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Boland Scholar: Rifayat Uddin
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As I landed in Taiwan and looked outside, I could only think of the past 48 hours. I had taken my first train ride in America to get to Chicago to get my visa for Taiwan; got my visa in two hours, boldly booked my flight for the very next day to attend AIESEC’s 66th Annual International Congress. It was time to get out of the aircraft, and I clearly remember telling myself, ‘it was all worth it’.

 

IC 2014 gave me the clarity of AIESEC purpose and the significance of AIESEC US in the network. More importantly, IC gave me the opportunity to see and feel the strength of the network firsthand. I can’t think of any other occasion where young global leaders from over 124 countries and territories come together for one purpose. Being in the middle of such passionate AIESECers, who truly came together to unleash the true potential of AIESEC, to learn and to grown, was a very humbling experience.

 

IC was incredible because of the conversations I had with people. The conversations I had with people from various entities, about their realities and their purpose helped re-fuel the passion that I have for AIESEC One of my key realizations during the conference was how members of each entity believed in the purpose of AIESEC. Entities like Colombia were able to grow immensely because they saw AIESEC as a means for them to develop the education system of their country and shape their youth. It helped me understand the importance of seeing the value in why we do what we do. I remember being asked about why AIESEC in the United States exists, and whether it was really necessary for AIESEC to be present in the States. The question did take me by surprise, and made me question why I, or in fact so many other members of AIESEC are putting in the effort to make it bigger and better everyday. The answer to me was simple- to make better global leaders in the United States because leadership is the fundamental solution to the problems all around the world.

 

My experience at my first international conference also helped me understand the significance of each local chapter in AIESEC in the United States. Every entity around the globe wants the United States to grow. There are several projects entities are hesitating to work on that are specifically designed for students from the untied states because they know the entities of the United States can never fulfill that demand. Entities, including mine, haven’t been fulfilling our responsibility. I understood how important it is to work with other entities, but more than that, to gain their trust by delivering what the global plenary expects from us. 2015 is bound to happen if the United States grows like never before. That was my biggest realization going into International Congress and I truly believe AIESECers of the US can make it happen. We need to be the game changers for the international plenary; we need to help other entities grow. These countries are relying on us, and we need to do everything in our power to make it happen.

 

The 10 days I spent, interacting with AIESECers from all over the world helped me understand the organization so much better. I joined this amazing organization in February 2013, and about a year and a half later, I was attending AIESEC’s biggest conference. I have continuously been challenged in this organization but I know I have a lot to do for AIESEC in the United States as well as the international plenary. I am so thankful to have received the JoAnn Boland scholarship because without this support, I wouldn’t have been able to experience my best AIESEC conference till date.  IC was the game-changer in my AIESEC experience, and I am going to use my global network to ensure all the entities in the United States deliver their promise to the international plenary.  I have already taken my next step, and have been working with entities in the Midwest as their Regional Coordinator to ensure they achieve the success that they want, but my journey in AIESEC is far from over. There are a lot of amazing things I want to do before I leave this organization. I am excited to be part of the generation that will break through 2015 and shoot for 2020 and I’m hopeful that one day, AIESEC will create so many great leaders in the world that leadership will no longer be fundamental problem.

 

Rifayat Uddin

Local Committee President, AIESEC Michigan 2014

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