Last November 2022, the Regional Presidents Meeting took place, a gathering of all European AIESEC Local Committee Presidents. This meeting is a unique opportunity for Local Presidents from the 40 different nations where AIESEC is present in Europe to share perspectives on leadership and make their contribution to the AIESEC influence. We asked Tim Kobussen, the current president of AIESEC in Maastricht, to share his testimonial with us.
“We traveled to Poland by car to attend the Regional Presidents Meeting, a five-day conference with Local Committee Presidents attending from all over Europe. Unfortunately, I can’t take you through all the ups and downs of this week. Still, I want to share some highlights, the moments that moved me profoundly and which, all things considered, will stay with me forever.
The first day meant partaking in a World’s Largest Lesson event. This is where we gather a lot of AIESECers to simultaneously deliver lessons in schools about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
We were divided into groups of four, with presidents from all over Europe. We went by local transport to the school and, with almost no time to prepare, we stood in front of thirty unconcentrated teenagers. The funny challenge here was that the presentation we had to deliver was actually made for primary school kids and as we know, teenagers don’t typically like being treated as children. Sweat was running down my back as we bluffed through our presentation.
The content had to do with eating differently to promote the environment (SDG 12 – responsible consumption and production). We passionately discussed the consequences of eating meat and the benefits of a healthy diet while sixty eyes stared back at us, unresponsive. Although, that might not entirely be true. Two very engaged kids wanted to learn and seemed to understand the message we tried to convey. They asked questions, and in their eyes, one could see the signs of wonder. So I thought to myself: maybe that was enough; maybe changing the mind of even one kid would result in change.
Another strong memory I carry with me was during one of the sessions at the conference itself. We were asked to close our eyes and imagine walking somewhere fifty years from now.
You arranged to meet an old friend somewhere in a shady café. It’s cold out, and you readjust your coat as a shiver runs down your spine. You look around and see a young woman coming toward you. Your eyes are not what they once were, and only when she is close do you notice the AIESEC logo on her sweater. And then they asked us: well, dear participant, how does that make you feel? And, of course, we would be enthusiastic; we would applaud the young professional for her willingness to take the blue forward.
But at the same time, I personally kept thinking about that old friend that I was supposed to meet, sitting there in that brown café, holding an almost empty pint, looking at the hologram of a news anchor. Funny enough, all the friends I could think off had been in AIESEC or were still in AIESEC. And so I realized that, above anything else, the people are the power of this organization, which on all levels seeks to connect instead of divide.
With these two stories, I sincerely hope your image of this conference has not become more clouded. These don’t tell you exactly what we did or what we discussed, I realize, but it does tell us something about the things AIESEC does and the philosophy underlying these activities. At least it must have convinced you of the merit of becoming a president of a Local Committee, as not many other positions allow you to party with Italians, Serbians, Turks, and British and wake up the next morning with a bit of sleep deprivation but a new outlook on life.”
If you’re looking to live an experience like the one shared in this testimonial, where leadership is the focus of everything we do, Join AIESEC! Tim became president of his Local Committee only 6 months after being a member, and also you can have this opportunity.