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The AIESEC Youth Speak Forum is an event that takes place in multiple locations around the world; bringing top young leaders together with business leaders, thought leaders, and experts for a conversation around pressing global issues with the aim to generate new, but most importantly, actionable ideas that will impact the world and its future.

AIESEC makes this happen through taking our young leaders through a unique and interactive delegate experience.

AIESEC is an international platform that develops the leadership potential of youth through experiential learning, volunteer experiences and professional internships.

Being a delegate in the African Exchange Leadership and Development Seminar (AfroXLDS) that happened in 2015 in Kenya had me attend my first ever Youth Speak forum. The theme, ‘Youth Shaping Africa’ included powerful speakers and can be summarized into three stages;


INSPIRE-This section is delivered through short and powerful talks and aims to inspire delegates to form opinions.
ENGAGE- AIESEC’s partner organizations engage with the delegates to give new perspectives on issues relating to the theme. This is through mind-blowing workshops, conversations and idea generation spaces with interesting bits such as gift hampers and topics to connect to.

ACT-The delegates take their learnings into a space where they are able to generate ideas, ask challenging questions and give their opinions on actions that should be taken towards the theme.

The feeling of being part of something big, is exhilarating. I felt important. The truth is, we all are. We all should let our voices be heard. You want to bring change and create a positive impact wherever you are? Just do it. Have you filled the Youth Speak survey? Do you know about the Sustainable Development Goals (S.D.Gs)? You should.

This Year’s Forum will be bigger and better, do not be left out. See you there!

Vanessa Githinji.



Unilever Idea Trophy must have been one of the best decisions I made while in campus . For most students, it seems like a way of companies  increasing their market share.However, in the real sense, it’s an opportunity to educate students  about the company and its product while paving a way for a future career.

I had been hearing about Unilever Ideatrophy for a while but I’d never seriously considered taking part, but when I did, I wondered why I hadn’t submitted an idea sooner, maybe I would have landed myself a trip to South Africa or an even more exotic destination.

I took part in UAIT 2015, where the product we were dealing with was Rexona, my idea was simple (I actually submitted it as a joke, trying to see where it would land me). From the submission of my idea, I got to learn that you should not overthink it, a straightforward and unique idea might land you an opportunity into the boot camp.

Then came the presentation of the concept in front of a panel, now this was the nerve-wracking part, especially for someone like me who was scared of doing presentations. Well, the presentation came and went. To some extent, while doing the presentation, I forgot some of the important points I’d planned to say plus I was shaking.

Some lessons I learned from this was to have enough prior meetings with your team to come up with your idea plus being well equipped with your points before the presentation. At first submission for UAIT, idea submissions were done individually, however for the semifinals; we were divided into teams of three according to our universities for easier meetings. And I must say, my partners were just the best people I could work with. It comes to a point where UAIT opens you up to meeting new people who’d influence you positively in various ways,plus open your mind to different opportunities and aspects of life.
Later on, we were called back for the finals, now this was just amazing, from the fun, the mentorship, the trade visits, the deep dives and meeting various leaders. Unilever provides an opportunity during these boot camps to learn more about their different departments and to network with the personnel within the organization. In the long run, my team came as the second runners up.

Disappointed as we were for missing the opportunity to go to South Africa, we were very glad about the experience we were taking out of the competition.

The Unilever Idea Trophy is so much more than just a mere competition; it is an experience that every student should strive to take part in. Remember, what more could you be doing in school if not participating in such stuff that is a near assurance of an internship, that’s the whole point of studying and innovating.
You can apply for the UAIT 2016 here


The writer is a former Unilever Africa Idea Trophy Participant.