I am a 23 year old Indian girl working in the Netherlands at the global headquarters of AIESEC. I connect people, trends and geographies to create life changing opportunities for young people around the world.
In March 2009 the International Leadership Conference took place in Guatemala City. It brought together 250 young leaders from across Latin America and the United States. I had the opportunity to facilitate and train this diverse group. The conference was a grand success, shaping future leaders with the knowledge and skills they needed to make a difference in their countries. It closed with a Gala dinner in the center of Guatemala City at the National Palace – A spectacular collage of architecture, Guatemalan culture, colors and leadership.
I was seated on a table with dignitaries from the Guatemalan Government including the Congress President and the Minister of Education. The minister didn’t speak English, I don’t yet speak Spanish. Felipe Cardenas, Director for the Iberoamerica region was our mediator. I introduced myself. On hearing that I am Indian and managing AIESEC’s global exchange program, she excitedly responded that her son was in India. I was surprised! I asked what he was doing in India and how he liked it in my country. She explained that he was on his second AIESEC internship in Chandigarh, his first was in Africa. She also mentioned that he was celebrating his birthday that night with his host family!
The moment passed, didn’t seem special at the time. Sitting in my room in rainy Rotterdam I look back:
An Indian girl from Hyderabad managing AIESEC’s global exchange program;
lands up sharing a dinner table in Guatemala with the Minister of Education;
whose son is in India on an AIESEC exchange at that moment;
and is celebrating his birthday with an Indian family!
A moment of inspiration.
I feel fortunate to be part of this global leadership network called AIESEC. My story in AIESEC so far is made up of many such small moments of leadership, cultural understanding and learning.
I believe that small moments make stories which inspire living. What are your stories?