The Race to Improving the World Beyond 2015

Did you know there are only 500 days left until the end of the Millennium Development Goals?

As 2015 is slowly approaching, the world is closely watching to witness the accomplishments of the 8 MDGs, set by the United Nations back in the year 2000.

So where are we now? How much did we achieve?

“The world has reduced extreme poverty by half, efforts in the fight against malaria and tuberculosis have shown results, access to an improved drinking water source became a reality for 2.3 billion people”, etc. says The Millennium Development Goals Report 2014.

Let’s take a closer look at the goals and progress reports from this video:

1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger – 700 million people have been lifted out of poverty, but 1 in 5 still live on less than 1.25 dollars per day in developing countries. And although the world has reduced extreme poverty in half, 842 million people around the world still suffer from chronic hunger.

2. Achieve universal primary education – The number of children with no access to primary school education decreased from 102 million in 2000 to 58 million in 2012. While the amount has significantly decreased, the number of out-of-school children is still alarming.

3. Reduce child mortalityUnder-5 mortality rate was reduced almost by 50%, but a lot more needs to be achieved if we want to achieve 2/3 reduction.

4. Improve maternal health – Maternal mortality ratio is down 45% since 1990. However, every day about 800 women die from causes related to pregnancy and childbirth.

5. Ensure environmental sustainability – Since 2012, 2.3 billion more have access to improved drinking water, but 748 million still use water from an unimproved source.

For more statistics, take a look at:

 

While we ought to celebrate our achievements and recognize the progress we’ve made, we shouldn’t forget how far the world is from where we want it to be. Working on these issues is not priority only now or only until 2015, but every day.

How can we contribute to this?

On August 19th 2014, 700 young people from 124 countries and territories gathered at the Global Youth to Business Forum, an event bringing together top young leaders and experts, business and thought leaders, with the aim of generating new, actionable ideas that will impact the world and its future.

Y2B

They spent the whole day discussing the topics ranging from Diversity and Inclusion, Technology and Innovation to Climate Change, Sustainability and Changing Education. Together, they have come up with action steps that could help improve each of those areas and move the world forward. Stay tuned for our report to find out about the solutions youth and business co-created together!

Don’t forget that we have only 500 days left until MDGs. At the same time, let’s not forget that impact is a daily responsibility. This is why AIESEC offers volunteer internships that help tackle social topics such as cultural understanding, education and literacy, social entrepreneurship, environment, health and lifestyle and many others. For more information, please visit: http://globalcitizen.aiesec.org

This is how we contribute to making an impact every day and helping move this world forward. Share with us:

How will you contribute to bringing the world closer to the vision of 2015? 

 

Dancing our way to world peace

Martha Graham once said “Dance is the hidden language of the soul”. Agnes de Mille’s words were “The truest expression of a people is in its dances and its music…”  And Hans Bos said “When I dance, I cannot judge, I cannot hate, I cannot separate myself from life. I can only be joyful and whole, that is why I dance.” During a dance, joy and happiness bring up the best in people and differences are for a moment forgotten or embraced and cherished.

If you are not a part of AIESEC, but have met someone who is, you’ve probably wondered – So why do AIESECers dance? Why do they jump up at the sound of certain songs and start dancing enthusiastically, while you are in a complete shock as to what just happened?

At the beginning of every local, national and international conference we have the tradition of presenting each entity present and their culture by dancing roll calls. As decades go by, the tradition continues and AIESEC entities present their culture through different dances.

Imagine young people from over 124 countries and territories in one room, showcasing their culture and doing roll call by dancing, laughing and cheering for each other.  The barriers and borders disappear, bringing the world together at one place. Diversity, richness of cultures, the splash of colors and positive energy make the room come alive and connect people of fundamentally different backgrounds.

 

The beauty is not just in the moment, but in the fact that when the music stops and you hear the song again someplace else, you are reminded of the entity which danced it, of their colors, faces, smiles and culture.

AIESEC is unique precisely because it creates a global family of young people, who take time to get to know each other and learn each other’s dances, thus expressing respect and open-mindedness towards different cultures.

When was the last time you saw the world at one place?

We did today and that’s why we are passionate about cultural understanding and intercultural dialogue.

 If you believe cultural understanding is crucial in today’s globalized world, share in a comment your idea of how we can facilitate it!

dancing

 

The Time We Brought About World Peace – Everyday Leadership

Contributed by Anum Malik

In a world where polarized views engulf so many hearts and the bad guys seem to get their way, what is the beacon of hope? As innocent people suffer all around the globe, you feel overwhelmed with a sense of frustrating and livid defeat.

You’re distraught and you wonder how these current ‘leaders’ can let the world burn like this. People are yelling at each other and so quick to blame. Hate propaganda is on the rise, fueling the anger of people around the earth. In such large-scale conflicts with roots so deep, you wonder how you, as one single individual, can fit anywhere in this warring world and bring some peace.

I’m going to tell you about how you can take out hate. How you can disarm evil, and overrun armies of intolerance. I’m going to tell you about the time we took out hate, disarmed evil, and brought about world peace…and how you can too.

Engaging in combat against hate is arguably one of the toughest battles of mankind. It’s about changing people’s hearts. Don’t underestimate the role of the masses, the role of everyday leaders, the role of yourself. Your army is the power of your voice, armed with your experience. You must take out hate with peace.

Thanks to AIESEC, tens of thousands of people had a life changing experience in a new land and then came home and without realizing, became an honest spokesperson for that foreign land to their own people.

An AIESEC exchange transforms you into not just an ambassador, but also a strategic asset. An asset equipped with knowledge and a voice. Using your experience, you attack with empathy, love, and ideas. That’s how you disarm evil. You lead the mission to cure hate with tolerance. That’s a leader.

I always struggled to understand what exactly was going on in the Middle East. It was a mystical land of rich history, but all I read and all I saw was fighting, conflict and violence. Last year in the summer of 2013, while interning in Egypt, I found myself caught right in the midst of the turmoil. However, rather than confirming any of the stereotypes aforementioned, something quite extraordinary happened to me.

The AIESECers in Egypt were dedicated to not just protecting me, but showing me another aspect of the situation. The Egyptians I encountered were eager to demonstrate that they did not represent the stories that were portrayed around the world about the violent nature of the Egyptian people. They longed for me to understand that they were civilians, not supporting any violence or destruction that came out of the political uprisings. They just wanted peace. I, along with many other interns, took a risk by going to Egypt so we could interact with the people for ourselves. We dared to allow our minds to be free from what we thought we knew.

Egyptian AIESECers and interns. Photo taken at Mokattam, a mountain overlooking the city of Cairo.

But why stop there?

We all eventually left Egypt, but our role in this battle wasn’t over. The Egyptians provided me with an unparalleled and eye opening experience during a challenging time in their country, and it was my duty to report what I saw. Interns of all different countries who found themselves in this unexpected situation in Cairo returned home and word spread like fire about what we had seen. I reached out to all the media outlets I could, trying to find anyone who would listen. My own university heard my call and invited me to speak at a panel. I was a storyteller, using my words to combat notions about the Egyptian people on every occasion I could. It wasn’t about if I supported or didn’t support the counterrevolution. I wasn’t a spokesperson for the political wing of Egypt. I was the spokesperson for the average peaceful Egyptian and their culture. That’s who I supported.

However, as an AIESECer, it was not sufficient to just speak for Egypt in America. It was my responsibility to show the Middle East that I was an American, and that I too didn’t fit their stereotype.

I went back to the Middle East and joined AIESEC Jordan. AIESEC constantly reminded me that I was a leader, and made me realize that I was fully capable to take on a project of my own. I partnered with a Syrian organization in Jordan and together, weaving in both values in from the east and west, we synergized and created a program for refugee children.

As AIESECers, we were left speechless abroad, and then we became storytellers. We were basking in the comfort of our own lands, and then we became global citizens. We were left thinking we had no way to affect the world’s state of despair, and then we became everyday leaders.

So, how did I bring about world peace? Well, it was one of the best moments of my life, and it occurred in the subtlest of ways. It was a sugar cube I received at an AIESEC conference a few months after I returned from Egypt. It was a small note, but the words were so powerful, proving to me that what I was doing, what we all were doing, was working. I was just a girl telling a story. But next thing I knew, I had taken out hate and brought around world peace.

The sugar cube reads: “Anum, you gave me hope for the future of Arab-American Relations. Never stop telling your stories.”

You have the power to take out hate. If each of us adds up our little attempts towards peace such as this, together we might just attain world peace. Go out, explore and allow your way of thinking to be challenged. It’s time to take a risk, sweetheart.

How will you make a difference by starting with listening?

Get involved with AIESEC today and embark on a global internship experience.

“This story was written in contribution to the AIESEC Everyday Leader Series, that showcases stories of everyday leaders who are changing the world. Share your story with the world.