The University Record, January 11, 1999

WFUM produces video for international student organization

By Anita Richardson
U-M Flint Public TV

WFUM-TV production assistant Dawn McGuire has taken on a new role to help spread the word about an exchange program that develops international leaders. AIESEC International, the world’s largest student-managed, non-profit educational organization, has 50,000 members, primarily undergraduates, in 730 academic institutions in 87 countries (40 committees in the United States), and is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. The U-M chapter of the organization is based at the International Center on the Ann Arbor campus. There also is a chapter at Michigan State University.

“The process of exchanging young people around the world is the core of what we do,” according to AIESEC’s Web page. “We believe that the best way to develop future leadership is to let people experience the challenges of culture, society and management for themselves. Underlying everything we do is a drive to make a positive contribution to society.”

“My job is to produce a videocassette that details the Michigan chapter’s international community of volunteers,” McGuire explains. “One of the best things about AIESEC is that it’s alive. There are people actually participating in something that has positive effects locally and globally. U-M public television has made it possible for AIESEC to make a high quality, cutting-edge video that will complement AIESEC’s goals.”

Aligning the University’s public television station furthers WFUM’s long held commitment to community education, notes Leon Collins, U-M-Flint director of telecommunications. “We are proud to support AIESEC in marketing their value and impacting the next generation of leaders,” he says. “In the new information age and global digital economy, leaders will need a sense of local and global community to be successful.”

One of the things that sets AIESEC apart from other exchange programs is that it offers experiences working in the community.

“Most of the time, work-abroad programs do not make working in the community an option,” notes Cynthia Vandenbosch, AIESEC vice president of corporate and social responsibility. AIESEC’s Michigan chapter “is one of the strongest international exchange programs in the nation. By canvassing companies within the community, to let them know exchange students are available, we make AIESEC happen.”

Vandenbosch hopes the exchange of people across borders and organizing international internships for students will help members gain work and cultural experiences that will lead communities to AIESEC’s primary goal—corporate social responsibility.

In the course of the exchanges, Vandenbosch notes, “special things develop in the individual. Students gain a sense of cultural understanding, international cooperation, corporate social responsibility, and higher education and learning.

“The future of the organization,” she adds, “will focus on developing leaders by providing as many cultural experiences as possible. Our goal is for members to take AIESEC’s training and continue to build global leadership qualities throughout life.”

In October, the Michigan chapter held its Sixth Annual Global Leadership Seminar at the Business School in Ann Arbor, bringing together a number of corporate executives, interns, U-M international students and AIESEC members.

In November, the group concentrated on its global education initiative. Chapter President John Opdyke says AIESEC members and U-M international students visited classrooms in metro Detroit “to expose students to international culture and enhance cultural understanding.”

McGuire’s video will premiere in January at the organization’s national meeting in Indianapolis, then travel to Vienna, Austria, for AIESEC’s international convention.

For more information, visit AIESEC’s Web site, www.aiesec.org/.


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