Archive | August, 2009

Some impressions from the first days of IC…

26 Aug
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A short comment about IC…

25 Aug

I am currently at the AIESEC International Congress in Malaysia. A 10-day-meeting of the global leadership of AIESEC. We are nearly 600 delegates from around 100 countries.

This conference is a really great experience and I just want to write a very short comment and then go to the next session.

Inhaltlich gute Diskussionen, wir haben unsere global Partners (heute Artimisia, asia pacific CEO von PwC und Unilever) zu Gast fuer gesellschaftliche Themen und die strategische Ausrichtung des Vereins verspricht einiges fuer naechstes Jahr… planmaessig durchstossen wir endlich die 50,000!

Und einige absolut inspirierende Persoenlichkeiten, die nach ihrer AIESEC Zeit einen super Einstieg gefunden haben, die Gesellschaft “richtig” zu beeinflussen… social entrepreneurship haben wir in einem Workshop besprochen, zum Mittagessen sitze ich dann mal locker mit einem ehemaligen Australia CEO eines grossen Logistikers, der mir sagt, dass er mit 45 eine NGO, gegruendet hat, weil ihm “das business” zu dreckig war.

Spannend auch die Diskussionen mit AIESECern in ganz Afrika und deren verschiedene Realitaeten in Nigeria, Tanzania, Togo, Zimbabwe. Universitaetsstreiks scheint es in jedem Land zu geben, unglaubliche Erfolge in Members und Exchange-Zahlen, high-impact Projekte in Slums… Wir geben uns gegenseitig Ideen und planen gemeinsame Aktionen.

Von- und miteinander lernen steht hier gross im Vordergrund…

Do not miss to visit our live stream and be part of the conference:
http://www.aiesec.org/AI/iclive

Leaving home

22 Aug

A 19-day-trip to South-East Asia, attending IC, AIESECs largest conference, this year hosted in Malaysia.
Packing for a trip from my room around Thicka Road felt strange: It means that this is my home now… Interesting.

I am flying with my colleague Prashant. Three of my Kenyan friends drop me at the airport. Kenya Airways strike was fortunately over just some hours before our departure, still the queues of the passengers and plane resulted in a huge chaos at JKIA. I am in an unbeatable mood, looking forward to the trip: The probably most exciting day in Kenyas airindustry for a year and I am at the airport!

Only 2 hours delay (is this Kenya??), 11 hours of flight, then touchdown in a different world. Two days in Bangkok before going to Kuala Lumpur!

It is actually raining. Water is standing on the fields around the airport. A country where the rainy season still produces water from the heavens. Coming from Kenya we undergo a quick check at the health counter, as Europeans we enter the country without applying for a visa.

First impressions of Bangkok…

A huge city, stretching into all directions, skyscrapers, ghetto-like living areas. Highways with 6 lanes on two or three floors, traffic flows really nicely until we reach town. Exotic snacks are sold in the street. Thai letters look like artwork, chinese restaurants. McDonalds and Starbucks. Influenced from the India trip and movies, I expect some asian chaos and am not disappointed. Quiet clean though.

Telecommunication and transport is cheaper than in Kenya. Humidity and heat. Feels safer than Nairobi, 10pm, am walking alone. Tesco and Carrefour Supermarkets. Finally cheap drinking water (5 Bhat for 1,5 liters). People look differently: Not into your face, not on your hips. Polite smiles, not a “no” comes of the lips.

I find myself using my usual strategy for foreign countries: Smiling too (?) much, Stereotyping to prevent mistakes, trying to observe other people, laughing nearly hysterically about language problems, forcing myself not to compare.

Now I am eating Icecream, looking out of the window of our apartment at the 12th floor, feeling the heat, seeing the skyline. Am just a visitor looking in this so different culture. 2 Nights in Bangkok…