My name is Diyara. People tend to misspell or mispronounce it and that’s the reason I like it more. I’m 23 and I’m that kind of person, who constantly looking for new opportunities and want to learn something new. I graduated bachelor of engineering, but I’ve never worked in that field. I’m a daughter, friend and I’m a leader. The leader of AIESEC entity in Kazakhstan now, one of the biggest youth organizations striving for youth leadership.
How did you find out about AIESEC?
Deep in my heart, I always felt a passion for international relations and for that reason in my first year of studying at Kazakh National University I was searching for international organizations and found it. Youth worldwide platform envisioning peace and fulfillment of humankind’s potential. From the very first moment, I knew that this is the organization I’m looking for. I got through all stages of selection processes and there it all began. The intensive experience of my life.
What was your first experience in AIESEC as a leader?
From the first days of membership, I decided to get everything out of it and applied to team leader position. After rounds of processes, I was responsible for one of the incoming exchange projects, which was related to the growing culture of startups in IT. Since my major is in telecommunication, I thought “Why not?!”
The idea behind the project was to bring international volunteers to deliver educational sessions to youth in order to develop their startup idea and make the final project. At that time, I had a huge team, but I never had a leadership experience before. And even team member experience. It was summer and everyone left home and the project’s realization date was coming, in autumn. I didn’t know how to communicate with them, how to handle things. It was a failure. I was just 19 years old girl and everyone was in their mid-twenties. It was a bit challenging for me. In the end, there were two people in my team who just came back from volunteering experience and me.
As a result, overall, it was my first two interns from Mexico and Germany. That feeling when after communications and all you finally get to see your intern is incredible. I can see now how their lives radically changed since their first journey to Kazakhstan. We were also happy that one guy continued his project, made a prototype and contacted the government. He is still pursuing his interest in that area. Overall, it was 30-40 participants, but I felt that I can do more and much better.
After the first project in AIESEC, what was your ambitious to grow?
I was self-confident, didn’t prepare well and applied for the position. And I didn’t get to be selected. I lost my motivation that I left AIESEC for a month. The only time I wasn’t a part of the organization. It made me realize how AIESEC affected me. When you are there, you are always busy learning different things. Your life is full of everything. But getting a chance to see another part of life, especially just studying and living in the dorm, I realized I can not live that way.
At that time in the morning, I saw there was a released application for a position of new team leader. Brand new incoming exchange project related to orphanage houses. And I thought that “This is chance to start over”. To have a proper team, to bring more impact. I applied and got selected at that same day. I can truly say that was one of the best experiences I had in AIESEC as a team leader. My team won the “The best team” award twice from our local committee and after that moment I truly realized how important is to put all efforts on team members in order to achieve the results.
We had 16 interns from 15 countries and all of them are still in touch. We got even a chance to be a part of a beautiful romance, which still continues nowadays. The cool thing about our project that besides working with orphanage houses, we engaged NGOs working with students with special needs. International volunteers supposed to come to our country to share how they can find their way in life and work abroad, teaching kids essential soft skills. This time it was about 70-100 people influenced. That was the highest number of exchange in our Local committee. Our project ‘Shine bright’ got his name to motivate students to achieve more, reminding them that they are no way different from others and deserve the best in life.
You were a part of a National team of AIESEC in Kazakhstan. How did you decide to apply for it, and what was the outcome?
It’s been two years in AIESEC, so I decided that it’s time to send people and applied to be Outgoing Exchange director for the whole country. This experience required to be a part of the international team leading the entity and living together with team members for a year. Changemakers from UK, Tunisia, Serbia and different cities of Kazakhstan were brought together to make a difference in the heart of Central Asia.
You are a really drawing your future! How did you end up in Iran?
I felt that it’s not enough and as my university life was going to end soon I started to look for opportunities abroad. In the organization, besides three different types of exchanges abroad, after a certain time, you have also a chance to become a part of the national team living abroad. I first applied to Nicaragua, but I didn’t get through because I didn’t know the reality well. But that just again made me believe that anything you fail it is for better and teaches you a lot, preparing you for the future. Then later, I got the email saying that National team of AIESEC in Iran is looking for a vice president of Outgoing exchange. I felt that it’s the right thing to do. Everything went smoothly and after several selection rounds, I become Outgoing Exchange director 2016-2017 of AIESEC in Iran.
What was your experience in Iran?
It was my second time abroad, after going to the conference in India, so everything went smoother. In Iran, we had a super international team from Italy, Portugal, Germany and Iran itself, so it was quite diverse. Each of them has different backgrounds, approaches and leadership styles. I ended up being the only female in the team, which made me learn a lot. My goal there was to make all the processes better, smoother and faster. At that year we send 351 people and the entity was growing a lot. I believe that was because every individual in our team truly believed in the vision of our organization. That it will do bring the real impact.
What is Iran as a country?
It may seem that Iran is closed country, however, citizens are very open-minded, educated, hospitable and open to new cultures and languages. They will do everything to make sure that you as a guest will feel comfortable. Iranians follow their own calendar, working from Saturday to Wednesday, Thursday and Friday are weekends. There was a huge memorable celebration on Nowruz, Iranian New Year. That year due to my position I started to travel more, attending different conferences in Europe and neighboring Central Asian countries. These conferences provided a lot of knowledge, networking, and support, which is crucial in our working process.
Did you come back to Kazakhstan after living in Iran? How this experience changed you?
Working abroad broaden my perspectives and give me the experience to realize that it’s not enough and I should apply for the next position to be a team leader of the whole country. Going back home for a New Year holidays made me think about Kazakhstan, to make a decision to go back home after the end of my term in Iran and bring impact to my own home country. When you leave in some certain place for a long time you adopt the way of life, so going back to Kazakhstan in 2017 to our capital Astana gave me a reversed culture shock.
What were your goals for Kazakhstan?
Starting from July 2017 I’m working currently as President of AIESEC in Kazakhstan, focusing a lot on exchanges. We are super unique in the market, so now we are making sure that more and more people know about such opportunity and understand why we are doing what we are doing. People tend to look for easier ways to earn money, but nowadays good experience and good background are the great investments which can give you later more than you expected. Networking, experience and of course stories to tell your future kids. In the future, none of us wants to regret that they haven’t done enough. We do have so many opportunities around, but we don’t use it. That’s one of the missing points of our youth. Taking Iran as an example, there are so many things to face to just leave the country not even saying about taking opportunities.
What are the challenges of being a President?
The biggest challenge of being President is working and dealing with different people. Anytime, people can just come or call you complaining, requesting the information, asking for a help. How to handle different people, government, and organizations. In other words, the most challenging thing was to adapt: to different kinds of people, nationalities, cultures, languages. You should be super flexible, otherwise, you will never achieve what you want. In National Team you are not the one who is actually doing the job, you are the one who is guiding. No matter how good your strategy is, if your members are not believing you and not implementing the things you are suggesting, it’s not gonna work. You should communicate with them and make sure that they are on the same page with you.
What have you learned in this 5-year journey?
Five years experience in AIESEC, no doubts, brought to me huge changes. What I love about AIESEC is the chance to learn by doing, the experience which we are lacking at the universities. The experience we get here we probably can not get anywhere else. It makes youth open-minded, connected with the whole world, concerned about world issues and more prepared for the world. You get to work with different teams and each one of them becomes your small unique family. Working in NGO, we are learning to face the problems and understand that there is always a solution. You understand that complaining will not get you anywhere. And at that exact moment, you focus on finding the best solution, rather than focusing on wasting precious time.
Don’t make excuses. It appeared to me that when you actually want to do things, everything comes up and you do that. It just depends how badly you want that to make happen. Choose one thing which you really want to do and make sure that you do everything to achieve that.