Tens of thousands of students and recent graduates, each year, in over 100 countries manage an organisation that facilitates tens of thousands of international exchanges so that young people may experience and understand cultures other than their own.
We believe that being part of this global community, taking these management and leadership opportunities and having the chance to learn and question our roles in society gives us as AIESECers a bit of power and direction in becoming change agents for positive impact.
A.I.E.S.E.C. was originally an acronym for Association Internationale des Étudiants en Sciences Économiques et Commerciales. AIESEC is no longer used as an acronym but simply as the name of the organisation.
AIESEC was founded way back in 1948 in 7 countries in Europe. Now, more than 60 years later we're present in over 110 countries and territories and are still growing.
What's more, since its foundation, AIESEC has been entirely youth-led. This means every single year, new leadership teams are elected from the membership at every level of the international association.
This means we have over 1,000,000 alumni who've been through an 'AIESEC Experience' many of whom have gone on to do incredible things. Our alumni include leaders within business, global politicians and even a Nobel Peace Laureate.
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1930s - 1948
THE EARLY YEARSThe idea behind AIESEC started as early as the 1930s when student started exchanging between European countries. The War put an end to this in all but the neutral Scandinavian countries but more than ever affirmed the need for AIESEC.
AIESEC's FOUNDINGAIESEC was officially founded in 1948. At the time, the mission was "to expand the understanding of a nation by expanding the understanding of the individuals, changing the world one person at a time."
THE NETWORK EXPANDSPrior to 1951 AIESEC comprised its original member countries: Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Norway, The Netherlands, France and Sweden. At International Congress 1951 in Paris, France: Switzerland becomes an official member country.
AIESEC UK IS FOUNDEDFounder Lionel Simons reacts to a posting by AIESEC on a noticeboard in the hallways of his university LSE. Within a year, 12 campuses had become part of the national association, over 120 students had been exchanged and the UK was accepted as a full member country.
RAPID GROWTHGrowth in exchange doubled almost every year along with the expansion of AIESEC to three new continents by late 1950's; moving on to Africa and N. America. Seminars became new means for us to conduct systematic and formal study of issues that were locally relevant in society.
SECRETARY GENERAL EST.In 1960 the Barcelona Congress approved the Geneva location, with a first Secretary General working under the Presiding Country Presidency It was two British students responsible for the establishment of the Secretariat in Geneva.
EXPANSION TO ASIAA dinner gathering in February 1962 where Bernd M. Thomas first met with Professor Shoshin Nakajima of Wasada University in Japan to explain about AIESEC for the Asia Expansion Mission.
AN AUDIENCE WITH JFKDelegates of AIESEC's 1963 International Congress held in Princeton, US were welcomed by President John F. Kennedy and his wife Jackie before the conference started. As recalled by Lionel Simons, founder of AIESEC UK, who chaired the congress.
AN AUDIENCE WITH THE POPEAIESEC's supporter base reaches fever pitch as Pope Paul VI welcomes AIESEC's global leadership teams to International Congress 1964 in Rome, Italy. By this point, AIESEC is present in 36 countries across 5 continents.
PUSHING DIGITAL FRONTIERSWith annual global exchange numbers surpassing the 4,500 mark manual matching of students to traineeships just couldn't cut it. MIT students with the support of IBM break huge ground with the implementation of computerised systems.
A TRULY GLOBAL NETWORKFor the first time in 1977, AIESEC had full member committees in 50 countries across 6 continents. Even more exciting was the fact that this expansion didn't show any sign of slowing despite a global depression.
CONGRESS IN COVENTRY1982 saw the UK host International Congress in contribution to the global plenary. This event saw global youth leaders from over 65 countries meet in unison for a common goal, this time in Coventry, England.
THE 5,000 BARRIERFor the first time ever the network breaks the 5,000 international exchange mark in one calendar year. The feat is commended by supporters as an unprecedented achievement of students facilitating the experiences of their colleagues.
THE AIESEC WAYThe network is united with a new mission statement: What we Envision: "Peace and fulfilment of humankind's potential."
CONGRESS IN BRIGHTONAIESEC UK once again host International Congress, this time in Brighton. Prime Minister John Major offers his endorsement to AIESEC's activities and to the congress in Brighton.
CELEBRATING 50 YEARS1998 sees AIESEC's 50th celebrations and witnesses many of AIESEC's hundreds of thousands of alumni come out in support of the organisation's ongoing efforts. Kofi Annan, UN Secretary General addresses the Congress in Stockholm.
CONGRESS IN EDINBURGHThe new millennium sees AIESEC UK host International Congress again, but this time in Edinburgh, Scotland. View the congress video
A MIDTERM AMBITIONDelegates at International Congress 2005 develop a mid-term ambition to push the organisation to achieve a greater impact. Generation 2010 enters with the goal of achieving annual exchanges exceeding 10,000 by 2010.
60TH CELEBRATIONSThe network, past and present, comes together once again, this time to celebrate 60 years of sustained youth-led impact. Watch the video
THE AIESEC WAYThe AIESEC Way evolves to include a descriptor: "AIESEC is a global, non-political, independent, not-for-profit organisation run by students and recent graduates of institutions of higher education."
AMBITION ACHIEVED & RESETAfter delivering an unprecedented amount of exchanges the network meets again to decide upon AIESEC 2015. AIESEC UK's membership then co-creates it's contribution towards the global direction. Watch the video
UNPRECEDENTED SUCCESSThe end of financial year 2011 shows signs of huge success for AIESEC. Over 18,000 international exchanges were delivered by 60,000 members in 110 countries and territories.
ROADMAP FOR MOREAIESEC UK's membership define the organisation's message and commit to establishing AIESEC as a first choice for leadership development in the UK. The future for AIESEC in the UK is exciting.