“Hello, are you an international delegate?”
That was the question I was asked most frequently from July 3-7 when I was at my first international AIESEC conference. I had the chance to attend AIESEC Taiwan’s Summer National Conference (sNCF) 2013 which also happens to be the 50th year anniversary of AIESEC in Taiwan, so needless to say the conference was spectacular!
There were over 300 local Taiwanese delegates and around 70 international delegates from 13 different AIESEC entities (AIESEC Egypt not in the photo). On top of the large number of delegates were two Member Committee teams (2012-2013 and 2013-2014 teams) each with 12-13 people and a 20 member Conference Organizing Committee team. Spending five days with more than 400 passionate AIESECers all with perspectives and knowledge different from my own has been rewarding.
Each international delegate is placed in the care of a local committee (LC) and I was with AIESEC MCU (Ming Chuan University) who was very welcoming. When conference sessions ended at 10 pm, Taiwanese local committees would engage in something called LC Sharing. Everyone from the same local committee would gather in one room, take out the conference agenda for the day and go through each session discussing what they learned and what they didn’t understand. Then they would clarify to each other and talk about the knowledge applicability to their own AIESEC work. They would also share their feelings about the conference and the impact they felt. These talks could go on until very late at night until the entire day’s agenda is finished. Fortunately, the late night snacks are provided by the Organizing Committee which included fruits and local Taiwanese desserts.
In Canadian AIESEC conferences, sharing in the evening is not a norm and we prefer to have free time to mingle with friends from other local committees. This showed me that the bond within the local committee is important to the Taiwanese AIESECers and that they take the learning at conferences seriously.
As with all AIESEC conferences, AIESEC Taiwan’s Summer National Conference 2013 was held entirely in English and I learned a lot about the way AIESEC is run in Taiwan. Summer National Conference is special for AIESEC Taiwan because it is the only conference with two Member Committee teams and watching their transition gives delegates insight on where their AIESEC career can take them. Most people on the Member Committee team have already been in AIESEC for 4-5 years and for some when they step down from that role they will leave AIESEC as a member and become an alumnus. However, they stressed that “Once an AIESEC, Always an AIESECer.”
Since it was the 50th anniversary of AIESEC Taiwan they were able to invite influential speakers to the conference including the current Vice President of Taiwan Wu Den-yih and ‘godfather’ of Taiwan’s hotel industry, Stanley Yen. It was a little funny to me because before the conference I went to the Presidential Office Building in Taiwan and saw cardboard figures of Vice President Wu but at the conference I saw him in real life!
Another cool thing we did was a 400 people flash mob in the middle of Ximending. Ximending is the most popular destination for youth in Taipei and has 24 000 visitors every week. We did AIESEC dances to a three song medley and cheered, “Happy 50th Birthday AIESEC Taiwan!” at the end. I never thought that I would participate in a flash mob, let alone one this big but it really showed the impact of youth when we all gather together to do one thing.
Overall I learned, played and experienced a lot at AIESEC Taiwan’s Summer National Conference 2013 as an international delegate which I cannot wait to bring back to my home local committee, AIESEC UBC.
By Vivien Lee, Marketing and Communications