AIESEC Peacebuilder

70th Anniversary Edition

Bernd M. Thomas

Previous Board Plenipotentiary to the EU Institutions BMW Group|Germany

AIESEC Experience

Bernd started as President at local Mannheim 1956, rising to German President in 1957 and to President of AIESEC International in 1958/59. He co-chaired AIESEC International Congress in 1959 in Cologne and 1960 in Barcelona. He held AIESEC internships in France, USA, Nigeria and as first AI Envoy to Asia in Japan introducing AIESEC to India, Philippines, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan and South Korea in 1962. He co-founded the first international AIESEC alumni body AAA in 1964 in Paris (relaunched as AAI 1986 in Budapest). He participated in the AI/UNESCO ITOMS project in 1968 and initiated the Norman Barnett Project Award by alumni for students in 1980 (extended as Barnett-Bhasin Award in 2006). He worked on AAI Reform from 2006 and was AAI Vice President in2012-14. He was elected International Senior Member for life at IC 1960 and inducted into AI Hall of Fame at IC 2000.

Contributions to AIESEC’s Vision of Peace and Fulfillment of Humankinds Potential

Bernd contributed to this vision especially in his 10 th anniversary AI presidency by reforming AIESEC with modern structures (Presidents’ Meeting, Permanent Secretariat) and making its expansion global (including emerging countries). He lived AIESEC values as an alumnus with continuous support to it and to other renowned NGO’s -- as well as in his professional work of building and managing business organizations on 4 continents, culminating in consultancy for
regional economic development.


Born in 1934 at Dresden, Germany, Bernd survived WWII with only one goal: peace, liberty and prosperity in a United Europe. In 1950/51 AFS exchange student in USA and in 1954-55 at a foreign trade startup in Belgium, he graduated from University of Mannheim in 1961 with an MBA and the extracurricular experience of AIESEC leadership and President of the University’s Student Government. From 1962 to 1994 Bernd pursued an accomplished international career
in senior management at 2 leading German automobile groups, including deployments to USA, Canada, France and Belgium, the latter as BMW Board Delegate to the European Union Institutions. After retirement, he continued between business and politics as Founding Secretary of a European Industrial Sector Association in Brussels and on the global Board of Advisors of The Competitiveness Institute in Barcelona.

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