Three days of birthday parties: last weekend AEGEE-Kyiv celebrated its 20th anniversary. Anna Pykhtina, President of the antenna, told the Golden Times, why she is proud of being part of the legacy of such a great local.
GT: Anna, you celebrated the 20th anniversary of AEGEE-Kyiv this weekend! How was it? Spectacular?
Anna Pykhtina: Oh, yes! The celebration lasted not one evening, but three days! For our board, celebrating 20 years of AEGEE-Kyiv was a big highlight. Our intention was to show how much we achieved in all these years – and to invite those who made AEGEE-Kyiv what it is today.
GT: So what did you do?
Anna: We started with visiting the Roman Catholic Church of Ukraine where the National House of Organ and Chamber Music is situated. We enjoyed listening to some classic music and for many Kyivans, it was the first time, when they were inside this amazing building. The Friday finished in Fazenda Bar, the favourite AEGEE-Kyiv bar. On Saturday, when all participants came to Kyiv, we had a city tour, but as everyone already had been to Kyiv, we showed some secret places and our favorite spots. In the evening the big celebration started which lasted till the morning! On Sunday we had a typical after-party day, walking in the city, talking, sharing ideas and having a really good time together! I loved this weekend and hope that our guests as well!
GT: Among all these things, what were the biggest highlights of the celebration weekend?
Anna: I guess, the party was the best part. Apart from all night dances, cake and champagne, we prepared a presentation that started with an AEGEE crossword, that our member Olia Denesiuk prepared. We also told a bit about the time when AEGEE-Kyiv was born in 1995 and showed some old pictures. Then we presented our new T-shirts with the slogan “Don’t mess with Kyiv” and our new video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0HPZJ5Ugh-Q), which that was made by Veroniuka Gumeniuk from our PR-team. We gave presents to our active members and got lots of gifts from our guests! Unfortunately, AEGEE-Minsk couldn’t come, but they sent a presentation! That was really lovely! Moreover, AEGEE-Moskva, AEGEE-Lviv and AEGEE-Kharkiv gave us amazing presents and many, many hugs.
GT: You had some oldies there?
Anna: Yes! The most touching part, as for me, was the time, when we invited our oldies to say some words. They all shared their stories of how they joined AEGEE and how their life changed – all of them are best friends still, they found their love in AEGEE and looking at them was so inspiring and motivating! They all were really sincere and I am really thankful for that. We, the new generation, are lucky that we can always ask them for help and support.
GT: How many oldies took part? And who was the one from the longest time ago?
Anna: Well, we invited all presidents and board members of all generations we could find! The majority of them lives abroad or had plans on 14th of February, but a lot of oldies came: Alla Resheten, former CD and Chair, with her husband Julien, Kate Vronska, Olga Basok, Roman Kudriavtsev, Nastya Iemelianova, the team of the organizers of Agora 2009, and Tanya Basok, who was president ten years ago!
GT: How many participants did you have?
Anna: We had more than 70 people at the party, not only from AEGEE, but also from other youth organizations — some came just because they were curious and heard about AEGEE for the first time. The atmosphere was really friendly and nice. We had seven participants from other antennae, coming from AEGEE-Moskva, AEGEE-Lviv and AEGEE-Kharkiv. All of them are our good friends, so this event was not about quantity, but about people. More than 20 AEGEE-Kyiv members — apart from the board — were involved in the preparation and this helped to make the event as awesome as it was.
GT: You had a great looking cake. How did it taste?
Anna: Yeah, the cake was really delicious! And huge! Some were really lucky and could take two pieces, but AEGEE-Kharkiv and our friends from other organization also brought cakes as a gift, so it was a sweet night!
GT: AEGEE-Kyiv has a log history — when did you join?
Anna: I joined in March 2012, but I became active only in summer 2013, when I was the main organizer of the TSU “Big Kyiv Theory”.
GT: When you joined AEGEE, did you imagine the antenna had such a colourful history?
Anna: When I started to travel and met new people, I was amused that saying “I am from Kyiv” caused almost always the same reaction – people had heard about our local and the image was already so good! So I became proud that I am one of the members of such an active antenna. For me, being the president of AEGEE-Kyiv is a big responsibility and honor as so many active, great people are coming from it. And I hope that the history of this local will be even more colourful in some years with the help of the new generations!
GT: You looked a bit in the history of your antenna before the celebration. What did you find interesting or surprising?
Anna: Yes, I tried to find all presidents of AEGEE-Kyiv and I asked the majority of those who answered me some questions. It was fantastic! I had a Skype meeting with the second President of AEGEE-Kyiv, Anna Glos, from the board 1996–1997. She told me how AEGEE-Kyiv was born, how they traveled 20 years ago with USSR passports, how they organized their first summer university and how the youth was at that time. So many things have changed, starting with modern technologies and the way the network grew, but there are also many things are absolutely the same – stereotypes about countries, differences in traditions. It was a really nice and inspiring talk!
GT: Great that you gathered interviews with people of your antenna’s past! Where can we read them?
Anna: After talking to Anna, we tried to find one person from every board of AEGEE-Kyiv and asked them the same question, so soon we will translate the interviews and publish them on our website with really nice retro pictures. It is very important and interesting to know our history.
GT: Let’s talk about the present: how many members does your antenna have now?
Anna: Yesterday we had 135, but I just received the message that five more registered on the website, so we are growing fast!
GT: What will the future bring to AEGEE-Kyiv? There is an Agora coming up…
Anna: Well, there is more before the Agora – an anniversary event, an exchange with AEGEE-Dresden, a Summer University… We will see, I cannot predict what will happen in the future, but with such great and dedicated members, we will try to make all generations to be proud of AEGEE-Kyiv!
GT: Anything else you would like to add?
Anna: I am thinking a lot about what AEGEE means for me and I am so happy that I decided to join this organization! It is the place for creating everything you would dream for and even more, it is the place where I met the people closest to me. It changed me, my life, my values absolutely and it made me who I am now. I do not know what future will bring for me, but I guess, I would never been happier than I am now, working for AEGEE, traveling with AEGEE, learning from AEGEE, sharing AEGEE spirit with others!