11 April 2008

Unite - AIESEC in Norway’s national conference (I have lot’s of troubles with this “’s” thing)

AIESEC has pretty much the same core worldwide, but is different in lots of aspects. And conferences are one of the main things to observe to get to know some differences between countries inside this organization. So here’s my perception of my first national conference in Norway - which is probably more similar to most European conferences. So, welcome to Unite 2008, held in Oslo.


AIESEC in Norway is much smaller in numbers than AIESEC in Brazil, in the whole conference we had more or less 130 people, less than the South’s regional conference in Brazil. This is somewhat good, because you can get to know people better, talking longer and meeting the same people at formal and informal moments. I am traditionally not the best networker in the world, but my facebook had a huge grow after Unite.

Also we have fewer days than national conferences in Brazil. We had 1 day of pre-meeting (just with current and elect LC Executive Boards) plus 3 days with everyone. In my opinion it should have at least one day more, because on the 3rd day I noticed that people were finally 100% in the conference mood, but then it was already time to say good-bye.

Organization + conference site

Dramatically different in terms of organization, especially because, as far as I noticed, there was very little preparation of things before the conference (not even the rooms where we would have the conference were booked to us). This was extremely surprising and in the beginning I didn’t feel very good. But the site itself was amazing, it’s a private business school called “BI”, with super high-tech classrooms (2 beamers in all of them), very fancy building (still, not very user-friendly, since I was always lost in that crazy messy halls) and expensive meals (around 10 euro a very simple plate).

Still, the OC (the people who are responsible for all the logistics and organization in the conference) were extremely hard-working - besides their very low numbers. They did miracles, I am sure. For example, imagine you have 130 people to eat and 2 microwaves to do all the food - yeah, that happened and, miraculously, it worked (but, really, let’s implement the buffet system). At least I ate a very nice curry thing. I have to congratulate 2 people specially (because they were the ones I had more contact with): Egle, a super cool Lithuanian girl (as all Lithuanians probably), very helpful and also my Vice-President Talent Management elect (from LC BI), and Kenneth, from the current MC, who was kind of supporting the OC a lot and acting in a so calm and resulted oriented way that it was very surprising. Egle is the laughing girl, Kenneth is the know-all-AIESEC-dances guy. By the way, all OC were very smiling people. Great people!


Breath-taking and super fancy were too shallow adjectives to describe the hotel, called Radisson SAS, that the OC got to us - and just crossing the street from BI and in front of the Nydalen metro station. It was a total paradise (especially for AIESEC conference standards). Too bad we stayed so little inside it. By the way, we from the conference team stayed on the Business Class.

Ah, I was totally made for that. Thanks a lot!


I felt some parts of the agenda were not connected (or people did not understand the connection). I think one of the things that made very hard to build the agenda (and deliver sessions) was that there was a huge gap between lowest and highest knowledge levels there. There was members with 2 weeks of AIESEC and members with around 2 years. By the way, knowledge levels, to my standards, are somewhat low in AIESEC in Norway. I would say they are in a similar page as Brazil was before the MC Archers (term 2005-06).

I hope we can impact the country so much as they did in Brazil.


Anna Brandt was for sure one of the most special person I had met in this conference. If you know me, you know when I am working I am serious and focused, a little boring probably. Then when Anna arrived to the Conference Team pre-meeting, everything changed: she is a walking smile - and she is GERMAN, studying in SWITZERLAND, not the best profile to be a cheerful person. I don’t understand how, but people that smile a lot give me so good energy - other example is Laura Adomaityte, one of the coolest in the universe.

Anna is the current National Talent Management Director (MCVPTM) in Switzerland - the same position I was elected to in Norway. The best thing is that she is good with smiling and timing (at least some German thing in her, since she looks like much more a Brazilian).

Fun stuff

No AIESEC conference is complete without the fun. And in this criterion, they are definitely different from AIESEC in Brazil: they have much more “AIESEC things”, such as gossip box, FBI and LC shouts (by the way, most LC roll calls are shouts, not dances).

One of the most amazing differences is the parties. Since alcohol is very expansive in Norway (and even more inside the parties), people traditionally organize “pre-parties”, where they drink a lot, so they don’t need to drink so much AT the party itself (the courageous ones also do after-parties, which I know I did, but I don’t remember, having as final result the lost of my mobile and my coat). Besides all the craziness provided by the alcohol, different from Brazil, no one makes out at the party - IF happens, everything is much concealed. Those charming discreet Vikings. :)

They did with me a thing called the “Norwegian circle”, were we pass a bottle of alcohol and scream some very Viking stuff before drinking. I had to empty 3 or 4 centimeters of vodka - geez, I am not used to and probably never will.

Special moments

Maybe this is the conference with more special moments to me. Those moments that won’t leave your head and that will impact in lots of things in yourself for a long time. Here they are (with no order of importance):

0. Meet my new team

Expectations sometimes are the killers of good time and joy, so I tend to kill any unnecessary expectation setting: that was no problem, because no matter how good I could expect my team to be, they are for sure BETTER. They are so funny and talented! It was amazing to meet the full team. Really, I am super excited about the year and for sure 50% of it is about them.

1. Alumni chat

One of the most fabulous things I ever saw in a conference: ex-members of AIESEC from the 60’s (and ex-PAI, President of AIESEC International), 70’s (ex-PAI also), 80’s (I think she was MCP, President of AIESEC Norway, the first female in Norway to do that), 90’s (ex-AI Director) and 2000’s (ex-MCP) sharing some really inspiring stories. And all of them were Norwegians (AIESEC Norway is one of the founding members of AIESEC, so naturally had a lot of old alumni). The most impressive guys were the ex-PAIs, not because of their former position, but because of the historical moment, the post-war things, communism flirting with AIESEC, etc. It was really amazing to see how big is AIESEC and how hard it was in the beginning.

2. LC coaching meeting

I met my LC, the guys who I will support specially so they can achieve their goals, it’s University of Oslo (AEEEEE!) It was amazing to meet then, they are so mature and cool. I am sure they have really huge potential, my only work will be to help them with some directions and they will perform. I see them very much alike my former LC, Porto Alegre, was when I was elected EB: lots of potential, lots of work to do, capable people, etc. And I remember very well what Marcelo, the coach of Porto Alegre, did to help us perform and how important his support was.

University of Oslo won the most progressive LC award (it does not mean they are the best LC, but the one that had more improvement from all) and I guess they can go to the LC Role Model Award next year. Let’s see. :)

3. Fun team

The best fun team ever, at least the best to work with. It was Anna, Sveinung, Camilla, Alexa and me - we worked very early in the morning and very late at night (respectively before opening plenary and after all the facilitators meetings) and it was impressive how much energy we got in those extreme moments, against all odds (if you ever saw me in the morning and sleepy, you know how bad mooded I can be - but not with them, it was amazing). Probably I had more fun there than with any party.

We were so mean that the most spoken phrase when we were building what to say so the delegates would have fun was:
- No, no, we cannot use that, it’s too mean (and this was followed by a lot of laughter).

Fun team rocks.

4. Closing plenary

Most closing plenaries in my life were shitty for one reason or another. But Unite’s closing pleanary was amazing, mostly because of Anna. She put a really touching video about some AIESEC experiences and the reasons behind we work as crazy (and have fun as crazy also). It was really some lessons we need to recap from time to time, especially when you start to be away from the local reality. I may post the video here someday, I won’t know because I will use it this weekend in a conference that I will chair. ;)

5. Post-meeting

As above, usually post-meetings are shitty: people are tired, stressed and hungry, but not this one (well, we did it eating, we were stressed and we were tired, but the outcome was different anyway). Once again, I guess Anna was the main responsible for facilitating it very well, so we got the relevant feedback (not only negative, but also positive). It was so strong that half of the people there cried (not in a bad way) and all of us made a super huge hug with all the team (yeah, I know, it’s fluffy, but it was appropriate).

If you don’t have the time to read all this, just know this: I loved this conference.

Check some photos from Unite 2008 in Oslo.


  1. tu no fun team?!? hahahaha
    depois do DD, coloca aí o videozinho da closing!

  2. eu sou engraçado - há graça em ser mal-humorado às vezes, tá aí o Seu Madruga, o Dick Vigarista e tantos outros nobres heróis.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.