I was there and
I have seen the change.
Imagine a non for profit organization led fully by youth. Imagine that it was established just after World War II by a few dreamers who wanted to see simply a better world. Now imagine that this organization still exists and is led by thousands of young people around the world who still dream and believe that world could be a better place. And you know what they do? Once per year they bring hundreds young leaders in one place. Impressive, huh? Well this is AIESEC. And I have been lucky enough to be part of this movement.
I have seen more than 700 people from more than 120 countries from all the world’s continents in one place. They are moving the world together into a better direction. They have one purpose and they are brave enough to go for it, no matter what and where and how. I saw the world which I always wanted to see- connected.
Jean Choplin, Co-founder of AIESEC, spoke to us during this year’s International Congress in Taiwan. For him purpose and vision came first- peace and fulfillment of humankind’s potential. He wanted to see the world connected, with no boundaries, where there is peace and where people around the world can live up to their potential, where people understand each other. It takes one brave man to dream BIG. After more than 60 years that dream is alive, and I have experienced it on my own. I have met two people who dream BIG- Kasia and Dmitriy, presidents of national AIESEC chapters in Poland and Russia. Let me tell you the story.
I come from Poland, a country that was invaded in 1939 by Soviet Union and Nazi Germany and than we became the communist People’s Republic of Poland. It was said that Poland and Russia were never friends, our grandparents or even parents remember those times and they hold a lot of grief against each other. It all seems like an ancient history which I studied back in elementary school, but there was definitely something that was
holding Poland and Russia back from cooperation.
It was not a history, not a particular event, word or person, it was an assumption, assumption that one side has something against the other. One evening during International Congress Polish delegation met with the Russian one. And that is when the magic happened. For a few hours we were sitting in one circle, talking about each other’s countries, watching videos, sharing our doubts, talking about stereotypes we have heard about each other. There were smiles, hugs and tears. At some point one smiley Russian girl said:
I don’t understand what is it all about. Most of the people who come to my office to register for an internship abroad want to go to Poland. I don’t see any problem here.
We all laughed. That was the moment when the history was put behind us and that was the moment when I saw the world connected. This BIG dream came true right in front of our eyes.
If you ask me what are the moments I live for, this story is the answer. Thank you Kasia and Dmitriy for dreaming BIG and letting us dream as well. Big dreams and brave people can change the world.
____________________________________________________________________This story was written in contribution to the AIESEC Everyday Leader Series, which showcases stories of everyday leaders who are changing the world. Share your story with the world.