“Change is inevitable, the disruption it causes often brings inconvenience and opportunity”
The world is changing and no matter how much we like inertia and how hard we try to remain without changing at one point either we have to adapt to the change or bring about the change ourselves. From the point of industrialization, the change that we see in the world is rapid, be it socially, economically or technologically the world has set about on a race to development which constantly brings about rapid change in these aspects. Owing to the process of development that the world undergoes causing rapid advancements in technology and globalization now we experience “Disruption”.
Disruption is defined as a disturbance or a problem that interrupts an event, activity or process. Disruption which was merely a concept to the commercial and industrial world before has now become a reality that the companies are facing on a daily basis. The business processes and operations of companies are often disrupted due to the advancements in technology and new findings. Because for each minute that passes new products, new technologies are being introduced at a lower cost but with increased effectiveness So companies might see disruption as something having negative impacts on the businesses. But what is important is to see the positive impacts of disruption and identify the opportunities it presents.
Change causes disruption and disruption presents the opportunity to bring about change. Rather than being subjected to disruption if we ourselves cause disruption then it would no longer have a negative impact. So the answer to disruption is “Innovation”. The key to survive disruption is by innovation. Innovation can be defined as coming up with new and creative ideas and implementing those ideas in the form of a process or a device which would cater to today’s needs as well as future needs. Innovation is not only about giving new and more effective solutions to problems at hand but also delivering solutions to future problems as well. This is why innovation is important in achieving sustainable development and accomplishing Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs).
“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower” -Steve Jobs
AIESEC paves the way for youth to innovate through AIESEC’s leadership products such as incoming Global Entrepreneur(iGE) and outgoing Global Entrepreneur(oGE). Innovation and entrepreneurship are two closely related concepts. So AIESEC helps young crowd to inculcate innovativeness and to awaken the entrepreneurs within themselves. outgoing Global Entrepreneur(oGE) allows young individuals to work in a startup abroad and get the exposure as to what entrepreneurship is. It also lets youth to obtain hands on experience regarding how to run a startup by working side by side with successful entrepreneurs in various countries and various industries and also to discover new potentials by developing and shaping up their innovative skills.
So to face disruption with innovation, instead of adapting to the changes created by others, to create the change that you want to see in the world by yourself and to constantly make exciting and innovative discoveries, try out AIESEC’s leadership products.
“Change is inevitable, the disruption it causes often brings inconvenience and opportunity”
Paradise beyond the surface threatened to damage beyond repair: Prompt action needed to preserve underwater nature reserves in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka being an island nation is blessed with a beautiful coastal belt and an enchanting paradise underwater consisting of a whole new world of aquatic life that amaze anyone with its beauty and ecological diversity.
Among the many underwater nature reserves in Sri Lanka there are a few that are very famous due to their uniqueness. One such place is Hikkaduwa National Park which is one of the three marine national parks in Sri Lanka. The national park contains a fringing coral reef and is also the home to rare varieties of wildlife and vegetation. Moreover Hikkaduwa national park is considered to possess one of the best coral gardens in Asia and was declared a Wildlife Sanctuary on May 18, 1979 and on 14th of August 1988 was upgraded to a Nature reserve. To further protect the reef and the surrounding ecosystem, it was declared as a national park on 19th September 2002.
Pigeon Island National Park is another marine national park in Sri Lanka which is renowned for its biodiversity. The national park contains some of the best remaining coral reefs in Sri Lanka leading it to be designated as a Sanctuary in 1963 and later to be named as a national park.
The Bar Reef of Kalpitiya peninsula is a complex of reefs which is known as one of the few pristine coral reef systems with high ecological and biological significance due to which the bar reef was declared a marine sanctuary in 1992.
However at present these underwater nature reserves are threatened to loose their biological as well as aesthetic value due to suffering from high degradation resulted by both natural and human activities. Despite being declared as protected areas these nature reserves are subjected to constant exploitation due to human activities including pearl fishing, coral mining removal of breeding ornamental fish and negligent fishermen practicing unsuitable fishing methods such as setting up dynamite under water to catch their pray and blowing up the entire ecosystem unnecessarily. Furthermore uncontrolled tourism has caused reef degradation and loss of biodiversity in these nature reserves. And the excessive numbers of tourist and fishing boats emit a huge amount of exhaust fume of kerosene which doesn’t burn completely and mixes with the sea water harming the ecosystem underneath. Apart from these discharge of sewage, fertilizer and other effluents from domestic sources and hotels located in coastal areas in to the sea causes eutrophication and sedimentation ultimately resulting in death of wildlife and vegetation in these marine nature reserves. Other than the human activities natural causes like coastal erosion and El Niño effect which is resulted by global warming are also threatening the safety and existence of underwater nature reserves.
While enjoying and taking the benefits we could from these underwater nature reserves it is our duty and responsibility not to over-exploit them and to ensure their protection. There are precautions already taken by the government authorities such as the Department of Wildlife Conservation and Central Environmental Authority. And there are enough and more laws enacted, in order to prevent over-exploitation of these reserves, such as the Fauna and Flora Protection Act, the Coastal Conservation Act, the Marine Pollution Prevention Act and the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Act. But the problem is just having laws and conventions have not produced the expected outcome in terms of protecting underwater nature reserves. So the best way to ensure protection of underwater nature reserves is to bring out positive reactions from the public itself and to make sure they are genuinely interested in preserving the underwater nature reserves. In order to do that it is necessary to raise public awareness regarding the threat to these nature reserves due to negligent human activities and make them understand the value and importance of preserving the underwater nature reserves. Other than that it’s better to take measures to control tourist activities, for example by allowing activities like diving and snorkeling only during the seasons. This would give the underwater ecosystem time to recover during off season periods. Apart from these reducing pollution and abiding by the rules and regulations enacted by government authorities will also ensure the preservation of underwater nature reserves.
So ultimately preservation or degradation of these precious wonders of nature is in our hands. Whatever the measures the authorities take if we don’t respond positively and act accordingly there won’t be a positive result. That is why it is important for us to act responsibly and contribute proactively towards preserving the underwater nature reserves. If we don’t take prompt action and do our part, the breathtakingly beautiful sight won’t take that long to turn in to an eye soring sight.
No one is too small to make a difference: says the climate crisis activist, Times person of the year Greta Thunberg
“I was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, OCD and selective mutism. That basically means I only speak when I think it’s necessary. Now is one of those moments.”— Greta Thunberg in her TEDx Talk,Stockholm, November 2018
“…now is one of those moments.” These words of 16 year old Greta Thunberg in reference to the need to raise a voice against climate change implies the seriousness of the issue that all of us earthlings are facing.
Greta Tintin Eleonora Thunberg, born on 3rd January 2003, is a Swedish environmental activist on climate change. Thunberg despite being so young has been able to voice her opinion regarding the issue, climate change which we humans have brought upon ourselves. She has also been brave enough to convey her dismay at the world leaders for not taking proper actions to address this crucial issue which Thunberg describes as the climate crisis. Owing to her unique style of speaking and the sincerity she shows in her mission to save the world, Thunberg has been able to gain international recognition drawing the attention of many world leaders towards the importance of taking immediate action against climate change. Thus making Thunberg one of the most influential people who has shaped the year 2019, which is why Time magazine has chosen Greta Thunberg as person of the year. She also happens to be the youngest individual to be recognized as Time person of the year.
Thunberg started to gain public attention for her activism in August 2018 when she began to spend her school days outside the Swedish parliament as a sole protester, to call for urgent action on global warming by holding up a hand painted sign saying (in Swedish) “School strike for the climate”. Through this she was able to inspire a number of peer students all over the world in what has been known as “The Greta effect”, motivating other students to engage in similar protests in their own communities. Subsequently students around the world collaboratively organized a school climate strike movement called the Fridays for Future, under which student strikes took place every week somewhere in the world. In 2019, there were at least two coordinated multi-city protests involving over one millionstudents each.
“Thunberg has become the biggest voice on the biggest issue facing the planet—and the avatar of a broader generational shift in our culture that is playing out everywhere from the campuses of Hong Kong to the halls of Congress in Washington,” Time editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal has written.
Staying true to her mission and proving that example is better than percept, Thunberg convinced her parents to lower the family’s carbon footprint(carbon cost) by changing their life style and also to give up air travel and not eat meat and thereby not contribute to the hazardous climate change which endangers the planet.
Thunberg has been awarded with numerous honors and awards, including fellowship of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society, and in 2019, Time magazine named her one of the 100 most influential people and the youngest individual Times Person of the Year. Thunberg was also nominated for the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize.
No one is too small to make a difference is a book written by Greta Thunberg. It consists of a collection of eleven speeches about global warming and climate change which she has presented in front of a number of platforms including the UN, the EU and the World Economic Forum.
Greta Thunberg who I would like to describe as the voice of hope has done her part and is continuing to do her best to save the world. What about the rest of us? Are we going to sit back and watch or take Greta’s example and do our duty as responsible citizens of the Earth?
Fairfirst joins hands with AIESEC to promote cross-cultural exchanges by providing a Smart & Safe travel cover for Sri Lankan students.
“The AIESEC way is to strive for Peace and Fulfillment of humankind’s potential. We do this by creating opportunities for cross-cultural exchanges”
AIESEC was initially founded by a group of young individuals after the second world war, with the aim of preventing such conflicts which endanger the world peace. So mainly AIESEC focuses on achieving world peace, eradicating conflicts among nations, finding solutions to crucial problems that the world is facing and also youth empowerment. To bring about these effects AIESEC uses a very prominent mechanism which is cross-cultural exchanges.
When talking about the concept of cross-cultural exchanges, it is considered to have played a fundamental part in the development of societies and the world as a whole. Through this form of exchange societies were able to acquire knowledge from one another and enrich their own cultures through the process. AIESEC has understood that this concept of cross-cultural exchanges could be used not only to develop and enrich societies but also to promote world peace. Because cross -cultural exchanges bring about cross-cultural understanding which helps people to understand the differences, not to discriminate but to embrace the differences in other cultures and to value those as your own. So when there is such an understanding and integrity among nations the room for conflicts is very less and even if a conflict arises could be resolved easily and peacefully
AIESEC confides in the potential and capabilities of youth and that is why young individuals are the key medium of AIESEC who strives for world peace and takes up the responsibility of betterment of the world. Hence the reason why AIESEC provides young individuals with the opportunities to work on internships or volunteer abroad in non-familiar environments and get the exposure through AIESEC ‘s leadership products such as outgoing Global Volunteer(oGV), outgoing Global Talent(oGT) and outgoing Global Entrepreneur(oGE). This allows young individuals to expand their world view by interacting with different cultures, understand their way of living, practices and norms. And it also provides them the opportunity to become a world citizen by solving world issues and contributing to the betterment of various foreign communities and also to their own community they live in.
Sharing the same vision as AIESEC, that is youth empowerment and cross-cultural exchanges could facilitate betterment of the world, Fairfirst, a leading insurance company in Sri Lanka has now joined hands with AIESEC to backup youth in their endeavors of exploring the world.
Fairfirst insurance is a part of Canadian based Farifax Group which is one of the world’s largest general insurance groups, specializing in insurance, reinsurance and investment management. Fairfax, through its subsidiaries, holds a prominent place as an international insurance and reinsurance business with a global underwriting reach, longstanding relationships and a broad product range. Fairfax is currently well established in the growing insurance and reinsurance markets of Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, West Asia and Brazil.
Expressing his views on Fairfax partnership with AIESEC, Priyantha Perera – General Manager Underwriting, Portfolio & Reinsurance at Fairfirst Insurance, “We believe in making travel smart and safe. Fairfirst Travel Insurance is a strong testament to Fairfirts’s core vision and brand values; which includes promoting empathy and social responsibility across all its operations. Designing a customer-centric model of operation and unique coverage benefits, we have found a way to uplift the experience of smart and safe travel for Sri Lankan students going abroad.”
The partnership between AIESEC and Fairfirst is not one with a recent history but it goes a long way back. Stating his thoughts on the healthy partnership with Fairfirst, Miyuru Gamage, Vice President, Partnership Development, AIESEC in Sri Lanka, “Fiarfirst has been one of the leading national partners of AIESEC in Sri Lanka. Since the first day Fairfirst has been there as the National Insurance Partner providing with travel insurance at a discount rate for all the young interns & volunteers who travel abroad for internships through our leadership development products. With the current experience that we and our interns go through during the insurance process, we would like to recommend Fairfirst to any one who is looking for an Insurance Partner.”
AIESEC as a youth run organization always tries to deliver the best experience to the young crowd. So with the partnership of Fairfirst and AIESEC now the young crowd could have the best and safest exchange experience. Because Fairfirst’s Smart & Safe Travel Insurance provides you with a very comprehensive cover on your educational travel, that includes: Accident and Sickness Medical Expenses, Accidental Death and Dismemberment, Loss of Passport, Personal Liability, Trip Delay, Trip Cancellation and Trip Curtailment. And AIESEC on the other hand provides with the food, accommodation, guidance, support and necessary network to make your stay abroad a success.
What more could you need to have the best exchange experience ever?
What do you think the world needs the most right now? I would say what the world needs the most right now is Leadership.
If we look at the world in this time and day we could see that the world has reached the peak with regard to almost all the aspects, be it philosophy, technology or economy, the world is flourishing with newer and better developments. But what after this point? Where is our world headed towards? No matter how developed the world is if we lose track as to where we are headed it is inevitable that we would face a huge crisis in the near future. This is where leadership comes in to the equation and this is why the world needs good leaders to navigate the world in the right direction for the betterment and wellbeing of all. The following statement by Bill Gates further affirms this.
“As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.”
– Bill Gates
What is meant by leadership? Well, there is no one interpretation as to what leadership is. There are many interpretations and definitions of leadership.
“Leadership is a process of giving purpose (meaningful direction) to collective effort, and causing willing effort to be expended to achieve purpose.”
– Jacobs & Jaques
“Leadership is a process of influence between a leader and those who are followers.”
Above quotes depict how different scholars have defined leadership according to their view on leadership. However it is evident from the above statements that these various interpretations of leadership are more or less the same and emphasize on how leadership can guide, influence and motivate people to accomplish goals, achieve success and bring about a positive impact.
Gone are the days when behavioral theories on leadership such as Great man theory was followed and it was believed that leaders are born and not made. In the contemporary world it is believed that leaders can be made and leadership is considered to be an art that can be mastered by anyone with the right kind of exposure. This is where AIESEC comes in to the picture, to create future leaders, to provide future leaders with the right kind of exposure and to ensure that the world has best set of leaders.
AIESEC is a youth run organization which is centered on leadership. A major part of AIESEC Way is focused on development of leadership in the youth. Out of the three main attributes of the AIESEC Way, which are the WHY, the HOW and the WHAT; the HOW of AIESEC Way is all about inculcating leadership in young individuals. For this AIESEC has a unique leadership development model which is designed to prepare youth to take a stand for what they believe in and to become capable of making a positive impact on society through their everyday actions.
The most important part of the AIESEC Way is the WHAT which is about what AIESEC does to enable young people to develop their leadership. For this AIESEC provides youth with the opportunity to learn through practical experience. AIESEC’s products; AIESEC’s Exchange programs as well as Membership program is designed in such a way that the youth cultivates leadership qualities within themselves through facing challenging situations where they are given the exposure with regard to crisis management and finding and implementing viable solutions to critical problems that the world is facing and there by guiding them towards becoming the next-generation leaders.
“A leader is one who knows the way goes the way and shows the way”
-John C. Maxwell