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    Saturday, October 10, 2009

    Where was Google all this time?!?!?!

    William Kamkwamba, from Malawi, left school at age 14 due to a famine in his village. Reading books at the local library he decided to build a windmill from disposed materials to bring electricity to his house, and he succeeded!

    Check out more about his story in this video:

    Thursday, October 08, 2009

    Can a mobile phone take you out of poverty?

    During my past role in AIESEC International, I was very impressed on how Africans and Asians are using mobile communications combined with entrepreneurship as a tool to alleviate poverty.

    I now wonder how can Latin America and Costa Rica learn those lessons and imitate such powerful initiatives. Please, let me know if you know anyone in the region working on this topic.

    The idea is based on the following (proven by experience) principles:
    • Higher GDP is a consequence of higher productivity
    • More penetration of mobile communication, more productivity, regardless of social class
    • Lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) means more penetration to lower classes
    • More microfinances opportunities lower (or makes more accesible) TCO
    • More microtransaction infrastructure more microfinances opportunities
    • More basic entrepreneurship education more microtransaction opportunities
    If you would like to know more, check out these links:
    What if I tell you that in Costa Rica only less than 56% of the population (probably the richest one) -in the more develop region of the country- owns a mobile phone. What if I tell you that in the poorest region that number falls to 35% !!! (Source:

    The opportunity is more clear nowadays because a new industry model will be introduced in the country. The new model allows the participation of private and public organizations in the telecommunications market. We hope (as users) that this initiative will reduce prices (TCO), increase accessibility and promote new business models. (Source:

    Furthermore, the Government of Costa Rica has partnered with banks to promoted intensively new entrepreneurial ventures, which means that there is banking platform to at least propose the idea. (

    The elements are there, I only see two ingredients missing: 1. A NGO/Institution supporting the education of people on how to use the mobile communication to make small businesses and 2. execution!

    As I said, let me know if you know anyone working on this topic in the region :) You could make my day!

    Tuesday, September 22, 2009

    Our Promise of Change, Delivering Today!

    "In the shadow of the past 12 months, in a world that was shaken by the financial crisis, the food crisis, the swine flu, civil unrest s, military conflicts and extremist movements; AIESEC was called by our history and our future to be a source of inspiration to our members, Alumni, partners and society. That was our purpose and this report is how our members achieve it!"

    Juan Cajiao
    PAI 2008-2009

    Wednesday, September 16, 2009

    Organizations value leaders who can achieve results

    “When asked what organizations value the most in leaders, 83 percent of the best in class organizations as compared to others said “execution.” Organizations value leaders who can achieve results through others. These leaders create a climate in which people know exactly what is expected of them. In ideal times, the survey results showed, people value authoritative and democratic styles of leadership in comparison to the other four styles of coercive, affiliative, pacesetting and coaching. In tough economic times, employees’ desire more communication and clarity around goals. They want their leaders to become more visible and to be leading from the front. Typical leadership styles which accomplish this include authoritative with some coercive and pacesetting when needed.”

    Tuesday, September 15, 2009

    Is success a social responsibility of organizations?

    Last night I went for a walk with my girlfriend through the street of Amsterdam and I felt immensely lucky. I think it is a blessed to be able to walk at night and enjoy the little streets and the markets without worrying too much about gettingt robbed or assault.

    The tranquility gave us the chance to have a good conversation on leadership, maybe we touched too many topics but I think they are all worth to keep somewhere. So, here is the first one:

    The Social Responsibility of Organizations on increasing the employee, family and community self esteem

    On a workshop, my girlfriend and colleagues were given a real life study case: “My best production line employer during the day shift will always come to me –Production Manager- before making a decision like stopping the line. At night, he will make those calls himself and so far I have to say that they were all correct. I still wonder why he keeps coming to me for approval and what can I do to make him realize he can make those calls himself”.

    When I first heard this, I thought: “Oh well, this is a typical case of low self esteem. Maybe the best he can do is to work slowly with him. Every time he comes the manager should ask him what would he do, agree with him and later on greet him for the good work and let him know he can make those decisions by himself. I am sure after a few times he will just go ahead and do it himself”.

    Then my girlfriend told me that the solution they used, successfully, was given a promotion to the employee to “Line Manager”. With the title on hand, he felt more confident of making those calls and the other workers more willing to follow him.

    What I missed, as well as many people in the workshop, was to consider the background of the production floor, the people who work there, their needs and ambitions.

    Indeed, the problem was on self-esteem but the way to build it up was done especifically considering the context and keep it in mind that the solution need it to help the employee as well as the company.

    This conclusion made us wonder about the responsibilities of organizations in building the self-esteem of employees, families and communities.

    Let’s take the case of Costa Rica on which multinational companies like Intel, P&G, HP, IBM, Hospira, Abbot have settled in the country having a major impact on the PIB.

    A whole generation of young professional are being hired, trained and develop with worldwide quality programs. But the most important aspect, from my point of view, is that they are given the opportunity to compete and succeed in the global arena.

    These young professionals are perceiving themselves as winners, people that can make positive change and they are bringing that mentality back home, to their children, their siblings, their parents and their friends spreading a wave of success that may end up shaping the community where they live.

    I believe that organizations have the responsibility to be successful and to spread that success consciously among their employees and partners to generate a critical mass of people that are aware that they are the ones that can make the change they need in their life and in their society.

    Thursday, September 10, 2009

    Dutch Society: a challenge to leaders or to followers?

    Usually when we talk about leadership we reflect our assumptions on what we believe leadership is and on what type of leadership is needed.

    When we listen, we also contrast other opinions to our own concepts nurturing debate and challenging perspectives.

    Yesterday, I had the pleasure to attend an event organized by de Baak, a training institute that is referred as the voice of Business in The Netherlands, on the topic “Who are we: Reflections on Dutch Leadership and Society”.

    I was really interested to listen to other opinions so I focused on gathering inputs to be able to draw my own conclusions and here I am trying to summarize the most important ones.

    First thing I noticed is that most of the conversation swung between decision making processes and implementations challenges among Dutch organizations.

    They remarked that decisions are mostly made by consensus, making sure everyone is on the same page before moving forward, which leads to commitment but also consumes precious time which is a critical variable to succeed in the current times of crisis.

    What shocked me a bit was that they mentioned that afterwards implementation is doubtful. Apparently, even if Dutch are involved in the decision making process, when they break apart they may still have important doubts on what to do or how to do it, which again impacts delivery time and team synergies.

    This tells me a lot about the type of leadership that is needed in the country: people that are able to build confidence on individual capabilities as well as trust among each member of the team.

    But before jumping into the conclusion, there was another thing that captured my attention.

    Most people on leadership roles with leadership preparation know that leadership is about building trust, so how come so many Dutch prepared people failed to do that? Isn’t it that Dutch society is facing an issue of not knowing how to follow instead of how to lead?

    A side conversation with a de Baak lady brought some light into this finding; she told me that in the 1700s Dutch society was run by very assertive leaders that brought business success to the country but also made mistakes that today’s Dutch society feel ashamed for.

    • What happened then?
    • How did it impact the Dutch idiosyncrasy?
    • Are there hidden social rules that prevent Dutch people for trusting each other and their leaders? if yes, what are they?

    Deep pragmatic questions that open the door for further research:

    • What will happen if Dutch teams receive as much preparation to be lead as the leaders receive to lead?
    • What will happen if the responsibility of leadership is taken away from the leader into the followers?
    • What opportunities and risks will Dutch society face in that new paradigm?

    I know this may not be final conclusion but they set the way on how I will keep exploring this amazing country and this complex society.

    Sunday, August 09, 2009

    Costa Rica and Quality of Life: action vs achievement

    It is clear that in my years of absence more people in Costa Rica got more money to buy more cars.

    The roads are improving too but not at the same rate, creating a traffic chaos that results in more accidents, longer travel time and anxious people.

    Different factors have driven our politicians to pick areas of improvement in a way that it is not necessarily consistent neither aligned to build sinergies in the short or long term.

    I believe that there is need for clear long term targets for population groups and their quality of life in a way that we start asking ourselves how can we contribute insted of what do we do.

    The run for the presidency is starting but I haven't seen a proposal that focuses on achievements instead of activities (things they will do vs things they will achieve). Also wonder who will talk more about us than about you and us.

    Costa Rica is getting closer to a defining moment on which a new model will arise to strenght democracy and development. I just hope that our political leaders will have the awareness, the attitude of service and the determination to make it happen.

    The Observatorio for Development views on Quality fo Life:

    Sunday, July 19, 2009

    Preparing for an extraordinary future!

    I decided to collect a lot of notes I have around my apartment and write them here to make sure that I ground them and start opening possibilities for all of this to happen.

    I feel happy for all the memories and people AIESEC has given me for the future and I am also very excited about the perspective it gave me about the world and the role I can play making it a better place.

    In others words, this post may be the window to look into my future life, but don’t take too seriously because I will not, since this is just the starting point of an extraordinary future!

    My life purpose

    I enable self-sustaining growth, support positive change makers and build trust in people to become the maximum expression of their will.

    The starting point


    Something important for the short term is to consolidate my network of contacts and what I have learnt in the past years.

    I will be doing some reading, probably Cradle to Cradle and Four Hour Work Week. I will do some maths (GMAT) and work out as usual but now under the tropical sun. I also will do my best to capture some of the most impactful events of the last 5 years, extract the learning and find ways to share them around.

    The most important will be to share with my parents and my family!

    The direction I am heading today

    I will be looking for a corporate job on which I can learn about the company products/services and the market, therefore I am interested in business development, strategy, supply chain and management consultancy.

    I am also looking for the chance to strength my academic background which is Industrial Engineering (Business development, Strategy, Operations, Supply Chain and Project Management).

    I will do the job hunting from Brussels but I am open to find opportunities in any thriving market from China all the way to Brazil.

    What I can bring

    Academic background
    I have the equivalent of a European Master in Industrial Engineering (Business development, Strategy, Operations, Supply Chain and Project Management). The experience I have in private sector is mostly around efficiency and cost reduction in production and logistics, and then in the last years I focused more in the competitive edge and revenues growth of non-for profit and talent markets. I am confident AIESEC gave the chance to develop strong leadership competencies and global management mindset.

    Competencies based on AIESEC Global Competency Model
    I know by experienced that challenging goals and innovative approaches get me excited and committed. And I also know that I am at my best when my team or myself need to partner with others to make sure we deliver and I have a role connecting us.
    • Results orientation
    • Innovation
    • Stakeholders focus
    • Awareness of other
    • Inclusiveness
    • Developing others
    • Effective communication
    Frequent team roles based on the Belbin Framework

    I bring ideas and connections to my teams, I find ways to organize us to capture those opportunities and follow up to make sure we implement them.
    • Resource investigator
    • Coordinator
    • Implementer
    • Planter

    What else may I go out and hunt in the future

    3-7 years
    • Work in a global project for a major corporation
    • Be part of a designing team that needs to be extremely creative
    • Run a marathon or a triathlon
    • Take a top executive MBA program
    7-15 years
    • Become an entrepreneur, starting several companies and assigning them CEOs
    • Teach at the University
    • Consult NGOs and SMEs
    • Live with my family in a house in the North Pacific of Costa Rica
    10-20 years
    • Become well known writer of management consultant articles for magazines or online media
    • Participate in the creation of a Long Term Plan for Costa Rica
    • Organize the first national conference for CEOs in Costa Rica on leadership and responsibility

    Friday, July 17, 2009

    Closing a chapter - Good bye AIESEC!

    The time to move on and let the new team take over has arrived.

    I just wanted to say thank you to everyone that give me the chance in a way or another to enter AIESEC and access the so many challenging opportunities in Costa Rica, Panama, Romania, China, Iberoamerica and this year globally.

    I think that is in our core and I will be forever in debt with this organization, its members, Alumni and Partners.

    Thank you!

    Thursday, July 02, 2009

    AIESEC keeps achieving in 2009 despite of the Financial Crisis

    Rotterdam, NL. AIESEC International planned a never-seen growth of 45% for the first two quarters of 2009. The challenge was framed by the financial crisis affecting the world. By June 30, 2009 the targets were overpassed by a committed network of more than 35.000 members around the world.

    This video was shoot in the AIESEC International office on June 30, 12:00 GMT where the target was officially met for the second quarter of the year.

    News from the World about AIESEC

    AIESEC Jordan organizes Youth Leadership for Emerging Jordan
    Middle East North Africa Financial Network - Amman,Jordan
    (MENAFN Press) AIESEC Jordan, the national branch of the world's largest youth organization, organized "Youth Leadership for an Emerging Jordan" on Thursday ...

    AIESEC الأردن تقيم قيادات شابة لأردن واعد و تتبعه بمؤتمرها الوطني ...
    شبكة الشرق الأوسط و شمال أفريقيا للخدمات المالية - عمًان,Jordan
    (MENAFN Press) أقامت منظمة AIESEC الأردن، الفرع الوطني لمنظمة AIESEC العالمية لقاء "قيادات شابة لأردن واعد" و ذلك يوم الخميس الموافق الحادي عشر من حزيران من ...

    AIESEC'ten dünyayı kucaklayan proje
    Bursa Hakimiyet Gazetesi - Bursa,Turkey
    AIESEC Bursa Şubesi tarafından bu sene ilki gerçekleştirilen "Dünyayı Kucakla" projesi 7 farklı ülkeden gençleri İnegöl, İznik, Karacabey ve Mudanya'da lise ...

    中国MBAhome网 - China

    Company Student Projects
    The Moscow Times - Moscow,Russia
    ... in May 2009 by Harvard Business Review Russia, an international organization AIESEC with the partnership of RusHydro, Schneider Electric and IC"ROSNO. ...

    Saturday, June 20, 2009

    How can organizational structures enable growth?

    From my perspective, a good way to understand how organizational structures enable growth is by analizing how buildings' structures sustain tons and tons of weight. (CCTV HQ Beijing, China)

    When designing the internal structure of a building the main question is how to connect or build relationships within the forces generated inside of the building in a way that new supporting forces will emerge.

    Organizational wise the question could be, "what relationships we need to enable to drive the key initiatives that drive growth?"

    By making those relationships formal, we give the organization the opportunity to use the structure as catalyst of the connections that drive success.

    Thursday, June 18, 2009

    How can EU immigration policies hold back the region?

    In order to be able to generate value, organizations need to converge technology, money and raw resources with the right talent in an environment that fosters growth.

    And that's Europe's challenge..., every day there is less talent.

    This is a multivariable situation mostly generated by the following factors:
    • Aging population (by 2013 countries like Sweden will loose around 30% of the labour)
    • Lower number of EU technical students and graduates
    • Unfavorable migration balance for EU when compared with North America
    • Lower migration from emerging economies due to an increase in the quality of life abroad and thriving business environments
    The main consequence is that business will move where talent is and job losses will remain behind.

    Therefore, initiatives in the line of the Swedish migration reform could bring a hope into a region thirsty of talent -

    Wednesday, June 17, 2009

    Why should we invest in mobile communication in Africa?

    Taxation and the growth of mobile in East Africa 2009

    The impact that mobile communications is having on economic and social development in East Africa is akin to that of other major enabling infrastructure like roads, ports and railways. All stimulate trade, create jobs, generate wealth and enhance social welfare. Mobile communications, in particular, is making a profound impact by:
    • delivering universal access - mobile networks cover the vast majority of East African citizens, and operators are investing substantial amounts in further network roll out;
    • delivering universal services - mobile phones account for around 95% of all telecoms connections in East Africa; and
    • boosting GDP - recent analysis by Deloitte shows that a 10% increase in mobile penetration leads to a 1.2% increase in GDP in the long-run across developing countries.
    Ericsson Proves Mobile Communications can Transform Africa

    With mobile voice and data communication, Dertu's nomadic pastoral community of more than 5000 people can now build on the economic and social gains it has made since a mobile network was installed in the village. Rather than making the 100km journey by dirt road to the larger city of Garissa, many people from nearby communities go to Dertu to make calls, access improved health services and take advantage of new businesses -- making the village an economic hub for the region.

    More than 3000 phone minutes are logged daily, with new markets springing up for SIM cards, second-hand phones, charging and accessories. Transport costs have also gone down thanks to mobile ordering and invoicing.

    Residents use mobiles to find out about good pastures, which are often hard to come by in this arid region. Socially, families can be closer to distant relatives, and health care and remote education are now within reach. In case of an emergency water shortage, a mobile phone call brings help more quickly.

    Challenges: Perspectives on constraints of ICT in Africa

    Back at the Web4dev conference in February, Grant Cambridge made a very interesting presentation called: Access to Information. Challenges and Obstacles – a Rural African Perspective. Cambridge describes in his presentation the situation in rural South Africa, where:
    • There is virtually no access to computers
    • There is limited access to knowledge and information
    • A child’s potential to learn is directly proportional to the knowledge of the teacher
    • Many people have never even typed their names on a keyboard
    • Where the edge of your world is as far as you can walk in a day
    He describes that even the much better accessible mobile phone involves multiple challenges, such as “People walking up to 3 miles several times per week to recharge battery.” Cambridge works on a robust single or multi-terminal system for rural areas, and concludes in his presentation that access does not imply inclusion.

    What opportunity does it set for AIESEC?

    Since the begining of AIESEC in Africa, one of the main challenges for the region has been the limited accessability to our cutting edge technologies.

    Our current system is the main tool supporting the realization of more than 5.500 exchanges per year -Africa contributes with aprox. 300 internships and 200 interns-. It provides to our members the opportunity to network, learn and match their opportunities with people around the world.

    The lack of general infrastructure, like broadband connection, makes it very hard and expensive for our members to access the system.

    One way the we can improve this situation as Global Organization is by migrating key features of our system to the proper technology that can be access through mobile technology.

    I am sure funds can be raise within our network, within organizations interested in the development of the region or within organizations looking to increase their mobile presence in the region.

    This is a new challenge for the AIESEC Network to overcome!


    Drop your ideas here or send them to the future AIESEC International Director for Africa at:

    Tuesday, June 16, 2009

    Evolution of strenghts - Leadership

    These are some interesting results on how my strenghts have evolved in the past 3 years due to a very intense and international experience.

    I took the assessment as part of the activities my team is running to support each others career development. We are using the frame of The International Leadership Strengths Research Project of Mr David Pollay from the University of Pennsylvania. The project aims "to encourage these leaders to fully develop their strengths in support of their goals".

    Here are the results (without analysis), below you find deeper descriptions of the strenghts. Note that the frame is based on 24 strenghts.

    Date: September 2006
    Location: Beijing China
    Role: National Vice President for Corporate Social Responsibility (National PBoX Manager)
    1. Creativity, ingenuity, and originality
    2. Industry, diligence, and perseverance
    3. Bravery and valor
    4. Perspective (wisdom)
    5. Social intelligence
    Date: June 2009
    Location: Rotterdam, The Netherlands
    Role: President of AIESEC International
    1. Creativity, ingenuity, and originality
    2. Social intelligence
    3. Leadership
    4. Curiosity and interest in the world
    5. Perspective (wisdom)
    Strenghts description

    Creativity, ingenuity, and originality
    Thinking of new ways to do things is a crucial part of who you are. You are never content with doing something the conventional way if a better way is possible.

    Industry, diligence, and perseverance
    You work hard to finish what you start. No matter the project, you "get it out the door" in timely fashion. You do not get distracted when you work, and you take satisfaction in completing tasks.

    Bravery and valor
    You are a courageous person who does not shrink from threat, challenge, difficulty, or pain. You speak up for what is right even if there is opposition. You act on your convictions.

    Perspective (wisdom)
    Although you may not think of yourself as wise, your friends hold this view of you. They value your perspective on matters and turn to you for advice. You have a way of looking at the world that makes sense to others and to yourself.

    Social intelligence
    You are aware of the motives and feelings of other people. You know what to do to fit in to different social situations, and you know what to do to put others at ease.

    You excel at the tasks of leadership: encouraging a group to get things done and preserving harmony within the group by making everyone feel included. You do a good job organizing activities and seeing that they happen.

    Curiosity and interest in the world
    You are curious about everything. You are always asking questions, and you find all subjects and topics fascinating. You like exploration and discovery.

    Monday, June 15, 2009

    AIESEC in the news!

    Every day, journalists find the story of AIESEC on each corner of the World and every time I read those articles my hearts beats up stronger because it makes me feel that what we do everyday is changing the world little by little.

    ISAF Headquarters Hosts AIESEC Conference

    KABUL, Afghanistan - AIESEC is the world's largest student organization and has worked with ISAF in Afghanistan for the past three years.

    The conference provided an opportunity for the young men and women of AIESEC to discuss their contribution to security in Afghanistan and the perception of ISAF and NATO throughout the country. Conference speakers included Afghanistan's Minister of Education, Minister Farouq Wardak, Minister of Women's Affairs, Minister Hussan Ghazanfar, the Chancellor of Kabul University Professor Hamidullah Amin and ISAF spokesman Brig. Gen. Richard Blanchette.

    "This successful event has helped provide the future leaders of Afghanistan with a platform to voice their opinions," said Blanchette. "In a country where 65 percent of the people are under 25, education is vital in providing a basis for the reconstruction and redevelopment of this country."


    Youngsters make use of summer vacation, work with NGOs

    Chandigarh, India- Patrick Dixon once said “volunteering is a window into the passions of the soul”. It seems the city has found many such windows, especially among the youth.

    With the advent of summer vacations coupled with an array of NGOs working in the city, youngsters are spoilt for choices when it comes to volunteering opportunities.


    Mate-Papo da Aiesec aborda cultura indiana

    Santa Cruz, Brazil - Na próxima terça-feira a AIESEC Santa Cruz promove o Mate-papo Cultural – Edição Índia. O debate será na sala 101 da Unisc, às 19 horas, com a presença do ex-intercambista Télcio Cardoso.

    Graduado em Ciência da Computação pela Unisc, Télcio foi vice-presidente da área de Intercâmbios da Aiesec Santa Cruz e, durante seis meses, realizou seu intercâmbio como consultor de Tecnologia da Informação na Kaavian Systems Private Limited, uma subsidiária da Smartsoft International Inc., empresa norte-americana que possui escritórios em países como Alemanha, México, Austrália e Índia.

    Por meio desse intercâmbio, teve a oportunidade de aliar a convivência com a cultura indiana ao trabalho na sua área de formação. A Índia é um país com desenvolvimento ascendente e importante no cenário da TI.


    如今大学生实习要去海外 AIESEC员能提出申请

    20090615 04:52:46 浙江在线新闻网站


    Tuesday, June 02, 2009

    AIESEC 2010 Ambition

    “Every day, AIESEC is enabling the development of agents of
    positive change who create the needed impact in society.

    Our rapidly growing network connects high potential people around the world to generate an increasing volume of AIESEC Experiences.

    Every member in our thriving local and global communities of
    learning completes a life-changing AIESEC Experience.

    Our contribution makes us the first choice amongst young
    people and organizations for activating leadership.”

    Wednesday, May 27, 2009

    Good boss in bad times

    This interview summarizes the experience that CEOs and Mangement Boards, including AIESEC Intl., went through during the toughest times of the financial crisis.

    The learnings from this experience are unvaluable and I would like to share it with as many young people as possible.

    Management expert Robert Sutton shares lessons on handling layoffs and teams in crisis.

    Saturday, May 16, 2009

    Prepare for an extraordinary future!

    Last weekend I attended an AIESEC event in the city of Gent, Belgium.

    The event aimed to support members of AIESEC to leave the organization and be ready to converge their learning and prepare for an extraordinary future.

    Personally speaking, the event helped me to ground some questions I had to myself and identify some opportunities laying in front of me.

    One exercise that made me feel excited about the future was to write down a list of achievements I would like to have in my life. In that moment I wrote:
    • Be part of a team working on a global project for a well-known corporation within 5 years
    • Finish a (half) marathon or a (half) triathlon within 5 years
    • Start a company and then allocate it to a CEO within 5 years
    • Provide consultancy to NGOs and SMEs to increase their impact using internet as the tool within 5-10 years
    • Help my parents living an awesome retirement time within 10 years
    • Live with my family (wife and kids) in a house sorrounded by green areas near the ocean in the North Pacific in Costa Rica within 10 years
    • Have a column in a newspaper or write articles for especialized magazine on leadership, management and global markets within 10 years
    • Be a teacher at the Engineering Faculty within 10 years
    • Be part of the team creating a long term plan for the development of Costa Rica within 15-20 years
    Nevertheless, the most impactful realization I had is the importance of planning BIG THINGS! and commit to make them happen even if at the end the path will take me in a differente direction.

    Click here to check a similar post of 2006.

    This exercise was facilitated by a person who is committed to support those choosing to live a passionate life, Houston Spencer.

    Wednesday, May 06, 2009

    Meeting the Minister for Migration and Asylum Policy of Sweden

    Rotterdam, 2009. The President of AIESEC International will be meeting the Minister for Migration and Asylum Policy of Sweden, Mr Tobias Billström.

    The meeting will happen considering that Sweden will host the EU Presidency since July 1st, 2009.

    The Minister believes that: "asylum and migration issues are global and Sweden must work actively to put these issues on the agenda. We must make it easier for people who want to come to Sweden to work here."

    AIESEC has organized international internships for young people for more than 60 years and it has found increasingly challenging to find the right way, within the European policies, to enable exchange.

    The international internship of AIESEC enables the development of the sending and the hosting country providing the individual a unique experience where it gets challenged professionally and personally to perform in a new environment.

    Once our interns go back, they are able to use the set of skills to make remarkable changes in their communites and societies.

    Among our Alumni you find business and social entrepreneurs, corporate leaders as well as politicians and policy makers. Recently Martti Ahtisaari became a Nobel Prize Laureate and Prof. Anibal Cavaco Silva holds the Presidency of Portugal.

    Most migration policies on EU member countries don't enable the delivery of this experiences and, when it combines with the ageing european population, it challenges the countries capability to satisfy their internal demand of employees in the next years decreasing the competitiveness of industries across Europe (Global Population Ageing, Migration and European External Policies, 2006).

    Sunday, May 03, 2009

    How is international exchange different than travelling?

    Sharing thoughts about international exchange and travelling is quiet hard because the impact is mostly defined by how the experience fulfill the expectations of the individual.

    Instead, I prefer to tell you how has exchange shape my life and the life of many people I have met in the past 12 years of my life.

    I have done two exchanges. First, I went with AFS to Australia in 1997 where I did one year of high school in Sydney. I lived with a local family, attended a local high school and played football with a local team. That's the time when I learnt English. (Check video: JFK addressed AFS students)

    Then, a year before I finished my University studies, I went to Romania. I did an international internship in ANTARES SRL for 1.5 years working on Operations and Production. I lived in a small thriving city in the west of the country, Cluj-Napoca.

    Besides that, I have travelled to more than 30 countries in all continents of the world.

    What made the exchanges unique was the fact that beyond visiting the places, meeting the locals and sharing their food, I was able to dive into their culture and take the oxigen tank off.

    We managed to forget that we come from different places and that we have different sets of values and beliefs. I believe that happened because of the systematic, ordinary and challenging task of working and achieving together. Something I never felt while travelling.

    At the same time, while reflecting on how I was feeling, reacting and behaving a door was opened to improve and see my self evolving as my choices were made. It gave me the power to drive my development and my life.

    My best friends during the exchange also shared that path and an unbreakable connection was made between us and our countries.

    I have also learnt a lot on how other countries have faced the key challenges that hold them back and the passion that drives me back to my country makes me think a lot on how can Costa Rica moce forward much faster.

    I don't judge my choices to go on exchange as better or worst than the ones made by others. I just know that they drove me to a point on which I can't stop thinking that the world is full of opportunities and that the gap to leave in a connected world is much bigger than we think and that we are able to experience through internet and social media.

    Explore it yourself:

    "So that in your own country you can be the kind of citizen of which they are proud, which they will support, and that they will look for leadership"
    JFK - July 18, 1963

    Wednesday, April 29, 2009

    Do you want to make a difference?

    I hope you are reading this post because you want to make a difference.

    My best advise is: assume your choice.

    Making a difference is not an easy job. That's the whole point!

    Most likely in the beginning you don't even know how to start. You won't find information that back up your hypotheses. You won't find any cheer-leaders to support you and help go through. Actually the people that opposes the change you are proposing happen to be quiet smart!

    And that's why, if you want to make a difference it needs to be your choice!

    Because only in that way you won't complain, since your expectations are on you making a difference and not in the others making that difference.

    You won't look for excuses because the excuses don't take you any closer to your goal and you are too busy trying to make a difference.

    I love very much my country and it also happens that I agree with the thoughts contained in this article: (Spanish only) (Summary: let's stop blaming the US and let's start focusing on what we can do to move forward as a region)

    What the President of my country didn't mention is that the place where you are born is not what determines your ability to make a difference.

    I deeply believe that people who is able to make a difference is a consequence of their own choices and the discipline they delivered on them time after time.

    Make your choice.

    Saturday, April 25, 2009

    Diversity and inclusiveness

    I have been around global organizations and international exchange programs for more than 11 years now. I have lived over 1 year in 5 countries of 3 continents. I didn't know the language of any of the countries in the moment I arrived, now I speak two of them and feel deeply connected to the people i met there.

    Today, I am addicted to diverse and dynamic environments. I love the mix of colours, smells, textures, thoughts, perspectives, accents, music and everything that makes our world unique.

    Nevertheless, I have also witness and experience the challenges that arise from diverse environments and diverse communities of people.

    I believe that the root of the issue relies in the fact that it is 'natural' for us to connect with individuals and environments that are familiar to us.

    The 'natural' is, in most of the cases, the right thing to do. We always look at ecosystems to find ways to live in balance with ourselves and our sorroundings. We analyze the natural interactions and replicate them to generate things like energy and even boost the productivity of connections between people.

    I also believe that the value human beings bring to this world relies on the fact that we can appreciate what is natural but at the same time challenge it and make it better.

    I believe that inclusiveness makes human beings unique and valuable. Inclusiveness is, in my opinion, the missing link to build thriving and dynamic creative environments. It is the key to start find ways to connect in unexpected ways what we already know.

    Being inclusive is challenging. It is challenging when you know you need to it, when you choose you want to do it, when you fail trying to do it. It is a selfless exercise and it rewards you with a life changing experience.

    Explore. Discover. Evolve.

    Friday, April 17, 2009

    Drive innovation by increasing diversity

    Today I believe that inclusiveness is about connecting the diverse parts of the puzzle, creativity is about connecting them in unexpected ways and innovation about using both of them to generate change, hopefully, positive change.

    Therefore, gathering more parts and more ways to connect them is the first step to generate innovation.

    At the heart of this experience is how groups are created, grown and harvest. At each stage, you will encounter how our static community mind-set holds back for becoming a dynamic and diverse innovation centre.

    Let diversity be a part of your life, understand diversity as a concept far beyond cultural differences and more closely to what defines you as an emotional, sexual, professional and spiritual being.

    Enjoy a TED Talk from a Prize Winner who is an AIESEC Alumnus from Venezuela:

    Tuesday, April 14, 2009

    You decide what the story is going to be about!

    We have 4 Managers positions open at AIESEC International!

    The Managers work together with the Vice Presidents on External Relations OR Information Management for a period of 14 months, starting June 2009, with the possibility to get an extension for good performance.

    The External Relations Team connects with current and potential Global Partners trying to improve the quality of the service and identify new areas of business. Next year, they will also work closer to countries to make sure we capitalize in the true potential of the global market. Awesome job for people with business development, account management and sales skills. English is required and other major languages are a plus.

    The Information Management Team provides technical and user support and manages innovation around our virtual communication platforms (, and the connected online channels). The position opened is great for a person looking to work with major players in the IT industry and face the challenges and opportunities of connecting a global organization present in 100 countries. The person must speak English, must have IT skills and be interest in education.

    I joined AIESEC International after working in Central America, Romania and China. As an Industrial Engineer and as a young professional with a global career, it was the best way to catalyze my experience.

    What you can get out of these roles?
    • Experience a unique Team. Everyone is between 20-30 y/o, everyone has proven professional results and exciting ambitions, everyone has international experience and everyone wants to make our world a better place. We come from 12-16 countries, all continents and different personal stories. The environment is dynamic and challenging. The scope is global. I think AI is for people who wants to make a change, be challenged and being required to deliver only the best.
    • Connect with AIESEC members around the World!. The network has 35 000 volunteers in more than 100 countries. The leadership bodies meet twice a year (Malaysia in Aug 2009 and Tunisia in Feb 2010) and we also have regional meetings in March. On a daily basis, we connect depending on our role and the needs/opportunities of the countries. At the end, you get to know many amazing people and you have a smaller group with which you share most of your year. I am sure that any country I will visit in the future will be a country with a friend waiting to go out for a drink and remember good times.
    • Build a network of Senior supporters. Former Sony Europe CEO, ING Global Wholesales VP, Capgemini HR VP, Henley Business School Dean are some easy-to-understand descriptors of the type of people that will be coaching and giving you advise during your term. We meet 4 times per year and they attend the Global Meetings to make sure we deliver in our commitments as a team.
    • Get connected with the global market. Our Partners include DPWN-DHL, PwC, Microsoft, TCS, Nike, IE, IBS, Electrolux, Artemisia, Husqvarna, Alcatel-Lucent, InBev, Ingersoll Rand and UBS. We also collaborate with several NGOs and Governmental Agencies. We are in constant contact with them which give us a firsthand understanding of the global markets and trends shaping the world.
    • Experience Western Europe. History, cities, football, structure and processes, social care, migration, cultural issues and great parties!
    • Enjoy the individual journey. Definitively this is my favorite reason to be on AI. When you merge all of the above, you end up trying to identify how is it that you can give more of yourself and you realize that the answer lies on how aware are you of your motivations, emotions and the way you connect with people. The AIESEC International experience is more about what you decide the story to be and I can tell you the it is not a decision until you start doing something about it! I just love it!
    If you are interested this data is for you!
    • Application DL: April 24th, 12GMT
    • More info for AIESEC Members:
    • If you are not currently a member of AIESEC but you identify yourself with roles please send a CV and a Motivation Letter to: and and we will get back to you asap.

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