AEGEE in 2016 (XII): Erika Bettin and Gabriela Geană

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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 final edi­tion: read what Eri­ka Bet­tin and Gabriela Geană from the AEGEEan mag­a­zine said.

Erika Bettin, former Editor-in-Chief of The AEGEEan, AEGEE-Verona

Erika Bettin

GT: What was your per­son­al AEGEE high­light in 2016?
Eri­ka Bet­tin: Not bring­ing my lap­top on hol­i­days. It might seem very sil­ly, but I know that all the AEGEEans out there will under­stand the feel­ing to be forced to bring always the lap­top. It was a reliev­ing expe­ri­ence, which I hadn’t expe­ri­enced since 2012. Then on the 12th of Decem­ber my term as Advi­so­ry Board mem­ber of AEGEE-Verona end­ed. I could not attend the local Ago­ra, so I sent a mes­sage via the for­mer pres­i­dent Ang­ie. I received a voice mes­sage with applause, first­ly not under­stand­ing what it was, then cry­ing and smil­ing at the same time.
GT: AEGEE-Europe had many mem­o­rable moments in 2016. Which one do you remem­ber most vivid­ly or was out­stand­ing?
Eri­ka: The open­ing cer­e­mo­ny and the clos­ing ple­nary in Berg­amo. The first because it was exquis­ite­ly realised by some­one who is mas­sive­ly valiant, more that she under­stands; the lat­ter because dur­ing the Ago­ra every­thing hap­pens on the last ple­nary and Berg­amo was no excep­tion. But also all the fuss on Face­book such as argu­ments on non­sense cer­tifi­cates, blur­ry arti­cles or in gen­er­al dis­cus­sions that were nev­er inclu­sive but more like: “This is wrong, you are wrong, you should be ashamed of what you think”. Regard­less what and how it was writ­ten, such a wave of hate let me speech­less.
GT: Who were for you the out­stand­ing mem­bers in 2016?
Eri­ka: I could nom­i­nate a lot of peo­ple, there­fore I will nom­i­nate a team. I think that AEGEE is noth­ing with­out locals and we have a splen­did com­mis­sion, which is tak­ing care of that: the Net­work Com­mis­sion. Between Ago­ra Kyiv and Ago­ra Chisin­au the Net­com was led by two phe­nom­e­nal speak­er teams, they stood up dur­ing Ago­ras for their locals and their com­mis­sion. Also, Net­work Direc­tor Tekla Haj­du is worth to be men­tioned because of her work. You can see how much she cares about her Net­com­mies and locals. #fan­girlmod­eon. Also I would like to men­tion those mem­bers in gen­er­al who are silent and nev­er pre­tend to be in the spot­light regard­less the fine work they are doing – such as Andrea Schmelz from AEGEE-Pas­sau and Ana Potoc­nik from AEGEE-Lubl­jana. I think every­body should read — if they still haven’t — the Strat­e­gy paper of AEGEE on inter­nal recog­ni­tion of NFIL she pre­sent­ed dur­ing Ago­ra Berg­amo.
GT: Which were for you the out­stand­ing anten­nae in 2016?
Our net­work is always sup­port­ive towards locals in a dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion, but we were qui­eter than usu­al regard­ing the Turk­ish locals. There­fore, my nom­i­na­tion goes to them. They are expe­ri­enc­ing a very dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion and it is not so easy to see all your efforts van­ish­ing because of polit­i­cal insta­bil­i­ty. I hope that 2017 will be more mer­ci­ful with them. Also I have to men­tion my local, AEGEE-Verona, because they want to be per­fect, even if they are incred­i­ble imper­fect­ly beau­ti­ful and valu­able as they are now. They man­aged to organ­ise an Ago­ra pre event, with a vis­it of “Europe on Track”, which was full of unex­pect­ed events but still enjoy­able.
GT: What was for you the out­stand­ing Euro­pean project, Work­ing Group or Inter­est Group in 2016?
Eri­ka: The Migra­tion Inter­est Group is always very active regard­ing cur­rent issues and their Face­book group is con­stant­ly updat­ed. I also love the impact the AEGEE Elec­tion Obser­va­tion has. In gen­er­al I would love to see more offline than online engage­ment.
GT: What do you fore­see as a high­light or big top­ic in AEGEE in 2017?
Eri­ka: Every­body will say Pop­ulism, of course. I think that we need to stop and breathe before com­mit­ting to a new big thing with zero fol­low up as we do way too often. I would love to see a 2017 when our organ­i­sa­tion is less self-cen­tred. Our biggest way to attract new mem­bers is not the Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ty, but it’s our abil­i­ty to deliv­er con­tent and to edu­cate our mem­bers. I would like to see more #jesu­is­turkey and see that our asso­ci­a­tion could advo­cate more because we were very avant­garde when we lob­bied for Eras­mus, very avant­garde when we opened towards the East and it should be about time that we go back to have a say in the polit­i­cal process­es.
GT: What are your per­son­al AEGEE plans for 2017?
Eri­ka: No clue is the right answer here.
GT: How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
Eri­ka: Pro­vid­ed that they will arrive on time, I think this year San Marco’s square is the des­ti­na­tion. Of course by “they” I mean the usu­al group of insane AEGEE friends.

 

Gabriela Geană, former Vice-Chief Editor of the AEGEEan

Gabriela Geana small

GT: What was your per­son­al AEGEE high­light in 2016?
Gabriela Geană: It is hard to say which one was my per­son­al AEGEE high­light in 2016. There were many as usu­al. How­ev­er, this year I think it was that moment when I realised that I have the poten­tial of doing some­thing impor­tant in AEGEE, that I can have an impact on oth­er peo­ple. This is what still keeps me going in AEGEE.
GT: AEGEE-Europe had many mem­o­rable moments in 2016. Which one do you remem­ber most vivid­ly or was out­stand­ing?
Gabriela: My first Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ty that I attend­ed as a par­tic­i­pant and not as a helper or organ­is­er. I had the best time of my life and it’s just the begin­ning!
GT: Who were for you the out­stand­ing mem­bers in 2016?
Gabriela: It’s hard to choose just one per­son. My top three this year are Lau­ra Perez Alvarez, the Pres­i­dent of AEGEE-León, Flavio Junio from AEGEE-Vigo and Maria Balles­teros Melero from AEGEE-Madrid.
GT: Which was for you the out­stand­ing anten­na in 2016?
Gabriela: Def­i­nite­ly and with­out any hes­i­ta­tion, AEGEE-León!
GT: What was for you the out­stand­ing Euro­pean project, Work­ing Group or Inter­est Group in 2016?
Gabriela: The Ideas Fac­to­ry Plan­ning Meet­ing in León as the out­stand­ing Euro­pean project and the Gen­der Equal­i­ty Inter­est Group for an amaz­ing progress and struc­tur­al change.
GT: What do you fore­see as a high­light or big top­ic in AEGEE in 2017?
Gabriela: Con­sid­er­ing that 2016 has been the year of ter­ror, I think we will focus a lot on the top­ics of migra­tion and refugees. I would per­son­al­ly encour­age events with top­ics such as these and I would def­i­nite­ly attend them.
GT: What are your per­son­al AEGEE plans for 2017?
Gabriela: I know for sure that I want to be very active in the PRC and get involved in Euro­pean projects, which have a big impact in AEGEE, as well as work­ing on the per­son­al devel­op­ment part at the same time.
GT: How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
Gabriela: In Roma­nia with a few close friends in Brașov for three straight days! I want to enjoy the fresh air of the moun­tains and recharge my bat­ter­ies for the upcom­ing year, which will be promis­ing and full of chal­lenges.

 

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