AEGEE in 2016 (VIII): Pablo, Lara, Theodora, Damien, Lisette and Yevgeniya

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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 Pablo Hernán­dez Rodríguez, Lara Kil­lius, Theodo­ra Giak­oumelou, Damien Lat­acz, Lisette Kun­st and Yev­geniya Gagark­i­na said.

Pablo Hernandez Rodriguez small

Pablo Hernández Rodríguez, former External Relations Director of AEGEE-Europe, Liaison Officer

GT: What was your per­son­al AEGEE high­light in 2016?
Pablo Hernán­dez Rodríguez: My per­son­al high­light was the intro­duc­tion of the AEGEE Day and the great results it got. It was very nec­es­sary to devel­op an idea that unites the whole net­work and fos­ters the AEGEE spir­it all across Europe. I hope we can see more edi­tions of the AEGEE Day and hope­ful­ly become a strong project with­in AEGEE.
GT: AEGEE-Europe had many mem­o­rable moments in 2016. Which one do you remem­ber most vivid­ly or was out­stand­ing?
Pablo: 2016 was def­i­nite­ly one of the most exit­ing years in my life, espe­cial­ly tak­ing into con­sid­er­a­tion all the chal­lenges I had. Maybe my most vivid mem­o­ries come from Ago­ra Berg­amo. Of course, the elec­tions were a big thing per­son­al­ly, but I also enjoyed the open­ing cer­e­mo­ny as I nev­er did before.
GT: Who were for you the out­stand­ing mem­bers in 2016?
Pablo: For me 2016 has two clear out­stand­ing mem­bers: Maria Balles­teros; for me she is the per­fect exam­ple of an AEGEEan. She ful­ly under­stands the core val­ues of the organ­i­sa­tion and what we fight for. She was also a great moti­va­tion to me. And Melis­sa Car­reres. She is a per­son that means a lot to me. She man­aged to have two jobs and being the best Net­com­mie I have ever seen. She put not just ded­i­ca­tion to her job, but also great pas­sion and now the results are obvi­ous!
GT: Which were for you the out­stand­ing anten­nae in 2016?
Pablo: After know­ing the real­i­ty of the migra­tion cri­sis, the polit­i­cal strug­gles Turkey has and the prob­lems regard­ing host­ing events, the most out­stand­ing anten­nae in 2016 are the Turk­ish ones. They are unfair­ly suf­fer­ing the con­se­quences of some­thing they have noth­ing to do with. The NWM Ankara is the best exam­ple of their com­mit­ment towards AEGEE.
GT: What was for you the out­stand­ing Euro­pean project, Work­ing Group or Inter­est Group in 2016?
Pablo: The AEGEE Day was a high­light project. The out­stand­ing inter­est group of 2016 is the Gen­der Equal­i­ty IG as it man­aged to bring equal­i­ty to the atten­tion of AEGEE, and even make it, togeth­er with the LGBT+ IG a new focus area in the upcom­ing Strate­gic Plan.
GT: What do you fore­see as a high­light or big top­ic in AEGEE in 2017?
Pablo: Equal rights. If the Gen­der Equal­i­ty IG has been loud, after it becomes a WG, I think it will become even more impor­tant.
GT: What are your per­son­al AEGEE plans for 2017?
Pablo: I will fin­ish my term as Liai­son Offi­cer and maybe bring some new ideas to AEGEE. Noth­ing clear yet.
GT: How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
Pablo: I am cur­rent­ly liv­ing in Zaragoza and I will def­i­nite­ly join the AEGEE-Zaragoza New Year’s eve meet­ing.

 

Lara Killius, Project Manager “Your Vision for Europe”, AEGEE-München

Lara Killius small

GT: What was your per­son­al AEGEE high­light in 2016?
Lara Kil­lius: The Ago­ra Chisin­au was def­i­nite­ly one of my high­lights. It was my first Ago­ra as an envoy, before I have always been del­e­gate. It was great to be more flex­i­ble and to ded­i­cate all my time to the “Your Vision for Europe” project. A big part of our team was present and we had a booth at the fair, a work­shop and of course the activ­i­ty report. It was great how the team kept togeth­er even when we did not meet up for project pur­pos­es. Besides that the orga­niz­ers were extreme­ly friend­ly and helped when­ev­er help was need­ed, this just made the atmos­phere so friend­ly and pos­i­tive.
GT: AEGEE-Europe had many mem­o­rable moments in 2016. Which one do you remem­ber most vivid­ly or was out­stand­ing?
Lara: One big moment were def­i­nite­ly the elec­tions dur­ing the Spring Ago­ra. For me per­son­al­ly the CD elec­tions are always a big thing, since they have a big part in defin­ing how AEGEE will look like in the future. Every­one has their own opin­ion of how things should be and I am always very inter­est­ed in hear­ing the dif­fer­ent opin­ions, speech­es and of course to see who final­ly got the sup­port from the net­work.
GT: Who was for you the out­stand­ing mem­ber in 2016?
Lara: Alek­san­dra Mojso­va. She real­ly worked hard and did a great job in the last months, besides being very active in the Net­Com, she is con­tent man­ag­er in our project and is doing a great job here too. Even though she has two posi­tions, she man­ages the dou­ble work extreme­ly well, man­ages all her tasks, is always avail­able and brings great input to the team.
GT: Which were for you the out­stand­ing anten­nae in 2016?
Lara: In my opin­ion this was def­i­nite­ly AEGEE-Cluj-Napoca. This might also be due to the fact that our project team worked togeth­er with them on a con­fer­ence. I think they orga­nized this con­fer­ence “Bor­der­less Europe — Bless­ing or Bur­den” extreme­ly well. Even though I was not high­ly involved in the coop­er­a­tion I know every­thing worked out well and I am very hap­py the project had the chance to orga­nize this great con­fer­ence togeth­er with AEGEE-Cluj-Napoca.
GT: What was for you the out­stand­ing Euro­pean project, Work­ing Group or Inter­est Group in 2016?
Lara: Of course I like the “Your Vision for Europe” project most, this is why I decid­ed to join it in the first place, but I have to say in AEGEE there are so many great projects and work­ing groups, which work hard, that it’s almost impos­si­ble to say which is the best. All of these bod­ies are impor­tant because they show how diverse AEGEE is.
GT: What do you fore­see as a high­light or big top­ic in AEGEE in 2017?
Lara: Pop­ulism will be a big top­ic in Europe in gen­er­al and will hence also influ­ence AEGEE; we can already see this from the EPM top­ic. How­ev­er, I think also in oth­er sit­u­a­tions this top­ic will come up a lot. We sim­ply can’t ignore it any­more and since I am sure many peo­ple in AEGEE see this like me there will be more room for dis­cus­sion. Anoth­er impor­tant thing espe­cial­ly with­in AEGEE will be for sure the Euro­pean Cit­i­zens’ Ini­tia­tive about civic edu­ca­tion. It’s great that AEGEE starts some­thing like that and I real­ly hope we will suc­ceed.
GT: What are your per­son­al AEGEE plans for 2017?
Lara: Since the “Your Vision for Europe” Project is cur­rent­ly plan­ning to orga­nize more con­fer­ences, this will def­i­nite­ly keep me busy enough. Unfor­tu­nate­ly I can’t go to the EPM, but I will go to the Autumn Ago­ra since the project will prob­a­bly get closed there. I hope until this point we will be able to ful­fil all our objec­tives and be ready for new chal­lenges. But until then there are still a lot of dif­fer­ent things to do and to orga­nize.
GT: How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
Lara: I will be with some friends from the Uni­ver­si­ty in Frank­furt, since I have only 31st of Decem­ber and 1st of Jan­u­ary off and unfor­tu­nate­ly I can’t trav­el far, which I would actu­al­ly like to do.

 

Theodora Giakoumelou, Coordinator of the Youth Employment Working Group, Member of ACT, CIRC, ECI Task Force, AEGEE-Peiraias

Theo Giakoumelou small

GT: What was your per­son­al AEGEE high­light in 2016?
Theodo­ra Giak­oumelou: Attend­ing my first ever Euro­pean event, EPM Lei­den, and being elect­ed coor­di­na­tor of the Youth Employ­ment Work­ing Group.
GT: AEGEE-Europe had many mem­o­rable moments in 2016. Which one do you remem­ber most vivid­ly or was out­stand­ing?
Theodo­ra: The AEGEE Day was my favourite one. It was an incred­i­ble ini­tia­tive that in one way or anoth­er brought us all togeth­er with the pur­pose of remem­ber­ing what we love about our asso­ci­a­tion and its dif­fer­ent aspects.
GT: Who was for you the out­stand­ing mem­ber in 2016?
Theodo­ra: There are so many out­stand­ing mem­bers! I would like to men­tion the peo­ple who tru­ly inspired me this year though: Sven­ja van der Tol for her tru­ly out­stand­ing work, spir­it and kind­ness Ado­nis Meg­gos for being over­ly active, ener­getic and full of great new ideas and Sebas­t­ian Rood, for his knowl­edge, bril­liant men­tal­i­ty and immense sup­port.
GT: Which were for you the out­stand­ing anten­nae in 2016?
Theodo­ra: As an ACTie, I would have to give a shoutout to all the anten­nae, big or small, that always strive to organ­ise amaz­ing activ­i­ties and events for impor­tant issues. Last­ly, as prob­a­bly every­one men­tioned before me, I have to men­tion all three locals: AEGEE-Lei­den, AEGEE-Berg­amo and AEGEE-Chisin­au that organ­ised our statu­to­ry events this year
GT: What was for you the out­stand­ing Euro­pean project, Work­ing Group or Inter­est Group in 2016?
Theodo­ra: The Gen­der Equal­i­ty Inter­est Group and the LGBT+ Inter­est Group real­ly stole the show this year by being so active and present through­out the net­work, along with the Civic Edu­ca­tion Work­ing Group and their idea behind the Euro­pean Cit­i­zens’ Ini­tia­tive.
GT: What do you fore­see as a high­light or big top­ic in AEGEE in 2017?
Theodo­ra: As most peo­ple, I am real­ly look­ing for­ward to the statu­to­ry events this year, since I think they are going to be the high­lights. As far as top­ics go, I think all four focus areas will be the focal point and with those, I hope that the impor­tance of inter­nal edu­ca­tion will be part of the dis­cus­sions as well.
GT: What are your per­son­al AEGEE plans for 2017?
Theodo­ra: Since I am quite active, I have a lot of plans and ideas for 2017. I think over­all, my focus would be to try and get the locals as active and involved as pos­si­ble when it comes to the the­mat­ic activ­i­ties. As a mem­ber and coor­di­na­tor of the Youth Employ­ment Work­ing Group I look for­ward to the next few months, because we are prepar­ing a lot, like guide­lines, activ­i­ties and even a plat­form! Last­ly, when I get the chance, I would like to get more involved in the new focus areas.
GT: How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
Theodo­ra: Around the peo­ple I love of course! As always, din­ning and par­ty­ing with friends and fam­i­ly.

 

Damien Latacz. President of the Mediation Commission, Co-Moderator Society & Environment Interest Group, AEGEE-Aachen

Damien Latacz

GT: What was your per­son­al AEGEE high­light in 2016?
Damien Lat­acz: The moment I felt real­ly ful­filled was sure­ly at the end of the NWM Aachen. Being main orga­niz­er I real­ly want­ed to make an unfor­get­table event, and on a more per­son­al lev­el, check if I had improved myself since the Night of the Sev­en Anten­nae. Our organ­i­sa­tion team was amaz­ing, we worked a lot, had many moti­vat­ed helpers and active par­tic­i­pants. See­ing them hap­py dur­ing the event, get­ting good feed­back at the end… It was one of the best moment of my year.
GT: AEGEE-Europe had many mem­o­rable moments in 2016. Which one do you remem­ber most vivid­ly or was out­stand­ing?
Damien: The Gala in Hei­del­berg. I had seen the cas­tle before, because it is beau­ti­ful and I love cas­tles… And to have the pos­si­bil­i­ty to go there at night, to dance and cel­e­brate, was just won­der­ful. It’s not a train­ing, noth­ing relat­ed AEGEE itself, but it is to me a sym­bol of what an AEGEE event is: doing some­thing extra­or­di­nary with peo­ple from all over Europe whom you can call friends.
GT: Who was for you the out­stand­ing mem­ber in 2016?
Damien: Nils Barkawitz from AEGEE-Aachen. He is a true rep­re­sen­ta­tion of what AEGEE spir­it is. He is quite active in AEGEE, being Trea­sur­er of AEGEE-Aachen, and now also a Sub­com­mie of the Audit Com­mis­sion. But that’s not all, he was also real­ly active in oth­er asso­ci­a­tions in our uni­ver­si­ty, wrote his Mas­ter the­sis, and on top of all of this, he is always there to have an open-mind­ed con­ver­sa­tion.
GT: Which were for you the out­stand­ing anten­nae in 2016?
Damien: AEGEE-Chisin­au! I was there for the pre-event before Ago­ra Kyiv, and they did an amaz­ing job. But it is a small anten­na, and pre-event and the Ago­ra are not the same. Nev­er­the­less, they man­aged it! When we saw them suc­ceed, it showed all of us that there is always the pos­si­bil­i­ty to achieve what you want in AEGEE, as long as you have enough moti­va­tion to do it!
GT: What do you fore­see as a high­light or big top­ic in AEGEE in 2017?
Damien: Prob­a­bly Pop­ulism. I think we didn’t take our “Spread­ing Europ­ti­mism” top­ic seri­ous­ly in the last years, but recent polit­i­cal events will make us react. If we man­age to agree on a clear def­i­n­i­tion of what pop­ulism means and what the prob­lems are, I think we can achieve some good things. This is the oppor­tu­ni­ty for us to get out of our inter­nal AEGEE pat­tern and reach oth­er Euro­peans, who lost hope in our com­mon project. But it will need a lot of efforts and involve­ment from all of us, and I hope we are ready to take this step for­ward.
GT: What are your per­son­al AEGEE plans for 2017?
Damien: This year I will focus again on the Medi­a­tion Com­mis­sion. I would love to organ­ise an SU on Con­flict Man­age­ment. Going from sim­ple team dynam­ics to more evolved strate­gies about con­flict solv­ing. Every active AEGEEan will have to work in a team at some point, quite often inter­na­tion­al, with some dif­fer­ent back­ground and cul­tures, and I think we under­es­ti­mate the men­tal strain it can put on us and the skills we need to do it prop­er­ly. I do believe in the pow­er of train­ing and I think an SU based on this could bring some good knowl­edge in our net­work. On a more dreamy note, I would love to organ­ise a more sci­ence-ori­ent­ed con­fer­ence in Aachen. Being an engi­neer myself, that would com­bine my two pas­sions. It would make me real­ly hap­py.
GT: How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
Damien: I will be in France! I left France four years ago and it is quite hard some­times to keep in touch with my old friends, so we have a tra­di­tion: every New Year we cel­e­brate togeth­er, no mat­ter where. This time we rent­ed a big house in east of France. It will be casu­al: board games, music, good food and of course a lot of wine!

 

Lisette Kunst, former Mediation Commission, AEGEE-Groningen

Lisette Kunst

GT: What was your per­son­al AEGEE high­light in 2016?
Lisette Kun­st: My per­son­al AEGEE high­light was to have the chance to spend most of the year work­ing in the Medi­a­tion Com­mis­sion. I very much enjoyed the work and being part of such a nice team.
GT: Who was for you the out­stand­ing mem­ber in 2016?
Lisette: Flo­ri­an Hauger, for always being ready to take the ini­tia­tive in bring­ing broad­er soci­etal issues to the network’s atten­tion and raise dis­cus­sions, and my for­mer Med­com col­league Ana Gancearuc for her great work in the core team of Ago­ra Chişinău — and in between even hav­ing time for sav­ing three Dutchies from freez­ing in Roma­nia!
GT: Which were for you the out­stand­ing anten­nae in 2016?
Lisette: AEGEE-Ankara, for their amaz­ing Net­work Meet­ing, and AEGEE-Lei­den, AEGEE-Berg­amo and AEGEE-Chişinău for the well-orga­nized statu­to­ry events of this year.
GT: What was for you the out­stand­ing Euro­pean project, Work­ing Group or Inter­est Group in 2016?
Lisette: The “AEGEE Elec­tion Obser­va­tion” project.
GT: What do you fore­see as a high­light or big top­ic in AEGEE in 2017?
Lisette: Pop­ulism and the Euro­pean Cit­i­zens’ Ini­tia­tive. The for­mer will be big even after EPM Zagreb, as there will be a num­ber of impor­tant elec­tions in Europe next year where pop­ulists might have an impact. The lat­ter also inter­ests me a lot as I am curi­ous about the result of the Ini­tia­tive and what lessons AEGEE takes from it.
GT: What are your per­son­al AEGEE plans for 2017?
Lisette: I hope to help orga­niz­ing a very nice Euro­pean event in my local for the next spring and would like to remain involved on the Euro­pean lev­el as well.
GT: How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
Lisette: Some­where in the Nether­lands with friends or fam­i­ly, I didn’t make def­i­nite plans for it yet.

 

Yevgeniya Gagarkina, Summer University Coordination Team 2016, AEGEE-Kyiv

Yevgheniya Gagarkina small

GT: What was your per­son­al AEGEE high­light in 2016?
Yev­geniya Gagark­i­na: My per­son­al high­light was my SUCT trip. I real­ly-real­ly had been look­ing for­ward to it for a long time and a result was fan­tas­tic. I observed a lot of sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ences in the per­cep­tion of the SU project among par­tic­i­pants and orga­niz­ers. Some­how it gave me a broad­er vision not only towards the project but also about the lifestyle of Euro­pean youth. In the moment when you feel tired of trav­el­ing it was def­i­nite­ly some­thing that is need­ed.
GT: AEGEE-Europe had many mem­o­rable moments in 2016. Which one do you remem­ber most vivid­ly or was out­stand­ing?
Yev­geniya: The #AgoraOfThe1000 for pas­sion and amaz­ing PR! Also the moment when we, SUCT, announced those SUs which got more than 9 points out of 10 in the gen­er­al eval­u­a­tion – it was such a hap­py moment to see all the excite­ment of peo­ple cheer­ing each oth­er and feel­ing a part of some­thing great — and of course shar­ing the mem­o­ries from the #SUm­merO­fY­ourLife. It was the hap­pi­est Ago­ra clos­ing ple­nary for me.
GT: Who was for you the out­stand­ing mem­ber in 2016?
Yev­geniya: For me it is def­i­nite­ly Pao­lo Ghisleni, as he is a true inspi­ra­tional leader, able to build up and to moti­vate a team to orga­nize some­thing mak­ing the world bet­ter! I also know how much he want­ed this Ago­ra – I hope he had the reward­ing feel­ing in the end! Oth­er out­stand­ing mem­bers are Philipp Blum, Lucia Gavulo­va and Car­oli­na Alfano, who have been SUCT 2016 togeth­er with me. We tried to make a great job in terms of sus­tain­ing and devel­op­ing our bright­est AEGEE project.
GT: Which were for you the out­stand­ing anten­nae in 2016?
Yev­geniya: I love AEGEE-Budapest for their abil­i­ty to resolve things, con­sid­er it as my spe­cial grat­i­tude cer­tifi­cate, dear orga­niz­ers. I am proud of AEGEE-Beograd for being able to take respon­si­bil­i­ty and dare to take a step; and I just adore AEGEE-Aachen for their style, bears and ideas. I hope to par­tic­i­pate in some of their events next year!
GT: What was for you the out­stand­ing Euro­pean project, Work­ing Group or Inter­est Group in 2016?
Yev­geniya: Of course it was the Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ty project! Not only because our amaz­ing team of Lucia, Car­oli­na and Philipp are like a #Sar­cas­tic­Fam­i­ly for me, but because we tried to slight­ly change the shape and the image of the project and, in my opin­ion, have suc­ceed­ed in many things. I can’t wait for 30th Anniver­sary — it will def­i­nite­ly be even more out­stand­ing!
GT: What do you fore­see as a high­light or big top­ic in AEGEE in 2017?
Yev­geniya: I wish that big top­ic was real­iz­ing the Euro­pean inte­gra­tion with­out all the pop­ulis­tic bull­shit talk­ing.
GT: What are your per­son­al AEGEE plans for 2017?
Yev­geniya (smil­ing): I am quite a spon­ta­neous per­son with a lot of sil­ly jokes and emo­tion­al deci­sions… So I won’t reveal any plans for now. Either wait for some­thing huge or don’t wait for any­thing!
GT: How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
Yev­geniya: For now I am going to be in Kharkiv, one of the most cre­ative and con­tro­ver­sial cities in the world, prob­a­bly hav­ing fun with some of my dear­est peo­ple in the cozy atmos­phere!

 

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