Domenic Smith - International Congress, Egypt 2013
Domenic Smith Talks about IC in Egypt
Flying into Cairo for AIESEC’s 65th International Congress is an experience that I will never forget. I did not go to the pyramids and I did not get to see the cradle of society like many who traveled to Egypt before me. Instead, I witnessed something far more profound. I saw a country that was truly in chaos, a country that was starving for new leadership. AIESEC’s presence of over 800 delegates from 124 countries at IC, at such a volatile time in Egypt’s history, showed me the true passion and dedication that this organization and its members have toward developing globally minded leaders to try and make the world a better place. AIESEC did not give up on Egypt and cancel the conference, which would have been very easy to do. We did not boycott the conference because it endangered us or because our governments warned against it. Instead, as an international plenary, we demonstrated the support that we have for AIESEC Egypt and the belief that we, the AIESEC community, have that one day the members of AIESEC Egypt will become the leaders that their country needs to restore peace and prosperity. The world came together at IC for the 65th time to show that we believe in the impact that young people can have on creating a brighter and more accepting future. Experiencing 124 countries, united by a mission, working together to fulfill AIESEC’s 2015 goals was an incredibly powerful experience. When do you ever have the chance to see 124 countries work together towards one common goal?
My IC experience also provided me with clarity on AIESEC US and how we fit into the international plenary - a level of clarity that could only be found at an international conference. What I learned was that the mentality of AIESEC US in recent history has been one of a nation slowly on the rise, an organization that still remains in its infancy after its 2008 revolution. We have not dared to be bold. We have been satisfied with being an average member of the international plenary and have not been willing to compare ourselves to countries such as Brazil, China or India - all countries that dwarf us in exchange results. AIESEC US has no mentality of growth through expansion; however, when you look at all the highest performing AIESEC entities, the one commonality that they all share is that they have been expansion oriented.
I was shocked to learn that countries like Germany have almost saturated their university markets. In the US, we have over 4000 universities and we have just over 30 LCs. Not only are we nowhere near reaching our potential in tapping our enormous university and student markets, we also no longer have presence in key markets across the country such as Los Angeles and Boston. Even New York City has only one LC. How can we, AIESEC US, have the impact that we want to have as an organization if we are unable to tap into the vast resources that are available to us? AIESEC US should not be a periphery country within the international plenary; AIESEC US should be a leading entity in the international plenary. We have an obligation to be the leaders that AIESEC International needs to grow like never before. It is my intention to help shift the mindset and culture of AIESEC US and to be part of the change that this country needs to have the greatest impact on the world that we can.
I want to thank everyone who personally supported me in making my goal of attending an international conference a reality. The experience that I obtained was a once in a lifetime opportunity and the personal growth that I experienced at this conference is incomparable to any national conference that I have attended. Without your support, this opportunity would not have been possible and for that I will be forever grateful to you. If you are interested in learning more about my IC experience, feel free to email me at Michiganfirstname.lastname@example.org.
Local Committee President, AIESEC Michigan