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. In this edition: read what Christian Seuling, Marijana Asprovska, Anastasiia Sheremet, Laura García Rueda, Jesús Baizán Barnaba and Giuseppe Aquilino said.

Christian Seuling, SUCT Manager, 30 Years of SU Team, AEGEE-Bamberg

Christian Seuling

Golden Times: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2018?
Christian Seuling: Although there were many special moments for me in this year, I go for the one that I was elected as member of SUCT at Agora Istanbul. It was my first time on the stage at an Agora and then together with presenting my candidature and facing a huge question line. Getting elected was for sure the biggest highlight for me.
Who was for you the outstanding member in 2018?
For me this is not necessary a person who is the most visible one in AEGEE and who is standing the most time on the Agora stage. This year, it is for me a person that achieved amazing things in the background which might be not visible on first hand but need to receive high attention and respect. That is why it is definitely Jasmin Kaiser from AEGEE-Passau and the “30 years of SU” project. The way she worked, her commitment and performance for this project, what she achieved, how much time and energy she invested in it although we faced many difficulties and obstacles is just incredible. She definitely deserves it! Thanks for having you in the team, Jasmin!
Which was for you the outstanding antenna in 2018?
Although many antennas did an amazing job this year, AEGEE-Kraków and AEGEE-Istanbul have to be mentioned for organizing the spring and autumn Agora this year. Especially last mentioned AEGEE-Istanbul should be highlighted in particular. Many people don’t really understand it, but since I lived in this city the last months, I can definitely say that Istanbul is considering its political and logistical situation probably one of the hardest cities to organize an Agora. Under these circumstances they did a really good job!
What was for you the outstanding European project or WG/IG in 2018?
It is maybe a bit unfair voting for the “30 years of SU” project since I am involved in it, but I think it deserves mentioning it since there haven’t been any comparable European projects the last years. I just want to thank everyone for all the efforts contributed to it! Every project team member, CD appointed, adventurer or assistant deserves it. However I would also go for Y Vote who did an amazing job in this year!
What do you foresee as highlight or the big topic in AEGEE in 2019?
I am really looking forward to Agora Salerno. This will be a big highlight for all members. Further, I am curious about the Strategic Planning Meeting 2019 and in which direction our organization will move.
What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2019?
As Project Manager of SUCT, I will focus most of my AEGEE time on the work for the Summer University Project until Autumn Agora Salerno 2019 with all my efforts. We have big plans to develop the project.
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
Currently I am doing my Erasmus semester in Istanbul, so I will use this chance and celebrate New Year’s Eve with some Erasmus friends here in Istanbul, most likely on a boat party like the one we had at Agora Istanbul.

Marijana Asprovska, SUCT member, AEGEE-Skopje

Marijana Asprovska

Golden Times: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2018?
Marijana Asprovska: Although I had many amazing moments with AEGEE throughout the whole year, doubtlessly my personal highlight was getting elected for SUCT member at Agora Istanbul.
Which memorable moments of AEGEE-Europe in general in 2018 do you remember most vividly or was outstanding?
I think I follow every AEGEE local and every European Body of AEGEE at least on Facebook, and many of them on Instagram too, so I would say that there might be hardly any event I missed to notice [laughing]. There were many amazing events, but I will always remember EPM Yerevan as the first statutory event in the Caucasus, Agora Kraków as my first agora and Agora Istanbul for abovementioned reasons.
What was for you the outstanding European project or WG/IG in 2018?
We cannot talk about European projects in 2018 without mentioning the “30th anniversary of Summer Universities”. Here is also “Europe on Track 5” which surely went far beyond Europe and made the 5th edition a record in its history of existence. Also the Y Vote project which has reached a remarkable amount of young people outside of AEGEE too.
What do you foresee as highlight or the big topic in AEGEE in 2019?
I am not sure if it is a prediction, perhaps it is more of a wish, but it would be nice to emphasize all the training and self-development AEGEE offers also on local level, so I hope to see more events which are rich in content, organized by the self-initiatives of the locals, not just the European Bodies.
What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2019?
My focus will be put on the Summer Universities of course! With the team, we are already working very hard to change things towards better. As the content manager, I am busy working on the content strategy and this is my priority for 2019. Additionally, as part of the AEGEE-Academy, I will for sure attend several training events, too.
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
I am AEGEEan in my free time, busy time, practically all the time even during holidays. As such, of course I will spend it with AEGEE people again, this year on the New Year’s event in Novi Sad.

Anastasiia Sheremet, SUCT member, AEGEE-Odessa

Anastasiia Sheremet

Golden Times: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2018?
Anastasiia Sheremet: My highlight is my connection with the SU project. Being a main organizer of two Summer Universities in a row after coming from the one where I was a participant was a thrilling ride. Those six weeks in total made me fall in love with AEGEE even deeper and I decided to make a commitment to have actions speak louder than words – became a SUCT member. I hope this feeling is mutual and will bring positive changes to the biggest project in the network.
Which memorable moments of AEGEE-Europe in general in 2018 do you remember most vividly or was outstanding?
The opening ceremony at Agora Kraków which was followed with an awesome flash mob with sparklers. It brought an amazing feeling of unity, integrity and understanding that you are part of an amazing community that can change the world – or at least Europe. The same pleasant sensation was at the Agora Istanbul boat party. Such moments give so much inspiration that anyone can move mountains afterwards or at least until the next Agora…
Who was for you the outstanding member in 2018?
Akshat Jangam, Christian Seuling and Marijana Asprovska. My fellow SUCTies definitely deserve to be called outstanding members this year because I can contemplate from inside all the efforts they make to create a perfect outspring for generations to come. Such a bless to learn from them and be in one team!
Which was for you the outstanding antenna in 2018?
AEGEE-Odessa. Not because it is my local, but because of the inner strength and energy of board members who create wide scale successful European level events in such a small team of four. Our antenna is rising like a phoenix and hopefully there is more to come.
What was for you the outstanding European project or WG/IG in 2018?
The Society and Environment Interest Group was a big discovery for me. They give many useful tips, share knowledge and spread such powerful and smart ideas that are really relevant nowadays. And I guess this year is definitely theirs: sustainable Agora, EPM, green SUs and I can’t wait to see more of their meaningful cooperations.
What do you foresee as highlight or the big topic in AEGEE in 2019?
The year of changes is moving towards us: Brexit and European Parliament elections are coming. So, mobilizing young people and creating an active civic society is an important task to be achieved, not to let others decide our fate anymore. Also, spreading euro-optimism can be possibly placed on top of our priorities due to the same reasons.
What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2019?
The Summer University is again going to be my hub of the universe. Implementing SUCT reforms and presenting changes, especially in PR, will be a responsible and interesting task. Also, organizing an SU that will be ranked in the top 10 and become a brand in the future is among my goals for next year.
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
In the most romantic place on Earth: Paris. I have never been there because I always believed that you should go there with the right person. Now the condition is met and thus tickets are bought!

Laura García Rueda, Subcommissioner of La Nave, President of AEGEE-A Coruña

Laura García

Golden Times: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2018?
Laura García Rueda: Of course, my highlight during 2018 was being part of the Summer University Coordination Team and survive [laughing]. It was a very difficult year, but I am actually really proud of our job. We followed our principles, we tried to implement new things, always considering the best for the locals and for the project – and: we remained always a team. Of course, we had good and bad moments, externally and sometimes even internally, but, in the end we sticked together, not matter what, and we were able to solve everything. I believe that after every phase of your life you need to keep the positive, good and beautiful things of it. This is something that I will carry with me after this year: Achieving our goals and our very big friendship.
Which memorable moments of AEGEE-Europe in general in 2018 do you remember most vividly or was outstanding?
We had a lot of good moments. However, the answer that comes to my mind, is not exactly a “moment” but something outstanding that happened in AEGEE-Europe during this year. We are getting a lot of new contacts, and that makes me being so positive about the future of the organisation!
Who was for you the outstanding member in 2018?
Last year I mentioned that my outstanding person was Alejandra. She was the one who introduced me to this wonderful world of AEGEE, she was a really good friend before AEGEE and now she is my best friend. She is still a big mentor and an inspiration. This fact won’t change. But in addition, this year there is another person I need to mention – for two reasons. This person is Marco Daniele. On one side, he was a really good supporter as CD-appointed person during my SUCT term. He was always there for me, motivating, listening and helping me in anything I needed, he was an inspiration to keep working. On the other side, it is really amazing from him to run again for the CD. It is not easy being part of the CD for one year, and he wanted to volunteer one more year for this association, which also means for all of us. But, of course, every member is outstanding. Without any of us, this association would not work, and we all have the same importance.
Which was for you the outstanding antenna in 2018?
Every local that did something should be mentioned, because all of them are really essential. But, since I am asked to mention some names, my top three would be: First, AEGEE-Moskva – for their really, really amazing Summer University that got the first place in the ranking of all SUs of 2018. Second, AEGEE-Krakow – because of Agora Kraków. It was a really good Agora. And third, AEGEE-A Coruña. I am proud of what my own antenna did. We passed through a difficult year, having some problems with the university, our SU campaign didn’t work that much, some of our active people disappeared… but, in spite of it, we managed to organised a Mini European School and also to motivate some new members, having now a big and a really active board and a lot of people interested on the organisation of events for next year.
What was for you the outstanding European project or WG/IG in 2018?
As part of the Summer University Coordination Team, I really would like to mention the “30 Years of Summer University” project. Probably it wasn’t the most successful project during 2018, but I am really proud about the work that the project team did. We started from 0 with our idea, we were really sure that we wanted to do that project, and we did it, and with a really good result. So I would like to say thanks to all people involved. I also would like to mention how the Y Vote project is going. They are doing a really good job, being so active, with so many events, campaigns, social media visibility, and still a lot of things to do in 2019. Keep working guys!
What do you foresee as highlight or the big topic in AEGEE in 2019?
The biggest topic during 2019 will be related to the Y Vote Project, as the European Election will take place. The project is doing a really good job, and I already heard about all the things they are planning for 2019. I am looking forward to all of it. I am still interested in getting training to become an official trainer, but with all the projects I am involved in and with my personal agenda right now, I will have to postpone it a bit.
What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2019?
Since October I am President of my antenna and officially since December also subcommissioner of La Nave. So, my plans for 2019 are working a lot for my antenna, for example on our SU as main organiser, recruiting and motivating people to be sure that the antenna will be alive during the following year, and also working with our Network Commissioner and the rest of the team in order to help the locals as much as possible, continuing with the current projects and, if it is possible, implementing new ones.
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
I will be in Coruña with my family. My mum is used to my busy life of trips and events every month, live or online meetings every week and not staying at home that much, so she is asking me to stay at home at least during the Christmas period.

Jesús Baizán Barnaba, AEGEE Contact in Palma de Mallorca’s founder

Golden Times: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2018?
Jesús Baizán Barnaba: The foundation of the AEGEE Contact in Palma de Mallorca, my hometown.
Who was for you the outstanding member in 2018?
Jesús Lopez from AEGEE-Bilbao for his leadership, carrying AEGEE-Bilbao to the stars. And Monika Mojak, my beloved president when I was in the Juridical Commission, who is giving her best to our association as Secretary General of AEGEE-Europe.
Which was for you the outstanding antenna in 2018?
AEGEE-Bilbao definitely will be the biggest local in la Nave in a few months. Its board has developed an incredible teamwork and the local is growing up constantly. AEGEE-Oviedo, my original antenna, is in second place, because after two years full of difficulties, the members and the board are trying to come back to our golden days. Good luck guys! Last but not least AEGEE-Warszawa for its incredible conference “’Citizenship at its Grassroots” and its lovely members.
What do you foresee as highlight or the big topic in AEGEE in 2019?
No idea. I hope something related to fighting populism, but this time in a proper way. Stupid people are voting evil people, maybe because they are evil as well, but probably because they have no political or historical background to avoid be persuaded by them. We should start focusing not on the dialogue with populists but on how to convince people not to vote for them. I would like to see people talking about the Paradox of Tolerance described by Karl Popper: “If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them”. I am not saying that violence is the answer, but perhaps in some years it will be the only option, so stop being politically correct and let’s start to focus on who is the real enemy for our values and our idea of Europe. Because the most important fight is now, avoiding the rise of the populists, because if we don’t act now, we shall fight for our rights in the future.
What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2019?
Work in AEGEE-Palma de Mallorca, to make it the greatest local first in the Mediterranean and then of the network.
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
With family and friends, nothing special.

Giuseppe Aquilino, Juridical Commission, AEGEE-Catania

Giuseppe Aquilino

Golden Times: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2018?
My personal highlight was the moment of announcing the results in Agora Kraków 2018, when I was elected member of the Juridical Commission. This was my dream since I discovered this commission.
Which memorable moments of AEGEE-Europe in general in 2018 do you remember most vividly or was outstanding?
There are a lot of moments, but, if I have to choose, I would say my first Agora as Juridical Commissioner at Agora Istanbul, where Lisette and I had the task of taking care of the CIA and check that everything was made according to it… proposals, amendments, everything! It was such an honour sitting at the chair table with the chair team and Lisette! I will always remember it as one of the best experiences in my life.
Who was for you the outstanding member in 2018?
First of all, I want to mention Gabriele Nicotra. He represented me in Kraków and he did it very well! He is my Netcom now and I saw very few people with such an enthusiasm like him! He is young, fresh and he can still give a lot to AEGEE. I also want to mention Zvonomir and Tekla, they chaired very well and are such good AEGEEans. I also want to mention Réka, because she was awesome during Agora Istanbul. She spent a year in Istanbul to organize the Agora, she was awesome in problem-solving but, most of all, I never saw someone with such a passion for an association, such an energy and being so motivated in doing stuff for AEGEE, even when everything is against you, even when you gave a lot to AEGEE… So I wish her all the best!
Which was for you the outstanding antenna in 2018?
I have two antennas to mention. The first one is AEGEE-Istanbul. Every time an antenna organizes an Agora it is a very big challenge and nobody can imagine how hard it is, especially when they lose the venue a month before agora starts. So, good job guys! Second, I have to mention AEGEE-Catania, for a lot of reasons. Everybody knows that after an Agora the hosting local has a small or big decline. Well, we had this phase. There was a decline of energy and active members. But those who remained in AEGEE-Catania as active member used all their energy to not let AEGEE-Catania collapse. Now we have a new group of fresh people, full of AEGEE spirit, energy and will! We also had a lot of problems during our SU! We had few organizers, problems with the accommodation, with the university, with the weather as well! Nevertheless, my group – I was the main organizer – managed to put our SU at the 10th place in the ranking. We had 40 participants and we were only 10 organizers! So, thank you and good job guys! That small group showed the enthusiasm we need and some of them are now part of the new board! So, I would like to say to AEGEE Catania: Good job to reach these results in 2018: organizing an NWM, organizing an SU, reaching 10,000 likes on Facebook, recruiting a good amount of new members and having two members in European bodies from the same local… It means that AEGEE-Catania did a very good job in 2018.
What was for you the outstanding European project or WG/IG in 2018?
Every project, Working Group and Interest Group is outstanding! We are all volunteers, we do what we do because we believe! So, everything we do is really made by passion and love for AEGEE. So, in my opinion there is no project, Working Group and Interest Group better than another. Everything has the common goal to reach our vision: a borderless Europe! I would like to encourage people to continue with new ideas, proposals, making new Working Groups and Interest Groups to reach this vision! AEGEE needs all of us!
What do you foresee as highlight or the big topic in AEGEE in 2019?
I don’t want to make previsions. I would like to ask the CD and everybody only to develop a new strategy, a new way to recruit new members. Times change and we need a new and different way to reach new people and to make AEGEE bigger. Of course one can say: “it’s easy for you to say that, but how to do that?” I would answer to focus on the new members. So, to answer to your question, as big topic I would like to see a “new recruitment strategy”.
What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2019?
I just became president of AEGEE-Catania, so I want to lead and represent my local in the best way possible. I want to continue my term in the Juridical Commission with the same spirit and passion and after it, I will be available to give advice to newbies in AEGEE and share what I learned.
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
I will spend my New Year in Catania, with all my AEGEE friends, my AEGEE family. We planned to make a New Year’s event in Catania. It wasn’t possible, but it will not undermine our spirit, our will to spend this big moment full of AEGEE spirit together, as just AEGEEans can do!

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