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 11th edition of the AEGEE-Europe review: read what Marina Klanjčić, Pablo Hernandez, Karolina Lapczyk, Karina Khaisarova, Borja Torres and Stella Krokou said.

Marina (second from right) during the Agora Fair in Catania.

Marina Klanjčić, Network Commissioner, Liaison Officer towards BEST, Advisor of AEGEE-Zagreb

Golden Times: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2017?
Marina Klanjčić: Since 2017 was a really memorable AEGEE year for me, there were many highlights to mention. EPM Zagreb is the most personal one! Especially the opening and closing ceremony, not just because I had to make a speech, but also because while the EPM was happening, I was dealing with serious life situations outside AEGEE, so I was overwhelmed with emotions and experiencing the most intense days of my life! My second highlight was speaking in front of the Agora in Enschede about structural changes in AEGEE while realising many members have the same feeling and really want the change to happen! Next thing I am really grateful for is being elected as a Netcommie in Enschede with a big majority of the votes! I still hope I will manage to live up to the expectations! In addition to that, I have to mention my first Network Meeting in Banja Luka. And finally, finishing my term as a president of my own local one month ago with a huge number of newly recruited members and a great new board – I couldn’t have ended my presidency better! What a year!
Which memorable moments of AEGEE-Europe in general in 2017 do you remember most vividly or was outstanding?
Apart from every moment during EPM Zagreb, I have to mention seeing the promo video of a finally thematic Agora in Kraków during the Agora Catania and being positively shocked and extremely proud of this organisation! My first comment was: finally, this is what AEGEE is really about!
Who was for you the outstanding member in 2017? Please name up to three.
AEGEE has many outstanding members each year, but this year marked a turning point for me while thinking about AEGEE, so I will mention just one member: Réka Salamon. Everyone who attended Agora Enschede will understand why, but if someone still doesn’t understand why and wonders, just ask yourself if you would ever make such a sacrifice for an NGO and keep standing still during Agora Enschede. Thank you Réka!
Which was for you the outstanding antenna in 2017? You can also mention up to three.
Again, there were many outstanding antennae in 2017, but AEGEE has only three statutory events per year, and everyone who ever organised an Agora or an EPM knows what I am talking about. Thank you to AEGEE-Enschede and AEGEE-Catania for the amazing job in handling the Agoras. AEGEE-Zagreb made the EPM possible in the moment when there was no light at the end of the tunnel, so once more I want to express my gratitude to everyone involved in the EPM organisation, starting from CD54 to the content team, but especially to the core team one can only imagine: Vice-Coordinator Vinka Suhin, HR Coordinator Nika Krnjak, FR Coordinator Vesna Magjarević, PR Coordinator Tomislav Popović, Logistics Coordinator Dominik Vukošić, Incoming Responsible Andrea Završki, Content Team Responsible Ana Drmić, EPM post-trip Responsible Ana Perić, Opening Ceremony Responsible Hrvoje Korbar, the creator of the EPM Zagreb idea Zvonimir Canjuga and out of this world helpers from all our Europe – with a special thanks to amazing Dominic Dimian, Svenja Kupke, Fabrizio Bellicano and Patxi Isasti Otero. We made it, be proud and thank you!
What was for you the outstanding European project, working group or interest group in 2017?
Europe on Track is to blame for this one. I remember seeing the promo video for the fifth edition at the Agora Catania, and I was like “Woah, this is huge!” It is amazing how this project developed throughout the years and I foresee this edition as the most impactful one! Hopefully, it will get a meaningful recognition from the institutions and municipalities in Europe. Also, I really have to break the rules and mention the MyAEGEE heroes! We are nothing without you and thank you for all the hard work on the new AEGEE Intranet! Much love to my dear I-don’t-care-about-how-I-look-during-Agora Fabrizio!
What do you foresee as highlight or the big topic in AEGEE in 2018?
Major changes! A fully thematic AEGEE, focused on having a big impact on the society while at the same time, being recognized as the best organisation for self-development of an individual – of course, with the well-known amazing fun part along the way! Just wait for Agora Kraków! Not to mention that I also believe Agora Istanbul will be a significant event in the history of our organisation!
What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2018?
I strive for connecting, supporting and developing all the locals in the “Baldria” distribution area until the end of my Netcom term in May, as well as making the bond with BEST even stronger as the Liaison Officer until October. In Zagreb, I will coordinate Europe on Track, which I very much look forward to since I am strongly connected to this years’ topic. The stop in Zagreb will be a bigger event than usual, with an aim to reach out to the larger audience and hopefully, having a valuable impact on the society! One more thing that I really look forward to is being available to locals as a trainer since just recently, I attended a TNT by EGEA and became an official trainer after two years of non-official delivering. After my terms end, I will focus entirely on developing my skills and delivering trainings and I have to mention that I would like to see and attend an advanced Training for Trainers in AEGEE since I am sure there is a really large audience for it at the moment!
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
Away from the keyboard and AEGEE! Sorry, not sorry!

 

Pablo Hernández, AEGEE-Alicante and AEGEE-Thessaloniki. Project manager of the AEGEE Day

Golden Times: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2017?
Pablo Hernández: My personal AEGEE highlight has been the Network Meeting Alicante. Both the content and the organisation of the event were wonderful. It was my 11th NWM and they managed to make me feel I was discovering something completely new. I will also remember this event forever as they made me honorary member of AEGEE-Alicante.
Which memorable moments of AEGEE-Europe in general in 2017 do you remember most vividly or was outstanding?
Agora Enschede is what I will remember the most of 2017. Apart from the soup and meatballs, I think there was a great organisation plus many things happened during it with all the election tensions and all the action every spring Agora brings.
Who was for you the outstanding member in 2017? Please name up to three.
Celia Riveres. She has been giving an insane amount of energy, love and dedication to AEGEE. Everyone who has worked with her know how she makes things easy, so everybody can deliver the best of themselves. Elena Agulló. She is a rising star. She brings colour to everything she does and manages to perform amazingly without losing a smile on her face. Maria Ballesteros. It’s the second year I nominate her and it’s because she is just amazing. Her vision and her reflection capabilities are totally outstanding, plus the time she has dedicated to AEGEE is priceless.
Which was for you the outstanding antenna in 2017? You can also mention up to three.
AEGEE-Alicante. This new generation is totally beating what the previous generations achieved and the NWM is a clear example of how amazing they are.
What was for you the outstanding European project, working group or interest group in 2017?
Europe on Track. It’s the most impactful project and they managed to attract a lot of attention.
What do you foresee as highlight or the big topic in AEGEE in 2018?
I think the AEGEE Day will be again one of the highlights of the year. We are preparing a lot of surprises. This year we have a more defined topic which is called Stepping Stones, focused on Youth Development. I expect great outcomes from it.
What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2018?
The AEGEE Day project will be my priority number one, but I am also strongly considering joining the Academy.
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
I will go with some AEGEE friends to spend some days in Lviv.

 

Karolina Lapczyk, Coordinator of the Spring Agora Kraków 2018

Golden Times: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2017?
Karolina Lapczyk: It won’t be surprising if I say that the whole situation connected with the Agora in Kraków was my personal AEGEE highlight in 2017. Throughout the year there were situations which led me to this point where I am now.  I remember the first talks about the idea of hosting an Agora, I remember the first approvals and first objections, the open space for discussion and democratic voting for or against. I remember the announcement of the results in Enschede and signing the contract in Catania. The moment in which I had a chance to stand on the stage and present the Agora, the idea for a topic and the specific time just after the promotional movie when I saw the reaction of people and the smile on the faces of members of AEGEE-Kraków. I felt a strong conviction that I’m in the right time in the right place with the right people.
Which memorable moments of AEGEE-Europe in general in 2017 do you remember most vividly or was outstanding?
Every moment I spend with AEGEEans, my friends or new people I recognise as a memorable moment. Those kinds of situations fill me with the thought that I am a part of a bigger society, which brings on change, which wants to act, realises ideas and is not afraid of obstacles. A more precise moment, maybe again too personal, was the situation when we demonstrated against the signing of the new law on courts and the National Court Register in Poland. AEGEE took action and posted its official support on Facebook, we also got a lot of messages from different countries in which AEGEEans wrote us many nice words, which proved me that we are one European family. There were also some discussions about AEGEE identity. I have a feeling that 2017 was an impulse for action, to change more in the next year and engage more people.
Who was for you the outstanding member in 2017? Please name up to three.
The first person who comes to my mind is Magda Barwinek, the current President of AEGEE-Kraków. Her dedication, the ability to find the ideal balance between hard work, professionalism and crazy party is unbelievable. It’s difficult to mention just one thing which was done by her because all work consists of everyday small or big tasks which she does as a president of a local. Great work Magda! The next person is Nils Barkawitz from AEGEE-Aachen, whom I’ve met this year in Kraków during a Twin Antennae meeting: Lviv and Aachen. Since that time we had a lot of possibilities to meet again at many events and I am amazed how many things can be done by one person. Nils is present not only in Aachen but also in Hamburg or in different organisations, he helps with the events organised by local authorities, he just starts work and always finds time for his friends. I have never heard him complain about the lack of time. Absolutely Nils is a person worth to emulate. I would like mention more people but I know there is no place for that. I’ll just write shortly that I look up to all members of the core team of Agora Kraków, you are amazing! I also want to thank Mateusz Gierczak and Grzegorz Górzyński – they are my support every time, not only in 2017!
Which was for you the outstanding antenna in 2017? You can also mention up to three.
I would like to mention AEGEE-Budapest, which organised the outstanding conference „Education for the present, democracy for the future”. Truly, in my opinion, they did a great job, the conference was at the highest level, and along with everything they brilliantly took care of the participants with a friendly attitude and smile on their faces. The next local is AEGEE-Aachen, they are outstanding because of their overall activity. When you spend with them some time, you can feel the engagement in many aspects of AEGEE. It is amazing that many experienced members are still involved in the life of the local and create their own projects, for example, Europe at Eye Level.
I would like to also mention every local which organised a statutory event: AEGEE-Zagreb, AEGEE-Enschede and AEGEE-Catania.
What do you foresee as highlight or the big topic in AEGEE in 2018?
In 2018 we will strongly focus on the exact way of action. In the whole Europe, we can observe some crisis, in every country a different one. It’s the reason why we as young citizens of Europe must show our unity and cooperation as an example for others that only together we can create a peaceful future. Surely, we will face a lot of obstacles but I know every one of us is aware how important our projects about civic education is.
What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2018?
My personal plans are to organise a great thematic Agora, which will have a true influence on the society, not only in AEGEE but also outside our organisation. We plan to prepare some extra actions but for now it is a small secret and surprise for you… If you want to know more, please follow our Facebook page. And after Agora – who knows, maybe the next project?
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
I don’t know yet, I have a few options, so I think I’ll choose during Christmas time.

 

Karina Khaisarova, President of AEGEE-Kyiv and Audit Comission, AEGEE-Kyiv member

Golden Times: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2017?
Karina Khaisarova: I can’t think of just one personal highlight for 2017. A lots of things happened and they were mostly huge for my AEGEEniverse, like becoming two-time President or organizing an SU.
Which memorable moments of AEGEE-Europe in general in 2017 do you remember most vividly or was outstanding?
In 2017 I was Agora delegate for the first time, so the most outstanding thing was attending it.
Who was for you the outstanding member in 2017? Please name up to three.
Firstly, and not because she is my friend, but because the work she’s done is as hard as incredible: Oksana Prokopchenko, founder of AEGEE-Sheffield. No need even to explain why. There are lots of those whom I admire but continuing that list would take too long. I might just say that a big part of them live in my country and are members of AEGEE-Kyiv.
Which was for you the outstanding antenna in 2017? You can also mention up to three.
What can be more outstanding then rising from ashes? AEGEE-Odessa, definitely.
What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2018?
As now I am a double President: becoming a good one will be the most important for me.
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
The universe is funny in this sense. I was supposed to work on the 31 December and then my mother decided to come from my home town to spend some time with me. The very day she bought tickets, my company decided to switch shifts and I got a free night! So now I can’t imagine where I might end up celebrating; I am planning to make something big for my mom!

 

Borja Torres Fuentes, Subcommissioner of the Network Commission, Action Agenda Coordination Committee, AEGEE-Bilbao

Golden Times: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2017?
Borja Torres Fuentes: The best time I have lived in AEGEE this year was the EPM Zagreb 2017. In this event I had the opportunity to be part of the super team of ACTies 2016-17 and collaborate in many activities that were developed in these five wonderful days. Another moment that I feel most proud of was the organization of the Network Meeting in Bilbao. We had the opportunity to involve many new members in the antenna. It was the first step of a generational change of this antenna, which evolves perfectly and makes it one of the antennae with the biggest potential in our association.
Which memorable moments of AEGEE-Europe in general in 2017 do you remember most vividly or was outstanding?
The new strategic plan has been a key factor in our association. We have a roadmap to follow during the next three years that will help us achieve many goals and new opportunities.
Who was for you the outstanding member in 2017? Please name up to three.
Alejandra Piot from AEGEE-Coruña has been one of the best AEGEEans in this year. She is a hard-working person and always works in an active, voluntary and responsible way for this association. Adrián Guerrero from AEGEE-León: I believe he is a person with a lot of potential. This year he showed his motivation; I think that he has acquired enough experience for the future in this association. Also Celia Riveres from AEGEE-Zaragoza is outstanding, there is no doubt. I started working with her throughout this year and I only regret not having begun working with her before. She is organized, responsible, self-critical and proactive. I place a lot of hopes on her, as she starts her term as a new Netcommie. I know her ideas and I hope to being able to help her to create new projects.
Which was for you the outstanding antenna in 2017? You can also mention up to three.
AEGEE-Malaga is undoubtedly one of the best examples of our association. They started from nothing and are evolving in a surprising way and with very interesting ideas. The way in which they contact different locals to improve their own operation and share their best practices seems very interesting to me and is something of which many of us should learn.
What was for you the outstanding European project, working group or interest group in 2017?
From my point of view, the Civic Education Working Group has been the most outstanding European body. Activities such as the debate in the EPM, the ECI competition and many others have been projects that had a great impact in AEGEE. In addition, Europe on Track has worked actively in recent months, promoting some very interesting topics that can help us to make our association even more visible. I have many expectations placed on them!
What do you foresee as highlight or the big topic in AEGEE in 2018?
It has been debated if we should dedicate more time and effort to the thematic part in AEGEE. I think that it is important not to lose our identity and continue fighting for the purposes that our association strives. Therefore, I believe that a new paradigm is about to be opened, where the way in which we will include all these new thematic initiatives will be debated. Let’s fight for it!
What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2018?
This September I have begun to work in a more exhaustive way than other years. Due to this, I won’t have the opportunity to be able to work enough for AEGEE as I would like. I will try to focus my attention on helping mainly as subcommissioner of the Network Commission, being the main interlocutor between AEGEE and youth councils, advising AEGEE-Bilbao as Board Advisor and helping also AEGEE-Madrid.
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
Like last year, I will enjoy the end of the year in my small town lost in the north of Spain. I will share these good moments with my family and friends, being able to rest and disconnect for a few days from the current lifestyle.

 

Stella Krokou, President of AEGEE-Thessaloniki

Golden Times: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2017?
Stella Krokou: 2017 started with a big AEGEE challenge for me as I was elected President of our antenna, AEGEE-Thessaloniki, and I set some really high goals at that moment. After one productive year I can say that the results of our work as a board and the growth and strengthening of our antenna is my highlight for 2017. If I have to choose something more personal, the thing I most intensely enjoyed was being the main coordinator of the spring Network Meeting Thessaloniki “Find your Thess-aurus”, which was the best experience I had as an organiser so far, giving me the opportunity to develop myself in every way.
Which memorable moments of AEGEE-Europe in general in 2017 do you remember most vividly or was outstanding?
The moment I remember most vividly was the election of the new President of AEGEE-Europe during Spring Agora Enschede, although not for a good reason! On the other hand, I am really interested in equality issues, so I think that choosing Equal Rights as one of our four focus areas for the next period made me even prouder of our organisation!
Who was for you the outstanding member in 2017? Please name up to three.
I will name the two people that came directly to my mind. First of all, Spyros Papadatos from the Network Commission, for his supportive, understanding and inspiring way and for being such a motivated and active member involved in different positions and projects. Second, my “partner in crime”, Jordi Gutierrez Venegas from AEGEE-Barcelona, who was the main coordinator of our crazy project Barceloniki, for his dedication and for keeping such an active role on local and European level.
Which was for you the outstanding antenna in 2017? You can also mention up to three.
This is a difficult one! I think AEGEE-Budapest is an antenna that worked as an example for me this year, keeping not only the European but also the local activities on a high level!
What was for you the outstanding European project, working group or interest group in 2017?
My personal favourite has always been the project Europe on Track, because it manages to involve so many Europeans, not only AEGEEans, and combines all the things AEGEE strives for: mobility, active citizenship, European borders, education, democracy and much more. I think that the fourth edition of Europe on Track was definitely the highlight of 2017, having a real impact! I can also say that, with such a great project team and so many innovations, Europe on Track 5 will be for sure the most outstanding project of 2018, too!
What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2018?
The most important ones are that I will continue as President of our awesome antenna also in 2018, that I will be subcommissioner of Spyros for the “AEGE(E)AN Sea” and that I will challenge myself once again being the main coordinator of “Smart Cities: Can you hear the ECO”, the Opening Conference for Europe on Track 5. P.S.: As for the summer, after attending the Mediterranean Dream, maybe it’s time to live the Transsiberian Dream at last!
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
I will be lucky enough to spend the New Year’s night here in my hometown, surrounded by my favourite people!

 

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