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Objectif Monde offers windows on a changing world
Sameer Vasta
Djalal Khimdjee
Rehana Mitha
5 March 2008
  • Francis Verillaud, Deputy Director of Sciences Po, addresses the crowd at Objectif Monde. Photo: Ismaili Council for France
    Francis Verillaud, Deputy Director of Sciences Po, addresses the crowd at Objectif Monde. Ismaili Council for France

    Objectif Monde brought together 250 students and young professionals from the Jamats of France, Belgium, Switzerland and Côte d'Ivoire to discuss career opportunities and trends in a rapidly changing world. Held at the Evergreen Laurel Hotel in Paris, the event addressed growing opportunities resulting from the emergence of new leading economies.

    A member of the audience at Objectif Monde asks a question to the speaker. Photo: Ismaili Council for France
    A member of the audience at Objectif Monde asks a question to the speaker. Ismaili Council for France

    The morning sessions of the event featured Karim Vissandjee, Director of Finance at Areva T&D, and Francis Verillaud, Director of International Affairs and Deputy Director of Sciences Po. Vissandjee spoke about the importance of building knowledge networks and continued lifelong learning to increase earning potential and employability. Verillaud built upon this theme by describing some of the strategies that students can use to maximize their education in light of globalization and the rise of economies such as India and China.

    Copyright: Ismaili Council for France

    Advice to students:

    • Think globally and seek to pursue part of your education abroad;
    • Learn the languages of powerful and growing economies such as Arabic, Mandarin, and Russian, in addition to English and your mother tongue;
    • Learn to adapt in an increasingly complex and uncertain world;
    • Cultivate a mastery of fundamental theory, explore interdisciplinary learning, understand risk management, and develop capacity to cope with new issues in a globalising society.

    For professionals:

    • Aggressively pursue lifelong learning throughout your career;
    • Carefully manage your social and business networking;
    • Be entrepreneurial in the management of your career path;
    • Learn to work in multicultural environments;
    • Open your horizons to opportunities in areas of Asia and Africa which may see greater economic growth in the future;
    • Consider organizations such as the AKDN as unique springboards to exciting global opportunities.

    The afternoon began with the premiere screening of Objectif MONDE: Voyage au cœur d'AKDN. The film, which was specially created for the event, took viewers on a world-wide tour, highlighting the work of the Aga Khan Development Network and profiling career opportunities at six of its organisations.

    The screening was followed by a presentation by Shams Jaffer, Senior Manager of Staffing for the Ismaili Imamat / AKDN. She spoke about emerging sectors where the Network is looking for new international talent.

    Objectif Monde was an important event in alerting the francophone Jamat in Europe to the opportunities presented by a rapidly-globalising world. Members of the Aga Khan Education Board (AKEB) for France, reiterated the importance of good strategic planning for the future, explaining that “globalisation will have a profound impact on the education and career planning strategies of European students and professionals.”

    “In order to take advantage of the changes,” the speaker continued, “students and professionals need to be proactive in their future planning.” The AKEB concluded by summarising recommendations made by speakers during the event for students and professionals who are facing important choices for their future.

    Rehana Mitha, one of the organizers of Objectif Monde, spoke about its goals and how they were addressed. “The main goal of Objectif Monde was to help students and professionals prepare themselves to seize the best opportunities and cope with the impact of globalisation on their educations and careers,” she said.

    Noting trends in global economic growth, she commented that “our Jamat needs to be aware of these changes and anticipate them by being proactive.” She explained that Objectif Monde aimed to help members of the Jamat situate themselves to benefit from areas of growing opportunity rather than diminishing prospects.

    The film was a highlight of the day. Mitha described it as a project inspired by the extensive work of the Imamat Institutions. “We wanted to provide students and professionals with an idea of what it is like to work in the geographic regions where the network is active, and apprise them of the types of opportunities that are available.”

    Citing the Aga Khan Development Network as a source of opportunities, she pointed out that “too few people know the entire scope of the Network, and we wanted to present a panorama of its activities and the careers available in its various areas of activity.”