It has been 67 years since AIESEC was founded in 1948 during a trying time in Europe, with a mission to “expand the understanding of a nation by expanding the understanding of the individuals changing the world one person at a time.”
AIESEC was founded on a vision of friendship and unity – a vision of a unified Europe. This may sounds familiar. It is also the basis of the European Union, founded to make sure Europe would never again be torn apart by war and dispute. AIESEC was founded by students who were looking for a solution to the same problem. The goal was to ensure peace through mutual understanding of other cultures and countries.
The idea came in 1948, when students across Europe were talking about a program to facilitate a cross-cultural exchange as they were already carrying out internship abroad, if only mostly at their own initiative. However, with the tumults of World War II this exchange came to an abrupt halt. Shortly after the war, that had tarnished the relationship and trust of Europe’s countries, had ended, in a damaged and struggling Europe, AIESEC was founded.
Amongst the founding members where students from seven nations: Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Netherlands, Norway and Sweden. In March of 1949 the first international conference was held to discuss the modus operandi and goal of AIESEC’s cause.
With programs such as Global Talent and Global Citizen (more on these to come – see our next posts) AIESEC is still sending individuals abroad to broaden their horizon and sharpen their understanding of different cultures. Every since the first year of existence, where 89 students were exchanged among the member nations this number has exponentially grown.
In 2014 the number of exchanges facilitated by AIESEC stands at 26.000! This number can only be delivered by the dedication and work of its 70.000 members in 126 countries. Today all around the world AIESEC members are working to achieve this one common goal; to make the world a better place though the exchange of individual minds, cultures and ideas.