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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