AIESEC reunites young leaders in conference in Vietnam

International Presidents Meeting is held in February

On the night of February 19, the streets of Vietnam will be filled with colors, noises and firecrackers. People will be enjoying the Vietnamese New Year, also known as Tet – a short version of an expression that means “Feast of the First Morning of the First Day”. The holiday celebrates the rise of a new year according to the Vietnamese calendar, but in 2015 not only locals will be charmed by the country’s tradition. More than 200 young faces, representing 125 countries and territories, are joining the celebration since Vietnam is hosting for the first time one of the most important AIESEC conferences.

International Presidents Meeting

Every year, February is the date of the International Presidents Meeting delivery. It is an occasion where the elected and current National Presidents of the countries and territories that are part of the organization get together to discuss the entity’s future. However, the 10-days conference is not the only attraction of this international reunion. Under the name Global Youth Summit, this year edition gathers different events under the theme “youth and sustainable success”. The pillars that are the base of this topic are passion, capability and goodwill; Hang Tran is the final responsible of the event’s preparation and she explains that those values combined together are a way to reach individual success and the development that our society needs. “We want to inspire young people to live with purpose, to be open-minded and to do good for others”, says her.

The agenda is full and there will be a lot going on. If you cannot wait to be there, check it out the to-do list!

 

To-Do List!

Two huge debate spaces will take place during the Summit on February 10 (Vietnam to the World Forum) and February 16 (Global YouthSpeak Forum). If you like sharing ideas and being inspired by amazing stories of people changing the world, these are the places to be! Both occasions are bringing speakers to present their views during panels, promoting discussions that will culminate with concrete activities in workshops and networking activities.

What is the point of reuniting so many cultures in one place if they cannot show a little bit of their homes, right? The afternoon of February 10 will bring a lot of surprises and probably cultural shocks in the format of food, music, clothes and dances while AIESEC’s 125 entities are represented in stands and artistic presentations at the Global Village. Get ready to walk around and visit the five continents in just a few hours! More than 6 thousand registrations were already received.

Last but no least, young leaders of the most diverse realities are going to share the day to day and their thoughts while dreaming about the next generation of AIESEC at global level. On one hand, the current National Presidents, who have already crossed half of their one-year term, are going to share their experience so far and get refreshed for the next months of work. On the other hand, AIESECers that have just been elected to lead their countries from July 2015 on will start officially the preparation for this new challenge. In addition, this conference has a huge importance to the organization because it is the occasion when the International AIESEC President is known. To sum up, the election process and the discussions about AIESEC future are the principle goals of the AIESEC Global Conference.

 

Vietnam

After Serbia, in 2013, and China, in 2014, it is time to Vietnam to host the international conference. In less than two weeks, AIESECers from everywhere will be heading to Ho Chi Minh, former Saigon, and the largest city in Vietnam. More than 7 million people live in this colorful city, which is the country’s economic heart.

The Global Summit is important to AIESEC for the reasons already listed in this article, but Hang guarantees the conference is priceless to the country as well. “We will prove to externals that we are relevant to Vietnam and we are making positive impact to society”, explains her. Hang is young still, but she has already lived several experiences in AIESEC that brought her to the position of Congress Committee President and it’s a big deal: more than one year managing a 29 people team in order to provide the best conference for its delegates is a tough job. However, Hang affirms that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. “It was tough and challenging, but also very memorable. My proudest moment is when I see 29 members growing with this project. And their impact later will matter”, ends her.

What is the impact of the Global Youth Summit in the world? Do not lose the upcoming news about it over here and in the event’s official website.

Why should you join AIESEC?

This is a question I get a lot.

“Why are we all here?” is another one.

In the last few days, I have been asking myself this question. Maybe it is because I was elected Team Leader and I am choosing the people who will be part of my next team – and this is a very special occasion when one has no option but revisit the organization’s purpose. Maybe it is because this is just one of the one million questions about AIESEC that my family always ask me and I could never find a satisfactory answer. Or, after all, it is just something I like to think about when I’m in one of those reflexive days.

The true is that some of us, AIESECers, feel quite well in this organization and we can repeat the speech countless times, (“AIESEC is a global non-political organization located in more than 125 countries and territories…”). However, when it is time to explain WHY, why does it make us feel so complete? Why does it taste like home? Why can we find meaning in something that our parents feel a bit odd to understand?

I have been in AIESEC for more than 3 years now and every day I find out a new reason to be here. Anyway, trying to sum up all the reasons of being in AIESEC to write this article, I came up with a 5-item list that I’m going to present to you right now and maybe (hopefully!) you will feel identified – if you already are an AIESECer – or, at least, curious – if you are not.

1. Find out what makes you feel passionate

If you have ever been in love, you know the feeling: a heartbeat you can’t control, everything seems beautiful, a lot of energy coming out from your pores. Passion means having a strong sense of connection with someone or something, an endless source of motivation and will. Everything is possible and you are confident you can overcome any challenges. Ok, ok, not all of us find our soul mate in AIESEC. Nevertheless, what we sure do is to discover what makes us feel passionate about life.

To work in different teams, doing the most diverse activities and interacting with people with backgrounds that we are not familiar with are some of the tools that AIESEC provides that can be very useful to find out what are our likes and dislikes. One day you may be responsible for a marketing strategy, until a brand new position in human resources is available and you decide to take a shot – and, before all of that, you were organizing an event! There’s no need to be an expert – in fact, AIESEC was made to be a platform where young students and graduates can feel the taste of success and failure, and understand themselves better based on that.

I myself studied Journalism, but in AIESEC I have worked in all kinds of projects, since running exchange operations until making a budget, and today I can easily say what are the things that really accelerate my pulse and push me to go further. Trying new things and seeing the results of your efforts result in self-knowledge and this kind of understanding is really welcomed in this phase of our lives, when we are in our twenties and we should decide our future even though we have no clue about our present. If you are looking for a place to figure out your path in life, AIESEC can help you with that.

2. People!

Not everybody is super sociable, but we are humans and we are supposed to like being around people. The good thing about AIESEC is that you will meet many people and, some of them you wouldn’t have the chance to know in other circumstances. I mean, it’s not just the amazing increase in the number of friends you have in Facebook, a weird and funny thing that happens to anyone who joins AIESEC: one day you are just living your normal and boring online life, the next day after you post a picture with your AIESEC mates (picking up a trainee or hanging out after a meeting), several friends request will pop up and, in most cases, you have never met the people who wants to be friends with you. But, hey! They work in AIESEC somewhere and, somehow, it makes you feel connected.

What I’m really talking about is to be working and realizing projects with boys and girls from different universities, cities and even continents. It’s such a rich environment, where you can get to meet people who talk with different accents, but that are connected by the same interests and desires of changing the world. We are all young and we all have ideas to share. Sometimes, when I talk to my international girlfriends in whats app (an Indian, a Chinese, a Greek, an Argentinean – all the crazy ladies that were part of my exchange in, guess where? Egypt!), I feel so lucky to have had the chance to meet them and to see the world from their perspectives, some of them so different from mine and so much interesting exactly because of that.

3. Discover the world

AIESEC is about exchange and the changes that result from it. You can chose: change of mind, of people, of jobs. Actually, the first meaning of change that will pop up in an AIESECer’s mind is the change of landscape. Present in over 125 countries and territories (here it is the speech again!), what we do is to send abroad young volunteers and professionals to live impactful experiences where they should learn, teach and, most of all, discover the world that is hidden in every corner. AIESEC is about travelling, but it is not a regular vacation trip. It is a journey of discoveries, where the exchange participant will live as a native, use their means of transportation, eat their food, walk on their streets and see them in a state of total immersion. Their culture will become your culture and you will leave part of your country with them and import part of their home to yours.

Since I joined AIESEC, I have been in four countries and I could tell you how special they are to me in every single way. People, places, adventures, good memories that shaped me, made me who I am and I’m pretty sure that I like a lot more this version of me right now, a nice little mess full of parts of the places I     ‘ve been and people I’ve loved, than the girl I was before.

4. Learn (new languages, new skills, new ideas)

 

You may not do an exchange or you may not lead a team (although these things are highly recommended), but one thing you will be doing for sure in AIESEC is to learn. Every day, every occasion, every responsibility you decide to assume, you will be learning. From a new language to a software to edit videos, from to prepare a foreign dish to a team management theory, from an app to manage better your time to an exotic dance. You got the point, right? Reunite thousands of young people, full of hormones and ideas, and give them a challenge to overcome. The result is an intense learning environment, where one is teaching what he knows in exchange of learning other people’s specialties. And before you ask, no, you don’t have to join a two-hour class or to sign up to one of those tutorial videos websites. You just need to be open to share, to be present, and to learn as you go, trying and giving your best. Set an objective, define the way to reach it and work hard – the necessity to learn will show up during the way and you will have to adapt yourself or give up in the process. FYI: giving up is not something we accept easily in AIESEC.

5. Lead yourself, lead the change

 

The last item of this list is actually a resume of the other things I put here. A resume? Better yet: it is a consequence. In AIESEC we believe that leaders are the fundamental solution for the worlds’ problems. I bet you will agree with me: imagine being able to know your strengths and weaknesses, having clear idea of the things you want to be and the things you don’t want to do. More than that, you feel responsible for the world, the issues in our society bug you and there’s this internal rush to do something, to take an active part in the transformation world needs.

However, you know that changing requires effort and that’s why you decide to connect yourself with people that have the same will as you do. Together, you can fill each other’s’ gaps and combine your talents to achieve something bigger. Using your qualities along with others to make a contribution, looking for the resolution of a problem, engaging others to feel responsible for the world as well. This is a leader for AIESEC. This is the kind of person we want to give to the world and that’s why we do what we do. That’s why it is worth to join AIESEC, a place where more than 40 thousand young people all over the world work in different projects and areas, each one walking towards this unique goal of giving more and more leaders who are crazy enough to believe they can change the world. You know what? A leader I know once said that the crazy ones are the ones who really change it. And I totally agree.

What about you? If you do too, maybe this is the place you belong 🙂

The Value of Purpose-Driven Leaders

“The key challenge for business is how do we get more purpose-driven leaders that realise they are there to make a difference in the world”, said Bill George of Harvard Business School at The World Economic Forum, which took place in Davos again this year.

“The pressures are greater today than they’ve ever been on CEOs to produce short-term results but it’s really not about that. It’ about having a company that’s going to solve actual social problems through the work the company does and that requires a company with commitment to purpose throughout the entire organisation.”

In a highly globalised world we live in today facing numerous challenges, purpose is what unites people to work towards a common future. To have purpose is to give meaning to the goals we are striving to achieve together. Purposeful and meaningful work is becoming more and more important worldwide. According to Youth Speak, the global millennial insight survey, young people rated meaningful work as the 2nd most important factor in the first 5 years of their career.

 

Additionally, 72% of Youth Speak respondents believe that it is important for companies to positively impact society. Although the definition of “positive impact” varies, data shows that Generation Y demands companies to have meaningful contribution to society and not solely generate profit without purpose.

Many companies worldwide recognize the significance of meaningful contribution to issues that affect society today. A PR Newswire article highlights the findings of the global research, which was launched at The World Economic Forum by Ernst & Young and Oxford. One of the findings states “Corporate leaders see the organization’s role evolving to address global challenges, taking an active role in creating well-being and value for and with a wider set of stakeholders.”

However, the findings also show that while businesses recognize the importance of purpose for driving core strategies and operations, they also “acknowledge there is a gap between this recognition and the policy and practice in their organizations.” (source)

Therefore, we are back to the question posed by Mr. Bill George of Harvard Business School:

How do we get more purpose-driven leaders who can act on the purpose?

AIESEC, the world’s largest student organization, believes the answer lies in providing young people with practical leadership experiences. By engaging in a challenging environment designed to test them, push them and shape them, young people are given the chance to try and the freedom to fail.

Learning by doing leaves the most powerful impact and allows first-hand discovery of what you are good at, what you are not good at and what really matters to you. Self-awareness developed by learning through trial and error is a first step to realizing your own potential and your unique contribution to the world.

So do you know how can you contribute?

Thinking in terms of contribution is crucial for developing purposeful leaders – the ones who see the bigger picture and understand the importance of meaningful contribution to building a better world.

Developing more purpose-driven leaders is a step towards building a more sustainable future.

 

 

UN ECOSOC Youth Forum

AIESEC Participates at UN ECOSOC Forum on Youth

This generation of young people – the largest the world has ever seen – has a historic opportunity to end poverty, combat climate change, create jobs and fight injustice, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told a Youth Forum at UN Headquarters in New York this morning as he called on the participants to get involved in shaping a future sustainable development agenda.

Today, there are 1.8 billion young people, representing one quarter of the world’s population. Many struggle to find work, and are often hit hardest in conflict. The Secretary-General says that it is time now to see this huge cohort as a force of change that harbours the ingenuity and creativity to help solve the world’s most daunting challenges.

The event started with a keynote address urging an uptick in investment for children around the world, children’s activist and 2007 International Children’s Peace Prize Winner, Thandiwe Chama, called on delegates to be “on the right side of history” and place “our rights, the rights of children and youth, at the heart of the SDG agenda.”

“There’s no doubt that young people are facing multiple challenges to meet their potential but they are not giving up,” emphasized Youth Envoy Mr. Alhendawi.

“Everywhere I go, I see how the youth want to be connected to the United Nations; they will not miss any opportunity to volunteer and to advocate. They will participate at the Model UN just to simulate what’s happening in the rooms with delegates. Today we are not simulating. This is the United Nations in action.”

As the UN representative on all things relating to young people, Mr. Alhendawi said that a “sense of ownership” is critical to the success of the future sustainable development agenda. The 1.8 billion young people worldwide are ready to “carry their share” of the post-2015 development.

AIESEC representatives Karolina Piotrowska and Tala Mansi are present at the forum to voice our opinions in the role of Youth in light of the upcoming launch of the UN SDG’s.

Tala Mansi spoke on the panel voicing “the importance of youth development, bridging the gap between employment and education, and creating individual commitment and awareness of SDG’s from the bottom up.”

The engagement of young people is key to ensuring the successes of the SDG’s as young people will be the ones implementing these large global initiatives. AIESEC has engaged tens of thousands of young people in voicing up their opinions via the YouthSpeak survey where it captures their opinions on the challenges they face in reaching their fullest potential.

We further encourage young people to take ownership of the issues they care about and not sit still waiting for change to come. As we firmly believe that the world needs new leaders and our generation are the ones who need to step up, have courage and stand up for what matters to us.

The world needs your leadership and it’s your time to step up and take responsibility. When was the last time you spoke up about issues that mattered to you?

You can learn more about the ECOSOC Youth forum here.

 

 

Charie Hebdo Paris

Living Diversity for World Peace

The World’s Very Real Need for Cultural Understanding

AIESEC emerged from a period in time when cultural understanding was at an all-time low. In the years following the Second World War, the whole of the European continent was ravaged to the ground. Each nation was coping with its own grave losses, and between all countries there was tremendous disconnect. Not only was there pressure to educate and create individuals capable of rebuilding their countries, there was also the very real need to repair damaged European relations.

Looking at the world today, one can’t help but notice striking similarities. Devastation, turmoil, anger, despair—none of these are strangers to us, even though it has been seventy years since the end of what is dubbed the deadliest conflict in human history.

Furthermore, what the world suffers from today is not the disconnection within a continent, but rather, the tensions within an entire planet. We suffer today from disconnect between continents, between nations, within countries, within communities. We are suffering from differences in ideology, in religion, and in culture. And it is becoming abundantly clear that such differences can have fatal consequences.

In the first week of January, the world was deeply shaken by the Charlie Hebdo shooting that occurred in Paris—an event that has resulted in global repercussions for numerous other nations. It has also drawn attention to a number of ongoing conflicts throughout Europe and the rest of the world.

In the days that followed, the world saw two categories of reactions: outbreaks of conflict and marches of solidarity.

In the week that followed the shootings, fifty-four anti-Muslim attacks were reported in France. Conflicts escalated in reaction to Charlie Hebdo’s resumed publication with the controversial cover—in Niger, violent protests resulted in the deaths of ten people, with dozens injured, and a number of churches burned. Similar protests also occurred in Pakistan and Algeria.

Meanwhile, over 100,000 people in France took to the streets for candlelit vigils in demonstrations of solidarity. The slogan, “Je suis Charlie” (I am Charlie in French), became simultaneously an endorsement from freedom of speech and a way to honour the victims of the shooting. Similar vigils took place all over the globe in the UK, the US, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, to name a few. In what officials called the largest public rally in France since World War II, up to two million people marched in a ‘unity rally’, joined by more than 40 world leaders.

Two weeks ago, a youth was stabbed to death in Dresden, Germany—a city that has been the hotbed for anti-immigrant and ‘anti-Islamisation’ movements by the organization PEGIDA (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West, in German). This, in turn, has resulted in numerous counter-demonstrations across the country against racism, calling for cultural acceptance and tolerance.

Looking at these stories, a ripple effect becomes clear—the current issues now are either recurring or ongoing reactions to other issues. The stories become convoluted into an overarching narrative of conflict. We must understand, however, that intolerance is equivalent to blindness. With cultural tensions on the rise, how are we to reconcile our differences?

What would the world be like if instead of differences, we choose to see similarities? Like the unity rally, which brought masses of people and a multitude of nations together—for the first time since the Second World War!—what would the world be like if we reveled in diversity, instead of seeking to destroy it?

We return again to the original mission of AIESEC: “to expand the understanding of a nation by expanding the understanding of the individuals, changing the world one person at a time”. As stated in our “Why We Do What We Do” video, “When you see the world, you can begin to understand it. And when we understand it, we can begin to change it.”

It’s a big world out there, made up of many, many individuals—7 billion of them, to be exact. Here in AIESEC, one of our six core values is Living Diversity. We believe that everyone, because of their own culture and place in life, has something valuable to offer, and we seek to encourage the contribution of each individual.

Each and every one of us has a choice every day—will you choose peace?

Happy Holidays AIESEC

Happy Holidays

Give the gift of gratitude

Did you know? Giving gratitude and happiness is linked. Give thanks and warm wishes to those who have helped empower you to become the person you are today. It is in these special moments of peace and warmth where we can find joy and rekindled bonds that fuel us for the coming new year.

To start it off, we give our sincerest thanks to all of our tens of thousands of volunteers, employees, alumni and partners who enable us to create our impact on the lives of so many young people around the world. AIESEC is driven by passionate people who believe in making the world a more peaceful place and we couldn’t do any of this without you.

Send your appreciation to loved ones and make their day even brighter. We’ve left you a video on the science of happiness that brings a heart-touching message, prepare to tear up!

Happy holidays from AIESEC.

Julia Bacha TEDx

TEDx talks that inspire a different perspective on World Peace

We live in a world where seemingly small things like intolerance and misunderstanding of people’s differences have caused large-scale conflict, destruction and even wars. World peace can seem like an impossible thing, but we at AIESEC interpret it a little differently. ‘Peace’ should not be interpreted necessarily as absence of a major war. ‘Peace’ symbolizes a world that does not have conflicts that arise from cultural, religious, or other aspects of differences in humanity.

In short, we need to learn how to respect and understand these differences as human beings.

We’ve pulled together a series of TED talks for you listen and watch to inspire new ways of thinking on the roadmap to peace.

In the Road to Peace playlist on TED, “these speakers offer inspired ideas, practical advice and real-world examples from around the globe of how it just might be attainable.”

Jody Williams, Nobel Peace Prize Winner in 1997 for her work toward the banning and clearing of anti-personnel mines advocates for society to have a more realistic vision of world peace. The talk focuses on rethinking world peace to human security, and enabling people to live dignified lives. Watch it here

Scilia Elworthy a three-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee and founder of Oxford Research Group that seeks to develop effective dialogue between nuclear weapons policy-makers worldwide and their critics, talks about how to deal with extreme violence without using force in return. Exploring the themes of how to overcome bullies ranging from countries to individuals without any violence in return. Watch it here

Julia Bacha a filmmaker who produced Budhrus discusses the power of attention, and how we often media and audiences pay attention to the violence, but not the non-violent leaders and peacemakers of the Middle East region that may very well bring peace to the region. Bacha advocates for us to pay attention to nonviolence. Watch it here

Progress will come, when all of humanity is awakened, moved to take action and not idly sit by to wait for change. We must be brave, but also patient in seeking cross-cultural understanding amongst people and nations.

What actions will you take to make yourself a better person and be the leader who can help make the world a better place?

One of the best ways to gain a new understanding of the world is to live, volunteer or work abroad. Learn more on how you can get involved in our student programmes that offer global experiences to create positive change in communities and on yourself.

The Skills of 2020 and Changing Leadership

The societies we live in today are vastly different from what they were twenty, or even ten, years ago. The pace of the world is increasing exponentially, due to technology and its effects on the daily life of human beings. The most prevalent of these effects is no doubt the capacity for global connection.

TIME Magazine recently published an article with an infographic detailing the projected ten most important work skills required for the workplace in the year 2020 — which alarmingly, is only a little over five years away. Five years might feel a long way away for now, but in today’s fast-paced society, time flies.

2020 skills

Success lies in preparation, and so we must ask ourselves, what does this mean for today’s skills training and how we can keep up for 2020?

What may set the individual or leader apart is the ability to adapt and innovate, a keenness for learning, and zero tolerance for complacency.

There are a number of things expected to change by 2020, including increased longevity (longer life spans), the heightened role that technology and computation will play in our personal and professional lives, and intensified globalization. Simply put, the world is finding ways to do things better and to get more out of it. If we are optimistic, we can expect to live in an “improved” society by 2020.

For leaders, however, it is important to realize that this improvement begins right now at this moment, not five years later. When the skills of 2020 demands people to own a wider sense of social intelligence, computational thinking, cross cultural competency. In addition, it requires leaders to be capable of new media literacy, virtual collaboration, and transdisciplinary work — the learning curve begins now.

Those we deem worthy of leadership are those who are “one step ahead”, and who are “leading the way”. They are the ones who are willing to take risks and able to adapt to change, and in doing so, become role models for those who wish to follow.

Leaders in today’s world must have a solid knowledge of both the past and a future, and secure understanding of where they themselves fit in between or bridge the gap. The world is expanding, and people need to grow along with it — as the world becomes better, so must we.

Here at AIESEC, we also wanted to identify some of the top skills young people were wanting to develop today, and our YouthSpeak survey with 25,000 millennial respondents showed that leadership / team management, new languages, critical thinking and problem solving skills were still the most in-demand to help them get ahead over the next few years.

The skills you need today versus in the future are rapidly changing. Are you prepared for the skills of 2020?

Tweet us @AIESEC or comment below

Top 5 Things Keeping Youth Complacent

Hi, I’m Jessie, and I’m part of the North American millennial generation. And as someone who identifies as part of this generation, I have no problem telling you that I believe complacency runs rampant among North American youth. This is not a particularly new idea; we’ve heard before that millennials are notorious for being narcissistic and lazy, and while studies on millennials in society report mixed results, there is no doubt that we, as a generation, are struggling to find our place in the world.

What is often overlooked here though, is how destructive complacency can be to the individual. To become complacent is to stop growing, and when there is stagnation, there is no progress, and thereby no success. Here are the top 5 things stopping millennials from engaging, and essentially keeping us from reaching our full potential.

Entitlement

Often, entitlement shapes our thinking in way that we don’t even realize. We have grown up as the most privileged youth in the world, and it’s very easy to get stuck thinking we have everything, this is all there is, and that we “deserve” this and that. (Indeed, one of the nicknames for the millennial generation is the “Most Coddled Generation”.)

As North Americans youth who have all been recipients to education, and so on, we all fall prey sometimes to the Western point of view—a worldview that has historically disregards all other cultural thought. This thinking dictates—and dare I say, can cripple—our reactions to other cultures, and limits us from cultural understanding.

Disillusionment

Sometimes, youth can’t be bothered about active participation because they do not believe that they can make a difference. They don’t see the value of their individual active engagement. “I’m just one of many”, “Who really cares?” — these thoughts perpetuate a cycle of indifference and inaction.

What’s more, in today’s society, it’s almost cool not to care—or rather, it’s only ‘cool’ to care about certain things. Regardless, this feeling of disillusionment is reflected in the number of youth voters in elections in recent years, which are disappointingly low. Youth need to understand that their age cannot keep them down. They need to be shown, and not just told, their value to society, and be motivated to become worthy of it.

Ignorance

The lack of understanding — true understanding, which requires time and effort on the part of the individual — is perhaps the reason for many problems today. In an era of information, it is just as likely to receive false information as it is true. What’s more, with everyone’s biases, it’s very easy to let someone else make the judgement for you. In doing this, we relinquish the responsibility and thereby the consequences of potentially being wrong.

This ignorance extends itself to all the many ways we interact with society itself. It affects the way we view the world, our willingness to experience it, and also the way we view ourselves. We become less effective as contributors to society when we are unaware of society and our own role within.

Individualism

The millennial generation grew up hearing about how each of are special and unique, and will go on one day to change the world and whatnot because no one is exactly like us. It’s not a far stretch to see this is not true—at least, not innately. We make ourselves special, and whatever impact we make on the world is a result of us actually consciously demonstrating effort and passion, and working hard at it.

Having been constantly told how unique we are has led us to become more self-centred. We play more value on our own careers than on society, failing to make the realization that both are interconnected. While individuality is by no means inconsequential, millennials need to realize that our individuality both enhances and is enhanced by the society and context we are placed. in.

Technology

Millennials have grown up with a society that has become increasingly saturated with technology in all its various forms. What we have not been prepared for, however, is the adverse effect that technology has had on the interactions between people in real life. When online communication takes precedent, it is at the expense of affecting people’s ability to truly connect with someone in person, offline. We lack intention by letting technology do all the talking for us.

Stop and think, who are we, outside of our social media profiles and what we share online? How would people view us, had we not Facebook, or Twitter, or the numerous other social platforms? It is the lack of questioning that leads to things like slacktivism, where we share things not only because we care, but because we want others to know it.

The world has a lot of say about the millennial generation. Our expectations in life are different are those of our parents. We are lazy, passionate, impatient, ambitious, open-minded, and disengaged all at once. Having been told to “follow your dream” has led us to become more lost than ever. Youth engagement in society has been steadily decreasing; North American youth are complacent.

What, then, is the solution?

There is a quote that states: “We must take adventures in order to know where we truly belong.” Never has that statement been more true than today. In exploring the world, one gains more knowledge of different cultures, and understanding of where they fit in the world. A wider perspective will also let one see the importance and value of things.

What’s more, this “world” doesn’t necessarily mean jumping on a plane and flying all around the globe. It can be a simple as stepping outside of your comfort zone to shake up your own worldview a little bit. It’s important to ask questions, but equally important to go and find out the answers yourself. Being aware is only the first step.

Youth on the Move

Do you know anyone who has gone abroad for any internship, youth program or university scholarship? Have you ever seen any foreigners in your own country? Have you at least once searched online about work, study or travel abroad opportunities?

Well, let’s face it, we have all answered yes at least once, if not three times. Countless organizations and agencies are fighting for the attention of middle or upper class students and graduates with their wide “go abroad” portfolio. Universities themselves are also not falling behind. Students are often exposed to exchange students and programs and encouraged to study abroad as well. Every young person entering a job market knows now that an international experience is not an extra asset anymore, it’s a must.

Scrolling down my Facebook newsfeed, many travel opportunities pop out everyday. Conferences, projects, exchange programs, and cheap airlines offering flights to other continents for 200 euros. Than switching to Instagram. Pictures from Erasmus, long weekend vacations, or hitchhiking trips by my peers. We are determined to travel and experience the world; it’s trendy, it’s necessary, and it makes life more exciting. Almost 23% of YouthSpeak respondents are listing global opportunities as the most important thing they will be looking for after graduation and more than 45% of those surveyed list travelling the world as their current priority in life.

 

Conclusions? Well, the capacity of young people to move between different countries, regions and cultures has never been easier and more desirable than it is now. But what’s in it besides selfies with pyramids and macaroons in Paris? Changes in society and economy, and a hell of a lot of them.

Global Talent Management

How can businesses attract and retain talents in the era of youth who want to explore as much of the world as possible in their 20s? Campus recruitment and career fairs may not be enough soon unless you are proposing a truly global experience which will be challenging enough for a millennial to stay in the company for a while. Youth simply needs to be enabled to move. So talent managers around the world — brace yourself for innovating on new sourcing solutions!

Recovery from Current Economic Situation

Take an example from Spain, where more than 55% of youth are unemployed. As a result, educated youth need to leave in search of better job opportunities. But this way, the country will not recover since it cannot keep the best and most educated talent. On the other hand, they are also not ready to receive this amount of talent. Another consequence is that this youth will not contribute with taxes which could help in rebuilding economy. Youth mobility can influence your country more than you think.

Social integration

By bringing youth together through different exchange programs and projects, we can enhance social integration. There is no better way for one to understand a foreign culture than to experience it on your own. It supports intercultural dialog and eases the adaptation of youth to new environments. As a result, we can predict a more tolerant, understanding, and peaceful world.

 

Youth mobility is a complex matter and like everything, has its pros and cons. But there is one thing I know for sure, youth is on the move. And they are unstoppable.