Win-Win: How The AEGEE Academy Opened Trainings To Other NGOs


When the AEGEE Acad­e­my was found­ed exact­ly 15 years ago, Euro­pean train­ing events were only for mem­bers exclu­sive­ly and deeply root­ed in a spe­cif­ic AEGEE envi­ron­ment. Today, Acad­e­my events and their par­tic­i­pants ben­e­fit large­ly from a strong coop­er­a­tion with oth­er NGOs. The Gold­en Times spoke with Acad­e­my Speak­er Andra Beri­la, her pre­de­ces­sor Maart­je Nat­rop and the Exter­nal Rela­tions Man­ag­er in the Acad­e­my board, Urša Svetelj.

academy logoGT: The Acad­e­my opened the FRES to exter­nal par­tic­i­pants. Is this a spe­cial case or are you plan­ning to do this with all train­ing events?
Andra and Maart­je: We ​are cur­rent­ly work­ing with Urša, our Exter­nal Rela­tions Respon­si­ble, on strength­en­ing the coop­er­a­tion with oth­er NGOs like Best, Salto, YEP and more. We would like to involve them by shar­ing open calls for train­ers and for par­tic­i­pants. In return we get invi­ta­tions for their events. This pro­vides us with a dynam­ic mix of peo­ple with dif­fer­ent back­grounds at events. As youth NGOs we have a lot to learn from — and teach to — each oth­er. How­ev­er, every AEGEE event is dif­fer­ent and there­fore we will review per event if it suit­able to open up for exter­nals. A Euro­pean School 1 for exam­ple is less inter­est­ing for exter­nals as it is aimed at pro­vid­ing AEGEE new­bies with infor­ma­tion about the his­to­ry and struc­ture of AEGEE and their pos­si­bil­i­ties to become active with­in the net­work.

Andra Berila3
Andra Beri­la

GT: Aren’t the AEGEE train­ings in gen­er­al too much built on AEGEE mat­ters for exter­nal par­tic­i­pants?
Andra and Maart­je: That depends on the event. The­mat­ic Euro­pean Schools such as the Self-devel­op­ment Euro­pean School, the Human Resources Euro­pean School, the Fundrais­ing Euro­pean School or the Pub­lic Rela­tions Euro­pean School are just as use­ful for any­one. Of course there will be one or two ses­sions on that theme applied to AEGEE specif­i­cal­ly, but the absolute major­i­ty is gen­er­al­ly use­ful infor­ma­tion. The Train­ing for Train­ers is also per­fect­ly suit­able for exter­nals. Only Euro­pean School 1 and 2 are prob­a­bly too much AEGEE-focused to be inter­est­ing for exter­nals.

GT: When did you open up an event for exter­nals for the first time?
Andra and Maartje:We don’t real­ly remem­ber when we start­ed, but I am sure we had col­lab­o­ra­tions for a long time. For exam­ple, the last FRES – three years ago — was also a col­lab­o­ra­tion between Acad­e­my and Tigro. So the par­tic­i­pants were about half from AEGEE and half from BEST or even oth­er NGOs.​

Maartje Natrop
Maart­je Nat­rop

GT: Do you have more exam­ples?
Andra and Maart­je: Anoth­er exam­ple of col­lab­o­ra­tions is Train­ing for Train­ers, where we usu­al­ly have train­ers from BEST, AIESEC, EFPSA and oth­er NGOs, so hav­ing exter­nals at an AEGEE train­ing events is not unusu­al. Also, both the T4T 2014 in Budapest and the T4T 2012 in Warsza­wa had, indeed, more than 50% AEGEE par­tic­i­pants, but also par­tic­i­pants from the Euro­pean Youth Forum and local NGOs.

GT: What are the ben­e­fits of hav­ing events with exter­nal par­tic­i­pants?
Andra and Maartje:It gives more val­ue to our Euro­pean Schools and train­ings, from our per­spec­tive, because you can learn so many new things from vol­un­teers of oth­er orga­ni­za­tions. And, of course, we are invit­ed to send par­tic­i­pants to T4Ts orga­nized by BEST, EFPSA and oth­ers. It’s a win-win sit­u­a­tion.

GT: Will there a quo­ta at ES1, PRES, FRES and oth­er train­ings of reserved places for AEGEE mem­bers?
Andra and Maart­je: There is a min­i­mum of 50% AEGEE par­tic­i­pants.

Ursa Svetelj
Urša Svetelj

GT: The Acad­e­my is an inde­pen­dent organ­i­sa­tion. Is it pos­si­ble that you make train­ings com­plete­ly for anoth­er asso­ci­a­tion?
Andra and Maartje:Possible yes, but not like­ly. We were found­ed to serve AEGEE and will con­tin­ue to do so. A healthy, strong and func­tion­ing net­work is our first pri­or­i­ty, togeth­er with the devel­op­ment of our train­ers. How­ev­er, we will not exclude an exter­nal train­ing or a col­lab­o­ra­tion with oth­er NGOs in orga­niz­ing an exter­nal train­ing event. Nev­er say nev­er…

GT: Which name are you using? AEGEE Acad­e­my or just The Acad­e­my?
Andra and Maartje:In gen­er­al we use The Acad­e­my, espe­cial­ly in inter­nal com­mu­ni­ca­tion. How­ev­er, some­times it can be use­ful to use AEGEE Acad­e­my so that peo­ple under­stand we work in ser­vice of AEGEE-Europe. So the main dif­fer­ence is whether we are com­mu­ni­cat­ing inter­nal­ly or exter­nal­ly.

GT: Devel­op­ments often go two ways — how much did the teach­ing style and organ­i­sa­tion style of train­ings at BEST and oth­er organ­i­sa­tions influ­ence Acad­e­my events?
Urša: All orga­ni­za­tions learn from each oth­er. There is no answer to this ques­tion, since I have per­son­al­ly nev­er coop­er­at­ed with BEST before and the board does not have an overview of past coop­er­a­tions. I am sure all train­ers in youth NGOs influ­ence each oth­er, not just between Acad­e­my and Tigro, I see this as some­thing very good to broad­en per­spec­tives.

GT: Are there train­ings at oth­er asso­ci­a­tions that you can rec­om­mend to AEGEE mem­bers?
Andra and Maart­je: Of course, there are qual­i­ty train­ings all around. Most of you heard of the Lead­er­ship Sum­mer School, where each year we have Acad­e­my train­ers and AEGEE par­tic­i­pants. We are also proud of the ARC train­ing, which is found­ed by Astrid Schroed­er and Arne Reis, alum­ni Acad­e­my mem­bers – it is one of the best self-devel­op­ments train­ings in youth field.

Meet the new Acad­e­my board mem­bers: