AIESEC workshop for students
IofC Workshop at Swiss students’ annual meeting
Friday, 20. April 2012

Workshop at Swiss students’ annual meeting

A group from Initiatives of Change gave a presentation of its work at the national conference of AIESEC Switzerland, the Swiss branch of the world’s largest student-run organization (AIESEC, Association Internationale des Etudiants en Sciences Economiques et Commerciales) with over 50,000 members at the end of March in Leysin.

Rainer Gude, Chargé de Mission at the Geneva IofC office, Ana de Montvert, project management consultant and TIGE workshop leader, and Evi Lichtblau, conference organizer of the annual ‘Learning to live in a multicultural world’ conference prepared and ran the workshop.

Initiatives of Change was invited to present itself during the 'Partner Day' where various organizations and companies gave workshops on different topics. We were a little surprised by the casual and lively atmosphere: the music reminded us that the world of students is different from the world of business.

The IofC workshop was entitled ‘Your piece in world peace’ and was held twice in the afternoon for two groups of 20 to 30 students. After a brief introduction to the history of IofC, its organization and the work it currently does, we asked the group to think of various conflicts at different levels in the world to then showed the IofC documentary film ‘The Imam and the Pastor’.

The film was stopped at the point where the two main characters are still describing their involvement in local militias and have admitted that they were enemies. We then broke the students into groups and gave them the assignment of coming up with a peace plan to solve the violent conflict and to be creative in finding solutions as the best ones would be ‘directly sent to the UN’. The students enthusiastically took to work to become the next Nobel Peace Prize winners. They presented interesting, inspiring and creative solutions to the conflict in Nigeria. After that, we continued the film.

In order to emphasize the role of personal change in global change and the significance of honesty and unselfishness, we then engaged them in a discussion about the difference between an honest conversation and a debate, followed by a personal exercise of thinking about a broken relationship and how the other party has been harmed, and what actions could be taken by each student to remedy that relationship.

The students surprised us with their profound thoughts and questions and their insights into what difference real honesty and deep personal change can make in a relationship with others or in the world. In each of the two groups, there were some students who became really interested in Initiatives of Change, its work and the summer conferences and they approached us afterwards to learn more about IofC and possibilities to participate.

We were happy to announce that the foundation CAUX-Initiatives of Change would sponsor three student participants at the summer conferences, after a student who had been selected for a scholarship last year enthusiastically reported about her experience in Caux.