Our Impact as a Youth Leadership Movement


‘One person can make the difference, and everyone should try’ – John F. Kennedy

One person is all it takes to cause an impact. One young person’s choice to be a leader can inspire many more young people to become leaders. Malala Yousafzai inspires a generation of young girls to attain an education and live the life they deserve. That is an example of impact.

So if all it takes to shift the planet is one youthful voice, imagine what can be done with over 70,000 young voices!

Our mission is peace and fulfillment of humankind’s potential through developing young people to be leaders, and that number – spread over 126 countries – is how many of us are currently striving to achieve that goal. Since 1948, many more young people have made the same choice and that so far is AIESEC’s story.

AIESEC UK Youth for Global Goals But within this story are a million chapters of how we create our impact as a youth leadership movement. If I could, I would share them all with you, but for now, I will tell you my favorite one.

#WorldsLargestLesson On 12th July 2017, 600 young people from 126 countries came together in Cartagena, Columbia to teach 5000 children about the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (Press Release, 2017).

The SDGs are a series of 17 ambitious ‘Global Goals’ set in 2015 to be achieved by 2030 and together it envisions a world free of poverty, illiteracy, climate change and other injustices. AIESEC’s mission is aligned with these special goals and every step we take is a step towards achieving them.

As of now, only 45% of the youth know about these Global Goals (Global Annual Report, 2016). As the world’s largest youth organisation, we believe that it is not only our responsibility to contribute to reaching these targets, but also increasing this number and empowering future generations to become world citizens too.

And that day was symbolic of the kind of impact that AIESEC can have on the world. By making thousands of children aware of the world around them – where many of them had likely not met anyone outside their country before – we are inspiring the new generation to grow up as global citizens and hence leaders.

AIESEC UK Volunteering SDGs And this was only one of many stories that AIESEC creates.

The truth is, when you are an AIESECer, you are not only a leader but you are also a story-maker. As part of this organisation, your main goal is to facilitate exchange experiences for young people so that they can develop themselves and broaden their own horizons. When you send one individual on an exchange, they are not the only one that gains something from the experience because our projects all exist in efforts to improve communities around the world by giving them the resources and skills to help each other.

So as an AIESECer, that one young student you inspired to take a leap of faith in another country to volunteer there comes back with a story of their own and a new worldview. From July 2015 to 2016 alone, over 30,000 youth were mobilised to volunteer abroad and develop their leadership potential. In that time, four and a half million hours (Global Annual Report, 2016) were given to generating social impact (more than half of it being spent on education and cultural understanding).


The amount of time, effort and passion spent on making a difference is what makes us a powerful movement. We have come such a long way in the road to peace and fulfillment of humankind’s potential, but we are not there yet.

Movements are made up of motivated and determined story-makers like you…and your story starts here.