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 active members. Over the next two weeks you can see what they answered. In this edition: read what Lucia Gavulová, Erwin Groot, Matthias Felder, Teresa Carene Kiambu, Novak Simin and Elena Efremova said.

Lucia Gavulová, Speaker of the AEGEE-Academy

Lucia Gavulová

Golden Times: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2018?
Lucia Gavulová (laughing): Deciding to go to AEGEE retirement and ending up as Speaker of the Academy. After many successful Summer University Project Schools organized in 2017 and 2018 I didn’t want to be active anymore, however, the circumstances pushed me into this role and I am very grateful for it!

Which memorable moments of AEGEE-Europe in general in 2018 do you remember most vividly or was outstanding?
I think AEGEE is still waiting for its outstanding and breathtaking moment. Might come next year? Overall I am always impressed when members of the Safe Person project come on the stage at the Agora to introduce themselves and ask people to behave like respectful human beings. I find it important to take this step into an equal society.

Who was for you the outstanding member in 2018?
First, Matis Joab – deciding to run for the presidency of AEGEE-Europe without a strong positioning in AEGEE but with a strong programme and in the end saving the finances of AEGEE-Europe. I think he is the most competent financial director since I joined AEGEE in 2012 – if not even the most competent CD member. He came out of the dark and took the action. Thank you! Second, Matthias “Bommel” Felder – I love the motivation, enthusiasm and down-to-earth approach of this future Academy Speaker and it is always a pleasure for me to work with him. 2019 will be his year! Las but not least: Jonathan Lessing – this guy is competence suited up in a big smile, no stress and always relaxed mood. Besides working and being active in AEGEE he also founded a political party and I am looking forward to observe his future political success!

What was for you the outstanding European project or WG/IG in 2018?
SUPS 2018 – usually training projects never make it to this category and I think that it is being a big mistake! Trainings like SUPS are a full project with a crazy amount of workload but with a huge satisfaction at the end – over 100 trained AEGEEans knowing how to organize SUs, develop themselves, taking an active role or becoming a trainer themselves. I love to meet these participants a year later and seeing that they used it for the best SU or became presidents in their locals or even SUCTies. We need more training projects!

What do you foresee as highlight or the big topic in AEGEE in 2019?
Sexual harassment, sustainability and EU elections. And trainings! People want to get trained, people need to get trained, people want to train. And the Academy is going to give a chance to everyone to find what they want.

What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2019?
To finish my term in the Academy, make sure that the Academy gets a competent and motivated successor and then finally retire! I will come to events only as a trainer or a guest, give one or two bits of advice to a few chosen ones and see how the wheel is being reinvented again…

How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
On the traditional roadtrip: ten crazy people, two cars, 4000 kilometres throughout Eastern Europe, endless fun and mainly – no AEGEE talks.

 

Erwin Groot, HRC Speaker, AEGEE-Siena

Erwin Groot

Golden Times: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2018?
Erwin Groot: You could say becoming speaker of the Human Resources Committee. Leading an awesome group of 26 active members around Europe. But actually my real highlight is a moment with my companion Matthias Felder. In the Summer Course+ in Estonia we gave 36 hours of HR training. One moment, we left a beer yoga party early because I had to finish preparing an Escape Room, and Matthias his workshop for the next day. We worked in this classroom somewhere in Tartu, during a long night finishing our stuff while also playing The Game – a card game – together. We didn’t push each other to finish our stuff, but there was this silent mutual determination to deliver the best workshop possible. Next day we heard that we missed out on a naked fountain swimming afterparty, but I don’t regret it, since I gained a friend for life.

Which memorable moments of AEGEE-Europe in general in 2018 do you remember most vividly or was outstanding?
There is a slightly improvement in Agorae. The focus of discussing details, and the goal of making non-important but time wasting proposals is shifting towards grabbing this big opportunity to meet each other, share knowledge, and to create new projects.

Who was for you the outstanding member in 2018?
Besides Matthias Felder it is a surprising Karel Skramuský. Why? He is a typical member who started with simple interest and curiosity. Then he understood that you need to interact and take the initiative to gain more from this organization. He build up his positive energy and openness towards others. But he never lost his awkward humour, sleepiness and beer addiction – he is from Pilzen. He stayed himself, and from there he is ready to shine. For me he is an example of a member who truly shows the best side of himself in AEGEE.

Which was for you the outstanding antenna in 2018?
AEGEE-Moskva. For me it is the talent pool of AEGEE people with the right spirit. There are many other antennae, but for us all I really hope that one day we can traveling freely to that country and vice versa. And an Agora!

What was for you the outstanding European project or WG/IG in 2018?
The Youth Development Working Group, due to their visibility.

What do you foresee as highlight or the big topic in AEGEE in 2019?
Reforming the Agora. Creating more efficient online voting and focussing on sharing knowledge during the Agoras, creating projects and discussing opinions from a cultural perspective.

What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2019?
Right now I have 12 HR project teams that need a good working speaker. The rest is all spontaneous. I will be there at the Agora, at an HRC live meeting and the Ski Week of AEGEE-Plzen for sure. By the way, if you see me and are interested in HR or any weird question: please ask me, I am waiting for you with a coffee or a beer.

How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
Well I joined New Year’s events in AEGEE the last couple of times. But I also have 11 friends from primary school, and we have the tradition to celebrate every New Year at one of our places. We are also inviting all girlfriends – I am single unfortunately – and we all cook something for diner. I am very much looking forward to it! Having said that, I wish everybody a Golden new year! And that you all can keep to your personal promises.

 

Matthias Felder, HRC Vice-Speaker, AEGEE-Bamberg

Matthias Bommel at EPM Yerevan

Golden Times: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2018?
Matthias Felder: For me it was definitely the SU organized in cooperation of AEGEE-Tallinn, AEGEE-Tartu and the HRC. I had the possibility to be a trainer there together with Erwin Groot from the HRC and it was just awesome. Not only the amazing and lovely organizers but also the participants. I was skeptical about how the participants will behave in an SC+ with 36 hours of sessions. But in the end they were so active and I learned so much as a trainer. I am very thankful I got this opportunity. It was a blast!

Which memorable moments of AEGEE-Europe in general in 2018 do you remember most vividly or was outstanding?
This was probably Agora Kraków. There were happening so many amazing and not that amazing things, which showed me how alive our organisation is. In additional, the organizer did hell of a job. It was the best organized Agora I have been to so far and I was very impressed how they handled everything.

Who was for you the outstanding member in 2018?
Obviously this is very hard to choose, but for me it is Academy Speaker Lucia Gavulova, former HRC Speaker Andrea Schmelz and the new HRC Speaker Erwin Groot, since I work closely together with them and I really enjoy it! The way Lucia is still contributing to AEGEE after all the time she is a member already is just admirable. Her vision of the Academy and how trainings in AEGEE should be done is something all of us should keep on working on and support in any way. Andrea is for me the perfect AEGEE member. Whenever she is working on something she is in with 150%. This spirit is affecting everyone working with her. The work she did for and in the HRC for more than two years now as a speaker is the best example for that. And well – what about to say about Erwin? He is just amazing and I am super happy he is the speaker of the HRC and I have the chance to work together with him. I really don’t know where he takes his energy from but it seems like it is never ending.

Which was for you the outstanding antenna in 2018?
Another really hard choice to make, there is so much amazing stuff happening on the local level. I am always impressed when locals tell me or I see what they are doing. So, for me it is AEGEE-Düsseldorf, AEGEE-Tartu and AEGEE-Yerevan. Even though AEGEE-Düsseldorf is a quite a small local the people are doing so many amazing things – for example TNT and Y Vote. Sometimes they just need someone to tell them how amazing they are! I chose AEGEE-Tartu because of the professional way they work. Since I had the chance to get to know them better, I got so many ideas for my own local and even whole AEGEE that I want to put into practice soon. And about AEGEE-Yerevan it’s the way they are involved in national politics. Seeing their pictures protesting on the street was really inspiring for me and showed me that we can really change something in society if we only dare to speak up and act. Thanks for that and please keep on rocking!

What was for you the outstanding European project or WG/IG in 2018?
Y Vote, Europe on Track and the “30 Years of Summer University” not only because of they are well known but because of their impact. Y Vote because they are doing an amazing job as a team and the topic is one of the most important when it comes to politics in our days. The topic of Europe on Track is so important for every creature on this earth and I am really happy they made so many people aware of it. And 30 Years of Summer University due to the mixture of celebrating the past, thinking about the current status and the outlook to the future of the project.

What do you foresee as highlight or the big topic in AEGEE in 2019?
Definitely the European elections that will have a huge impact on the EU but also for whole Europe as we know it. I hope we can activate as many young people as possible to vote. Moreover, I think and hope that climate change will stay a big topic in our association, since it will influence our all future.

What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2019?
There are some projects I am involved in but the most important is a new project that will be announced very soon about online trainings, so stay tuned! And for me personally it is very important to keep on developing as a trainer and give as many trainings as possible.

How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
I will be in Bamberg and celebrate it with some Bambis – members of AEGEE-Bamberg – that are not living here anymore. So a cool reunion, to which I am really looking forward to.

 

Teresa Carene Kiambu, Network Commissioner, AEGEE-Udine

Teresa Kiambu

Golden Times: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2018?
Teresa Carene Kiambu: I have a lot of memories about AEGEE in 2018, but I think that one of the moments I remember with a lot of happiness and nostalgia is a fact that nobody knows because it happened in the AEGEE house right before Agora Kraków. We were in the house three days before the starting date of the Agora and everybody was preparing himself or herself to travel altogether in the same afternoon, when suddenly Fabrizio came to the office next and asked me: “Terry, I don’t manage to make the check in for our flight, the app says it is closed.” So I answered: “Fabri, are you kidding me?” And he replied: “No, Terry, I’m not”. We discovered that the flights flew the day before so we couldn’t travel to the Agora because we didn’t know. In the end we managed to get reimbursed and buy new still cheap tickets with a lot of changes. It was one of the moments we stayed united and I will remember with a lot pf pleasure.

Which memorable moments of AEGEE-Europe in general in 2018 do you remember most vividly or was outstanding?
Loes’ closing speech in Spring Agora Kraków 2018.

Who was for you the outstanding member in 2018?
I prefer not to answer this question. I have many outstanding friends, people I esteem and appreciate. Some of them made me grow, others made me overcome my limits, others made me learn something more, others just made me feel important with few words, being part of a family, others are still sincere and good friends. A big thank you to all of them, now they are a part of the puzzle of my life.

Which was for you the outstanding antenna in 2018?
I say it out loud: AEGEE-Bucuresti, because they are the emblem of an antenna that is eager to change things, to make things happen, to take the risk to achieve what they deciced to achieve.

What was for you the outstanding European project or WG/IG in 2018?
The Events and Quality Assurance Committee. They were great, they did an amazing job, and I had a lot of fun with them. I really enjoyed to cooperate with them and to achieve what we achieved. They were one of my strengths, together with many other special people I worked with during this year. They are unique, I will never forget them.

What do you foresee as highlight or the big topic in AEGEE in 2019?
“DIVE” and “GENDERS”: I was really reflecting myself on these projects, not only because of the topics, but especially for the fact that they are projects that make people really reflect, to take action, to realise what they can concretely do to transform their realities, to make their voice be heard and improve the situation of their local environments.

What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2019?
My personal AEGEE plans for 2019 are to help the locals I am assigned to as Netcommie, to grow, improve and think they are able to lead a change if only they believe in their power and capabilities. I would really like to have a relationship with them through which both parts can gain something. We can learn from each other, enrich each other. I would really like to see an amazing Spring Agora Bucuresti 2019 and many other events in the area I am mostly working with.

How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
I will spend my New Year’s event in Brussels with a very special person, a person I can’t stay away from, a person whose name I won’t tell you because you don’t know him and because his name is Top Secret. I wish also all the other AEGEEans to celebrate the New Year’s night with somebody they really love because love is the engine of everything.

 

Novak Simin, Network Commissioner, AEGEE-Novi Sad

Novak Simin

Golden Times: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2018?
Novak Simin: It will seem as a rather small thing, but I really enjoyed the LTC in Niš in January. At the time I was a Subcommissioner of Marina, and the board of AEGEE-Niš invited me to hold an LTC for them. Considering it was in the middle of my exam period and I was very short with time I was very hesitant about going. However, once I was there and we started working and I saw how much they were interested and how much they could use the advice I was providing, all the worries disappeared. I left Niš filled with joy, feeling that I really helped a local, and this was a breaking point for me, which convinced me to run for the NetCom in Kraków.

Which memorable moments of AEGEE-Europe in general in 2018 do you remember most vividly or was outstanding?
There were quite a few moments that found their way deep in my memory, but one in particular, the launch of the Online Membership System. We were struggling with the Intranet for so long that I felt we reached a point of make it or break it. Surely, the OMS still needs time to fully be functional and there is a lot of work to be done on it, but the advantages it will bring are astonishing. The applications for EPM Izmir that went through the OMS proved its might and I can’t wait for everything to be transferred to the new platform.

Who was for you the outstanding member in 2018?
This is definitely the hardest question. I would say we are all outstanding members for being a part of our great organization. However, there are a few I really admire a lot. First one would be Réka Salamon, for her devotion to Agora Istanbul and AEGEE in general. Moving to Istanbul for three months in order to work on the Agora is something we should all admire. Moreover, it is her dedication and faith in AEGEE which I personally look up to, as even after her term as the President she still kept working full time for our lovely organization. Secondly I would like to mention my fellow NetCommie Oksana Prokopchenko. She is a true team member and hard worker. She is the person responsible for breaking the curse and making our network grow once more. Without her we wouldn’t be seeing so many new contacts of AEGEE and I would like to thank her for that. Last but not least I would like to take my hat down to Elitsa Hadzhieva. Working as a president of her local, main organizer of an amazing SU in Sofia, a Liaison Officer towards the European Youth Forum and being able to fully devote herself to the Y Vote project is already worth admiration. But she decided to take it a step further and become an Assistant Financial Director for the next six months! I would like to wish her all the best with here further work.

Which was for you the outstanding antenna in 2018?
Another tough question. I would like to point out AEGEE-Istanbul, as I know how much trouble they had with organizing the Agora, and how stressful it must have been. However, they managed to pull it all off and deliver a great Agora, without having participants notice anything. I would also like to commend all the combined work that Turkish locals did when it came to organizing the Agora. There is one more local I feel really grew in 2018, it is one of the locals from my area, AEGEE-Udine. I feel they are really becoming a very strong local and improving themselves from day to day, and though it is not yet that visible to the Network, I believe that within a few years they will be one of our leading antennae.

What was for you the outstanding European project or WG/IG in 2018?
Y Vote. Apart from personally being interested in the project and seeing its importance, I also believe it has created the biggest impact last year, and I can’t wait to see what the project will bring next year, with all the other conventions they have in plan. The team is really dedicated and hardworking and I really feel we should all look up to them and their amazing project.

What do you foresee as highlight or the big topic in AEGEE in 2019?
I am really looking forward to the Strategic Planning Meeting. I believe the formulation of the new Strategic Plan will be really interesting. With everything that was happening in Europe in the past few years I’m very curious to see how we as AEGEE will cope with it and what we will include in our Strategic Plan and the new Focus Areas.

What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2019?
I would like to continue working with my locals, helping them improve and grow and finish my NetCom term successfully, while also finding a suitable successor. And after that: who knows, I was always interested in the thematic part of AEGEE, so maybe I will join one of the Working Groups, but who knows.

How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
I will spend it with around 50 other AEGEEans in my beloved home town of Novi Sad, as a part of the Winter Madness New Year’s event.

 

Elena Efremova, Vice-Speaker of the Data Privacy Committee

Elena Efremova

Golden Times: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2018?
Elena Efremova: The fact that I applied two times for two different positions on two Agorae and was not elected twice. But still I am full of positive energy to work in AEGEE and ready, who knows, to apply one more time?

Which memorable moments of AEGEE-Europe in general in 2018 do you remember most vividly or was outstanding?
First, EPM Yerevan. I really loved the topics and people who presented the reports. And, I am really proud of that antenna. They show a high-level working style. Second, the 30th anniversary of the Summer Universities! Can you imagine, that project exists for 30 years already!

Who was for you the outstanding member in 2018?
First, Erika Bettin. She finished the minutes of the Spring Agora Enschede 2017 and almost did the minutes of the Autumn Agora Chisinau 2016 from scratch. This is a huge amount of work! She deserves applause for that. Second, Olga Zemlyakove, former president of AEGEE-Moskva. In case you read it, good luck! I believe in you and your team. And Gunnar Erth. Maybe not the outstanding member of 2018, but in general. Being in AEGEE for such a long time and still having the energy and passion to do something… You are a hero.

Which was for you the outstanding antenna in 2018?
AEGEE-Moskva. I was a member of four different antennae, but when I see how AEGEE-Moskva works – that is almost the highest level. They are getting sponsors, won the first place in the SU rank. And: they are going to organise something huge in 2020.

What do you foresee as highlight or the big topic in AEGEE in 2019?
I am not a follower of the European elections, but for sure this is the first news topic.

What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2019?
Continue to work in the Data Privacy Committee. Recently I went back to AEGEE-Rostov-na-Donu. After several years of decline there is much to work on.

How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
Sleeping at home, as I work on the 31th of December and 1st of January.

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