AEGEE in 2016 (X): Andrei, Monika, Mateusz, Deborah, Antonis & Katie

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Who is the AEGEE mem­ber of the year 2016? Which anten­na, which project was the best? The Gold­en Times asked more than 70 local­ly or Euro­pean­ly active mem­bers. In this edi­tion: read what Andrei Dodița, Moni­ka Mojak, Mateusz Muszal­s­ki, Deb­o­rah Pis­tori, Anto­nis Tri­antafyl­lakis and Katie Popo­va said.

 

Andrei Dodita small

Andrei Dodița, President of AEGEE-Chișinău, Agora main organiser

GT: What was your per­son­al AEGEE high­light in 2016?
Andrei Dodița: I had a lot of high­lights this year, but the most impor­tant one was to orga­nize the autumn Ago­ra, to bring it to Moldo­va for the first time and to orga­nize the biggest AEGEE event that took place so far in our coun­try. I declare with all my respon­si­bil­i­ty that you can­not com­pare the feel­ing after orga­niz­ing such a big event with any oth­er feel­ings. It is some­thing spe­cial.
GT: AEGEE-Europe had many mem­o­rable moments in 2016. Which one do you remem­ber most vivid­ly or was out­stand­ing?
Andrei: Indeed, this year was very event­ful, with moments that I will nev­er for­get, moments that have changed my life. But the one that had the biggest impact on me was the clos­ing ple­nary of the Autumn Ago­ra. It was very emo­tion­al, yes! I was cry­ing. I was so hap­py and proud of what we’ve done, I felt accom­plished.
GT: Who were for you the out­stand­ing mem­bers in 2016?
Andrei: I would like to men­tion three. Ana Gancearuc, the curli­est girl from the incom­ing desk, beside her activ­i­ty as Med­Com. Her input in the Ago­ra orga­ni­za­tion was huge, I just can’t imag­ine how the Ago­ra would have looked with­out her. Then, for­mer Sec­re­tary Gen­er­al Sven­ja van der Tol and Katha­ri­na Jiménez Weese, these girls are the soul of AEGEE.
GT: Which were for you the out­stand­ing anten­nae in 2016?
Andrei: AEGEE-Chisin­au and AEGEE-Berg­amo def­i­nite­ly, I guess you know why. Also AEGEE-Istan­bul, I just take my hat off in front of them, they deserve all our con­sid­er­a­tions and AEGEE-Cluj-Napoca, for me the most active and amaz­ing local ever.
GT: What was for you the out­stand­ing Euro­pean project, Work­ing Group or Inter­est Group in 2016?
Andrei: The Euro­pean Cit­i­zens’ Ini­tia­tive “More than Edu­ca­tion”, which is stuck now, but I am sure that with a bit of deter­mi­na­tion and more pro­mo­tion we will reach the goal and this may be the begin­ning of major changes in Europe. It is our duty to pre­pare the ground for future gen­er­a­tions to be edu­cat­ed in a way that we did not have.
GT: What do you fore­see as a high­light or big top­ic in AEGEE in 2017?
Andrei: “More than Edu­ca­tion” must become top pri­or­i­ty for 2017. And anoth­er top­ic will also be very impor­tant, which will be debat­ed at EPM Zagreb: “Europe under Siege – Pop­ulism and Anti-Euro­pean Agi­ta­tion”. AEGEE must take a clear posi­tion towards media manip­u­la­tion, black­mail, pres­sure, self­ish­ness and manip­u­la­tion of deci­sion-mak­ing process­es by polit­i­cal forces from out­side the EU.
GT: What are your per­son­al AEGEE plans for 2017?
Andrei: To get involved more on the Euro­pean lev­el and to help the net­work with every­thing I can, with my time and ideas. I also think to apply for a Euro­pean body.
GT: How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
Andrei: With my fam­i­ly, my AEGEE Fam­i­ly. We are look­ing now for a place, where we can make much noise and not dis­turb any­one. We will have a real New Year’s AEGEE Par­ty — with Secret San­ta and a bunch of clemen­tines and Mol­da­vian wine.

 

Monika Mojak, President of Juridical Commission, AEGEE- Lublin

Monika Mojak

GT: What was your per­son­al AEGEE high­light in 2016?
Moni­ka Mojak: Being elect­ed into the Juridi­cal Com­mis­sion dur­ing Ago­ra Berg­amo. It was a great expe­ri­ence and an unfor­get­table moment for me. Becom­ing the pres­i­dent seemed to be real­ly chal­leng­ing, but it gave me lot of enthu­si­asm and moti­va­tion to do my best and don’t let peo­ple down.
GT: AEGEE-Europe had many mem­o­rable moments in 2016. Which one do you remem­ber most vivid­ly or was out­stand­ing?
Moni­ka: This year was full of high­lights. But I would say that the AEGEE Day turned out to be real­ly out­stand­ing. The open­ing cer­e­mo­ny of Ago­ra Berg­amo was a mas­ter­piece and the dis­cus­sion about the Schultze Method dur­ing Ago­ra Chisin­au brought a lot of emo­tions to many of us.
GT: Who were for you the out­stand­ing mem­bers in 2016?
Moni­ka: Damien Lat­acz, Anna Gancearuc, Lisette Kun­st and Niels Per­riens from the Medi­a­tion Com­mis­sion. The Med­Com is this kind of body, which maybe is not very vis­i­ble, but work­ing there demands a lot of heart and com­mit­ment. Damien, Anna, Lisette and Niels were high­ly pro­fes­sion­al and 100% ded­i­cat­ed to their job. They did a lot of good things for the net­work and helped many peo­ple. I am full of respect for them.
GT: Which were for you the out­stand­ing anten­nae in 2016?
Moni­ka: AEGEE-Berg­amo and AEGEE- Chisin­au orga­nized two awe­some Ago­ras and AEGEE- Cagliari was super active this year.
GT: What was for you the out­stand­ing Euro­pean project, Work­ing Group or Inter­est Group in 2016?
Moni­ka: The Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ty, AEGEE Elec­tion Obser­va­tion project and the Civic Edu­ca­tion Work­ing Group are my top three.
GT: What do you fore­see as a high­light or big top­ic in AEGEE in 2017?
Moni­ka: The EPM Zagreb with the “Europe under Siege – Pop­ulism and Anti-Euro­pean Agi­ta­tion”. It is a very impor­tant top­ic nowa­days and I am glad that AEGEE will draw our atten­tion to it as the cur­rent voic­es in Europe are far away from ideas we all believe in. I am sure the Euro­pean Cit­i­zens’ Ini­tia­tive “More than edu­ca­tion” will be suc­cess­ful and I am very much look­ing for­ward to Ago­ra Cata­nia. I fell in love with Sici­ly this year and I can’t wait to come back there again.
GT: What are your per­son­al AEGEE plans for 2017?
Moni­ka: I want to ded­i­cate myself to the Juridi­cal Com­mis­sion. I have a lot of ideas for fur­ther improve­ments, which I would like to put into prac­tice. Also the idea of the JC Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ty is in the spot­light and I would be more than hap­py if it took off. Hon­est­ly, I don’t like mak­ing big plans, as life is so unpre­dictable. Let’s see, what the next year will bring to me.
GT: How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
Moni­ka: I will spend the New Year’s Eve on the “Roy­al Birth­day and High­lander NYE” orga­nized by AEGEE-Kraków. It’s going to be my 3rd New Year with AEGEE. I am pret­ty sure that this night will be spe­cial and I couldn’t imag­ine a bet­ter begin­ning of 2017 than cel­e­brat­ing New Year in the com­pa­ny of my beloved friends and oth­er won­der­ful AEGEE peo­ple

 

Mateusz Muszalski, former Audit Commissioner, AEGEE-Kraków

Mateusz Muszalski small

GT: What was your per­son­al AEGEE high­light in 2016?
Mateusz Muszal­s­ki: Fin­ish­ing my term in the Audit Com­mis­sion, and def­i­nite­ly two of my close friends join­ing the CD.
GT: AEGEE-Europe had many mem­o­rable moments in 2016. Which one do you remem­ber most vivid­ly or was out­stand­ing?
Mateusz: The elec­tions at Ago­ra Berg­amo and the dis­cus­sion about the vot­ing sys­tem dur­ing Ago­ra Chisin­au.
GT: Who were for you the out­stand­ing mem­bers in 2016?
Mateusz: I appre­ci­ate the hard and pro­fes­sion­al work of the Net­work Com­mis­sion­ers.
GT: Which were for you the out­stand­ing anten­nae in 2016?
Mateusz: AEGEE-Chisin­au, as they proved that every anten­na can do out­stand­ing things! Ok, almost every…
GT: What was for you the out­stand­ing Euro­pean project, Work­ing Group or Inter­est Group in 2016?
Mateusz: Ago­ra Berg­amo and the Civic Edu­ca­tion Work­ing Group.
GT: What do you fore­see as a high­light or big top­ic in AEGEE in 2017?
Mateusz: I am curi­ous about the imple­men­ta­tion of the new Action Agen­da. That’s why I expect that EPM Zagreb and the sec­ond part of the year will be real­ly inter­est­ing!
GT: What are your per­son­al AEGEE plans for 2017?
Mateusz: I am not active in AEGEE any­more. Nev­er­the­less I am always ready to take some new chal­lenges.
GT: How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
Mateusz: I don’t know where yet, but for sure with my friends.

 

Deborah Pistori, former Audit Commissioner, AEGEE-Cagliari

Deborah Pistori small

GT: What was your per­son­al AEGEE high­light in 2016?
Deb­o­rah Pis­tori: Hon­est­ly, I can­not recall one in par­tic­u­lar, because being part of the Audit Com­mis­sion was already a great achieve­ment for me. This expe­ri­ence taught me a lot and it allowed me to grow. We had some dif­fi­cult times, but we man­aged to solve every­thing and accom­plish our plans. Being able to help all those peo­ple in need and coop­er­ate with oth­er great AEGEEans was the best part of it.
GT: AEGEE-Europe had many mem­o­rable moments in 2016. Which one do you remem­ber most vivid­ly or was out­stand­ing?
Deb­o­rah: Undoubt­ed­ly EPM Lei­den. Most­ly because it put a real focus on a top­ic that was not that known or dis­cussed in detail before. Migra­tion has become an issue for the whole Euro­pean Com­mu­ni­ty in the past recent years and it still is. Know­ing what we are deal­ing with is what makes us bet­ter Euro­pean cit­i­zens and it allows us to under­stand the aims of the inter­na­tion­al pol­i­tics on that mat­ter. We might agree or not with them but at least we have a lit­tle bit more of knowl­edge on the sit­u­a­tion to make up our minds objec­tive­ly. I believe that AEGEE should try to focus more on Euro­pean issues because, as it often hap­pens, news that are spread in each and every one of our nations are some­times total­ly dif­fer­ent to one anoth­er and often dis­tort­ed or mis­lead­ing accord­ing to each country’s view. To be the best Euro­pean active cit­i­zens we can, we should try to dis­cuss more these kind of top­ics, hear­ing each other’s opin­ion and build­ing our own with the infor­ma­tion we have. Only through fruit­ful and mean­ing­ful dis­cus­sions we can real­ly open our minds and shape our futures.
GT: Who were for you the out­stand­ing mem­bers in 2016?
Deb­o­rah: This year I had the chance to work with real­ly out­stand­ing peo­ple but I have to men­tion one per­son in par­tic­u­lar. Lisa Greg­is, our for­mer Net­com, did an amaz­ing job. She restored the har­mo­ny and coop­er­a­tion in the Rain­bow after a very dif­fi­cult year. I will always be grate­ful to her for that, I could final­ly see and feel all the love of the first years I was in AEGEE and that I real­ly missed. I would also like to thank Ander, Zvon­imir and Luca for the great coop­er­a­tion we had this year. With­out them I couldn’t have accom­plished any­thing and that’s the beau­ty and chal­lenge of team work.
GT: Which were for you the out­stand­ing anten­nae in 2016?
Deb­o­rah: AEGEE-Cata­nia and AEGEE-Cagliari. AEGEE-Cata­nia because it is always on top, full of sur­pris­es and great peo­ple. This year they even decid­ed to orga­nize an Ago­ra and as a for­mer orga­niz­er I can only con­grat­u­late them. It is the great­est expe­ri­ence one can have in AEGEE and a great hon­our. I am sure they will be great and I am very proud to see such a local putting its heart into it. AEGEE-Cagliari because despite me being not so active any­more I still love it with all my heart and even though peo­ple and boards change, they still man­age to keep high stan­dards and orga­nize beau­ti­ful events.
GT: What was for you the out­stand­ing Euro­pean project, Work­ing Group or Inter­est Group in 2016?
Deb­o­rah: The only mem­o­ries I have about these are not that pos­i­tive. I wit­nessed peo­ple “dis­cussing” top­ics but nev­er tak­ing action or propos­ing ideas. I read posts and com­ments belit­tling peo­ple who didn’t have the same ideas or whose answer was not liked. These are not the kind of dis­cus­sions I want to join and if AEGEE taught me some­thing, it was that we have to respect one anoth­er, take into account oth­er people’s opin­ion and dis­cuss with the max­i­mum respect because every sin­gle per­son mat­ters. I can­not tol­er­ate any­one who thinks to be bet­ter than the oth­ers. This kind of behav­iour only destroys uni­ty and coop­er­a­tion and results in noth­ing.
GT: What do you fore­see as a high­light or big top­ic in AEGEE in 2017?
Deb­o­rah: I hope that the new focus areas will bring new life and new points of dis­cus­sion in AEGEE. I trust EPM Zagreb and the top­ic of Pop­ulism will have a rel­e­vant spot.
GT: What are your per­son­al AEGEE plans for 2017?
Deb­o­rah: For now, I will focus on my grad­u­a­tion, which deserves a lot of atten­tion now after being put aside for quite some time. After that who knows what will hap­pen… maybe I will retire… or maybe not!
GT: How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
Deb­o­rah: I have no idea… I am quite the late plan­ner when it comes to this. I just wished I could spend it with my favourite AEGEE peo­ple, but this being not pos­si­ble I will have to find some­thing else.

 

Antonis Triantafyllakis, AEGEE-Academy

Antonis Triantafyllakis

GT: What was your per­son­al AEGEE high­light in 2016?
Anto­nis Tri­antafyl­lakis: There are a lot to choose from, as this has been a year full of AEGEE expe­ri­ences for me. If I have to choose one, it will prob­a­bly be get­ting elect­ed Speak­er of the AEGEE-Acad­e­my, as this sig­ni­fies nar­row­ing down to what I real­ly what to do in my life. Most of the oth­er expe­ri­ences I had in AEGEE are con­nect­ed to this one.
GT: AEGEE-Europe had many mem­o­rable moments in 2016. Which one do you remem­ber most vivid­ly or was out­stand­ing?
Anto­nis: There were indeed too many and it’s real­ly dif­fi­cult to choose one… I would choose the Plan­ning Meet­ing in Leon, because of its sig­nif­i­cance for the future of AEGEE. This is where the new focus areas of our Strate­gic Plan for 2017–2020 were draft­ed and I am hap­py that they were a direct result of the real inter­ests of our mem­bers, as this ensures that they are a true reflec­tion of the pri­or­i­ties of our net­work and the AEGEEans will be hap­pi­ly active in those areas.
GT: Who was for you the out­stand­ing mem­ber in 2016?
Anto­nis: Maria Balles­teros Melero. Pair her impos­si­ble-to-not-love per­son­al­i­ty with her con­tri­bu­tions to the net­work this year and you have a clear win­ner for me, of whom I am sure you’ll be hear­ing more and more in 2017!
GT: Which were for you the out­stand­ing anten­nae in 2016?
Anto­nis: AEGEE-Cluj-Napoca. They man­aged to host both the “Bor­der­less Europe” con­fer­ence, for which they received the Franck Biancheri award, and this year’s TNT of the AEGEE-Acad­e­my, with a very suc­cess­ful SU in between. For me they are a very good exam­ple of how a local can be very active in the Euro­pean dimen­sion of AEGEE, while keep­ing its ties to its local char­ac­ter. Lots of love to Roma­nia!
GT: What was for you the out­stand­ing Euro­pean project, Work­ing Group or Inter­est Group in 2016?
Anto­nis: Again, too many to be able to pick one. But I would say the Migra­tion Inter­est Group stands high in my pref­er­ences, because of the enor­mous amount of work the group has done and its rel­e­vance to one of the most impor­tant human rights issues of our time. I am hap­py to see AEGEE work­ing on mak­ing a dif­fer­ence to the world. We have always been doing so, but it is impor­tant to do this con­scious­ly.
GT: What do you fore­see as a high­light or big top­ic in AEGEE in 2017?
Anto­nis: Hope­ful­ly, Equal Rights, as it has received the high­est num­ber of votes as a focus area in our new Strate­gic Plan, which means AEGEEans real­ly care and will take more and more action on the top­ic.
GT: What are your per­son­al AEGEE plans for 2017?
Anto­nis: My term as Speak­er of the AEGEE Acad­e­my will be going on till spring, so there is still a lot to do and I am only hap­py to keep work­ing in my team. In gen­er­al, I intend to keep being involved most­ly in train­ings, as, after try­ing myself in many dif­fer­ent areas, this is the one I feel most com­fort­able and capa­ble work­ing in. I can­not thank AEGEE enough for the self-devel­op­ment oppor­tu­ni­ties it has offered me, so this is my way of giv­ing back to the net­work.
GT: How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
Anto­nis: For the first time in six years, I decid­ed to spend it with my par­ents instead of with AEGEEans. AEGEE has been a lov­ing fam­i­ly for me for years, but after spend­ing 14 months of con­stant­ly trav­el­ing from place to place and from event to event, I need to take a step back and reflect on what I have learned. I decid­ed to take this oppor­tu­ni­ty to relax a bit, so I can have a bet­ter impact on myself and those around me in 2017.

 

Katie Popova, Soft Skills School and NWM Moscow coordinator, AEGEE-Moskva

Katie Popova

GT: What was your per­son­al AEGEE high­light in 2016?
Katie Popo­va: This year was full of AEGEE events for me, over­whelm­ing and chal­leng­ing. I would say that the high­lights were my FR posi­tion in the board, invent­ing and coor­di­nat­ing the Soft Skills School and of course coor­di­nat­ing the NWM “Deal with it!” in Moscow.
GT: AEGEE-Europe had many mem­o­rable moments in 2016. Which one do you remem­ber most vivid­ly or was out­stand­ing?
Katie: Coor­di­nat­ing the NWM of course! It was a great chal­lenge for me. And it was kind of dif­fi­cult because you need to keep in mind a lot of things and work with three par­ties: orga­niz­ers, par­tic­i­pants as well as train­ers, CD and Net­com. How­ev­er, I think we have done an amaz­ing and stu­pen­dous work espe­cial­ly when we may see some of the out­comes now.
GT: Who was for you the out­stand­ing mem­ber in 2016?
Katie: Kse­nia Lupano­va. She is the per­fect exam­ple of how not to be afraid of any­thing, how to ded­i­cate your­self to AEGEE, to encour­age oth­ers to be more active and just how to be unstop­pable!
GT: Which were for you the out­stand­ing anten­nae in 2016?
Katie: AEGEE-Voronezh for sure! They are super active and I wish them great luck and patience with all their upcom­ing events. I also would like to men­tion AEGEE-Grod­no – they are full of ener­gy and awe­some ideas! These guys are unbe­liev­able and I can’t wait to see what they will cre­ate next,
GT: What was for you the out­stand­ing Euro­pean project, Work­ing Group or Inter­est Group in 2016?
Katie: I would name the Youth Mobil­i­ty Work­ing Group. These guys actu­al­ly do a bunch of things and addressed effi­cient­ly the visa ques­tions. And I am hap­py to see that these are not only words, but also actions.
GT: What do you fore­see as a high­light or big top­ic in AEGEE in 2017?
Katie: Equal Rights in the wide per­spec­tive – and as one of the includ­ing parts in it visa issues and prob­lems of East­ern coun­tries.
GT: What are your per­son­al AEGEE plans for 2017?
Katie: Def­i­nite­ly orga­nize the Soft Skills School vol. 2! Maybe apply­ing for becom­ing train­er in the Acad­e­my — the time has come…
GT: How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
Katie: Spend­ing pre­cious moments with my par­ents some­where on the beach near the ocean!

 

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