From 2nd to 7th of Octo­ber 2018 AEGEE-Istan­bul will hosts its sec­ond Ago­ra. Up to 800 peo­ple will be able to par­tic­i­pate. At least 800. “We are also work­ing on expand­ing the capac­i­ty to 1000 if there is a need”, says main coor­di­na­tor Der­mansah. Among oth­ers, there will be an Action Day on the Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment Goals, coor­di­nat­ed by for­mer AEGEE-Europe Pres­i­dent and Ago­ra Vice-Coorsi­na­tor Réka Sala­m­on, as well as a spe­cial pro­gramm for alum­ni mem­bers who are curi­ous about Turkey and the Ago­ra. The Gold­en Times spoke with Der­manşah Yalın, Réka and the sec­ond Ago­ra Vice-Coor­di­na­tor Arda Özkuşak­sız.

Der­mansah Yalin is the main coor­di­na­tor of the Ago­ra

Gold­en Times: The Ago­ra starts is 75 days. Until when is it pos­si­ble to apply?
Réka Sala­m­on: Appli­ca­tions for Ago­ra Istan­bul will close on 29th of July! We have many sur­pris­es pre­pared for the AEGEEans, and we hope these sur­pris­es will not only pro­vide them with more infor­ma­tion about the Ago­ra, but also help their deci­sion to join the event. We want to organ­ise an Ago­ra with 100% atten­dance of all AEGEE locals.

GT: How many peo­ple can you host at your Ago­ra?
Der­manşah Yalın: We are pre­pared to host 800 par­tic­i­pants. We are also work­ing on expand­ing the capac­i­ty to 1000 if there is a need.

In 2010 AEGEE-Istan­bul host­ed its first Ago­ra — which was the 50th of the asso­ci­a­tion!

GT: AEGEE-Istan­bul will host its sec­ond Ago­ra! Is your anten­na proud of this achieve­ment?
Réka: In 2010 Istan­bul was the Euro­pean Cap­i­tal of Cul­ture, which gave us a lot of oppor­tu­ni­ties to host a big event like the Ago­ra. In 2018, Turkey is very dif­fer­ent but the same AEGEE spir­it is still there! We want to use the knowl­edge that we gath­ered with the pre­vi­ous Ago­ra to face the chal­lenges we are fac­ing in 2018. We receive a lot of sup­port from the alum­ni of AEGEE-Istan­bul, which also shows the pow­er of AEGEE, and how you can belong to a real fam­i­ly in this organ­i­sa­tion.

Ago­ra Vice Coor­di­na­tor Arda Özkuşak­sız

GT: Why did your anten­na decide to apply for the Ago­ra?
Der­manşah: We have had a lot of dif­fer­ent inter­nal and exter­nal events. Because of these, we believe that we are expe­ri­enced enough to han­dle the orga­ni­za­tion­al part of an Ago­ra so that we would like to share this with the AEGEE net­work. More­over, we are very thank­ful for AEGEE-İzmir, AEGEE-Ankara, AEGEE-Eskişe­hir and oth­er Turk­ish-speak­ing locals for their sup­port. We would like to spread AEGEE all over Turkey togeth­er and this Ago­ra and the next EPM in Izmir will be keys for this pur­pose. It is also inevitable real­i­ty not to have an Ago­ra in the city where a lot of inter­na­tion­al events hap­pen every year and where two con­ti­nents lit­er­al­ly con­nect to each oth­er.
Arda Özkuşak­sız: Anoth­er point of being togeth­er is vital: we want to spread all the moti­va­tion we have to the clos­er net­work in order to strength­en or reac­ti­vate the net­work. There­fore, we all togeth­er remind AEGEE and EU coun­tries that we are still here as youth despite the politi­cians dam­ag­ing the EU-Turkey rela­tions.

GT: How big is your orga­niz­ing team? And how is the atmos­phere in your team?
Der­manşah: Our core team con­sists of nine peo­ple, but for the total organ­is­ing team we are recruit­ing new helpers every day so it will be even­tu­al­ly around 75.

Réka Sala­m­on (right), togeth­er with Ago­ra Chair Tekla Haj­du and Vice Chair Zvon­imir Can­ju­ga

GT: Which are the main things that still need to be final­ized in the next 75 days?
Réka: As it goes with every Ago­ra, we have ongo­ing oper­a­tions that will con­tin­ue pro­gress­ing until the event: fundrais­ing, com­mu­ni­ca­tions and train­ing human resources for man­ag­ing the event. We also have more work­load with the extra the­mat­ic day on the Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment Goals Action Day but we are work­ing tire­less­ly on cre­at­ing a spe­cial learn­ing expe­ri­ence for the par­tic­i­pants of this Ago­ra. In addi­tion, we are also plan­ning to organ­ise an AEGEE alum­ni event par­al­lel with the pro­gramme of the Ago­ra. AEGEE dinosaurs, watch out for more infor­ma­tion com­ing soon!

GT: Where will the ple­nary take place?
Der­manşah: The ple­nary will take place in the same place with the rest of the work­ing rooms, on the same cam­pus where the sleep­ing place is pro­vid­ed.

The whole Ago­ra will tae place at the cam­pus of the ITÜ Uni­ver­si­ty

GT: So I guess it will be at the ITÜ Uni­ver­si­ty cam­pus in the Euro­pean part of Istan­bul! Will there be a good Inter­net dur­ing the ple­nary?
Der­manşah: As tech­nol­o­gy and indus­try in Turkey is devel­op­ing and being cheap and fast con­sid­er­ing oth­er coun­tries, there will be good Inter­net at the venue.

First glimpse of the ple­nary hall

GT: What about oth­er logis­tics? Where will the par­tic­i­pants sleep, where will peo­ple eat — and how close are these places to the ple­nary?
Der­manşah: Gym, food place and ple­nary place will be next to each oth­er so that you will think you are tele­port­ed from one to anoth­er in sec­onds!

GT: Which organ­i­sa­tion­al part makes you most proud? And which part gave you the biggest headache?
Der­manşah: The logis­ti­cal part is the most impor­tant and longest work dur­ing the Ago­ra orga­ni­za­tion. But we are proud of our work done so far. We should also say that we are proud of hav­ing good part­ner­ships with world­wide brands such as Turk­ish Air­lines.
Réka: I am real­ly excit­ed to organ­ise the Action Day on the Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment Goals because some­thing like this has nev­er been done in any of the Ago­rae. The Action Day will be open to exter­nals and the gen­er­al pub­lic, it will host the Study & Career Fair, work­shops and more sur­pris­es to come.

GT: The The open­ing cer­e­mo­ny will be at the Ocean Col­lege in Bahçeşe­hir. What can we expect at the open­ing cer­e­mo­ny?
Der­manşah: There is a spe­cial team work­ing on the open­ing and clos­ing cer­e­mo­ny. You can expect some amaz­ing Turk­ish cul­ture imple­ment­ed to the cer­e­monies sup­port­ed by some groups!

The top­ic sus­tain­abil­i­ty will play a major role at the Ago­ra

GT: The Ago­ra will be very ear­ly in autumn. What will be the tem­per­a­ture dur­ing day and night?
Der­manşah: The weath­er in very ear­ly Octo­ber is actu­al­ly com­pli­cat­ed. It may some­times be rainy, cloudy or sun­ny. So, it is bet­ter to bring a jack­et for sure. Accord­ing to fore­cast, the weath­er will be approx­i­mate­ly 20 degree Cel­sius.

GT: Istan­bul is full of amaz­ing sights, it’s full of his­to­ry. Will there be sight­see­ing tours?
Der­manşah: Why not? Istan­bul is so unique because of its intense his­to­ry, cul­ture, cui­sine and art. I guess some par­tic­i­pants can­not say no to them!
Réka: We have received many ques­tions from peo­ple who would like to come a few days ear­li­er or leave a few days after the Ago­ra. We are assem­bling anoth­er team to take care of the needs of these groups and pro­vide not only sight­see­ing tour oppor­tu­ni­ties but also sup­port AEGEEans with accom­mo­da­tion. Tours will include every­thing from famous sights and cosy food places to the shop­ping oppor­tu­ni­ties and vis­it­ing typ­i­cal Turk­ish places.

AEGEE-Eskise­hir will host a pre-event

GT: Which pre-events or post-events do you know of? And will your anten­na make one, too?
Der­manşah: There will be pre-Ago­ra events for sure. Let’s not explain them right now and wait for the local orga­niz­ers. We would also like to help local orga­niz­ers in any case to make their events awe­some. After all, we would like to have an unfor­get­table Ago­ra even before the begin­ning and after the end­ing. We as AEGEE-İstan­bul would like to orga­nize a post event too. You will be hear­ing the details soon.

GT: Can you tell us a few words about AEGEE-Istan­bul? How big is your anten­na, what are the main events that you organ­ise this year?
Der­manşah: AEGEE-İstan­bul has right now about 40 active mem­bers and almost 80 mem­bers in total. Last Novem­ber we orga­nized “Run AEGEEan Run Vol.2” with 52 par­tic­i­pants. As inter­nal events, we man­aged to make three LTCs so far and because of the Ago­ra we may make more. We will orga­nize an SU with 25 par­tic­i­pants this July named “SUni­corns are Real”. After the SU all atten­tion will be on the Ago­ra.

AEGEE-Istan­bul is look­ing for­ward to meet­ing you soon!

GT: Any­thing else you would like to add?
Der­manşah: We hope that each par­tic­i­pant com­ing to İstan­bul will go back to their city with a huge smile, remem­ber­ing this Ago­ra as very unique. We want our par­tic­i­pants to think also what the means of liv­ing in İstan­bul are. Last but not least, we are hav­ing fun while orga­niz­ing the Ago­ra. So, we expect our par­tic­i­pants also to have a lot of fun.

More info:

Of coure also the polit­i­cal cli­mate in Turkey will play a role at the Ago­ra