‘Empowering Leaders Across Cultures”- AIESEC International Congress ’09

Posted on October 2, 2009

Anshul Tewari

AIESEC International Congress (IC) is AIESEC’s largest annual conference. This conference seeks to create a global platform for young people to engage in forum and discussion on various global issues and leadership trainings by some of the world’s most experienced business leaders. This conference brings together over 600 young leaders from 100 countries and territories.

This year, the 10 day long International Congress was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and the theme of the AIESEC IC 2009 was ‘Empowering Leaders Across Cultures’, aimed to connect leaders across different cultures, beliefs and values to come together to make our world today a better place. In today’s society of various backgrounds, belief and perspectives, there is a strong need to build bridges by enriching the processes of discovery and understanding. By increasing the variety of individuals involved in the process, the conference enhances our wealth of collective wisdom and knowledge. With wisdom, knowledge and understanding, it empowers young leaders to commit themselves to build a global society of unique cultures and the same time making a difference in the world today!

Like every year, the conference this year witnessed over 600 delegates, with diverse cultural backgrounds, and over 100 different countries. The event had 20 partner organizations, to name a few, Price Waterhouse Coopers, Nestle, Lenovo, Motorola, P1, Canon and ABInBev. The conference had everyday training sessions on topics such as climate sustainability, mobility and entrepreneurship and was one of the world’s largest youth congregations, the purpose of which was to evaluate the performance and impact of AIESEC, as an organization, on the society and lay down the path for its future direction. To achieve this impact and measure it, the congress came up with the concept of ‘every member, every day, everywhere.’ The conference was not just about the training sessions, it was also largely about sharing cultures. It began with a global village, in which every country had put up a stall. This meant over a 100 stalls, with various different displays by different countries, like, their respective traditional food, traditional clothes and music, their flags, etc. There was also a Gala dinner which was sponsored by UBS. UBS also conducts an annual Global Excellence Award which was awarded to AIESEC in India. This is the biggest and most coveted honor of the event.

Delhi University’s Local Committee President, Bilal Ahmed was also a part of the conference as a delegate. According to him, the conference was his best and most enriching experience ever. “It was awesome to meet over 600 different individuals from over 100 countries. This is a once in a lifetime experience and is almost too good to be true. It was like walking in the hotel, and meeting a guy from Portugal wearing an AIESEC T-Shirt, having breakfast with a person from AIESEC Ghana, lunch with a person from AIESEC Australia, evening tea with a person from AIESEC Venezuela and dinner with a person from AIESEC Poland. And this is not it; we were sharing rooms with individuals from two different AIESEC countries. To work with people from different cultures and countries helped me learn small things which made me realize that there are people from other cultures and how diverse they are. It was mostly a cultural experience. Working with different people under one roof, everyday, was awesome. There were so many people doing the same thing, yet at the end of the conference there were people I did not know. I made friends for life, and if I go to countries like Portugal, Venezuela, etc. in future, I will call them, and they will host me. And if they come to India, I will host them.” Bilal’s experience alone tells the story.