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 last edition of the AEGEE-Europe review: read what Réka Salamon, Adonis Meggos, Kristina Reshetova and Romy Cartiere said.

Réka Salamon, Vice-Coordinator of Autumn Agora Istanbul 2018

Golden Times: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2017?
Réka Salamon: CD on Track, by far! It has been an amazing experience to travel from Brussels by train all the way to Thessaloniki visiting AEGEE locals, occasionally meeting up with Tekla and Zvonimir on the way, experiencing EPM Zagreb in the middle and most importantly: getting a bit closer to understanding the reality of the AEGEE network. A visit cannot change much but surely can give a better insight than the mailbox of the AEGEE headoffice. On a more personal note, emotional highlights came in July spending our last weeks in office with Tekla, Lia and Zvonimir and with an unhealthy amount of Despacito.
Which memorable moments of AEGEE-Europe in general in 2017 do you remember most vividly or was outstanding?
Agora Enschede. But I will choose that moment of the closing plenary, when those adorable, amazing and sometimes annoying people in the audience just would not stop standing and applauding during my closing speech and they made me cry human tears. These are moments to live for and it makes you feel like… it was just all worth it. For the network I hope there was not just one outstanding moment, but a rollercoaster of amazing experiences that AEGEE has given them!
Who was for you the outstanding member in 2017? Please name up to three.
One, papa Zvone. Zvonimir Canjuga is the correct name on the imaginary voting ballot. He was and is my best friend from AEGEE and I don’t think I would have survived the year sane if it wasn’t for him, like for real. I still consider myself sane, yes.
Two, Damien Latacz former Mediation Commission – I almost typed Medication Commission, sometimes things got very close to this mental stage, haha – and AEGEE-Aachen, because he has sacrificed so much of his free time and energy to help the CD during the year, from happy to critical moments. I have learnt a lot from him and I am happy to call him my friend – hoping he thinks the same but I did annoy him quite a lot…
Three, Philipp Blum, former SUCT and another AEGEE-Aachen bear. He has an amazing mind, a powerful will and real care for AEGEE, he has already done a lot for our organisation, and he still signed up for a big challenge to coordinate our famous Y Vote project in 2019 as well. Go Philipp and go Y Vote team!
Which was for you the outstanding antenna in 2017? You can also mention up to three.
AEGEE-Catania, lalalalalala… For taking on the challenge of the Agora, for sacrificing so much of their own lives, for the warm hospitality they gave me when I was there for a week, and then for another week for Agora, and for reminding me of what “AEGEE family” truly means.
Also AEGEE-Zagreb and the million hearts team, for a wonderful EPM and for facing all challenges bravely and with a lovely smile that Marina and her team has! I hope AEGEE-Zagreb’s stronghold can be a good point for the development of the whole area.
Furthermore, AEGEE-León for the AEGEE Ideas Factory which brought us many different insights, different ideas and perceptions of AEGEE, and also our new Strategic Plan. I believe they deserve recognition not only because of the Ideas Factory, but also because of the very professional work the antenna is doing on the field of youth exchanges and Erasmus+. And also for giving AEGEE people with a good heart. I am looking at you Laura and Dani.
I know it is really is unfair to nominate statutory event organising locals. These events get the most visibility, among many great events in the network in one year. I heard there are plans for an official AEGEE events website, no, not the new OMS, but to create stronger visibility for all the great events AEGEE offers: and also attract non-AEGEEans to our events!
What was for you the outstanding European project, working group or interest group in 2017?
Europe on Track has built up quite some anticipation for the 5th edition! I am happy the topic they selected is a global challenge, bringing not only a great learning opportunity for AEGEE about climate change, but also bringing global citizenship and awareness to the table. I am happy to see the work Jorge and the team have been doing, happy to see so many locals taking part in it, and happy that once upon a time I had the chance to lead this amazing project…
What do you foresee as highlight or the big topic in AEGEE in 2018?
I foresee discussions on our identity, our structure, I see a lot of ideas about a thematic AEGEE floating around, I see some really active people ready to make a change with their best intention. AEGEE is an amazing playground for its members’ experimentation and self-development, but I wish more for AEGEE to teach us the core values of our organisation that bring and keep us together. Values like service and contribution to something bigger than yourself. I am a firm believer you can only bring the best out in yourself if you sacrifice something for this organisation, than trying to suit yourself mostly. Because the real meaning of being a network of change-makers is about standing our ground and being ready to defend the ideas and values we strive for. A bit like soldiers on a battlefield of a European continent that is burning in all corners.
I don’t know what the tides will bring to AEGEE for 2018. But I have a question for reflection, based on the very idea this organisation was founded in 1985. When we say “AEGEE strives for a diverse and borderless Europe”, the “diverse” and “borderless” is more commonly referred to. But “strive” according to the dictionary means: “make great efforts to achieve or obtain something” and “struggle or fight vigorously”. Same word but slightly different interpretations. Which one are you?
What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2018?
Organise a legendary Agora Istanbul 2018! I am vice-coordinator of the Agora. I am super excited and planning to move to Istanbul not only to work on the Agora but continue working with the Turkish-speaking locals on long-term development projects, support trainings, support external relations with EU entities, bring more funded opportunities to an area that is heavily disadvantaged economically and because of visa. We do not seem to take the visa problem seriously nowadays..
I also got myself active in the AEGEE Election Observation project working on funding opportunities for the project that I believe is one of the most promising initiatives for AEGEE to step up as a strong actor on the field of youth participation! On a personal note, we are organising an Election Observation Mission to Hungary in spring 2018 – and I am as curious as concerned about the elections and the future of my country.
So yes, I decided to stay around a bit longer in AEGEE because I believe I am at the peak of my knowledge after two years in the CD, and can still give a lot to this organisation. I hope to continue supporting the work of the new CD whenever they need me, but I am happier to be a bit more away from AEGEE-Europe and back on the local level with AEGEE-Istanbul and occasionally AEGEE-Budapest.
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
I will attend the AEGEE New Years’ event organised by AEGEE-Budapest and AEGEE-Pécs! And I will not be alone… my sister is coming with me. She plans to move to Budapest for her university studies, so we will see if AEGEE-Budapest can welcome a new member soon!

 

Adonis Meggos, Communications Director, AEGEE-Peiraias

Golden Times: Which memorable moments of AEGEE-Europe in general in 2017 do you remember most vividly or was outstanding?
Adonis Meggos: Unfortunately I would go with Agora Enschede’s presidential happening. That was a lesson to be learned. I hope that drama, dishonesty and dishonour will be extinct from AEGEE. We are all here volunteers under the same values and goals. Everyone has the right to speak up, always in a polite manner under quality civic discussion.
Who was for you the outstanding member in 2017? Please name up to three.
Undoubtedly Florian Hauger deserves the first place for his stoutness and courage. The second mention goes Veronica Chmelárová for her juridical support and her assistance. The Third goes to Dominic Dimian. I believe he will be playing a big role in AEGEE in 2018.
Which was for you the outstanding antenna in 2017? You can also mention up to three.
I proudly present you AEGEE-Sankt-Peterburg! The local that hosted my first European event, the SU in 2013 has been the inspirational moment that motivated me enough to remain active in AEGEE for so long and eventually hold my current position. The local has been growing strong for many years and I personally had the honour to be invited to one of its LTCs this April. I witnessed the excellent management of the local and now I am observing many valuable members becoming active in the European bodies. The only AEGEE local and port that I like more than Peiraias.
What was for you the outstanding European project, working group or interest group in 2017?
A greek phrase says that if you don’t praise your own house, the roof will fall upon your head; that’s why I definitely highlight the Drinkwise project with three successful SU collaborations including AEGEE-Torino’s that was the best SU of the year. Water Is simply not Nutritious Enough!
What do you foresee as highlight or the big topic in AEGEE in 2018?
The branded activities! It’s time for locals to grow stronger in their respected areas. We have been focusing a lot on organisational improvements and the structure of AEGEE but AEGEE is all about the local members sharing their cultures and believes. Let’s strengthen up the local activities that will make the AEGEE known in every corner of Europe.
What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2018?
My personal AEGEE plans are focused on AEGEE analytics. Since 1985 we store tons of data. Except the work that you dear Gunnar have done all these years, the rest of AEGEEans haven’t considered to store the important documentation in one user friendly platform. The AEGEE Wiki exists, but nobody uses it so far because it is still empty. While in every Agora we come with new proposals to reform our structure, when we are asked “What is AEGEE?” we all hesitate for a moment and ask ourselves “Ouf, where do I start?” Our identity needs to be simplified. It is hard to have so many focuses. We only need basic pillars that identify our common goals and values. And the way to identify them is through a research of all past activities. To see where we are good at and what has been the main aims through those 32 years.
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
The Communications Director’s life is quite exhausting. I will be probably in a cave in the middle of nowhere with poor but existing Internet connection. Even if I try to hide from my responsibilities I am pretty sure that they will chase me. So many platforms need to be updated! I would be happy if I managed to relax for these few days.

 

Kristina Reshetova, former Network Commissioner

Golden Times: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2017?
Kristina Reshetova: Definitely my Netcom trips to AEGEE-Eskisehir, AEGEE-Mugla, AEGEE-Adana, AEGEE-Gaziantep, AEGEE-Yerevan, AEGEE-Tbilisi and AEGEE-Rostov-na-Donu. Being a Netcommie was one of the best experiences and I really miss those days!
Who was for you the outstanding member in 2017? Please name up to three.
Réka Salamon and Jorge Sanchez are my inspiration and examples of great leaders.
Which was for you the outstanding antenna in 2017? You can also mention up to three.
Of course every antenna which organised a big event deserves to be mentioned. But I want to mention three small locals who are doing really great now: AEGEE-Tyumen, AEGEE-Gaziantep and AEGEE-Mugla!
What do you foresee as highlight or the big topic in AEGEE in 2018?
I am sure Agora Istanbul will be a highlight of the new year. I wanted an Agora in Turkey so much and it finally came true! I also think it will be a place for a lot of interesting discussions.
What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2018?
Well, to come back! It is quite difficult to follow everything from here in Ecuador as I don’t have wi-fi at home and the time difference also plays its role, but hopefully I will come back right in time for Agora Kraków, full of energy and new ideas!
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
Hopefully somewhere around Machu Picchu!

 

Romy Cartiere, European Affairs Officer of AEGEE-Amsterdam

Golden Times: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2017?
Romy Cartiere: Definitely being in the board of AEGEE-Amsterdam. It feels like I have been in the board since forever and at the same time it’s going so fast. It’s an emotional and physical rollercoaster of late nights, great experiences and tons of meetings. And even though that doesn’t necessarily sound great, I love it all. I am very happy in my function, where I both get to know my own local so well, but still feel more and more connected to the network. Moreover I am also very satisfied with the team. I’m so proud and glad I get to do this with them. I’m looking forward to rocking the last three months of our term and starting the knowledge transfer for the new board that has slowly started to assemble!
Who was for you the outstanding member in 2017? Please name up to three.
That’s easy! José van der Meer, Lisa van Bodegraven and Janthe Bührs, who are the Secretary, Treasurer and President of AEGEE-Amsterdam.
Which was for you the outstanding antenna in 2017? You can also mention up to three.
AEGEE-Utrecht did a great job organising their Network Meeting!
What was for you the outstanding European project, working group or interest group in 2017?
It was only a pilot at Agora Catania, but I hope the Safe Person project evolves into an actual project.
What do you foresee as highlight or the big topic in AEGEE in 2018?
Climate and environment, and the relations between EU and non-EU countries.
What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2018?
After ending my board term I unfortunately have to back down from AEGEE a little bit, in order not to completely fail my studies. However I want to stay invested, so I would like to become a subcommie. Hopefully I will get the chance to be one! Also I will stay in the Summer University committee, so fasten your seatbelts, because this one is going to be amazing! I also will keep going to some events, or at least the Agoras. Agora Istanbul is going to be the eighth one – and the 11th statutory event! And lastly I plan on finally going on a Summer University myself.
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
In Paris as a helper of the exciting New Year’s event “Midnight Kissing in Paris”!

 

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