After more than 60 years since its initial establishment, this not-for-profit, independent, non-political organization with local chapters spread across more than 124 countries has launched a branch in Kuwait. A combination of students and recent graduates run AIESEC, making it the largest student-run organization in the world, with more than 86,000 members at present. Its main goal is to offer a place for young adults to have a positive impact on their society and gain leadership skills and experience.
AIESEC is a global youth network impacting the world through leadership development experiences. With a goal that they articulate as “Peace and fulfillment of humankind’s potential,” it is easy to see why this is such a good thing for the future generation of leaders. They look to include members who are interested in world issues, leadership and management.
The AIESEC committees in various countries host a number of conferences every year that range in length and demographic scope. The purpose of their conferences are to bring the international community of AIESEC members together to enhance their professional skills, provide networking opportunities, and work on organizational strategy. Each year, AIESEC organizes an estimated 500 conferences worldwide. Topics of interest the organization focuses on include: International Trade, Management Education, Sustainable development, Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Corporate Social Responsibility
AIESEC in Kuwait is the newest branch in the AIESEC network and started in September 2013 with 10 students from different Kuwaiti universities. The president of AIESEC Kuwait currently is Mahmood Mirza, who came from the organization’s Bahrain branch to start up the organization with the help of local students. The program that they are currently offering locally is called the LEAP Program.
This cultural exchange program sends students and graduates from Kuwait to work on a social project abroad for 6 weeks with team of international students. The student can choose to leave at any time, but the peak periods are in January-February and June-July. Throughout this period the student or graduate will live with local people and get to understand the culture and live within it. LEAP Program is already running in all Gulf countries and they have more than 300 students or graduates yearly who take part in this program to go to countries such as India, Sri Lanka, Lebanon, Ukraine, Poland or Brazil.
Far from just a tourist’s travel vacation, this program is more about learning about the culture and experiencing the country from the local’s point of view. The Aiesecer—what they call all of their members—would work on an AIESEC project selected prior to traveling to the chosen country. By the end of the stay, they would have worked on that project, gained global contacts, and had the experience of a lifetime. This program, generally 6-8 weeks in length, normally sends a group of 5 or so at a time. They are currently looking at sending students or graduates, ages 18-30 to different countries around the world to experience this global development program offered at AIESEC Kuwait.
As for what type of members they look for, most members are university students or graduates, from 18-30 years old, who have good command of English and can be a good ambassador for Kuwait abroad. A tight-knit group that holds meetings several times a week, they offer an environment that is inclusive and inspired.
As for what’s next, they say that they are currently looking for companies who are interested in youth and CSR initiatives so that they can implement projects that involve bringing international students to work with their local members in implementing such projects. This would help them to show Kuwait to the world and, at the same time, give local students the experience of working with people from different nationalities and backgrounds.