AIESEC is the world's largest youth-run organization. It is an international non-governmental and Not-for-profit that provides young people with leadership development, cross-cultural any internships, and volunteer exchange globalist experiences. The organization focuses on empowering young people to make a Progressive social impact. The AIESEC network includes approximately 44,280 members in 127 countries.[1]

Motto"Activating Youth Leadership Since 1948."
Legal statusActive
PurposePeace And Fulfillment Of Humankind's Potential
HeadquartersMontreal, Canada
  • 5605 Avenue de Gaspé #208, Montréal, QC H2T 2A4, Canada
Region served
Official language
President of AIESEC International (PAI)
Alexandria Robinson
Main organ
Global Plenary
RemarksThe world's largest youth-run organization

AIESEC is a non-governmental in consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), is an independent arm of the UN DPI[2] and UN's Office of the Secretary-General's Envoy on Youth,[3] member of ICMYO,[3] and is recognized by UNESCO.[4] AIESEC's international headquarters are in Montreal, Canada.[5]


AIESEC was originally a French acronym for Association internationale des étudiants en sciences économiques et commerciales (English: International Association of Students in Economic and Commercial Sciences). The full name is no longer officially used, as members can now be graduate and undergraduate from any university background.[6][7][8][9]



The idea behind AIESEC started in 1948, when representatives from schools across Europe exchanged information about various programs and schools that specialized in business and economics. Students were carrying out internships in other countries. Mostly on their own initiative but it came to a standstill with the onslaught of World War II.[10]

In 1944, the neutral Scandinavian countries were still exchanging students. In Stockholm, Bertil Hedberg, an official at the Stockholm School of Economics, and students Jaroslav Zich (of Czechoslovakia), Jean Choplin (of France) and Stanislas Callens (of Belgium) founded AIESEC. This was the predecessor of AIESEC,[10] which was officially founded in 1948. At the time, the organization's stated mission was “to expand the understanding of a nation by expanding the understanding of the individuals, changing the world one person at a time.”[10]

At the time of AIESEC's founding at the conclusion of the 1940s, Europe was in the midst of recovery from the war that dealt grave losses to its population. Factories and enterprises were in desperate need of executives, managers and leaders. The continent needed more than just business development, however; the war had severely damaged relations between European nations, and many members of the community felt steps needed to be taken to address this problem.[11]

AIESEC was formed to address both of these concerns. Students from seven nations: Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Netherlands, Norway and Sweden came together in March 1949 for the first International Congress of AIESEC in Stockholm.[12] The founders composed a constitution for the new organization and defined a purpose: "AIESEC is an independent, non-political, and international organization which has as its purpose to establish and promote the friendly relations between the members."[11]

In the first year of AIESEC's existence, 89 students were exchanged among the member nations.

Global expansion

The organization grew exponentially in the following years, with more than 1,000 exchanges took place in 1955 alone. In the following few years, AIESEC quickly became global by establishing its first North American member, the United States, in 1957, and its first South American and African members, Colombia, Venezuela, and South Africa in 1958.[13]

For the first years of its existence, AIESEC had no central governing body, but was instead managed jointly by a Presiding Country Committee composed of the National Committee Presidents of each member nation. As the organization grew, a central governing body was created and led by democratically elected Secretary General. Morris Wolff, from the United States, was chosen as the first Secretary General in 1960, and established the first permanent international office for AIESEC in Geneva, Switzerland.[11] Over the following decade, AIESEC expanded to eastern Asia, Australia, and deeper within Europe, Africa, North America, and South America, having a presence in 43 countries by 1969.[13]


As of 2019, AIESEC has made itself present in 120 countries and is considered a success in terms of globalism implementation.[1][13] AIESEC annually offers over 40,000 leadership positions and delivers over 500 power conferences to its select leadership over 100,000 students. It is present in over 2,400 universities in its 120 member countries and its international socialist program that enables over 27,500 students and recent graduates the opportunity to work for the cause in another country. AIESEC receives support from over 8,000 third party organizations.[1]


Campus involvement

AIESEC provides a platform for young people in different universities and colleges, by going on an international internship and/or by joining various local chapters. These young individuals can develop their leadership potential by working and leading international teams. Associate membership opportunities allow young people to work with various NGO partners of AIESEC, and represent their country as a part of campus ambassador program. The organizations products are Global Talent, Global Entrepreneur, and Global Volunteer.

Each year members have an opportunity to live and work in a foreign country. Participants can choose to work in areas of management, technology, education, or development; helping to build one's corporate skills.[14]


AIESEC hosts over 500 conferences every year that range in length and demographic scope. The purpose of conferences are to bring the international community of AIESEC members together to enhance their professional skills, provide networking opportunities, and work on organizational strategy. Topics of interest the organization focuses on include: leadership, sustainable development, entrepreneurship, innovation, corporate social responsibility, and youth impact on modern society.

Global Volunteer

"[15] AIESEC is a global network of people that simply believe that youth leadership is not an option, but our responsibility."The "Global Volunteer" portfolio in AIESEC is an international volunteer program which allows youth aged 18–29 to contribute to the United Nations' sustainable development goals of 2030. The Global Volunteering programs are short-term in nature and provide youth with opportunities to travel abroad and work for Non-profit organizations with a special focus of second and third world countries. Projects include teaching, promoting HIV/AIDS awareness, working in human rights, environmental sustainability, leadership development and more.[16] Since AIESEC is a non-profit organization, the exchange participants are to bear all expenses associated with travel including airfare, medical insurance, and transportation. AIESEC will provide food and accommodation. AIESEC's partnership with the United Nations seeks to tap the undiscovered potential of the youth globally and allow them to create a long-lasting impact to boost the international community.[17]

Global Entrepreneur

"Global Entrepreneur" is a global internship opportunity at a startup for young people who seek to develop themselves and their career. They are usually short term in nature and involve working in startup projects. Global youth unemployment has become one of the top challenges faced by the youth today. AIESEC contributes to this issue through its Global Entrepreneur program, where a young person works abroad with entrepreneurs in a startup, accelerator or incubator to advance their goals and grow; thus developing an entrepreneurial stint through a global opportunity allowing yourself to expand your network and develop on a personal and professional level.


YouthSpeak Initiative is a youth movement powered by AIESEC.[18] AIESEC believes that the society needs the young people of the world to take action on the UN goals for 2030, and AIESEC serves as a platform for youth empowerment.

  • YouthSpeak Survey aims to collect the common voice of the global youth and educate them about the Global Goals for Sustainable Development. There are 1.8 billion young people who in the world and their voice needs to be heard.
  • YouthSpeak Forum gathers the youth as future leaders and current ones into same action space.

Awards and recognition

In July 2015 AIESEC was recognized for the 9th time on the WorldBlu list of "Most Freedom Centred Workplaces."[19] An organization makes it onto the WorldBlu List through a rigorous Freedom at Work™ assessment process completed by employees. The assessment evaluates the overall design of an organization along a fear-based to freedom-centred continuum in three core areas: leadership, individual performance and systems and processes.


As of 2015, AIESEC is found in 127 countries and territories worldwide, including:[20]


AIESEC's alumni include a wide range of individuals, professionals, entrepreneurs, business people, politicians and a Nobel Prize winner. This is a non exhaustive list of notable AIESEC alumni:

See also


  1. "About us | AIESEC".
  3. Ruggiero, Cassandra (22 September 2013). "The end of the IANYD and ICMYO Meetings – just the start of AIESEC's involvement with the United Nations". AIESEC International. Archived from the original on 5 December 2014. Retrieved 27 November 2014.
  4. "UNESCO English Search: AIESEC". UNESCO. Archived from the original on 2014-10-23. Retrieved 2014-10-18.
  5. "AIESEC: Contact Us". AIESEC.
  6. Mattia, Fioretta Benedetto (2003-09-30). Elsevier's Dictionary of Acronyms, Initialisms, Abbreviations and Symbols. Elsevier. ISBN 9780080544137.
  7. "Student associations". (in Italian). Archived from the original on 2017-06-05. Retrieved 2017-06-08.
  8. "About AIESEC | AIESEC Global". AIESEC. Retrieved 2017-06-08.
  9. "AIESEC | Live the experience". AIESEC. Retrieved 2019-02-07.
  10. Kern, Beth (2003-10-02). "AIESEC Helps Interns Make Adjustments". University Chronicle. Archived from the original on 2009-01-30. Retrieved 2008-02-11.
  11. "AIESEC 60 Years". Archived from the original on 2014-12-17. Retrieved 2014-11-27.
  12. "AIESEC History".
  13. "AIESEC Expansions since 1948". Youtube.
  14. "AIESEC Programmes".
  17. "Global Partnership with AIESEC for Youth Engagement and Entrepreneurship - United Nations Partnerships for SDGs platform". Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  18. "Youthspeak - Global Youth Movement". YouthSpeak. Retrieved 2016-03-10.
  19. LLC, WorldBlu. "Cultural Transformation in Organizations". Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  20. "AIESEC: Contact Us".
  21. AIESECFinland (2009-09-15), Martti Ahtisaari's Greetings to AIESEC, retrieved 2018-02-17
  22. "Endorsements". Issuu. Retrieved 2018-02-17.
  23. "EU City: AIESEC alumnus, elected as new President of Portugal". Retrieved 2018-02-17.
  24. "About". Gunter pauli. Retrieved 2018-02-17.
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