On July 12, representatives of Enseña por Colombia, Enseña Ecuador and Teach For All's global organization participated in AIESEC’s Global YouthSpeak Forum, in Cartagena, Colombia. The event, part of AIESEC’s annual International Congress, gathered young leaders, government officials, nonprofits, and leading companies from around the world to discuss and share solutions to pressing global problems addressed in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The power of the collective was at the heart of the opening keynote speech by Juan Carlos Perez Borja, Executive Director of Enseña Ecuador (pictured left), who was invited to speak by Deutsche Post DHL Group, a corporate partner of Teach For All and Enseña Ecuador, as well as AISEC. Juan Carlos reflected that what holds the world back from achieving change isn’t ideas—all of us have opinions about what’s wrong with the world and what needs to be done to solve it—but rather the willingness of leaders to not merely talk, but act. Teach For All and AIESEC, Juan Carlos shared, are working to foster a generation of local leaders to do just that, by channeling their energy and talents toward working collectively to shape a better world, with the support of longstanding partnerships with companies like Deutsche Post DHL Group.
“Are you going to be someone who can name the solutions, or are you going to devote your life to doing something?” he asked hundreds of young leaders at the forum.
The question was at the heart of a workshop Juan Carlos led later that morning on the concept of “appreciative inquiry”—effecting change by building on the assets that exist in communities and systems, rather than imposing ideas from outside to “fix” them. AIESEC youth leaders responded to the charge, tackling the challenges of sustainable development through this lens. “Building from success is a very positive thing, and very intuitive,” shared an attendee from Germany. “We can start taking action in the place we are right now,” a Colombian participant agreed.
That afternoon, the AIESEC attendees fanned out into classrooms across Cartagena to teach the World’s Largest Lesson, inspiring thousands of students, especially those from less advantaged communities, to see themselves as having a role in making progress toward achieving the SDGs.
In all, the day’s events encouraged students to act—a fitting example of the power of the collective. The Global YouthSpeak Forum and World’s Largest Lesson were made possible by a collaboration between AIESEC and its local volunteers, UNICEF, Project Everyone, corporate partners such as Deutsche Post DHL Group, and education partners including Teach For All and Enseña por Colombia. We’re thrilled that our global network could contribute to this collective effort.