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 Tom Simons, Petra Buruzs, Mario Galea, Mateusz Gierczak, Aliénor Pirlet and Ralitsa Mihaylova said.

Tom Simons

Tom Simons, Former Chairperson of the Agora, Main organiser of Spring Agora Enschede, AEGEE-Enschede

GT: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2016?
Tom Simons: There are several, but two that immediately come to mind are my second term as Chairperson and of course AEGEE-Enschede being selected to organise the coming Spring Agora.
GT: AEGEE-Europe had many memorable moments in 2016. Which one do you remember most vividly or was outstanding?
Tom: There are two actually, firstly the CD elections during Agora Bergamo. Chairing this situation is definitely something I won’t easily forget. The second one is the voting procedure of the Strategic Plan in Chisinau. I wouldn’t have thought that when the Schulze Method was adopted in Bergamo, it would cause so much procedural issues only one Agora later.
GT: Who was for you the outstanding member in 2016?
Tom: That would be Marta Wnuk. Working with her in the Chair Team during the past year was an amazing experience. I could always count on her dedication and professionalism for the challenging tasks and obstacles the Chair Team faces. Besides that I am proud to say she became a member of AEGEE-Enschede to complete the All-Enschede Chair Team.
GT: Which were for you the outstanding antennae in 2016?
Tom: The three locals that organised the three statutory events in 2016: AEGEE-Leiden, AEGEE-Bergamo and AEGEE-Chisinau. Being currently involved in the organisation of a statutory event myself, I know the difficulties and the dedication the members of the locals need to have in order to make it a success. They all did a great job and it was great working with all of them from the side of the Chair Team.
GT: What do you foresee as a highlight or big topic in AEGEE in 2017?
Tom: How could I not mention Spring Agora Enschede in this answer? We are currently preparing everything to make it an awesome Agora, and I am confident it will be an unforgettable event for both the participants and the organisers.
GT: What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2017?
Tom: As main organiser of Spring Agora Enschede, I will spend most of my time on those preparations and the follow-up afterwards. I will also probably start my graduation thesis after the summer, so this will probably be the last thing I actively do in AEGEE. I still hope I will be able to attend Agora Catania though.
GT: How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
Tom: I will spend it in Enschede, there will be a big new year’s party in honour of AEGEE-Enschede’s 30th birthday.

 

Petra Buruzs, Mediation Commissioner, AEGEE-Budapest

Petra Buruzs small

GT: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2016?
Petra Buruzs: I would like to name three personal highlights. The first one was when I applied and got elected for the Mediation Commission. The second one was when we won the Franck Biancheri Award and when Les Anciens approached me personally.
GT: AEGEE-Europe had many memorable moments in 2016. Which one do you remember most vividly or was outstanding?
Petra: During Agora Bergamo, the play with emotions and different points of view.
GT: Who was for you the outstanding member in 2016?
Petra: It is hard to choose. Everyone who enters this family and shares the AEGEE spirit is outstanding.
GT: Which were for you the outstanding antennae in 2016?
Petra: Each antenna works hard in their own way. Some of them struggle to remain, some of them fight to organise huge events. For sure, AEGEE-Bergamo and AEGEE-Chisinau did a great job to organise the Agora, but also AEGEE-Istanbul and the other Turkish antennae are definitely outstanding.
GT: What was for you the outstanding European project, Working Group or Interest Group in 2016?
Petra: The general fact is already outstanding that all the AEGEEans can feel a bit closer because their interests can be represented – and that these European projects, working groups and interest groups can provide them a place to work for their interest. Every aspect is important for someone.
GT: What do you foresee as a highlight or big topic in AEGEE in 2017?
Petra: We will see.
GT: What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2017?
Petra: My to-do list is endless, as I just literally came back from my TNT. I would love to give some trainings to share the knowledge I collected so far. Furthermore I would like to give my best for the MedCom. Then I would like to organise the Franck Biancheri Award event, which is the starting event of “Europe on Track 4”, which AEGEE-Budapest and the Civic Education Working Group will handle. A week afterwards is the Les Anciens General Assembly. And of course I want to be there for AEGEE-Budapest. I also have a lot of plans for Summer, but the time will unfold everything.
GT: How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
Petra: With the bravest participants in Budaf**ingPest, and everyone who finally ends up in there.

 

Mario Galea, ITC Speaker, iTIG Moderator, AEGEE-Valletta HR

Mario Galea2

GT: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2016?
Mario Galea: Getting back on track after a harsh start, co-organising our summer event for 100 people with limited resources and the recent amazing Training New Trainers.
GT: AEGEE-Europe had many memorable moments in 2016. Which one do you remember most vividly or was outstanding?
Mario: Agora Bergamo’s happenings stood out quite a lot in my opinion, as instances which shouldn’t belong to our organisation’s values.
GT: Who were for you the outstanding members in 2016?
Mario: The most outstanding people for me both for fulfilling their role in AEGEE and much more with humble dedication, and also for supporting me personally are Pablo Hernandez Rodriguez and Melissa Carreres Candela.
GT: Which were for you the outstanding antennae in 2016?
Mario: AEGEE-Chisinau for believing in themselves and, with the help of all the good relationships they built up through the years, managing to organise a wonderful Agora despite all the difficulties, with me having the honour to be part of it.
GT: What do you foresee as a highlight or big topic in AEGEE in 2017?
Mario: Hopefully, the European Citizen’s Initiative campaign leaving fruitful results and the starting of the implementation of the new online membership system.
GT: What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2017?
Mario: To continue working for the network on all levels. Now that I have returned in the local board, I plan to put in practice all the knowledge and experience I have gained in AEGEE. I don’t want to give up on ITC and iTIG, which are the basis of a contemporary international organisation in offering the adequate means for collaboration. I would also like to start giving back as an Academy trainer.
GT: How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
Mario: I will be with a nice group of AEGEE people, participants and organisers of the “Our Big Fat Greek” Winter University. I don’t know exactly where we will be because we’re going to travel through all Greece, but for sure it will be unforgettable!

 

Aliénor Pirlet, Civic Education Working Group coordinator, AEGEE-Brussel/Bruxelles

Alienor Pirlet small

GT: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2016?
Aliénor Pirlet: Definitely EPM Leiden, because that’s what got me so willing to get active in AEGEE! At that time, I had already been an AEGEE member for a year but there is so much I didn’t know yet. I knew AEGEE was this incredible way of making friends all over Europe and discovering new cities all year long. What I hadn’t realised yet was how much I could learn and grow within AEGEE. During the EPM, I discovered this new side of AEGEE I am now so crazy about. I found the way we structure our organisation fascinating and the more I learned about our Strategic Plan, working groups, committees and other bodies, the more I wanted to know. Of course at the same time I also had crazy fun during the sessions, dinners and many parties! The organisers really nailed it!
GT: AEGEE-Europe had many memorable moments in 2016. Which one do you remember most vividly or was outstanding?
Aliénor: Agora Bergamo was pretty unbelievable. It was only my second Agora so I didn’t have much to compare it to. Yet, I soon understood that “The Agora of the Thousand” was something major in the history of AEGEE!
GT: Who was for you the outstanding member in 2016?
Aliénor: Maria Ballesteros Melero! Maria has already done so much for AEGEE, she is active in so many ways! And believe me it doesn’t keep her from being one hundred percent involved and keep her commitments! Whether it is in the Gender Equality Interest Group, in the Civic Education Working Group, in the “Europe On Track” Project, in the ECI task force, in her antenna AEGEE-Madrid, or anywhere else, you can always count on her and her enthusiasm! She is really impressive and I am so happy to be working with her!
GT: What was for you the outstanding European project, Working Group or Interest Group in 2016?
Aliénor: The Civic Education Working Group of last year has particularly done an incredible job! It was the first year AEGEE had such working groups, yet the CEWG has achieved so much and was so active that it almost felt as if it had already existed for years! I also want to mention the Society and the Environment Interest Group because even though it only exists for a couple of months, it is already showing much potential and I believe that it is something that was greatly missing in AEGEE. I wish them a lot of success!
GT: What do you foresee as a highlight or big topic in AEGEE in 2017?
Aliénor: Definitely populism. As we have seen when choosing the EPM topics for Zagreb, AEGEEans really want to discuss the matter of populism and I am sure that the topic will continue to occupy a big space in our network next year.
GT: What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2017?
Aliénor: All I know for sure is that until the end of my term as coordinator of the CEWG, I do not wish to focus on anything else than what I am already involved in – the working group and the ECI task force. After this, I might be interested in getting active in other teams, but that will depend on my studies.

 

Mateusz Gierczak, former President of AEGEE-Kraków

Mateusz Gierczak

GT: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2016?
Mateusz Gierczak: In March I finished my term as President of AEGEE-Kraków. Our board had very intensive last weeks, because we changed a bit the board election system. It was a super satisfying moment. After that three great projects took place, that our antenna was working on for months: the PR Camp, the Perfect Speaker and the Youth2Youth Forum – all of them were incredible and we had very big influence on that.
GT: AEGEE-Europe had many memorable moments in 2016. Which one do you remember most vividly or was outstanding?
Mateusz: Definitely the opening ceremony of Agora Bergamo. That was amazing. One performance after another and in the end a great surprise with the Balkan Orchestra. I didn’t know what was going on! It was one of the best performance I have ever seen!
GT: Who were for you the outstanding members in 2016?
Mateusz: I have several nominees. Very active was Luca Bisighini – not only in the Audit Commission, but also as Migration Officer. I see him everywhere on Facebook! On the other hand at Agoras very active was Jorge Sánchez Hernández and recently he started to represent AEGEE towards BEST. The third member is Philipp Blum, who did a great job in the SUCT and decided to work for even one more year for that! Respect! He was also very active at Agoras, so he deserves some award.
GT: Which were for you the outstanding antennae in 2016?
Mateusz: I really appreciate both antennae who organized Agoras – AEGEE-Bergamo and AEGEE-Chisinau. You did a great job guys!
GT: What was for you the outstanding European project, Working Group or Interest Group in 2016?
Mateusz: I really appreciate the work of the Civic Education Working Group! That’s a really important group and it is awesome that they work so good! The “More Than Education” initiative is really crucial for the future of Europe – I am very proud that AEGEE created that. Another body is SUCT – I’m happy they started to look on the content of our SUs. It is the perfect moment to take a bit of attention of thousands of young Europeans on important matters – and SUCT works great to make it happen.
GT: What do you foresee as a highlight or big topic in AEGEE in 2017?
Mateusz: “The Art of Possible” – I am looking forward to seeing this movie! I am really very excited!
Also “More Than Education” – hopefully we will do a lot to bring it closer to reality. If we do – that’s going to be a true highlight.
GT: What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2017?
Mateusz: I am already in the Advisory Board of AEGEE-Kraków, so I try to use my experience to help both antenna and board. I will continue this till the end of my term. A few months ago I started to be quite active as a trainer in our antenna and that’s going to be probably my biggest activity in next year. Of course I will try to join Agoras or some NWMs and LTCs, but I am not planning to make my contribution bigger.
GT: How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
Mateusz: We have our bunch of post-AEGEEan friends and this year we plan to go to Olomouc, Czech Republic. We will grab some Czech beer and enjoy the country of our neighbours.

 

Ralitsa Mihaylova, SUCT

Ralitsa Mihaylova

GT: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2016?
Ralitsa Mihaylova: Thinking that I already saw everything AEGEE has to offer and then realizing that it was complete bullshit.
GT: AEGEE-Europe had many memorable moments in 2016. Which one do you remember most vividly or was outstanding?
Ralitsa: I am super excited for our newly founded contacts, especially for – almost – AEGEE-Lisboa!
GT: Who was for you the outstanding member in 2016?
Ralitsa: The potion master of AEGEE-Athina – Panos. He is the definition of AEGEE spirit.
GT: Which were for you the outstanding antennae in 2016?
Ralitsa: Every antenna in which people actually had fun and enjoyed working together. If you don’t have that, your accomplishments don’t really matter.
GT: What was for you the outstanding European project, Working Group or Interest Group in 2016?
Ralitsa: Not exactly a project or group, but the few people who are working to kill the Intranet!
GT: What do you foresee as a highlight or big topic in AEGEE in 2017?
Ralitsa: I really hope that apart from important external topics, we have more discussions on our internal issues.
GT: What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2017?
Ralitsa: To enjoy it to the fullest and become member of AEGEE-Lisboa.

 

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