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 13th edition of the AEGEE-Europe review: read what Florian Hauger, Philipp Blum, Petra Buruzs, Jur Remeijn and Frosso Chavli said.

 

Florian Hauger, Secretary General of AEGEE-Europe and former President of AEGEE-Heidelberg

Golden Times: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2017?
Florian Hauger: EPM Zagreb! Mobilizing hundreds of AEGEEans against populism and anti-European agitation was an amazing experience I enjoyed to the fullest. It was truly inspiring to see so many people taking a stand to defend the achievements of the European integration and the values AEGEE stands for. Moreover, I met an old friend I haven’t seen for a long time, so I also associate this event with some dear personal memories.
Which memorable moments of AEGEE-Europe in general in 2017 do you remember most vividly or was outstanding?
That was clearly the opening ceremony of Agora Catania – particularly the address of Mayor Enzo Bianco. His moving report about the rescue of 153 refugees on the very same day and how they were welcomed in Catania was a haunting appeal on our common European obligation to save and protect people fleeing form war and persecution.
Who was for you the outstanding member in 2017? Please name up to three.
First of all, I would like to thank all our members for their amazing contribution this year. When it comes to the three most outstanding AEGEEans, I would like to start with my dear friend Viola Bianchetti from AEGEE-Heidelberg, who enhances AEGEE both locally and Europeanly with her limitless creativity and inventiveness. Furthermore, I’d like to name my pre-predecessor Svenja van der Tol, who proved that true leadership lasts longer than a CD mandate. She keeps on inspiring me with her warmth and commitment for our newest members. Last but not least, I nominate Ilknur Demir from AEGEE-Ankara for the successful return of a culture of political discussion in AEGEE. She’s been doing an amazing job setting up our new Politics Interest Group and gets more and more AEGEEans involved in their thrilling discussions on Facebook.
Which was for you the outstanding antenna in 2017? You can also mention up to three.
The first local to come into my mind is AEGEE-Zagreb. Marina and her team did a fantastic job executing their EPM under the most difficult conditions. I had a great time working with this lovely local and really enjoyed our collaboration. Secondly, I’d nominate AEGEE-Odessa, which stands proof that even small locals can think big. Considered dead for quite some time, these crazy folks are currently planning a Summer University for up to 50 participants next year. During my visit in Odessa, I had the opportunity to see how AEGEEans enrich their local environment by getting active in urban heritage conservation, anti-fraud campaigns and the protection of student’s rights on campus. Keep on fighting for what you believe in, Anastasia, Vitalii & Co! You rock! Lastly, AEGEE-Heidelberg. I know it’s kind of a dick-move naming your own local here, but the team of 2017 was simply too cool to hide it. I’m really proud of you and would like to thank all of you for your outstanding performance this year! Everybody else: Don’t forget to apply for our AEGEE-Heidelberg Gala ball event in spring. The date:  31st of May to 3rd of June!
What was for you the outstanding European project, working group or interest group in 2017?
I am deeply impressed how the Politics Interest Group enriched the democratic debating culture in our association. After the online forum has been mainly used by the same persons, we finally have a platform for everybody to share their opinions. I am happy to see POLIG making AEGEE’s agenda setting more inclusive!
With the European Citizenship Working Group (ECWG) we have another body boosting AEGEE’s awareness in political issues. As their CD-appointed person, I already had the chance to get a bit of an insight in their plans for 2018 and I’m happy to see how Alvaro’s team makes the European idea accessible for everyone. Prepare yourself for their conference in Warszawa next year!
The third body to be mentioned is the AEGEEan. Democratic organizations need critical and independent media. Despite their little numbers, Federica and her team assure journalistic coverage and balanced reporting in our association. I also enjoyed to watch how the AEGEEan involves more and more other bodies in their work, which creates both very cool synergy effects and a deeper understanding of each other’s work.
What do you foresee as highlight or the big topic in AEGEE in 2018?
The integration of the East! Fighting for visa-waivers for young people from Eastern Partnership countries has been an AEGEE topic for quite some years. The recent adoption of the visa-free regime on Ukraine created a window of opportunity and I expect Armenia to become the next country to gain this privilege. With our upcoming EPM in Yerevan “European Integration – Can we think that big?”, we will get the chance to discuss about the integration of Europe’s last frontier during AEGEE’s first ever statutory event in the Caucasus region. Armenak and his team are working hard to give this conference the strongest impact possible. With ministers, government officials and civil society stakeholders present, we’ll get a unique chance to make a real difference. See you soon in Yerevan!
What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2018?
I will keep on doing my best to provide all AEGEEans with the best support possible from the head office. Our members are doing amazing stuff and keep on overwhelming me with their creativity and endless ideal spirit. Please don’t hesitate to contact me via headoffice@aegee.org in case you need information, documents like visa invitations, recommendation letters, certificates or any other kind of aid. I am always happy to help you!
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
I will be in Russia going yolo with AEGEE-Moskva and AEGEE-Tyumen on their new year’s event in the Trans-Siberian railway. Can’t wait for the adventure to get started!

 

Blum. Philipp Blum.

Golden Times: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2017?
Philipp Blum: Jumping into Baikal Lake – and all the emotions on our goodbye after the Summer University. Since 2014 I wanted to go, but I never applied, for different reasons. This year, I finally went, and it truly was a special summer.
Which memorable moments of AEGEE-Europe in general in 2017 do you remember most vividly or was outstanding?
Neither pleasant to remember, nor outstanding – but memorable: The “groupie fight below the belt” at Agora Enschede. How we as young people want to change the world, criticize old politicians, their lack of transparency and fiddles – and then we proved not to be better. If we behave like the ones we criticize, we lose our values, in my opinion. Furthermore, AEGEE should be enriching your life, not making it miserable.
Who was for you the outstanding member in 2017? Please name up to three.
Firstly: Marco Daniele, for being a CD appointed member that really worked with the little time we had together as SUCT – not only looking at our work with one eye. Secondly, Friedrich and all other people involved in Europe At Eye Level, a whole new thing for us – full of successes and challenges. Last but not least: Gunnar, Réka and the people from AEGEE-Agrigento for making a random thought come to life.
What was for you the outstanding European project, working group or interest group in 2017?
I like to see that the Election Observation Project is evolving with an eye on the external influence we can have. I really admire it and hope the evolvement will keep it tied to AEGEE.
What do you foresee as highlight or the big topic in AEGEE in 2018?
Same procedure as last year? Same procedure as every year, Miss Sophie.
What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2018?
I want to improve and work on my trainer skills and see Y Vote succeeding in its goals.
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
Not on an official AEGEE Event, but still with AEGEEans – in lovely Kraków.

 

Petra Buruzs, former Mediation Commissioner, AEGEE-Budapest

Golden Times: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2017?
Petra Buruzs: This whole year was an intense roller coaster. But I would say an entire month which would be April. In the beginning I was living in Brussels with CD54, then attended an Erasmus+ Training course in Yerevan, then I was the main organiser for two events: the conference “Education for the present, Democracy for the future” through the Franck Biancheri Award and one week later “Back to Budapest” with the Les Anciens. All this gave me such a huge dose of positive energy. Then I finished the month with “Skills for youth!”, an AEGEE-Valletta event.
Which memorable moments of AEGEE-Europe in general in 2017 do you remember most vividly or was outstanding?
I think for both I would say Agora Enschede.
Who was for you the outstanding member in 2017? Please name up to three.
Zvonimir Canjuga and Dominic Dimian, the twin brothers. Not just because they have a huge heart, but for all the work what they have done and being so cool. Lorenzo Ligas, for his courage and just to be my PR hero all the time. Bernadett Mészáros for all her extensive work. Marina Klanjčić for her positivity and willingness. Réka Salamon for being that determined. Tiziano Tosatti for his courage and helpfulness. I know it’s a cliché, but it is so hard to not list up everyone since everyone is a hero in their own way in AEGEE. I would highlight you, Gunnar, as well to being everywhere and asking every year 70 people to highlight them.
Which was for you the outstanding antenna in 2017? You can also mention up to three.
I would say of course AEGEE-Budapest for all the support they gave for organizing the two events and meanwhile continuing the usual daily routine and SU, and writing and completing several Erasmus+ projects. AEGEE-Tyumen for just being and growing so incredible and AEGEE-Genova since the life has to go forward.
What was for you the outstanding European project, working group or interest group in 2017?
The Human Resources Committee and their pureness and willingness, the Youth Development Working Group and the Safe Person project for sure.
What do you foresee as highlight or the big topic in AEGEE in 2018?
Big topic?! Come on, there is always some random topic what will turn into drama. Anyway, I hope also the sustainability of this organization will have a highlight since also our biggest project, the Summer University, will celebrate its 30th Birthday and the topic of Agora Kraków.
What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2018?
That’s a good question. I need to breathe a bit, but then I will definitely come back to AEGEE. Let’s see.
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
Somehow I always get stuck in Budapest for the New Year. But how can I say no? If there are so many good friends, who will be here for our “Winter Wonderland – Magic will find you in BudaPécs” event!

 

Frosso Chavli, Events Quality Assurance Committee, AEGEE-Ioannina

Golden Times: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2017?
Frosso Chavli: My AEGEE highlight happened during the last day of our SU, when I got a big hug from my Spanish ghetto. It’s the moment you realize it is worth to put all your effort in making an event happen!
Which memorable moments of AEGEE-Europe in general in 2017 do you remember most vividly or was outstanding?
Agora Enschede, even if I couldn’t attend it, but I watched all of it on Internet. The most memorable moment for me was the twinning between AEGEE-Ioannina and AEGEE-Torino, I would like to thank all of you that took videos for me. I have plenty of them now! And Marina Klanjčić thanking her team at the closing ceremony of the EPM Zagreb was also a moment hard to forget!
Who was for you the outstanding member in 2017? Please name up to three.
Marco Daniele, who keeps surprising me. I’ll never understand how his mind works. And of course Spyros Papadatos, with whom I had a great cooperation both in the board and as main organiser of the Summer University. On behalf of the last board of AEGEE-Ioannina I thank him for helping us to survive!
Which was for you the outstanding antenna in 2017? You can also mention up to three.
There are no doubts regarding this question. It’s AEGEE-Torino. as local of the month, active local of the month, organizer of a Network Meeting, the best SU of 2017 and a lot of local events. It would be unfair not to mention all locals, who were struggling for survival, but made it in the end.
What do you foresee as highlight or the big topic in AEGEE in 2018?
The celebration of the 30 years of Summer University! Can’t wait to hear what is being organised for that!
What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2018?
Last month I became member of EQAC and I will do my best to make events great again! Unfortunately I am far away from my local and this makes it hard to contribute as much as I want but they can always rely on me!
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
I will spend my Christmas holidays with my family in the Netherlands. I’ll miss the New Year’s event in Maribor though…

 

Jur Remeijn, President of AEGEE-Nijmegen

Golden Times: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2017?
Becoming a board member in my local has been one big highlight of this year! The entire process of being elected, working together with the old board on knowledge transfer and then starting all by yourself has been a great experience. Also, a more personal highlight was climbing Vitosha Mountain in Sofia on a trip with our local. After an hour of hiking we got so high that it started snowing! Truly magical!
Which memorable moments of AEGEE-Europe in general in 2017 do you remember most vividly or was outstanding?
During the Agora in Enschede there was this slot with “AEGEE Inspire” stories. The day before, things got quite emotional during the presidential debate, but the stories of AEGEE Inspire reminded me, and hopefully also other people present, that AEGEE is definitely something to be proud of. Staying positive and telling our stories and experiences helps us to remain focused and motivated, so that’s why I loved this moment.
Who was for you the outstanding member in 2017? Please name up to three.
I want to name two people here, Daisy Brugman and Svenja van der Tol. Even after her board year, Daisy stays active in our local and also on European level. And Svenja, who has already been active for quite some years and already has been in the CD, still contributes on both the European as the local level. Moreover, as a board with only three members and quite a rough start, both of them have been a big support as part of the advisory board in our local.
Which was for you the outstanding antenna in 2017? You can also mention up to three.
We had an incoming exchange and an outgoing exchange from and to AEGEE-Bamberg. Both were exchanges with quite big groups, and it is nice that the antenna could host such a big group of our members and organize such an awesome exchange and also motivate their members to visit us with a lot of members. They have been quite a presence within the network, and definitely deserve kudos for that.
What was for you the outstanding European project, working group or interest group in 2017?
As a quite new interest group, the Society and Environment Interest Group has certainly caught my attention. Environmental problems are becoming more and more important every day, and are about our very own future on this planet. I love that there is room to talk about this within AEGEE, and also raise awareness among young people with a project like Europe on Track 5 next year.
What do you foresee as highlight or the big topic in AEGEE in 2018?
I am really looking forward to Spring Agora Kraków and the discussions on how to make AEGEE more thematic. Thematic projects are key for our organisation, and recently the discussion has come up on changing our focus to do more thematic stuff. I think this will be essential for AEGEE in 2018!
What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2018?
Most of 2018 will be dedicated to my board term and the transition to a new board. I am really looking forward to the Agora, Network Meetings, Summer Universities and all that AEGEE goodness. From September on I can finally start studying again, but also keep being active within AEGEE of course!
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
With some of my friends at a house party here in Nijmegen!

 

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