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My European Parliament Experience with WWF

This November I had the wonderful opportunity to participate in the Youth Summit, an international 4-day project organised by WWF. The goal was to raise awareness among Members of the European Parliament about the importance of future EU Regulations to address deforestation and forest degradation, as well as to highlight what the world’s youth, the next generation of leaders, and those most affected by climate change have to say about the current state our planet is in and why ecosystems and indigenous people’s human rights must be addressed and protected now more than ever. As you read this, entire forests are being cut down at an alarming rate for houses, mass production, palm plantations, and other purposes. The natural landscape is shrinking, resulting in a decline in wildlife populations, indigenous peoples being forced out by corporations, and civilians witnessing personally the harsh and extreme effects and repercussions of climate change. According to a WWF report, the European Union plays a significant role in forest degradation, accounting for 16% of deforestation associated with international trade in 2017. It should thus recognise its influence and hold itself and its firms accountable.

 We were around 50 motivated young people representing youth from over 17 nationalities at the Summit in Brussels. AIESEC was represented by Ivet Doychevska, Julian Ennemoser, Greta Kämper, and Elina Ivanova, in addition to myself. After getting to know each other, discovering where our passion for climate action and volunteering stems from and how come at least two of the international delegates have already been bitten by lions, we dove into the topic of deforestation. The days were jam-packed with informative seminars and presentations from experts and activists in the subject of deforestation, including Anke Schulmeister-Oldenhove, Senior Forest Policy Officer from the WWF European Policy Office. We learnt more about the EU’s role in deforestation and heard personally from people in Latin America about how forest degradation impacts them. Of course, the MEP meetings took up a significant portion of our days at the summit. I’ll never forget how the entire room was filled with team spirit as people shared GCPs and BCPs in meetings, discussed approaches, and everyone showed their support when people went to and returned from meetings. We were able to communicate our requests and experiences with 36 Members of the European Parliament, inspiring some of them to address loopholes in the deforestation legislation proposal and support our claims.

But that wasn’t the only thing that happened. We had another large event planned for the conference’s final day: a street action. We sought to raise awareness of forest degradation and the legislative proposal being debated in the European Parliament by dressing up as trees and carrying an AIESEC rollcall through the streets of Brussels.

This was a wonderful experience, and I am grateful to WWF and AIESEC for providing such an eye-opening, action-packed initiative. I’m excited to see our impact expand even further, and I hope that as many of you as possible will learn more about deforestation as it affects us all.

                                                                                             Written By: Olga Yurkevich 

What happened 2015 in AIESEC in Austria?

2015 already ended, but every ending is the start of something new. Now, reflecting of what it has been, we know 2015 has been a good year with many improvements and milestones.

Here is a short overview:

Some Numbers and Facts

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In 2015 were able to provide a total amount of 192 international exchanges, giving all those exchange participants a chance to develop themselves while doing purposeful work, abroad or in Austria. Our incoming volunteer projects even had an increase of over 35% in participation compared to 2014, while our outgoing corporate internship program, Global Talent, could improve by impressive 40% compared to the previous year. But these are not only numbers; these are life-changing experiences that we, as a youth organization, succeeded in delivering, in only one year, to people from our generation.

Introduction of Global Entrepreneur

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This year we were proudly introducing a new program – Global Entrepreneur. program enables students to find an internship in an entrepreneurial environment abroad and to gather tons of experience. Furthermore, through this program, we enable start-ups from Austria to Austria to have in their teams highly motivated and outstanding students from abroad.

Amazing events

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This year we had events both for students and companies. We organized focused workshops for students (e.g. workshop “How to write a successful CV”), or business networking events like “Career Days” or “Consulting Challenge”. Besides that, we had also events that promote cultural exchange like “Global Village”, where students from different nationalities, who came in Austria for our volunteering projects, prepared traditional dishes from their respective countries. With those events we did everything we could to foster cross-cultural understanding.

All in all it can be said that 2015 has been a very successful year for AIESEC in Austria, but we don’t want to settle at successful – we want to strive for excellence, so let’s see what 2016 will bring for us!

AIESEC Resolutions 2016

As a new year approaches us, both individuals and companies reflect on their plans for the future. AIESEC takes a step further and, as an organisation, sets clear milestones every five years in order to come closer to the achievement of our organisation’s mission, peace and fulfilment of humankind’s potential. The end of this year meant the completion of our 2015 vision, but it also marked the establishment of the new milestone, AIESEC 2020.

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The reasons for initiating AIESEC 2020 is quite simple.The key to achieving long-term goals is by having a clear strategic direction. The new plan can be seen as a refreshment of AIESEC’s earnestness: Giving leadership development to youth with an accurate plan.

 

The three AIESEC 2020 statements are self-explanatory and underline the meaning of the organisation as a global youth movement.

  1. Shaping what we do around what the world needs
  2. Growing disruptively 
  3. Being accessible to everyone, everywhere

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The first statement indicates that it is essential for the organisation to be fast in responding to the world’s trends. In 2016, AIESEC wants to align to the global necessities with the help of Youth Speak, a youth insight survey. This global movement focuses on understanding what hopes and challenges the youth is focusing on and what issues they are ready to act upon. By that, young people have the opportunity to provide decision makers with the opinion of how they envision the world. Their insight will make an impact on how to adapt to the world and work upon the first goal.

The second statement expresses the wish to expand more and more on the existing market, and by that, also to create new markets. Furthermore, it also means to promote innovative ideas and to elaborate on the point that standards lead to satisfaction. To achieve that, it is important to ask the question, “How can we engage Millennials to take actions?”. This helps understand how to contribute to the goal of engaging more and more young people and by that, it enables us to truly be a Global Youth Movement – Broadening our perspectives on numerous fields leads to being able to make an impact and influence more of the global situation.

The third statement hints to a limitless AIESEC world, without boundaries towards physical or virtual engagement with the organisation. As a Global Youth Movement, it is essential to make sure that we can reach as many young people as possible. This is why in 2016, we want to enable exchange of ideas, innovation and collaboration and be relevant to any young person in a flexible, attractive and engaging approach. To ensure that the 2020 vision will truly have an impact on AIESEC and on the world, concrete goals will be finalized by the end of summer 2016.
The new year in AIESEC means to bring us closer to engaging and developing every young person in the world. The map to achieving the goals is already there. What follows is taking this path and constantly optimizing it on the way. Let us look forward to a challenging journey!