2013 was an eventful year for AEGEE: The Golden Times asked many active members how they perceived the year and what they foresee as highlight in 2014. Always mentioned: the European Parliament elections and the Y Vote project. In this tenth edition: read what Patricia Anthony, Alberto Cuesta Noriega, Paula Puchacz, Nicola Guida, Christianna Fokia and Andrea Schmelz said.

Patricia Anthony, former editor-in-chief of The AEGEEan, Network Commissioner

Patricia AnthonyWhat was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2013?
I have two personal highlights: being elected editor-in-chief of The AEGEEan and being elected as Network Commissioner. Both projects are the best things I have done in AEGEE by far, because I enjoy very much developing myself through working with two great and very different teams. AEGEE is learning-by-doing and there are so many interesting things to do with both projects that it doesn’t matter the large amount of hours needed to dedicate. It was very hard for me to give up the position as editor-in-chief of The AEGEEan as the magazine is like my baby, even though I haven’t been there from the complete beginning. However, I continue spamming the team with many ideas and there couldn’t be a better person than Anna Gumbau as my successor. Just to mention one more highlight out of the many: the Scandinavian Dream Summer University was a big moment for me! It seemed so unrealistic in the beginning when we started working on it, but in the end it turned out great and I think there is a bright future for the small antenna of AEGEE-København – and that makes me very happy!
AEGEE-Europe had many memorable moments in 2013. Which one do you remember most vividly or was outstanding?
Probably winning the Charlemagne Youth Prize for Europe on Track. Usually you don’t hear a lot about AEGEE in Denmark and it was a very proud moment to see such great news about our organization reaching our small country. In general it was an outstanding project that shows there should be no limitations on which ideas can become reality.
Who was for you the outstanding member in 2013?
There are so many outstanding members, but for me personally Beáta Matuszka is the particular person that comes to my mind. Not only is she an amazing friend, but also always very motivating and it’s fantastic to work with her! Furthermore, Maria Arends from AEGEE-Groningen is also an ever inspiration to do more things for AEGEE. She helped me when times were difficult especially with the organisation of the Network Meeting in Tartu. I admire her high spirit to always develop projects or antennae as it is the case with her work with AEGEE-Sheffield, AEGEE-London and AEGEE-Durham! It is definitely also more than amazing working and talking with her every day.
Which one was for you the outstanding antenna in 2013?
Again, so many great antennae indeed! With this question two Spanish antennae come to my mind. AEGEE-Zaragoza for their dedication and motivation not only to organise the Agora, but also organising the European Structured Dialogue and many other local activities at the same time. It seems like yesterday that I was screaming, shouting and clapping full of excitement when they were elected as host antenna during Agora Budapest and the event was amazing as all the people who organized it. Second of all, AEGEE-Burgos for me is a special antenna too. During these last two years they have built themselves up to be an antenna with many motivated people and organised the big event of Renove, gathering 100 people in September – and if things continue in this speed, then there are no limitations to what projects they can take on in the future!
Which one was for you the outstanding project in 2013?
Obviously Europe on Track and winning the Charlemagne Youth Price. Besides that it is also amazing to see the dedication that the Health4Youth team members have to the project and its great to see how effective it is.
What do you foresee as a highlight or big topic in AEGEE in 2014?
Definitely the return of Europe on Track 2, but also Eastern Partnership 2. Many motivated people are interested in the organisation of both and it will be interesting to follow the two projects closely. Other than that of course also the Y Vote 2014 project that already had succesful conferences in Agrigento, Valladolid and Las Palmas.
What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2014?
I will become less active little by little. I need to focus on my studies so that means less dedication to AEGEE on European Level. Of course I will continue kicking ass in the NetCom and The AEGEEan, but what I would really like to do is to focus more on the local level. I have just moved to Zaragoza and one of the reasons behind that decision was because of how many active members they have and the large amount of things they organise. It is really motivating and I hope to take part in many of their activities.
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
Had this questions been asked to me in the past then I would have been able to respond four months in advance. Now I am a bit affected by the “we will see tomorrow” way of thinking and actually I have no plans yet, but I am sure that it will be great! There have been many challenges for me in this year and in the end it couldn’t end in a better way than living in Spain again with a big smile on my face.

 

Alberto Cuesta Noriega, Vice Chair of the Agora and the EBM

Zaragora0536What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2013?
For me of course my personal highlight this year was my election as vice chairperson for the next term and even more being it at an Agora in Spain.
AEGEE-Europe had many memorable moments in 2013. Which one do you remember most vividly or was outstanding?
The most amazing thing I have seen this year in AEGEE was during the protests in Gezi park, how we showed the world what kind of active committed citizens we are, with many AEGEEans in the streets in Turkey and reporting live with the special page the AEGEEan created, caring and knowing about what was happening there much before I even heard about it in the news here. Also memorable and very important has been the Charlemagne prize to the Europe on Track project, which is a great example not only of the good quality of projects we can make, but also of the great new and original ideas European youth can put into practice with a little bit of support.
Who was for you the outstanding member in 2013?
This is an easy one. For me it is without any shade of doubts Alla Resheten. I have alawys seen her working a lot and always being involved, but this year being in the chair team and in the Eastern Partnership project, having a job and a family… just that she had the time and the willingness to achive all her objectives is just amazing. For me she is clearly the most outstanding member of AEGEE and I can proudly say I have been working with her for a long time now and I am happy to consider her my very good friend! I can only wish her the best in this new stage of her life she is starting now and a great happy successful future.
Which one was for you the outstanding antenna in 2013?
Obviously AEGEE-Oviedo. I am so proud of all the new board and active members, who are keeping the antenna on the move. They are so motivated and hard working! We are not a huge antenna, but even so we have several members involved in the European level and working very hard. But if I have to leave my heart aside, to be honest I wouldn’t know which one to name. I am sure there are many locals working super hard on events that I don’t know, the ones that organised Spring and Autumn Agora, EBM, Planning Meeting, all those that contributed somehow to our Action Agenda, SUs: all of them deserve to be mentioned – after AEGEE-Oviedo of course…
Which one was for you the outstanding project in 2013?
I already mentioned before Europe on Track, our award-winning project. But also super important has been the Eastern Partnership project, with lots of events on an interesting and actual topic, so successful that they are going to start their second phase now. I would like to mention here also Y Vote, because they have started so actively, with so much energy and have gained so much visibility in such a short time.
What do you foresee as a highlight or big topic in AEGEE in 2014?
First of all the European Parliament elections next year, therefore the Y Vote project will continue to be something we will have in our daily lives in AEGEE. Also nationalism as topic for EBM should be some big issue and is also an actual topic in Europe about which we should care as active European citizens. And last but not least, I am sure we are going to hear a lot about students mobility and Erasmus+, and because of that I hope that the Europe in Exchange project will become an important one also in 2014. We as youth organisation have a lot to say in that topic and we have been already working on it for quite some time.
What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2014?
Well, I am always thinking about finally quitting, but in the end I end up here for one more year. So I guess AEGEE is not something you can quit so easily, there’s always something or someone to help. For now I will focus on finishing my term in the Chair Team, working with Paul with whom I have great fun and trying to find a secretary and an IT person for the chair team – those are my real challenges for this year. If something else will come, nobody knows for now.
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
This year I will spend it in the amazing New Year’s event by AEGEE-Oviedo in a small lovely amazing village in Asturias, with lot of other AEGEEans from all around Spain. Hopefully it will be great fun and a big injection of energy for the new year. Finally I would like to wish you all merry Christmas and a happy new year!

 

Paula Puchacz, President of AEGEE-Lublin

Paula PuchaczWhat was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2013?
The best moment was at the spring Agora in Germany, when we were announced as the organizers of the EBM!
AEGEE-Europe had many memorable moments in 2013. Which one do you remember most vividly or was outstanding?
AEGEE-Europe should be proud of many things, but for me the new identity was the most memorable thing.
Which one was for you the outstanding member in 2013?
The AEGEE members of Turkish and Ukrainian antennae, because of their strength and contribution in the whole network’s understanding of what active citizenship truly means.
Which one was for you the outstanding antenna in 2013?
Again, I would like to mention the Turkish and Ukrainian antennae.
What do you foresee as a highlight or big topic in AEGEE in 2014?
The European Parliament elections, the spring Agora in Patra as well, and we hope EBM Lublin!
What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2014?
During 2014, I will still be active in AEGEE-Lublin as a President and of course, helping out the most I can with the EBM.
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
At work!  I have never had a good New Year’s Eve party, I was always at home eating some pancakes and watching movies. I believe that a bad New Year’s Eve gives you a good year.

 

Nicola Guida, Member of the Action Agenda Committee, Pool of Representatives, Advisory board member of AEGEE-Napoli

Nicola GuidaWhat was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2013?
Well, the fact that I have become active on the European level and to see that my antenna is keeping on doing great even without me! Also, and that’s actually what I love in AEGEE, all the discussions, debates, exchanges of opinion and ideas that I had with many people in every kind of event, activity or conference. Active and involved people everywhere, that’s the highlight!
AEGEE-Europe had many memorable moments in 2013. Which one do you remember most vividly or was outstanding?
I’d say the EBM in Valletta, it was really inspiring for a lot of members!
Who was for you the outstanding member in 2013?
It’s difficult to choose only some, but if you ask I would say Ivan Bielik for his commitment in stimulating internal debate inside AEGEE, Ksenia Lupanova for her everlasting energy, a true flag-bearer of the AEGEE Spirit, Alice Bednarova for her attempts to raise the cultural side of the organisation, especially during statutory events and Anna Pyhktina who gets more and more active in a lot of different things day by day.
Which one was for you the outstanding antenna in 2013?
If I don’t say AEGEE-Napoli my antenna will kill me, so that has to be my answer! Jokes aside, they are doing a really great job with a lot of initiatives and there is a big surprise we are hiding up in our sleeve for the future that I believe will make a lot of people really happy. Then for sure AEGEE-Valletta for their perfect organisation of the EBM and the high quality of the food at the event! You know how much this is important for an Italian. AEGEE-Lviv for the Network Meeting they organised and their enthusiasm and energy! Also cheers to them and all the Ukrainian locals supporting EuroMaidan, we are with you!
Which one was for you the outstanding project in 2013?
I think both the Eastern Partnership project and the EuroArab project have to be praised. They represent the will and the efforts of young people who want to change something and to have an impact on society. They are dealing with topics that more and more often are simply regarded as problems by media, politicians and common citizens, who don’t try at all to understand the complexity of these issues.
What do you foresee as a highlight or big topic in AEGEE in 2014?
Next year will be the European Parliament election year, we have the Y Vote project and a lot of local and international initiatives will be organised. On the other hand, I think that what AEGEE should focus on and maybe it will is education as the only way to make people responsible and active citizens.
What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2014?
We are trying our best to revive the Action Agenda Coordination Committee and we are working hard on it, so I think my efforts will go mostly in that direction. Also in February I am going back to Napoli after my Erasmus and I will work hard for local thematic activities, still don’t know for sure what to organise but probably something about European elections and student mobility. We will also apply to host again the Europe on Track ambassadors. For sure I will go to the EBM and the Agora, and who knows maybe some Network Meeting or some conference, as I’m part of the Pool of Representatives.
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
I will be celebrating with a lot of other AEGEEans in Beograd, after having a ski week in the Carpathians with my girlfriend, definitely a great way to welcome 2014!

 

Christanna Fokia, EnWG, External Relations Responsible of AEGEE-Athina

Christianna Fokia2What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2013?
My personal AEGEE highlight for 2013 was the EBM in Valletta! I will never forget the outstanding organization of this great event, the amazing organizers full of energy and all the new and interesting people I met there! Of course, I could not omit saying that I was so glad I attended this event, because I also represented one of the currently most active working groups in AEGEE, the Environmental Working Group! I had the opportunity to present a workshop related to the phenomenon of air pollution, meet new members in the Fair, and hopefully inspire some of them to live in a more sustainable and environmentally friendly way.
AEGEE-Europe had many memorable moments in 2013. Which one do you remember most vividly or was outstanding?
I think that AEGEE-Europe should be proud of many things that happened during the year of 2013, but for me, the most memorable moment was when the decision of giving AEGEE a new and a more integrated identity was supported by the network during the autumn Agora in Zaragoza.
Who was for you the outstanding member in 2013?
AEGEE members of both Turkish and Ukrainian antennae deserve to be named as members of the year 2013, because of their strength and contribution in the whole network’s understanding of what active citizenship truly means.
Which one was for you the outstanding antenna in 2013?
AEGEE-Reggio Calabria for organizing its first and I hope not last Summer University!
Which one was for you the outstanding project in 2013?
I will say Europe on Track! The news of an AEGEE project winning the Charlemagne prize were one of the most inspiring ones! Can’t wait for Europe on Track 2!
What do you foresee as a highlight or big topic in AEGEE in 2014?
The upcoming European Parliament elections will certainly be one of the highlights of 2014, as the Y Vote project and the people involved in it have put a lot of effort in raising awareness and sensitize all AEGEE members regarding the importance of voting. Besides this, I would lie if I didn’t mention the spring Agora in Patra as well! Get ready because the best is yet to come!
What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2014?
During 2014, I will still be active in AEGEE-Athina as a board member, because one year is never enough! I am also planning to be a helper in the spring Agora in Patra.
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
In Athens, with friends and family.

 

Andrea Schmelz, Network Subcommissioner

Andrea SchmelzWhat was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2013?
The signment of the Twin Antenna Contract with AEGEE-Delft, of course! Ever since it has become a very fruitful connection with cultural exchanges, knowledge transfers and many new friendships. It’s already the third board generation who is involved in our growing antenna friendship, so I’m excited to see how this will continue.
AEGEE-Europe had many memorable moments in 2013. Which one do you remember most vividly or was outstanding?
One of the most outstanding moments for me was the final presentation of the Eastern Partnership project at Agora Zaragoza. You could see how much passion and emotions the involved people put into the project. The whole AEGEE network acknowledged them with a standing ovation – this was just awesome.
Who was for you the outstanding member in 2013?
There were two, but I’m afraid I don’t remember their names, although I promise that I still know how they looked like – regarding the names, I’m very sorry. They were participants at the EBM just as me, and I had the most inspiring discussion with them at an AEGEE event so far. The two came from a Turkish antenna and we talked about each others motivation to be in AEGEE. They showed me such a different perspective and I learned in this hour more than I would probably learn in a semester of university.
Which one was for you the outstanding antenna in 2013?
The Rhein-Neckar antennae, of course! They showed as a great example of organising such a big event as the Agora by bringing so many antennae together. I was helper at the Agora and the organisation was incredibly good.
Which one was for you the outstanding project in 2013?
I love the idea of Health4Youth. It’s another example of people getting passionate about a topic and bringing something into action. Have you ever spent an Agora breakfast with Mayri? You learn a lot about healthy life style! Regarding AEGEE events it’s something also our members should get some education in.
What do you foresee as a highlight or big topic in AEGEE in 2014?
The European elections in May, of course. I’m looking forward to see what events the network will still create and how involved people get.
What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2014?
Try to help our Netcom Holger as a subcommie as well as I can and then look for a university for my Master studies where AEGEE exists, as well.
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
I’ll be working on a ship in Passau and won’t on a New Year’s event unfortunately.

 

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