<<Helping others is actually an exercise of self-help; at the end, the biggest winner will be yourself>> Abraham Briseño, AIESEC Rwanda
If you had to sum up how Rwanda is for someone who knows nothing about the country, what would you say?
Being a landlocked country, authorities have adapted beaches around lakes where you can swim and fish as if it was the sea. Rwanda is a mountainous country where you can enjoy spectacular views at the top and a warm atmosphere in the valleys.
In general, what does AIESEC do and what is its contribution to society?
We contribute to society by facilitating international and multicultural experiences through professional exchanges and voluntary programs. We create partnerships with public and private sector to facilitate the mobility of university students and recent graduates, contributing that way to reduce unemployment and simultaneously developing experiences that provide international leaders; youth people concerned about what happens in the world.
This way, experiencing a culture exchange, it is easier to talk and solve challenges between individuals instead of using violence.
AISEC Rwanda began nine years ago and it has grown thanks in large part to your dedication and personal efforts. In which context can you say that the organization has already left footprint in the country?
Although Rwanda is a country with an education system in English, college students have a lack of confidence to express themselves in that language. AIESEC has provided opportunities for the development of the English language in rural communities and in the capital with exchanges to countries like Kenya, Japan, Czech Republic or Uganda; we bring young people from those countries for two months in order to facilitate conversation among participants and developing that way confidence when speaking English. Through this project we have impacted about 500 people so far this year.
We also have projects focused on developing entrepreneurship in the country, in which young people in countries like Belgium have come to develop training in how to budget or develop a business idea, how to express to sell your idea to attract investors. So we contribute also to the development of local businesses in order to combat unemployment in recent graduates.
Belonging to the global network of AIESEC, working in 128 countries and territories, Rwanda is present in global conferences with business and government leaders, so they can actually interact with the Rwandan culture and know more about it if in the future they are interested in investing here.
For AIESEC to continue growing and for those who may be interested, what is the process to join the organization?
Young people interested in joining our organization as a volunteer can access www.aiesec.org and find a local office in the country or territory in which they live.
After finding the office, you go through a selection process based on skills and abilities depending on the position for which you apply within the local team. Once you have been selected, you are trained specifically in the area and position, but depends on the individual how far you want to go with AIESEC and how long your career within the organization will be.
I started five years ago in AIESEC in Queretaro, Mexico, co-founding the local committee within that city and from there I took different roles that have brought me to Rwanda to lead AIESEC nationally, as CEO of the organization in the country.
Following your own words, as CEO of AIESEC you have witnessed the evolution of Rwanda in recent years but, what are the needs and challenges that society faces yet everyday?
Rwanda needs more organizations dedicated to developing personal and professional skills, there are many schools that only develop the theoretical part so young peopne in the country seek only money and if they do not get money, they prefer to do nothing.
For example, in a job fair in which AIESEC in Rwanda participated as a speaker and facilitator of coaching within personal image, I exposed about different strategies on how to build your personal brand through social networking and during a job interview for about 700 people. After the session there were several young people who came to ask me to read their CV and give them feedback on how to improve it. 70% of 100% of people that approached me had a CV of more than 5 pages, mostly with long stories instead of important facts.
This is due to the lack of development in personal matter; they do have technical knowledge, but in a matter of skills and abilities there is still much to do.
In Espresso Fiorentino, we believe that travelers can also contribute to the good of society. What advice would you give to our travelers to get this goal?
Everyone is free to decide what type of tourism they like, but as human beings it is important for us to help no matter the place where we are; so if you are going to be on holidays for one month, search about the NGOs that need some help in the place where you will be and invest even 5 of 30 days to help the community you will visit.
Believe me, it is a self-help exercise and at the end the biggest winner will be yourself.
To conclude and from a more personal aspect, your youth and passion speak about a bright future. Where would you like to see yourself in the upcoming years?
I always address my actions aiming to create a positive impact and trying to develop the society in which I find myself, growing as well personally and professionally. I have thought about it and in the following years I would love to develop my own human development corporate to help entrepreneurs on becoming positive leaders instead of bosses. So I hope my next step is to move to Asia, home to millions of small businesses that are leading the world and that have helped the continent to become financial heart of the world.
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