The AIESEC Story


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia



AIESEC’s official logo since 1991

AIESEC’s official logo since 1991

AIESEC is a global, non-political, independent, not-for-profit organisation run by students and recent graduates of institutions of higher education. It describes itself as “The international platform for young people to discover and develop their potential so as to have a positive impact on society”. AIESEC is present in over 800 universities in 97 countries. Its international office is currently in Rotterdam, Netherlands. It provides its members with the opportunity to work abroad, develop leadership skills, build a personal network, and explore their future ambitions. As of 2005, the network has 19000 members and places over 4000 students and graduates in internships around the world annually [according to AIESEC’s intranet]. AIESEC is the largest student-run organisation in the world.

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After World War II, in 1946, students from 9 universities in six countries met in Liège, Belgium, with the intention of fostering a new form of international cooperation. They created the Association Internationale des Etudiants en Sciences Economiques (AIESE). Its aim was to establish relations between students all over the world, in order to build peace between the countries and to fight against racial discriminations providing to its members wide traineeships and exchange opportunities.

Jaroslav Zich, a young Czech, was elected its first president. The new association was first headquartered in Prague, Czechoslovakia but had to leave the country within a year in order to stay politically neutral after the communists gained power. Its headquarters moved to Brussels, Belgium and in the late 1990’s moved to Rotterdam, the Netherlands, where they remain today.

In 1949 a second congress was held in Stockholm. Seven countries attended it: Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, The Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden. The representatives signed the association’s foundation document. The name was changed slightly to Association Internationale des Etudiants en Sciences Economiques et Commerciales.

The name Association Internationale des Etudiants en Sciences Economiques et Commerciales was supplanted by the acronym AIESEC, pronounced “eye-sek” because many of its members were not Commerce or Science students.

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AIESEC is a student-run, non-profit educational organisation which aims to be independent and non-political. It is comprised of students and recent graduates of institutions of higher education interested in leadership, management and global issues. The organization’s values forbid unfair discrimination, and one of its aims is to work towards its vision of ‘peace and the fulfilment of humankind’s potential’.

AIESEC’s core work consists of providing its members an integrated development experience (“AIESEC Experience”) comprised of leadership opportunities, international internships and participation in a global learning environment. AIESEC’s goal is to provide young people with a range of learning and intercultural opportunities, so that they can greatly develop as individuals, and then will ulimately have a positive impact on society.

Each country with an AIESEC presence has its own national committee (referred to as a “Member Committee”) that coordinates activities for that area. Members belong to a Local Committee for their university.

Members regularly attend conferences, ranging in scale from small regional events to huge international gatherings (such as the yearly International Congress). Conferences allow delegates to learn how to carry out the organisation’s work more effectively, often with the help of business leaders and other speakers. The organisation’s unique internal culture is highly visible at these events, with various songs and other memes known throughout the network.

Away from conferences, members frequently use AIESEC’s extensive intranet ( for communication, which is notable for being the world’s largest OpenACS installation. In addition to hosting hundreds of virtual communities, suitably trained members can use the online database (known as “Insight XP”) to match potential trainees with work placements all over the world. Insight XP has greatly streamlined the organisation’s work-exchange process as prior to it’s introduction in the 90s, members were required to physically meet and exchange forms.

AIESEC focuses on facilitating international traineeship exchanges and supporting other activities that provide learning experiences for its members and trainees. AIESEC trainees are placed in one of four pools:

  • Management traineeships – the biggest pool, covering most areas of business
  • Technical traineeships – generally IT or engineering work
  • Education traineeships – teaching
  • Development traineeships – any work with underprivileged communities, whether or not in a developing country

AIESEC has also decided on a set of core values, which it attempts to instill in its members and the events/programs it operates. These values are: Activating Leadership, Demonstrating Integrity, Enjoying Participation, Living Diversity, Striving for Excellence and Acting Sustainably.

AIESEC Experience

One of AIESEC’s most fundamental goals is to provide its members with an integrated development experience, internally known as the “AIESEC Experience.” This means encouraging its members to learn about world issues, take responsibility, lead other members, and take part in the exchange programmes which they organise.

AIESEC’s approach to the development of its members can be summarised by these 5 key principles:

  • Taking an Active Role: AIESEC will provide the opportunities and some support, but it is ultimately up to the individual to make the most of those opportunities. Each individual must take responsibility for his/her experience within AIESEC. Each individual must also take responsibility for the organization. It is through the collective efforts and commitments of everyone involved in AIESEC that the organization is able to provide so many opportunities – some 350 conferences, 3500 work abroad opportunities, and 5000 leadership positions, plus many other activities. Many elected leaders students spend more time on AIESEC than on their university studies, causing resentment by some.
  • Developing Self-Awareness and Personal Vision: AIESEC aims to provide space and support to answer fundamental questions such as “What is important to me?” and “How do I want to contribute to the world?” It encourages young people to clarify and expand their ambitions, using techniques such as mentorship and personal vision exercises, and to question both their view of the world and their role within it.
  • Increasing Capacity: Through conferences, work abroad opportunities, and the management of its offices, AIESEC provides young people with the opportunity to increase theoretical knowledge in a wide-range of functional and soft skills, and the opportunity to put this into practice.
  • Building a Network: AIESEC’s view is that people need a network of support which can guide and encourage them towards their vision and goals. Through conferences, learning networks, innovative on-line platforms, and a growing alumni network, AIESEC provides young people with the opportunity to create a strong and global network which will support them in their personal and professional pursuits.
  • Challenging Worldview: Through intense experiences such as conferences, working abroad, and engaging in other international environments, AIESEC tries to “shake up” the way young people see the world. According to the organization’s view, the resulting more holistic view of the world will facilitate cultural sensitivity and international cooperation


North & South America


Botswana Botswana Argentina Argentina Afghanistan Afghanistan
Burkina Faso Burkina Faso Bolivia Bolivia Australia Australia
Cameroon Cameroon Brazil Brazil Bangladesh Bangladesh
Côte d'Ivoire Cote d’Ivoire Canada Canada People's Republic of China People’s Republic of China
Egypt Egypt Chile Chile Hong Kong Hong Kong
Ghana Ghana Colombia Colombia India India
Kenya Kenya Costa Rica Costa Rica Indonesia Indonesia
Liberia Liberia Dominican Republic Dominican Republic Japan Japan
Morocco Morocco Ecuador Ecuador South Korea Korea
Mozambique Mozambique El Salvador El Salvador Malaysia Malaysia
Nigeria Nigeria Guatemala Guatemala New Zealand New Zealand
Senegal Senegal Mexico Mexico Pakistan Pakistan
South Africa South Africa Panama Panama Philippines The Philippines
Togo Togo Peru Peru Singapore Singapore
Tunisia Tunisia Puerto Rico Puerto Rico Sri Lanka Sri Lanka
Uganda Uganda United States United States Republic of China Taiwan
Zimbabwe Zimbabwe Uruguay Uruguay Thailand Thailand
  Venezuela Venezuela United Arab Emirates United Arab Emirates


Europe (cont’d)

Europe (cont’d)

Armenia Armenia Republic of Ireland Ireland Sweden Sweden
Austria Austria Kazakhstan Kazakhstan Switzerland Switzerland
Azerbaijan Azerbaijan Kyrgyzstan Kyrgyzstan Tajikistan Tajikistan
Belgium Belgium Latvia Latvia Turkey Turkey
Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina Lithuania Lithuania Ukraine Ukraine
Bulgaria Bulgaria Republic of Macedonia Republic of Macedonia United Kingdom United Kingdom
Croatia Croatia Malta Malta
Czech Republic Czech Republic Moldova Moldova
Denmark Denmark Netherlands Netherlands
Estonia Estonia Norway Norway
Finland Finland Poland Poland
France France Portugal Portugal
Germany Germany Romania Romania
Georgia (country) Georgia Russia Russia
Greece Greece Serbia and Montenegro Serbia and Montenegro
Hungary Hungary Slovakia Slovakia
Iceland Iceland Slovenia Slovenia
Italy Italy Spain Spain

THE ABOVE WAS TAKEN FROM WIKIPEDIA. Please be informed that the above information was of year 2005. Currently the statistic has increased in number. AIESEC is now even bigger and their network is enormous.

David Hng


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