The Yale chapter of AIESEC, an international student organization that helps coordinate work opportunities in different countries for university students and recent graduates, may soon begin working with a U.N. organization to determine U.N. projects in which AIESEC will participate.
AIESEC signed a “Memorandum of Understanding” with the United Nations Population Fund, or the UNFPA, Tuesday afternoon at the UNFPA offices in New York. Several members of AIESEC’s Yale chapter attended.
The memorandum was intended to “serve as a platform for a partnership” between the two organizations, AIESEC’s invitation to the signing ceremony said.
Uyen Tieu ’03, the president of Yale’s AIESEC chapter, said that while many of the organization’s projects involve “businesses that focus on marketing,” the United Nations is particularly interested in AIESEC’s service-oriented activities. She said AIESEC will begin setting up internships at the UNFPA and other U.N. organizations.
Tieu said the memorandum was intended mainly to celebrate and make official a partnership which has gone on for some time, establishing a foundation for AIESEC “to work more with the U.N.”
“We’re going to ensure that the partnership goes on for years and years,” Tieu said.
Tieu said Yale’s chapter may become significantly involved in coordinating projects with the United Nations because it is fairly well-established and close to the U.N. offices in New York.
“Every single local chapter that has a U.N. facility nearby” will work with the United Nations as part of the partnership, Tieu said. “We’re one of the closer chapters to the U.N.”
But she added that the chapter’s role is still unclear.
“Right now, the groundwork is still being laid,” she said. “[Eventually, we are] going to need members at Yale to individually be liaisons to the U.N. headquarters or whatever branch we are working with.”
Former AIESEC-Yale president Adam Litle ’02 said that Yale and New York’s Columbia University were the first two schools in the United States to have AIESEC chapters. Tieu said chapters at both schools were strong from the 1960s through the late ’80s, but “they sort of died out as people graduated.”
Yale’s chapter was reinstated just last spring, and Columbia’s current chapter was started this past fall, Tieu said. She said the Yale chapter’s extra semester of experience means it is better equipped to work with the United Nations.
“The Columbia chapter is just starting out,” Tieu said. “They’re not really prepared to take on so much responsibility.”
Litle said he thinks the Yale chapter’s main job will probably be to help foreign AIESEC workers with jobs at the United Nations get acclimated. He said AIESEC-Yale members might do things to ensure that incoming trainees’ time in the United States goes smoothly, such as picking trainees up at the airport or hosting happy hours and other cultural activities.
“It’s the difference kind of between visiting the country and actually talking to the people [there] and learning about their culture,” Litle said.
Tieu said AIESEC-Yale currently has 12 to 15 members. She said that this size is about average but that the chapter’s size will increase with time.
“I think it’s going to really grow, — that in the next couple of months we’re going to be receiving more members,” she said. “Our mission is just to do so much that when you first start out, it’s hard to explain to people exactly what we do.”
AIESEC members at Yale mainly make arrangements for foreign students to come to the United States and facilitate the application process of local students who wish to work in other countries, Tieu said.