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News & Press: Event Recap

An Alum's Experience at 2014 Summer National Conference in Charlotte

Monday, September 22, 2014   (0 Comments)
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(by Bart Carmichael, Charlotte Hub Leader, Penn ’80/US ’81)

It had been a few years since I was able to attend an actual AIESEC Conference full of the future leaders of the world. What I can report is that while many things have changed others stay the same. We hear that AIESEC is the largest student run organization in the world. I never really gave that much thought before the SNC. This time, I took the time to listen and look around to better comprehend the idea that everything going on around me had no real direction from anyone who was more than a few years out of college and most of the people doing the work were either still in college or graduated recently. As I thought back to my time in AIESEC, I truly appreciated the independence and self reliance that AIESEC member possesses. This small snap shot of the future, underscored that the youth of today will handle the challenges of their generation and the world will continue to mature and develop. I can report, we will be in good hands!

While I was impressed with the ability of these students to put on a conference of several hundred people – on their own, I was equally awestruck by the respect this group provided to an alum like myself. I was able to participate in a session where the AIESECERS brainstormed of what their generation expects/needs from the more seasoned (OK – much older) folks like myself. As I would participate in the session, I was touched by the perceived respect that these attendees had for the points and questions I provided. The current AIESEC generation has the ability to research and learn any topic at a moments notice through the internet and a search engine and yet they appeared to listen intently to the words of an Alum from another era as someone who would immediately contribute to their knowledge base.

I also attended the AIESEC Gala Dinner and had the opportunity to present AIESEC Life to these soon to be Alums. It was strange that the current AIESEC rules don’t permit the typical inebriated audience that many of us were part of years ago – but I know now that Life after AIESEC (AIESEC Life) will continue to grow and evolve as more current AIESECers search out ways to continue the passion that only people who have been active in their Local Committees and have attended conferences can truly experience. That passion was on exhibit at the conference.

Only a few alumni participated in the events when I was in AIESEC (even though Tom Browne did put on a great Alumni Fundraiser event). But, we didn’t have the on-going sustainable program that AIESEC Life now is. When I spoke to the crowd about AIESEC Life, it was a great experience to have potentially touched many AIESECers and perhaps influenced them to keep AIESEC a part of their lives post AIESEC as members in the Alumni Association. After this great experience, I am even more excited about attending the AIESEC 60th Gala Bash in a couple of years. I can’t wait to see what we are all up to then!

See you there!
Bart Carmichael (


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