THE INTERNATIONAL EXECUTIVE SERVICES CORPS (IESC), based in Stamford, Connecticut, has enlisted executive volunteers such as Leonard Afremow, XP-31 (’72), and Harold Autrey, ’58, to influence the way 120 countries do business–and the way their citizens live.

The organization’s 13,000 volunteers–over half of whom are retired–serve as a testimonial to the contributions of Americans over the age of 65. Since its inception in 1964, IESC has completed 20,000 projects, created 248,000 jobs, and donated $514 million in services.

Unlike other high-profile global aid organizations, IESC does not offer relief. The organization’s strategies for improving world conditions rely heavily upon pairing volunteers with overseas clients from the public and private sectors. For businesses, the volunteers provide technical assistance, management training, business planning services, and networking opportunities. They work with governments to strengthen free-market economies and promote international business standards.

Since 1990, IESC’s volunteer base has increased 20 percent. Yet the experience is not for everyone. Volunteers must go where they are needed, which sometimes means coping with unfamiliar cultures and less than ideal living conditions. Autrey, who has volunteered for several IESC projects, now helps screen potential volunteers for the organization.

“We interview volunteers to see how well they could adjust to the culture in a third world country,” Autrey said. “We’re interested in their tolerance levels, their patience, their feelings toward people who may be different from themselves. We look to see if they are curious and interested in learning about other people. We prefer that to the individual who thinks he’s going to go in and solve all the problems in three months.”

Find out more about IESC at www.iesc.org.–S.D.

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