Aiesec fetes 50 years of internships, aid in Korea

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Aiesec fetes 50 years of internships, aid in Korea

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Chairman Ahn Chong-won delivers a congratulatory message on Saturday to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Aiesec Association Korea, the official alumni body of Aiesec Korea. Provided by Aiesec Association Korea

Aiesec, the world’s largest student-run organization, celebrated the 50th anniversary of its Korean chapter over the weekend. Korea and Japan were the first two countries in Asia to join the network.

The local chapter gathered the alumni of the organization for three days from Friday to Sunday to talk about what role Asia has to play in driving the network forward in the coming years. The event was held at the Mayfield Hotel in Gangseo District, southwestern Seoul.

The organization specializes in providing global internships for students at 2,100 universities in 110 countries.

The steering committee also discussed ways of expanding internships into job opportunities. Former president of Aiesec International Bernd M. Thomas discussed with Ahn Chong-won, chairman of Aiesec Association Korea, the official alumni body of Aiesec Korea, the possibility of establishing a new corporation to help boost employment among young people.

“Thomas and I talked about how Aiesec could look into running a corporation to offer a variety of job opportunities for them,” Ahn said.

He said this is a realistic target as alumni of the group are eager to help out college students by passing on their wisdom and experience and setting up networking opportunities.

“Through Aiesec, I was able to work as an intern in Japan in 1967, when it was almost impossible for Koreans to study overseas,” Ahn said. “As I got this golden opportunity to experience a globalized lifestyle ahead of my peers, I want to be able to offer a similar chance to today’s students.”

Many of the association’s top alumni, including Bank of Korea Governor Kim Choong-soo, KB Financial Group Chairman Euh Yoon-dae, and GS Group Chairman Huh Chang-soo currently serve as advisors for the local chapter.

The three-day forum focused on Asian countries’ growing role in the global economy. Trade Minister Bark Taeho said Korea’s rising number of signed or currently under-discussion free trade agreements would help it play a bigger role in the economic integration of East Asia.

By Lee Sun-min [summerlee@joongang.co.kr]

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