners held workshops around these areas and included amongst them were Tata Consultancy Services, Alcatel-Lucent, Deutsche Post DHL, Vale, Husqvarna, Education First, Quest Alliance, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Future Considerations, Unilever, and Electrolux.
“Building the next generation of leaders is one of the key roles of many youth organisations. AIESEC has been developing agents of positive change for more than 60 years. Through the Global Youth to Business Forum we bring business representatives and young people into a dialogue to understand and solve today’s problems combining the expertise and innovative ideas of both stakeholder groups.
By bringing more and more young people and organisations to participate in this initiative we believe that we can build globally minded, social responsible and entrepreneurial young leaders capable of developing sustainable and fresh solutions to the biggest challenges the world faces today.
by Hugo Pereira
- AIESEC is the world’s largest student organisation, facilitating 10,000 internships and 10,000 leadership experiences each year.
- 600 students from 110 countries attended the ‘Global Youth to Business Forum’ in India. There were 3 discussion threads, 10 open space discussions and 88 working groups.
- Youth innovation, labour mobility/diversity and environmental/corporate sustainability were the hot topics.
Our increasingly globalised world enables people to become more connected and, essentially, more attuned with each other’s ideas. However, the AIESEC leaders which participated at the Global Youth to Business Forum realised an underlying issue which could prevent us from taking full advantage of this: even with the ease of access that we have to the rest of the world, there continues to be a disparity between nationalities, education levels and societies across the international community. The members of AIESEC considered labour mobility as an important issue for the discussions throughout the Global Youth to Business Forum because the future of global youth leadership might just depend on the future of global collaborative work efforts.
In this respect, AIESEC is already a few steps ahead of the curve in conquering the divide that seems to be stagnating labour mobility by fulfilling 97% of its global supply and demand target in the delivery of AIESEC’s Global Internship Programme, a premier exchange programme for the top talent of today’s youth which includes internships aimed at increasing awareness of human rights in developing countries. Despite this, however, key questions remained for the youth participants that drew out some innovative ideas, from discussing the significance of reforms to the educational system to include intercultural competencies, to proposing the creation of an AIESEC visa that is recognised in all countries as part of the “Citizen of the World” programme. 14% of the event participants proposed this innovative programme where young people can assume roles as ambassadors for change by enabling them to have substantial international experiences and ultimately increasing awareness about the realities of immigration, and the current state of global human rights. Social media was described as a platform for transcending the boundaries of diversity itself, by helping to effectively match supply and demand in ever-evolving industries, and essentially, saving the world – one tweet at a time. The ideas discussed made the necessary strides towards a world with fewer borders.
“Our definition of mobility has evolved with the advent of information technology, breaking down physical barriers and allowing easier cooperation. Inclusive globalisation and environmental sustainability are the biggest issues facing our world today. We need strong labour mobility to connect the brightest and smartest minds to the heart of where these challenges lie.
For 62 years AIESEC has been promoting a mobility agenda and connecting diverse talents with global demands. AIESEC represents the ultimate in labour mobility: a group of globally-minded young people ready to go where their talents are in demand. I’ve witnessed first-hand the dynamism and agility of a team of international talent coming together to fulfil a vision and achieve a common goal.”
by Mr. Jan Muehlfeit
- Globalisation is limited by a lack of labour mobility.
- Disparties between nationalities, education and social values hold us back.
- Youth ambassadors and social media can be part of the solution.
Innovation – Entrepreneurship in Crisis
One question that remains throughout the progression of every generation is “what definition and importance do young people give entrepreneurship and innovation?”. At the Global Youth to Business Forum the space provided for formulating ideas and thoughts was in itself a representation of that key entrepreneurial trait – innovation. Using an open space methodology, ideas and thoughts generated were about the central theme of how to harness the power of youth entrepreneurship.
Throughout the journey of finding new solutions to age-old issues, phrases like “social business ventures” and “learning communities” kept springing up in the open space, and the issues once thought of as global were now finding answers as local initiatives. The concept of community development was a topic eagerly discussed by over 15% of the event’s participants. An AIESEC member from India said that innovation is the sole solution for solving his nation’s poverty crisis: “The closed mindset of rural Indians is irrational, it is what is hindering their own development.” The areas that the AIESEC members felt most passionately about in relation to youth entrepreneurship were within the topics of climate change, the energy crisis, and the global education system, of which 90 participants discussed the importance of increasing outlets of education, specifically for poorer citizens in developing countries. Over 100 members at the forum participated in the discussion that addressed how to provide the means of technology to rural communities to help create more outlets for education in developing countries, including spreading awareness of HIV/AIDS.
It was through these strategies – along with encouraging more programmes in creativity and the arts, making practical science more accessible to students, and creating student communities that nurture all types of talent – that the AIESEC members concluded that innovation starts with the global youth’s awareness of its own potential.
“The Innovation track in the Global Youth to Business Forum, provided Deutsche Post DHL with the opportunity to explain the importance of innovation as the enabler of DHL’s continued growth. Innovation provides our customers with solutions that reduce their time to market, improve the quality of their products, and increase the satisfaction of their customers. DHL is able to offer you the unique opportunity to apply your innovation skills as part of a global organization, active in more than 220 countries, offering the broadest range of services in the logistics industry. DHL is delighted to partner with AIESEC as the source of talented individuals who are keen and able to make a contribution with DHL to respond to the challenging world of logistics.”
by Melanie Sowerby
- Entrepreneurship can make a difference to climate change, the energy crisis and the education system.
- More outlets for education, and collaboration through learning communities, will lead to greater innovation.
- Innovation starts with the global youth’s awareness of its own potential.
Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility
After hearing the words “crisis,” “bailout,” and “corruption” for far too long, youth around the world are getting increasingly concerned (and rightfully so) about how corporations can act in a more sustainable and responsible way, while maintaining their influence. The success of the AIESEC mission has a direct correlation with its own practices in sustainability, which are often inspired by what AIESEC members see and understand of corporate behaviours and environmental issues.
An underlying principle of AIESEC as a global organisation is that of “Acting Sustainably,” both environmentally and within the practices of the organisation’s members and leaders. During the first day of AIESEC’s 2010 International Congress (of which the Global Youth to Business Forum was a part), the delegates took part in a tree planting ceremony where each of the 110 countries and territories planted its own tree. This, in conjunction with environmental projects based on student exchanges held across the world every year, illustrates a perfect example of putting theory into practice. This is the same expectation that the AIESEC members have of their exchange partners.
The importance of Corporoate Social Responsibility (CSR) was underlined by the fact that 22% of the congress attendees chose to attend the CSR Forum, and recognised that CSR should no longer just be a trend but has to be a priority for all corporations around the world. It was widely acknowledged that changes to CSR policies can only be ignited from the ground up, being driven by consumers, or involving the government in creating social regulations for start-up companies. We need CSR programmes that sustain a strong and measurable societal impact. By transforming corporations’ social responsibility from a trend to a priority we can address the of lack of sustainable education, and the overlooking of unethical business practices.
“It is our responsibility as a global company to seek and encourage actions that contribute to a safe and sustainable environment. It is through spaces like the AIESEC Global Youth to Business Forum that our society can engage in a global multi-generational dialogue to identify practical solutions to address today’s challenges. We are glad to support young people in developing the understanding that enables the type of leadership we believe is needed for a sustainable world.”
by Ann Gårdmark
- Congress participants planted 110 trees at the event.
- Students are very interested and active in finding ways to help corporations become more sustainable.
- Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives need to be driven from the bottom up, by consumers and government.
Pictures 62nd AIESEC International Congress, India
Categories: Leadership in Education