Who is the AEGEE mem­ber of the year 2018? Which anten­na, which project was the best? What were the high­lights of the year? And what will 2019 bring? The Gold­en Times asked more than 70 local­ly or Euro­pean­ly active mem­bers. Over the next two weeks you can see what they answered. In this first edi­tion: read what Nataliya Kli­menko, Sergey Peshkov, Isabel San­tos Alon­so, Midas Ver­aart, Elit­sa Hadzhie­va and Michał Szyszko said.

Nataliya Kli­menko

Nataliya Klimenko, Editor-in-Chief of The AEGEEan Magazine, EPM Yerevan Content Manager, AEGEE-Moskva/AEGEE-Passau

Gold­en Times: What was your per­son­al AEGEE high­light in 2018?
Nataliya Kli­menko: 2018 was an over­whelm­ing year for me. In AEGEE, no doubts, the biggest high­light was the Key to Europe. I was actu­al­ly rather ner­vous before start­ing, but sur­pris­ing­ly it has worked out real­ly good in a great team.
Which mem­o­rable moments of AEGEE-Europe in gen­er­al in 2018 do you remem­ber most vivid­ly or was out­stand­ing?
The EPM was tru­ly a big event for me, but I must say oth­er most remark­able hap­pen­ings in AEGEE-Europe that first came to my mind have a neg­a­tive con­no­ta­tion for our orga­ni­za­tion. How­ev­er, it’s thanks to such devel­op­ments that we all can real­ize how chal­leng­ing the work in an NGO can be, and take off the rose-coloured glass­es we some­times wear.
Who was for you the out­stand­ing mem­ber in 2018?
Kse­nia Lupano­va, Ale­jan­dra Piot and Eri­ka Bet­tin. They are warm-heart­ed, sin­cere, reli­able, hard-work­ing, enthu­si­as­tic, help­ful and true pro­fes­sion­als and I could add more adjec­tives here [smil­ing]. I had immense plea­sure work­ing with them on the Key to Europe and I wouldn’t have made it with­out their assis­tance.
Which was for you the out­stand­ing anten­na in 2018?
AEGEE-Yere­van, for organ­is­ing a real­ly mem­o­rable EPM. In addi­tion, I want to nom­i­nate AEGEE-Pas­sau. And it’s not because I live in this city now, but because of the tire­less dai­ly work of their active mem­bers, their open­ness, inclu­sion and extra­or­di­nary events at the local and inter­na­tion­al lev­els. This is a local which embod­ies AEGEE’s objec­tives and can serve as exam­ple to many oth­ers. Keep on the awe­some job!
What was for you the out­stand­ing Euro­pean project or WG/IG in 2018?
Y Vote. Even though I myself have lit­tle to do with the project as a non-EU cit­i­zen, I am pret­ty much aston­ished by how much efforts the project team, the CD and locals are putting into this. Edu­cat­ing youth on what EU is and why the young EU peo­ple should appre­ci­ate the life that the EU has pro­vid­ed them instead of tak­ing it for grant­ed is a tru­ly wor­thy mis­sion, and I’d like to see more high mis­sions like this with­in AEGEE.
What do you fore­see as high­light or the big top­ic in AEGEE in 2019?
Euro­pean elec­tions, of course!
What are your per­son­al AEGEE plans for 2019?
Reviv­ing The AEGEEan and strength­en­ing AEGEE’s ties to the Kon­rad Ade­nauer Foun­da­tion, of which I am a proud fam­i­ly mem­ber.
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
All I want for the New Year is to meet it with my beloved per­sons in Moscow. Can’t wait for being back home!

 

Sergey Peshkov, IT Responsible for the Chair Team at Agora Krakow and Agora Istanbul, OMS developer, AEGEE-Voronezh

Sergey Peshkov

Gold­en Times: What was your per­son­al AEGEE high­light in 2018?
Sergey Peshkov: Being IT Respon­si­ble for the Chair Team at Spring Ago­ra Krakow and Autumn Ago­ra Istan­bul 2018. It was real­ly the most inter­est­ing and excit­ing expe­ri­ence for me, as it is real­ly a pos­si­bil­i­ty to work with won­der­ful peo­ple, know­ing all of the inter­nals of the Ago­ra and mak­ing my con­tri­bu­tion to AEGEE. Also, work­ing on the Online Mem­ber­ship Sys­tem was inter­est­ing. We are real­ly close to shut­ting down the old Intranet and switch­ing to OMS instead!
Which mem­o­rable moments of AEGEE-Europe in gen­er­al in 2018 do you remem­ber most vivid­ly or was out­stand­ing?
For me it was Spring Ago­ra Krakow 2018. It was the biggest dra­ma Ago­ra I have ever seen. The Shell Motion, the Vote of Con­fi­dence for the SUCT, the CD Activ­i­ty report — you name it. It was also the top-notch lev­el of orga­ni­za­tion, I have nev­er seen an Ago­ra run­ning so smooth­ly, even with all of this dra­ma. Also, this year I was a helper at the anniver­sary part of the Transsi­ber­ian Dream TSU and I am real­ly amazed about the qual­i­ty of the orga­ni­za­tion. They have def­i­nite­ly earned the “Best SU” award, as their effort was aston­ish­ing.
Who was for you the out­stand­ing mem­ber in 2018?
For me per­son­al­ly it is the peo­ple I was work­ing with for the last year: my Chair Team fel­lows, Tekla, Zvon­imir and Eyrin, and the OMS team: Nico, Fab­rizio and oth­er peo­ple who were help­ing us.
Which was for you the out­stand­ing anten­na in 2018?
Of course, AEGEE-Krakow, AEGEE-Istan­bul and AEGEE-Yere­van as host­ing locals of EPM and Ago­rae. The orga­niz­ers real­ly put a lot of effort and ener­gy into mak­ing it hap­pen. Also my big shoutout to AEGEE-Mosk­va for mak­ing the best SU of this year and to AEGEE-Min­sk – we have vis­it­ed them with our AEGEE-Mosk­va friends, and it was one of the sweet­est trips for me this year.
What was for you the out­stand­ing Euro­pean project or WG/IG in 2018?
I adore this year’s Europe on Track edi­tion. Our anten­na was a host­ing local for one of the stops, and it was a real­ly nice expe­ri­ence. But I also like the idea of this year’s top­ic in gen­er­al, as sus­tain­abil­i­ty and cli­mate change real­ly is a thing for now.
What do you fore­see as high­light or the big top­ic in AEGEE in 2019?
Two things: Euroscep­ti­cism and sus­tain­abil­i­ty. First — because there’s a lot of pop­ulism and a lot of peo­ple do not believe in the idea of a unit­ed Europe. Sec­ond — because the cli­mate change, the pol­lu­tion, the enor­mous amount of garbage in the oceans is hap­pen­ing now, and we should do our best to raise aware­ness about it and stop hurt­ing our plan­et.
What are your per­son­al AEGEE plans for 2019?
I want to fin­ish the OMS tasks, so we can final­ly shut down the old Intranet and let it rest in peace. Also I would be real­ly excit­ed to go to Ago­ra Bucuresti and Ago­ra Saler­no — I won’t make it to Izmir unfor­tu­nate­ly.
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
In the train from Mosk­va to Tyu­men with a wag­on full of crazy par­tic­i­pants and orga­niz­ers as an orga­niz­er of “NYE Mean­while in Siberia vol. 2”.

 

Isabel San­tos

Isabel Santos, Network Commissioner, AEGEE-Valladolid

Gold­en Times: What was your per­son­al AEGEE high­light in 2018?
Isabel San­tos: Net­work Meet­ing Zaragoza. It was amaz­ing shar­ing ideas with pas­sion­ate peo­ple and dis­cussing how to improve what we already have.
Which mem­o­rable moments of AEGEE-Europe in gen­er­al in 2018 do you remem­ber most vivid­ly or was out­stand­ing?
Ago­ra Kraków and every­thing that took place there. I dis­cov­ered so many things about AEGEE — it def­i­nite­ly moti­vat­ed me to con­tin­ue get­ting involved.
Which was for you the out­stand­ing anten­na in 2018?
AEGEE-Kraków and AEGEE-Istan­bul for organ­is­ing amaz­ing Ago­rae.
What was for you the out­stand­ing Euro­pean project or WG/IG in 2018?
The Equal Rights Work­ing Group has been real­ly active, the same with the oth­er work­ing groups. In addi­tion, the Lan­guage Inter­est Group has also made lots of things to spread knowl­edge about lan­guages.
What do you fore­see as high­light or the big top­ic in AEGEE in 2019?
Try­ing to moti­vate peo­ple to join AEGEE and to be active is going to be nec­es­sary and a top­ic to be dis­cussed.
What are your per­son­al AEGEE plans for 2019?
I want to con­tin­ue learn­ing and work­ing with my team for the well­be­ing of the net­work. I also plan to attend as many events as pos­si­ble to meet more amaz­ing peo­ple and dis­cov­er new places.
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
After three years spend­ing New Year far from home I have decid­ed to return to my family’s vil­lage for this date, spend­ing some qual­i­ty time with my fam­i­ly.

 

Midas Veraart, AEGEE-Academy board member, AEGEE-Leuven

Midas Ver­aart

Gold­en Times: What was your per­son­al AEGEE high­light in 2018?
Midas Ver­aart: SUPS Cagliari was def­i­nite­ly my high­light of 2018. Com­ing from a cold Bel­gium, I arrived at Cagliari Air­port and got picked up in a real Ital­ian Fiat, with the com­ple­men­tary dri­ving style. In between the palm trees, sun and beach­es I got to know what a real fam­i­ly is as AEGEE-Cagliari made me part of theirs. These were the moments I real­ly realised how much I love AEGEE. The train­ing itself went fan­tas­tic, togeth­er with the oth­er train­ers, I got to moti­vate and train enthu­si­as­tic future organ­is­ers who can spread this spir­it across Europe. I can’t wait for my next SUPS in Val­ladol­id!
Which mem­o­rable moments of AEGEE-Europe in gen­er­al in 2018 do you remem­ber most vivid­ly or was out­stand­ing?
Gunnar’s “What is AEGEE” work­shop told me the sto­ry of AEGEE over the years and made me realise where I am a part of and what part of his­to­ry I could join.
Who was for you the out­stand­ing mem­ber in 2018?
I believe Lucia Gavulo­va has always been out­stand­ing in AEGEE, but espe­cial­ly in 2018. After all those years in dif­fer­ent posi­tions she now has a lot to do in her pri­vate live, stud­ies, job and mov­ing, but at the same time she still puts tons of ener­gy in AEGEE. Now as speak­er of the Acad­e­my she does not only know pol­i­tics, strat­e­gy and organ­i­sa­tion in AEGEE, but she is also my favourite leader. Matthias Bom­mel is also a super­star. He is a smart and curi­ous per­son who keeps the overview in any project or team he joins. He knows what mat­ters and where to look while at the same time hav­ing the real AEGEE spir­it. There is a rea­son he got hon­orary mem­ber sta­tus in Bam­berg. Matthias for Pres­i­dent!
Which was for you the out­stand­ing anten­na in 2018?
AEGEE-Bam­berg is def­i­nite­ly the most out­stand­ing anten­na in my opin­ion. Bring­ing for­ward great mem­bers in the net­work and organ­is­ing qual­i­ty events in this beau­ti­ful city has improved even more. With lim­it­ed resources they reached a lot. We can all learn from them.
What was for you the out­stand­ing Euro­pean project or WG/IG in 2018?
The SUPS is get­ting bet­ter every year. Rober­to Ros­set­to is doing a fan­tas­tic job while try­ing to avoid hair drop­ping from his head from all the stress. This event has used the same con­cept while relay­ing on feed­back to improve it every sea­son. This is where real organ­is­ers are born! I have also seen the YDWG do great things this year. Desireé van Lan­gen and all oth­er peo­ple in the team spend a lot of time on reach­ing their goals and improv­ing the net­work. The focus on train­ing and con­fer­ences has been extreme­ly good and with this lead­er­ship it will reach even fur­ther. The AEGEE-Acad­e­my is also improv­ing a lot, but I’m not sure if I’m allowed to say it as one of the board mem­bers. We trans­formed to more qual­i­ty and out­sourced the TNT and TAT to extreme­ly com­pe­tent peo­ple to cre­ate an army of train­ers who will devel­op the net­work fur­ther.
What do you fore­see as high­light or the big top­ic in AEGEE in 2019?
TNT/TAT in Bam­berg is going to be an extreme­ly inter­est­ing event. This week long event will focus on emo­tion­al learn­ing and best prac­tices to bring the train­ers to an unbe­liev­ably high lev­el. The par­tic­i­pants will nev­er for­get this event and the mem­bers will feel the impact of them in the net­work.
What are your per­son­al AEGEE plans for 2019?
SUPS 2019 and then slow­ly think­ing about retire­ment as I have a prospect for a nice job. I will miss this organ­i­sa­tion way too much. I am very thank­ful for all the crazy, inter­est­ing and hap­py years in this group called AEGEE. Oh, and talk­ing about it in the job inter­view real­ly was key to land this pres­ti­gious job.
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
In Valen­cia with my Eras­mus friends! Sad­ly no event of AEGEE, but also out­side life is good.

 

Elit­sa Hadzhie­va

Elitsa Hadzhieva, Financial manager of Y Vote, President of AEGEE-Sofia, Liaison Officer towards the YFJ

Gold­en Times: What was your per­son­al AEGEE high­light in 2018?
Elisa Hadzhie­va: This year I explored the AEGEE life out­side of my local. It was scary, chal­leng­ing, but also an amaz­ing expe­ri­ence. I still have a few per­son­al high­lights from my local as the main organ­is­er of the Net­work Meet­ing this May and the Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ty in the end of August.
And before I make all of my oth­er high­lights about Y Vote I can men­tion two high­lights that are not con­nect­ed with it: I became the Liai­son Offi­cer towards the Euro­pean Youth Forum about which I am very excit­ed about. And I was cho­sen as one of AEGEE-Europe’s rep­re­sen­ta­tives towards one of the three polit­i­cal com­mit­tees of Euro­pean Move­ment Inter­na­tion­al.
And now Y Vote: I could first list the “Why Euro­pean Par­lia­ment” work­shops that trav­elled around Europe this sum­mer most­ly thanks to the 30 years of SU project and their adven­tures. I am very hap­py that I was one of the peo­ple from the team involved in cre­at­ing them and I am very proud to share my EU love with all AEGEEans. Anoth­er high­light for me were the AEGEE locals who host our con­ven­tions that applied for Eras­mus+ fund­ing. Not all of them were suc­cess­ful but pret­ty much all received very pos­i­tive feed­back on their appli­ca­tions. This is a good start and I hope they apply for more fund­ing in the future.
I would men­tion last but not least my new posi­tion as Assis­tant Finan­cial Direc­tor. It is more than an hon­our for me that Matis and the CD are giv­ing me this oppor­tu­ni­ty and they believe in me this much that I can actu­al­ly help them effec­tive­ly around the office.
Which mem­o­rable moments of AEGEE-Europe in gen­er­al in 2018 do you remem­ber most vivid­ly or was out­stand­ing?
I would say the most out­stand­ing moments for AEGEE-Europe this year was get­ting grants for the net­work. It is remark­able that YEP gave a lot of oppor­tu­ni­ties for Y Vote, 30 years of Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ties project and the Acad­e­my, and “My Europe. My Say” is already mak­ing it hap­pen for Y Vote, Europe on Track and a num­ber of locals and bod­ies. In addi­tion it is a big step ahead for the organ­i­sa­tion to employ peo­ple work­ing on those grants that are hired to work for AEGEE. For me it is very vis­i­ble that this is already cre­at­ing a pos­i­tive impact on the organ­i­sa­tion.
Who was for you the out­stand­ing mem­ber in 2018?
This is a dif­fi­cult and tricky ques­tion. I meet new incred­i­ble peo­ple every year in AEGEE but only a few of them are con­stant­ly leav­ing a mark. I want to say that all of the peo­ple I work with in Y Vote are out­stand­ing for me, but Philipp Blum as our project man­ag­er is the one that gives the last and most impor­tant ingre­di­ent to mak­ing our team amaz­ing. The sec­ond per­son would be a shared spot for Maria Balles­teros Melero and Vio­la Bianchet­ti. Two very incred­i­bly hard-work­ing human beings that I love work­ing with. And last but nev­er least: Ms Sala­m­on and her Istan­bul dream. I have nev­er been or will ever be an Ago­ra enthu­si­ast but despite the prob­lems, I think Réka helped the pas­sion­ate Turk­ish team of organ­is­ers a lot.
Which was for you the out­stand­ing anten­na in 2018?
AEGEE-Saler­no for their nev­er-end­ing pos­i­tive vibe and good work in organ­is­ing events like the Franck Biancheri award con­fer­ence, one of the best Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ties and meet­ing the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment Pres­i­dent Anto­nio Tajani dur­ing it, an Autumn Net­work Meet­ing and in 2019 the Ago­ra!
I will be very cheesy and men­tion also all eight locals that have been work­ing with Y Vote for the past one year on organ­is­ing a con­ven­tion. So, a huge appre­ci­a­tion for AEGEE-Cluj Napoca, AEGEE-Pas­sau, AEGEE-Warsza­wa, AEGEE-Düs­sel­dorf, AEGEE-Tar­tu, AEGEE-Utrecht, AEGEE-Sofia and AEGEE-Tori­no.
What was for you the out­stand­ing Euro­pean project or WG/IG in 2018?
For me, the most out­stand­ing project would always be Y Vote. We had a pret­ty good year and I can only hope that the year of the Euro­pean elec­tions would be even bet­ter.
What do you fore­see as high­light or the big top­ic in AEGEE in 2019?
The Euro­pean Elec­tions, of course! Any elec­tions are an impor­tant event but the Euro­pean ones always have the chance to be a big dri­ving force for cit­i­zens’ involve­ment all over Europe. Con­sid­er­ing that in 2014 only 28% of the young peo­ple vot­ed, I am real­ly hap­py that AEGEE and all of the big Euro­pean youth organ­i­sa­tions are com­bin­ing forces to moti­vate young peo­ple to vote in May 2019.
What are your per­son­al AEGEE plans for 2019?
For now, my per­son­al plans are to move to the CD house at the begin­ning of Jan­u­ary and being Matis’ assis­tant. And in addi­tion to that, 2019 will be again a year for me that is ded­i­cat­ed to Y Vote.
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
I will spend it with my fam­i­ly as those would be my last days in Bul­gar­ia and I want to spend them with the peo­ple that love and annoy me the most. And that would be at our home on the Bul­gar­i­an Black Sea coast.

 

Michał Szyszko, member of Audit Commission of AEGEE-Europe, President of AEGEE-Warszawa

Michał Szyszko

What was your per­son­al AEGEE high­light in 2018?
Many would expect me to name some events dur­ing one of the Ago­ras, but as it’s my per­son­al high­light, I’d refer to some­thing local. This autumn I was invit­ed as a train­er for an LTC of a local oth­er than mine. It is a great plea­sure to know how my work and skills are seen and respect­ed. Big thanks to AEGEE-Gli­wice!
Which mem­o­rable moments of AEGEE-Europe in gen­er­al in 2018 do you remem­ber most vivid­ly or was out­stand­ing?
Ago­ra Kraków def­i­nite­ly. Why? There is a per­son­al rea­son — hav­ing the biggest of our events so close to home. But not just that. It was for me an event that showed our uni­ty. I believe that uni­ty is shown not when every­body agrees with every­body and cre­ates a fake fairy-tale. Uni­ty is when it remains even while dis­agree­ments hap­pen. Ago­ra Kraków had lots of them, yet didn’t lose the AEGEE spir­it.
Who was for you the out­stand­ing mem­ber in 2018?
What I val­ue about mem­bers is when they go active on Euro­pean lev­el of AEGEE, but don’t for­get about their local. When their mem­bers can ben­e­fit from their expe­ri­ence and com­pe­tences. That’s what I always try to stick to. And what I wit­ness about her. For­mer JC, Sec­re­tary Gen­er­al of AEGEE-Europe, Moni­ka Mojak. On this place I would also like to thank all local­ly active mem­bers. Who may be anony­mous to most of the net­work, but it’s them who are the net­work. They are the main rea­son of our work. And with whom we can relax and social­ize, have some rest from our hard work.
Which was for you the out­stand­ing anten­na in 2018?
What a pres­i­dent would I be if I didn’t men­tion my guys from AEGEE-Warsza­wa? I am writ­ing these answers just after fin­ish­ing the Y Vote con­ven­tion on Edu­ca­tion & Train­ing. The third big event this year in our local. The hap­py faces thank­ing us for orga­niz­ing it are the answer for any­one who would ask “why do you do this?” Same thing as it was about our SU — big thanks to our co-orga­niz­ers from AEGEE-Gdańsk. And after our “Cit­i­zen­ship at its Gras­roots” con­fer­ence in March. That was amaz­ing: I wasn’t even per­son­al­ly present there, busy with audit­ing AEGEE-Europe, but even then peo­ple con­tact­ed me to share their expe­ri­ences! Yes, def­i­nite­ly AEGEE-Warsza­wa, thanks to whom I’m here, is my out­stand­ing anten­na in 2018.
What was for you the out­stand­ing Euro­pean project or WG/IG in 2018?
There is one very spe­cial project, as it can’t be repeat­ed soon. Because of unique cir­cum­stances – the 30th anniver­sary can hap­pen only once. “30 Years of SU” was the one of all amaz­ing projects, for which 2018 will be remem­bered. The Work­ing Groups also made an amaz­ing job. Tak­ing a per­son­al approach, I would high­light the Euro­pean Cit­i­zen­ship Work­ing Group, with­out whom “Cit­i­zen­ship at its Gras­roots” wouldn’t have hap­pened! And I’d also like to point out one of the Inter­ests Groups – the Pol­i­tics Inter­est Group. They are the field for dis­cus­sion and shar­ing views and opin­ion for the whole net­work.
What do you fore­see as high­light or the big top­ic in AEGEE in 2019?
Of course the Euro­pean elec­tions. The Y Vote project is and will still take a great role. As well, as Europe on Track. As an orga­ni­za­tion for which a unit­ed Europe is the sense of exist­ing, our action must pro­mote our val­ues, so peo­ple know and under­stand them while choos­ing who will rep­re­sent them in Stras­bourg.
What are your per­son­al AEGEE plans for 2019?
Two terms in the Audit Com­mis­sion is def­i­nite­ly enough. But I would be bored with­out Euro­pean activ­i­ties. Maybe one of the Euro­pean projects? Local­ly, I’d love to coor­di­nate some event in Warsza­wa — NWM, RTC, or maybe some­thing new and unique? The pos­si­bil­i­ties are numer­ous.
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
With friends, includ­ing fel­low AEGEEans, on some lit­tle par­ty. Lit­tle plea­sures we all deserve from time to time.