A Learning Organization, Aiesec

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  • Topic: Learning, Knowledge management, Leadership
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  • Published : January 18, 2007
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AIESEC history

What began in 1948 as an organization to help develop "friendly relations" between member countries is now a global association with activities in 91 different countries and territories.

The founding members of AIESEC started to build the organization between 1946 - 1948, but a clear identity was defined in 1948 89 students participated in the Exchange Program in 1949 and Exchange was defined as the core activity of the organization. In the coming years more and more countries joined the network and AIESEC became global in a very short period by being present on all the continents.

The number of students and organizations involved in the exchange program grew rapidly and constantly, reaching 2467 exchanges by the end of 1960 and 4232 by the end of 1970.
Seminars were first introduced as part of trainees' reception experiences, in a proposal from AIESEC in Germany in 1961. It was well received by other countries, and a general set of seminar topics to be addressed was proposed and accepted. They were mainly economic in nature, and for the first time AIESEC was addressing specific issues in its activities-stated clearly in a non-political way.

At the 1974 International Congress in Bordeaux, an important motion was passed: the minimum length of an Exchange traineeship had to be 6 weeks. This measure improved the quality of our Exchanges.

In 1976 an International Theme Program was established that focused all international, regional, and local seminars on specific topics. This idea continued and grew through various stages.

After this the focus of the organization was on addressing global themes besides the traditional Exchange Program. Themes like International Trade, Management Education, Sustainable development, Entrepreneurship and Corporate Responsibility were discussed at local, national and global seminars.

In the late 90's the discussion about the relevance of the organization brought the Exchange Program on the main agenda and more and more effort was put in ensuring growth in this area.
Information systems were developed to make the process faster and easier. Insight I was launched in 1997 and Insight II in 2001. As the focus of the organization was the eXchange program again, the number of exchanges started to grow.

Looking for more relevance, nowadays AIESEC is the international platform for young people to discover and develop their potential. Our innovative approach to developing young people focuses on taking a proactive role, developing self-awareness and a personal vision, building networks, and developing capacity to drive change. We do this through an international platform of opportunities that provides over 5,000 leadership opportunities, 3,500 work abroad opportunities, 350 conferences, and virtual tools to build networks and later in 1949 at the Stockholm Congress.


Present in over 800 universities in 91 countries and territories, AIESEC, the world's largest student organization, is the international platform for young people to discover and develop their potential so as to have a positive impact in society.

Towards this aim, we provide 3,500 professional work abroad opportunities for university students and graduates, offer over 5,000 leadership positions to our members each year at all levels of the organization and we run more than 350 conferences. Together with a focus on building personal networks and exploring the direction and ambition of their future, AIESEC has an innovative approach to engaging and developing young people.

Our cooperating organizations , literally thousands from all sectors globally and more than 50 in Finland, look at AIESEC as a way to support the development of young people and to have access to high-potential young talent from around the world.

Our alumni are leaders within these organizations and their communities – using the experience, skills, and increased vision that AIESEC gave...
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