We are all born different. And this is not just me saying but if we look around ourselves, we would find a visual representation of the unique beings that we are. The Almighty, not just created us different from other beings, making us the superior of all His creations, but with distinctions even among ourselves. Although the myth says that there are seven people of similar appearance around the globe but keeping the myth and the case of identical twins aside, we’re all different from each other. From the color of our skin to the shade of our eyes, to the facial and bone structure to the genetic makeup, we are all different. Born in different regions around the globe, we celebrate different mindsets, we enjoy a diverse way of living, we practice set of customs unique to our own kind. We have our individual understanding of identity. The difference of religion, nation, civilizations, customs, mindsets, all of these aspects help us understand each other in profound ways. If we are so unique even towards each other, then what brings us closer? What keeps us together like pearls in a string? What helps us accept each other the way we are and be able to look past all these differences? Or have we been able to look past these abstract tethers? Here at AIESEC, we have the answer.
AIESEC, a not for profit, youth run organization, created after the debilitated globe lost all its hope in the peace process, has been a beacon of optimism, development, peace and growth ever since. With a well defined set of values and belief system, AIESEC has been promoting world peace for decades, mitigating the ill effects of the war, promoting peace and coexistence. In this regard, one of the core values of AIESEC remains “Living Diversity”. Diversity has always been a fluid as well as a cliched concept. Where there are no parameters to define this phenomenon, it is sometimes as simple as just saying being different is being diverse. But in what way, this difference could be noted, no one tells you that.
Here at AIESEC, cross cultural exchanges are held. The mechanism of AIESEC is run through the effectiveness of its sales product. These sales product include volunteer opportunities, paid opportunities as well as field specific opportunities. Where some opportunities cater to the SDGs defined by the UN, the others give the exchange participants a chance to travel to destinations of their dreams and teach. Other highly sought after opportunities include the field specific internships which not just help broaden the resume but increase functional knowledge of the field as well. However, what is shared among all these opportunities is the canvas of exploration they provide. AIESEC provides the exchange participants an avenue to pursue their dreams and be who they want to be, explore the world, gain exposure and serve as an effective member of the globe. Here at AIESEC, we encourage the notion of becoming a ‘global citizen’. Now many of us wonder, what does the value of celebrating diversity got to do with it. The ideology behind it is simple. To become a global citizen, one has be be accepting of others, embrace the apparent differences and be able to look past them. As King said, that he yearns for the time when people would judge each other not by the color of the skin but by the content of their heart. Starting from one’s own self and the region, this acceptance and empathy for people different than us, blooms and grows into a tree in full blossom. It is only by accepting each other’s uniqueness, that we actually celebrate diversity. Once we understand this simple notion, it is easy for us to orient ourselves towards productivity. Cross cultural exchanges, which is the gist of AIESEC external activities or the sales products, are a practical example of celebrating the phenomenon of diversity. Through these exchanges, the participants are placed in cultures different than ours, providing equal opportunities for them to not just have fun but learn about these new people. Observe what makes each of us unique. Observe what brings us together despite the apparent differences. The people working behind the scene, making all of the organizational work possible, come from a myriad of backgrounds, mindsets, castes, races and believing in different ideologies. All of these people strive to make a change, carrying their uniqueness as a symbol of pride. This is how AIESEC empowers not just the exchange participants but the members striving to make a change. AIESEC, instills a sense of pride among whoever gets associated with it to have a profound sense of pride in our individuality. Because at the end of the day, all of us are trying to leave a mark through the positive impact that we yearn to create.
Looking back in history, at the lives of all those who the world remembers through their deeds, we observe few commonalities. All these people, left the baggage of their native norms and customs aside and transcended beyond these basic things. And this is how we still remember them. There is a sense of unity in diversity when the objective and the endgame is same. To extensively alleviate prejudices and to foster the values of inclusivity, diversity and togetherness, our priorities are required to be oriented differently. The recent few years, have brought to us a lot of challenges in the form of pandemics, death, inflation, corruption and much more. The recent COVID 19 have made social activities and integration almost impossible, and it almost seemed like the world had come to a halt. The world had to tackle yet another challenge when a heap of global crisis was already piled up. Thankfully, things are returning back to normal and so are the activities globally open up new and existing avenues for us to develop into individuals who contribute towards an optimistic change. Now is the time that we define the path that we want to take, the choices that we make as we have to live with the consequences of these choices.
“Diversity is not about how we differ. Diversity is about embracing each other’s uniqueness” -Ola Joseph