Pre-History of AIESEC in Asia Pacific (by Hiro Kinashi)

The very first introduction of AIESEC into Asia was made by two American students, Heinz and Page, to Japanese students in the summer of 1960. This first attempt of establishing AIESEC in Japan was succeeded by Gianni Fodella, then NCP of Italy, but unfortunately it did not successfully work out.

However, in early 1962, Bernd M. Thomas, ex-SG (Secretary General…equivalent to PAI) of IAS (International AIESEC Secretariat…equivalent to AI) for the term of 1959-60, came to Asia…India, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Taiwan and Japan…as an expansion envoy under the traineeship program provided by Time Incorporated Tokyo Office. His mission at that time was to set up IASEC (International Association of the Students of Economics and Commerce) which was tentatively (1962-1963) created to promote traineeship exchange among Asia Pacific region (including Australia and New Zealand) because IAS did not approve AIESEC extension to Asia during that time since IAS’s expansion program was focused on Latin America.

Thanks to Bernd’s incredibly energetic efforts, IASEC was established in the summer of 1962 in Japan, and 13 traineeship exchanges were realized with Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, Italy, West-Germany and the USA from the first year…in the same year, IASEC Korea was also established. In the following year, both Japan and Korea were granted AIESEC membership at the Princeton IC…then, automatically the name of IASEC disappeared.

Only three years after AIESEC took off in Japan, the IC in Helsinki (1965) mandated AIESEC Japan to expand AIESEC in Asia. Following this mandate, Asian Committee was formed within NC in Japan, headed by Shinichi Ito with Hiro Kinashi as a member.

In the summer 1966, both were dispatched to fulfill the mission of expansion and consolidation to the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Our first attempt to start up AIESEC in the Philippines and Thailand in 1966 was unfortunately not so successful, but our passion to start up AIESEC in both countries had never stopped.


1967: Expansion was focused on the Philippines. Thanks to a big support by Pedro Abella of UNESCO National Commission along with the vigorous efforts by Eric de Guia, AIESEC Philippines was established at the University of the Philippines (UP). As a tactic before submitting membership application at Istanbul IC, we tried to create a fait accompli by implementing traineeship exchange…for that, we raised TN (Kubota in Osaka) for a Filipino student (Danilo Abella/UP) and TN (Blue Bar Coconut in Manila) for a Japanese student (Jun Takeda/Waseda LC, Japan), and also we organized an AIESEC conference (Asian Pre-Congress) in Manila.

Another big event in this year was the Special Study Tour Exchange between Korea and Japan. This special exchange program was implemented as one of consolidation programs in Asia. It was because raising TNs for overseas students in Korea and TNs for Korean students in Japan was significantly difficult, so we created this program to help substitute for TN exchange program to consolidate AIESEC activities in Korea.


1968: At Istanbul IC, the membership application of the Philippines was approved as planned along with a strong lobbying activity by ACO (Asian Coordination Office). At that time, Hiro Kinashi was appointed as the first Asian Regional Coordinator (ex-offico member of IAS). The target after the Philippines was Thailand. Masaro Omachi (Doshisha LC, Japan) was sent to Bangkok as a pilot trainee (Bangkok Bank).

Also, Asian Regional Seminar of ITOMS (International Transfer of Management Skills) was held in Tokyo with attendance of Hong Kong, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Taiwan, Korea, and Japan. At this time, Asian Congress was also organized to discuss about expansion of AIESEC in Asia.


1969: Asian Congress was held in Seoul to discuss about further expansion projects in Asia. Mr. Kunio Miki (Keio LC, Japan) was sent as an expansion envoy to Singapore in the summer of this year.


1970: At the Tokyo IC which was held for the first time in Asia, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore were successfully approved the membership as the compilation of the Expansion efforts initiated by AIESEC Japan since 1966.