Who is the AEGEE mem­ber of the year 2017? Which anten­na, which project was the best? What were the high­lights of the year? And what will 2018 bring? The Gold­en Times asked more than 80 local­ly or Euro­pean­ly active mem­bers. In this tenth edi­tion of the AEGEE-Europe review: read what Celia Ele­na Riveres López, Loren­zo Lig­as, Oksana Prokopchenko, Lara Kil­lius, Tom Simons and Mar­lène Rene said.

Celia Riveres, Network Commission, AEGEE-Zaragoza

Gold­en Times: What was your per­son­al AEGEE high­light in 2017?
Celia Riveres: With­out any doubt I have to high­light the Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ty focused on vol­un­teer­ing of AEGEE-Zaragoza this year. We spend two week in small towns of Aragon doing activ­i­ties with chil­dren and adults, invig­o­rat­ing the town. Peo­ple treat­ed us very well and we had an incred­i­ble wel­come. I think these kind of activ­i­ties are some­thing that AEGEE anten­nae should try to do, its super reward­ing what you can do for peo­ple!
Which mem­o­rable moments of AEGEE-Europe in gen­er­al in 2017 do you remem­ber most vivid­ly or was out­stand­ing?
For me, the Ago­ra Cata­nia had some very spe­cial moments. Every day I got hun­dreds of feel­ings which made me come back home with a big smile on my face.
Who was for you the out­stand­ing mem­ber in 2017? Please name up to three.
It’s very dif­fi­cult to choose only three peo­ple, each mem­ber of AEGEE con­tributes some­thing and helps to devel­op our asso­ci­a­tion. If I have to name three peo­ple: Clau­dia Cor­ral from AEGEE-Zaragoza. For all the efforts and work she has devot­ed to AEGEE-Zaragoza, not only in the board and in the Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ty, but also with all the new mem­bers. For her full moti­va­tion day by day, her smile and her abil­i­ty to work. I would also nom­i­nate Bor­ja Tor­res from AEGEE Bil­bao for his desire and his abil­i­ty to moti­vate peo­ple. He is a tire­less work­er and fight­er until the end, he has been an active con­trib­u­tor all this year. An also Ale­jan­dra Piot, for all the projects she has car­ried out, always giv­ing the best of her tak­ing care of the locals.
Which was for you the out­stand­ing anten­na in 2017? You can also men­tion up to three.
I don’t know which locals to choose, but undoubt­ed­ly I have to name AEGEE-Mála­ga. I have expe­ri­enced very close­ly their begin­ning and it is amaz­ing to see how much they have worked and the great poten­tial they have in AEGEE. They are hard work­ers and I am sure they will allow us to expe­ri­ence many won­der­ful moments. I also can’t for­get to men­tion AEGEE-Zaragoza, for all the ener­gy we have put into our projects and activ­i­ties. We are a big fam­i­ly, ready to touch the sky in every sin­gle minute.
What was for you the out­stand­ing Euro­pean project, work­ing group or inter­est group in 2017?
The Equal Rights Work­ing Group is some­thing spe­cial since it start­ed in the Ideas Fac­to­ry in León. I think many peo­ple got involved to make it suc­ceed, fight­ing for AEGEE to defend equal­i­ty. I think they are doing a great job work­ing togeth­er with oth­er bod­ies of AEGEE.
What do you fore­see as high­light or the big top­ic in AEGEE in 2018?
I hope harass­ment and dis­crim­i­na­tion at events can be tack­led more pre­cise­ly. I wel­come projects that raise aware­ness and help the peo­ple suf­fer­ing from those attacks like the Safe Per­son project.
What are your per­son­al AEGEE plans for 2018?
I became Net­com­mie just one month ago, so I will stay in this Com­mis­sion for almost all 2018. Fur­ther­more, I would like to keep on col­lab­o­rat­ing with the Gen­der Equal­i­ty Inter­est Group and LGBT+IG, and with AEGEE-Zaragoza in which I am mem­ber of the Advi­so­ry Board. Know­ing myself, I am sure I will jump into some oth­er project!
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
Three AEGEEans includ­ing me talked about the pos­si­bil­i­ty of spend­ing the New Year’s night some­where out­side our homes, but no AEGEE event suit­ed us so we decid­ed to make our own. We talked to some peo­ple and final­ly we are 17 peo­ple com­ing togeth­er in Lis­bon!

 

Lorenzo Ligas, SUCT, PRC, AEGEE-Cagliari, AEGEE-Krakow, AEGEE-Valencia

Gold­en Times: What was your per­son­al AEGEE high­light in 2017?
Loren­zo Lig­as: I have two. The first one was Autumn Ago­ra Cata­nia, where I have been elect­ed as mem­ber of the SUCT. I have been wait­ing for that moment since Autumn Ago­ra Chisin­au. The sec­ond one was sur­viv­ing Novem­ber. Why? I have been train­er in Net­work Meet­ing Ali­cante, SUPS Barcelona and Net­work Meet­ing Napoli and I had a SUCT live meet­ing in Brus­sels! Due to stress, I for­got my lug­gage in the train though, thank­ful­ly Mar­co Daniele lend me some clothes!
Which mem­o­rable moments of AEGEE-Europe in gen­er­al in 2017 do you remem­ber most vivid­ly or was out­stand­ing?
The open­ing and clos­ing cer­e­monies of Autumn Ago­ra Cata­nia were both real­ly emo­tion­al.
Who was for you the out­stand­ing mem­ber in 2017? Please name up to three.
First, Gabriele Nico­tra: he has been an amaz­ing pres­i­dent of an amaz­ing anten­na that made an amaz­ing Ago­ra. His speech dur­ing the open­ing cer­e­mo­ny was real­ly touch­ing. Gabriele recent­ly gave me some extra moti­va­tion, and I am very thank­ful to him. Sec­ond, Car­oli­na Alfano: she made some­thing crazy pos­si­ble, the Ital­ian Grand Tour SU. It was a big chal­lenge for the Rain­bow dis­tri­b­u­tion area, and she helped some anten­nae to gain expe­ri­ence in the Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ty project. And also Lucia Gavulo­va: for all the efforts she put in the Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ty project, both as Project Man­ag­er and SUPS coor­di­na­tor.
Which was for you the out­stand­ing anten­na in 2017? You can also men­tion up to three.
AEGEE-Tori­no, for the best Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ty of 2017. AEGEE-Cata­nia, for their spir­it and their moti­va­tion, and of course, for their amaz­ing Ago­ra.
What was for you the out­stand­ing Euro­pean project, work­ing group or inter­est group in 2017?
Europe on track, they real­ly did an amaz­ing job! I wish them all the luck for this year’s edi­tion, they are doing an amaz­ing work. I am pret­ty sure Jorge will guide the project to an out­stand­ing result.
What do you fore­see as high­light or the big top­ic in AEGEE in 2018?
The Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ty project will turn 30 years in 2018, and as the biggest and most impor­tant project of AEGEE, I hope both Comitè Directeur and oth­er bod­ies will help us as SUCT to pro­mote and give the project more impor­tance, also to exter­nals.
What are your per­son­al AEGEE plans for 2018?
2018 will be anoth­er great and intense year. First, I will focus on the pro­mo­tion of the Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ty project. As a team, we also want to mod­ernise the project and intro­duce some new things. Stay tuned! I also decid­ed to take the lead of AEGEE-Cagliari, being pres­i­dent. AEGEE-Cagliari is my first anten­na and my fam­i­ly, and it’s time to give back what my anten­na gave me. We are plan­ning four Euro­pean events in 2018: SUPS Cagliari, one exchange, one Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ty and the
DIVE project with AEGEE-Europe, AEGEE-Athí­na, ESN, JEF and YES forum. I am sure it will be an amaz­ing year, for sure #AMMINCARRETTA!
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
I will stay in Cagliari, with some AEGEE and non-AEGEE peo­ple. My body real­ly needs a break from trav­el­ing!

 

Oksana Prokopchenko, President of AEGEE-Sheffield

Gold­en Times: What was your per­son­al AEGEE high­light in 2017?
Oksana Prokopchenko: Undoubt­ed­ly, for me per­son­al­ly, it was the “Brex­it — What Next?” event. I do hope that it did not go unno­ticed by the net­work, as I gen­uine­ly believe that it was an impor­tant event for AEGEE in gen­er­al. Not only because it was a joint effort of all three UK anten­nae, which is a spe­cial thing already, but also because of its con­tent. Now, when all the doubts and wor­ries about the the­mat­ic side are in the past, I would love every­one to know that the­mat­ic events are great to organ­ise, they show you the best side of AEGEE and its mem­bers, and are unbe­liev­ably reward­ing.
Who was for you the out­stand­ing mem­ber in 2017? Please name up to three.
First of all, my dear­est friend Kari­na Khais­aro­va, cur­rent Pres­i­dent of the Audit Com­mis­sion and of AEGEE-Kyiv — because she is that rare type of per­son who is ready to take on the respon­si­bil­i­ty and make won­ders hap­pen, which I admire. Sec­ond­ly, I absolute­ly can­not resist a chance to men­tion the dream team of our event “Brex­it — What Next?”, because they are tru­ly worth it: Bryn French, Jere­my Bas, Sil­via Gar­cía Cöck, Peter Tar, John Cob­bledick, Khur­ram Shah and Francesco Ros­set­to!
Which was for you the out­stand­ing anten­na in 2017? You can also men­tion up to three.
My out­stand­ing anten­na in 2017 is AEGEE-Man­ches­ter. It is a small team of most devot­ed peo­ple, who make incred­i­ble things by work­ing hard togeth­er. I know how exhaust­ing it can be to be an anten­na in a coun­try where a con­sid­er­able part of the pop­u­la­tion does not con­sid­er them­selves Euro­pean, and these peo­ple deserve all recog­ni­tion for their moti­va­tion. I hope next year will be even more suc­cess­ful for them — and for oth­er anten­nae in the UK too.
What was for you the out­stand­ing Euro­pean project, work­ing group or inter­est group in 2017?
I am fas­ci­nat­ed by the work of Pol­i­tics Inter­est Group — they only start­ed work­ing this year, and man­aged to set up one of the most dynam­ic dis­cus­sion plat­forms in AEGEE nowa­days. I can see POLIG rock­ing in the near­est future and wish them best of luck!
What do you fore­see as high­light or the big top­ic in AEGEE in 2018?
It seems to me that 2018 will be full of the­mat­ic events, espe­cial­ly because some statu­to­ry events already indi­cat­ed their inter­est in that field. I also hope for a pro­duc­tive dis­cus­sion on the future of the Action Agen­da and pos­si­ble changes in that area.
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
I am going to treat myself with the cosiest New Year with my fam­i­ly in my home­town. Can­not wait for it after this crazy year all over Europe!

 

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

Gold­en Times: What was your per­son­al AEGEE high­light in 2017?
Lara Kil­ius: I loved Ago­ra Cata­nia. First, because I had the chance to meet many amaz­ing peo­ple but also because the Your Vision For EUrope project was closed. It was sad but it was also great to look back and see what this great team achieved.
Which mem­o­rable moments of AEGEE-Europe in gen­er­al in 2017 do you remem­ber most vivid­ly or was out­stand­ing?
There are many moments that were great this year but I have to say the great­est moment was just a few weeks ago when AEGEE-München select­ed a new board. We always had prob­lems to find peo­ple, but this time sud­den­ly more and more peo­ple decid­ed that they want AEGEE-München to grow and improve — and now we end­ed up with an extend­ed board includ­ing sev­er­al acces­sors with defined tasks. This made me real­ly hap­py since I start­ed in AEGEE-München and I hope the anten­na will grow stronger again!
Who was for you the out­stand­ing mem­ber in 2017? Please name up to three.
It  is always hard to men­tion just one mem­ber, but I have to say espe­cial­ly Ioan­na Gym­pa­ki and Noe­mi Lowy did an amaz­ing job. They rep­re­sent­ed the Your Vision For EUrope project excel­lent­ly on our SU with AEGEE-Lyon and AEGEE-Toulouse and also invest­ed a great amount of time and effort before­hand.
Which was for you the out­stand­ing anten­na in 2017? You can also men­tion up to three.
Both AEGEE-Lyon and AEGEE-Toulouse just did an amaz­ing job. They are small anten­nae and in France, where are not many strong anten­nas around to sup­port. Still, they orga­nized a great Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ty, includ­ing a com­pli­cat­ed Eras­mus+ appli­ca­tion.
What was for you the out­stand­ing Euro­pean project, work­ing group or inter­est group in 2017?
It makes me always hap­py to see how the elec­tion obser­va­tion project is going on and grow­ing even out­side of AEGEE. It was espe­cial­ly vis­i­ble this year because of the elec­tions in Ger­many. It is great to also have a neu­tral view on my own elec­tions, espe­cial­ly because Ger­many is one of the biggest coun­tries in the EU and has a great influ­ence.
What do you fore­see as high­light or the big top­ic in AEGEE in 2018?
I think espe­cial­ly the EPM will be a great event. Such a big event so far East is amaz­ing and I think many AEGEEans nev­er thought about vis­it­ing Yere­van before and are not famil­iar with Armen­ian cul­ture. It will be great to give to so many West­ern Euro­pean AEGEEans once again the chance to get to know a for many peo­ple unfa­mil­iar coun­try in the con­text of a big event.
What are your per­son­al AEGEE plans for 2018?
I won’t be very active any­more next year. I will sup­port AEGEE-München a bit and maybe step in in case there is help need­ed in some oth­er points, but I am not plan­ning to take any major posi­tion.
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
I will spend New Year with my fam­i­ly. I live in anoth­er city and with all the trav­el­ing — thanks to AEGEE and now also my work — I don’t see them very often. For years I spent New Year away from home, so this year will be anoth­er kind of spe­cial!

 

Tom Simons, main organiser of Spring Agora Enschede

Gold­en Times: What was your per­son­al AEGEE high­light in 2017?
Tom Simons: This is of course Spring Ago­ra Enschede. After work­ing with a great team for over a year to real­ize this event it was amaz­ing to final­ly see the results of all the prepa­ra­tions. It was a very intense week, but I am very hap­py with the result, and I am proud of all the organ­is­ers’ and helpers’ spir­it and ded­i­ca­tion. Besides that I would also have to men­tion Ago­ra Cata­nia, as it was prob­a­bly my last Ago­ra. After sev­er­al years of hav­ing to remain inde­pen­dent, as both Med­Com and Chair, it was fun to be involved in the dis­cus­sions one last time.
Who was for you the out­stand­ing mem­ber in 2017? Please name up to three.
I am going to cheat a bit here and say all of the organ­is­ers and helpers that made Spring Ago­ra Enschede pos­si­ble. We had an amaz­ing team rang­ing from alum­ni and AEGEE vet­er­ans to new mem­bers, and each and every one was need­ed to make the event a suc­cess.
Which was for you the out­stand­ing anten­na in 2017? You can also men­tion up to three.
Of course I’ll have to say AEGEE-Zagreb and AEGEE-Cata­nia. After expe­ri­enc­ing the chal­lenges of organ­is­ing a statu­to­ry event first hand, these two locals deserve recog­ni­tion for their amaz­ing work.
What do you fore­see as high­light or the big top­ic in AEGEE in 2018?
With not one, but two statu­to­ry events out­side of the EU, and the UK’s exit of the EU com­ing clos­er each day, I think this is a great oppor­tu­ni­ty to dis­cuss the future of the EU and what type of rela­tion its mem­ber states should have.
What are your per­son­al AEGEE plans for 2018?
Retir­ing, I will start my grad­u­a­tion the­sis soon, and I already quit most activ­i­ties and applied for mem­ber­ship of Les Anciens. But who knows, maybe I will get nos­tal­gic and find some time to drop by dur­ing an event…
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
In sub-trop­i­cal Las Pal­mas for a New Year’s event! I can’t wait to leave the cold Dutch weath­er behind for a week.

 

Marlène Rene, Content Manager EPM Yerevan

Gold­en Times: What was your per­son­al AEGEE high­light in 2017?
Mar­lène Rene: Since I fin­ished my term as AEGEE-Lille’s pres­i­dent as I left to study in Hun­gary, AEGEE gave me so many new oppor­tu­ni­ties. Replac­ing the project man­ag­er of the East­ern Part­ner­ship project and becom­ing Con­tent Man­ag­er of EPM. My high­light was def­i­nite­ly after the EaP Action Days when I had the chance to trav­el in six coun­tries to dif­fer­ent AEGEE events for 10 days — includ­ing the Ago­ra and see so many friends again at the same time. I have specif­i­cal­ly been amazed with my stay in Arme­nia where I was one of the speak­ers at their con­fer­ence. Those days for me real­ly embod­ied the idea of a bor­der­less Europe I love about AEGEE. No mat­ter where you go, you’ll always be at home, you’ll always have a friend not far, and you’ll always get the oppor­tu­ni­ty to enrich your­self from every piece of land you vis­it, every con­fer­ence you take part of. Get­ting the chance to be a speak­er in dif­fer­ent con­fer­ences orga­nized by AEGEE-Yere­van or pre­sent­ing the EPM team in front of the whole Ago­ra were new expe­ri­ences for me with new friends who inspire me and teach me how to push my bound­aries every day.
Which mem­o­rable moments of AEGEE-Europe in gen­er­al in 2017 do you remem­ber most vivid­ly or was out­stand­ing?
The cre­ation of POLIG and the very amus­ing yet inspir­ing speech of Ilknur dur­ing Ago­ra Cata­nia. I hope this project will strive and devel­op even more: it’s a huge oppor­tu­ni­ty for our mem­bers to bet­ter com­mu­ni­cate and push for­ward more civic and polit­i­cal activism.
Who was for you the out­stand­ing mem­ber in 2017? Please name up to three.
Poli­na Kha­pae­va, the pres­i­dent of AEGEE-Sankt-Peter­burg. She inspires a lot of peo­ple in her anten­na. Fol­low­ing the events orga­nized by the anten­na from Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ty and New Year’s event to Net­work Meet­ing, a lot of par­tic­i­pants decid­ed to become active mem­bers, even at the Euro­pean lev­el. She’s a great leader and she has brought AEGEE to become a striv­ing anten­na with a true and gen­er­ous spir­it just like hers who embod­ies AEGEE’s val­ues along with the oth­er mem­bers of her anten­na who help her achiev­ing won­ders.
Then, I’d say Lila Quaile because she was a breath of fresh air in the dif­fi­cult task of bring­ing new life to a striv­ing anten­na in the French region, she also gave a use­ful hand and brought new ideas in the Pol­i­tics Inter­est Group. Her very cre­ative mind, gen­eros­i­ty and devo­tion makes her an out­stand­ing mem­ber, espe­cial­ly as she is quite a new mem­ber. If there were more peo­ple like that, French would become a co-offi­cial lan­guage again. #OuiR­sur­vivors — I’m kid­ding obvi­ous­ly. I am sure the New Year’s Event in Paris will be mag­i­cal!
Final­ly, I’d say Arme­nak, because he turned AEGEE-Yere­van into a very pro­fes­sion­al anten­na and he is using his last year before he retires from the AEGEE life for the EPM which is a great high­light for the region. He is also a great teacher and inspi­ra­tion for his team and advis­er for younger mem­bers.
Which was for you the out­stand­ing anten­na in 2017? You can also men­tion up to three.
First, AEGEE-Paris, because their re-birth was impres­sive: they became the new breath of fresh air in the region and have already so many plans! They became real lead­ers in the region, moti­vat­ing mem­bers all over France to revive them­selves as well. Sec­ond, AEGEE-Sankt-Peter­burg, because they are ambi­tious, they orga­nize amaz­ing events and inspire the par­tic­i­pants to be always more active. Although, I might be biased as it is my favorite anten­na in the net­work! Also AEGEE Yere­van, because they are such a big team of moti­vat­ed peo­ple in a coun­try where it can be dif­fi­cult to have such an anten­na. They have a pro­fes­sion­al board and great rela­tions with insti­tu­tions. They have a huge impact in the region, a real pow­er of advo­ca­cy, which allows them to make a change in a region where it is not so easy to get the cit­i­zens’ voice heard, espe­cial­ly youth.
What was for you the out­stand­ing Euro­pean project, work­ing group or inter­est group in 2017?
The Pol­i­tics Inter­est Group. Although it did exist before, reviv­ing it allows to bring back the role of pol­i­tics with­in AEGEE. I hope it will lead to big­ger projects. Europe on Track is the project I find the most impact­ful in AEGEE. I can’t wait to see where it will go in this new edi­tion.
What do you fore­see as high­light or the big top­ic in AEGEE in 2018?
Pol­i­tics and civic edu­ca­tion are back in AEGEE, I see more inte­gra­tion of all the net­work, mem­bers out of the EU should not feel exclud­ed. We need to get our mem­bers real­ize that AEGEE has a pow­er of advo­ca­cy; we should use it with a more effi­cient impact. If we act togeth­er, get civi­cal­ly informed and praise for change with the same unit­ed vision of a bor­der­less Europe, I think we can have a quick and effi­cient impact on our soci­eties, Euro­pean poli­cies but not only. We need our mem­bers to under­stand the issues of today and give them the strength, courage and inspi­ra­tion to fight for what they strive for.
What are your per­son­al AEGEE plans for 2018?
EPM Yere­van of course! We have launched an open call for bod­ies to par­tic­i­pate in the con­tent of the EPM, I’m excit­ed to see what they will do, and I will do my best along with Natalia Kli­menko along with the AEGEE-Yerevan’s team to make this EPM pro­fes­sion­al, mem­o­rable and full of fun. I also plan many events with the East­ern Part­ner­ship project. We decid­ed we need more mem­bers to make them hap­pen, so for this we also launched an open call. East­ern Part­ner­ship issues are a great deal for me because I think it is two regions — East­ern Europe and South Cau­ca­sus — who have many moti­vat­ed mem­bers, who have the AEGEE spir­it and share the Euro­pean val­ues we strive for. Yet they face issues such as visa, or are put aside because there is too many talks in AEGEE about the Euro­pean Union instead of Europe as a whole. If I have a goal in 2018, it is too free those voic­es and allow more AEGEEans to dis­cov­er the regions cul­tur­al­ly, polit­i­cal­ly and social­ly. I’m also eager to meet with AEGEE-Tbil­isi mem­bers as I will live there soon. 2018 promis­es to be very busy!
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
For the past two years I have spent my New Year in Rus­sia. For once, I will be in Kraków, still sur­round­ed by AEGEEans, although not in a New Year’s event. I plan to trav­el through Poland for ten days with child­hood friends before I move to Geor­gia.

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