What do you want for 2017?

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People have been arguing that 2016 was a bad year from various points of view. It is a year where world crises have been brought to the forefront in all forms of media, as well as the leading figures surrounding them. Recently, this has been the devastating situation in Aleppo, Syria. The Syrian people’s suffering has strongly impacted people globally. Beyond, there is so much more fighting and suffering in the world – such as those recently killed in Germany or those suffering in Yemen.

The picture I paint may be grim. Though as a youth, it is time to realise that this is the world we are just entering. We have one shot at this life and to boldly and wisely shape the planet before it falls to the next generation. In the past, we have seen so much war, conflict and hatred. We can so easily be complacent and let the world fall back to its cruel ways. Is this really the legacy we want to leave?

Now is the time to start thinking about working towards a changing world.  It has been said that the youth are the future of the world, and I completely agree. It is up to us to identify our compassion and unite our common humanity.

Some people may say that: “this is just one area of the world or one group which is far away from my home, why should I care?”

However this is the wrong mentality.

The numbers do not lie, and these numbers show people suffering and struggling around the world. These global issues impact us all, so we all must work towards a solution. According to the UN Refugee Agency, there are reports of over 65 million people being forcibly displaced. Additionally, we must look at those faced with substandard living conditions and those in embedded inequalities. There are many shocking statistics on these two issues. 795 million people around the world do not have enough to eat, and 896 million people in developing countries survive on $1.90 a day or less according to the Hunger Project. These statistics can also be broken down to show that 60 percent of the world’s hungry are women . Statistics in education and equality do not paint a much better picture. According to UNESCO, It is estimated that 122 million youth and 755 adults are illiterate, in many cases because they do not have access to proper education. These statistics show how much we need to bring awareness and resolve economic inequality, gender inequality, food security, quality education and peace worldwide.

Now you must be thinking of why we are bringing these statistics up now? We are not trying to upset people around the holidays as people are trying to relax and enjoy time with loved ones…

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At AIESEC, we wish to show people how they can give other people a chance to widen their perspectives and challenge themselves as youths. You may think we, as youths, have a limited ability to change the world, especially when we are young and still studying. There are many people who underestimate us because of our age and education level, however I have been touched by another student from my local chapter who shares this view:

“In light of being frustrated in the world I see, I have applied and am now officially accepted to go to Islamabad, Pakistan next summer for six weeks to take part in AIESEC Pakistan’s national ‘SHE’ project. Working on equal gender rights won’t create world peace or perform other miracles rightaway but it will be an extremely educational, rewarding, and humbling experience for someone wanting to change the current socio-political discourse. No more labelling an entire ethnic group as potential terrorists, no more racial profiling based on fear, prejudice, and no more succumbing to gender stereotypes. Ultimately, I refuse to remain in my own bubble. We can do better. I can do better.” – Iina Jaara December 2016


We have the power to change the world as we are the future leaders of the world. As a youth organisation, we strongly believe that by empowering youth is the best way to create better future leaders. By going on a volunteer project organised by one of the international AIESEC communities, you will be working towards changing these statistics. Our global volunteer projects are aligned with the United Nations sustainable development goals. These goals are another initiative to reduce these statistics. We send people abroad every summer to see the world, improve themselves, and make a difference to the local community. One of our new exchange participants has made a great statement about why to do thee projects.

With more people like this we can make a difference in the world. One person on one project will only impact the local community, however with multiple projects we can start to initiate more of a chance. In the past, walls were built using different stone of similar materials which worked together to build a great structure. We can do the same thing when we decide, enough is enough. Now is the time to join the initiative. So while you are enjoying the holiday season and reflect on the past year, take some time to think about what you can do in 2017. Do you want to make a difference in the world? Are you ready to make a change in yourself and develop your leadership skills? Do you want to experience a country as more than just a tourist? Join AIESEC when you answer yes to these questions and together we can work towards changing these statistics. People say that youth are the future to the world, let’s show older generations we are ready to make this world a better place. Take a step to think about creating a better world during 2017. Together, let’s change these statistics for entering into 2018 a year from now. It is time to change the world. Kaylea is a Year 1 History student at the University of Aberdeen. To check out aforementioned volunteering opportunities, click ‘Global Volunteer’ on opportunities.aiesec.org and explore accordingly.