240 participants, three days of meetings, discussions, workshops and parties – the European Boards’ Meeting in Malta was a great success. The AEGEE Golden Times picked 13 special facts that the participants will remember. In case you want to see more: check out the Golden Times selection here (312 pictures): https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.488134407910730.110294.264520126938827&type=1

1. The rumour is true

The CD dancing at the party after the official opening

“Who is going to be in the next CD?” “Is it really true that the whole CD wants to stay for another year?” You could hear these questions at the EBM. Yes. It is true. For the first time ever a complete CD wants to stay for another year. During the EBM in Valletta you could see how well Luis and his team are cooperating. Even at the parties they were often together. Nevertheless, it took them some days to finally make this decision, since some CD members were also thinking about finishing their studies or looking for a job. “We have meetings about this topic every day”, said Luis during the EBM. In the end the wish to stay together won!


2. Hotels are great

Hotel Alexandra, one of the two lodging places

Of course, gyms are great, too. You meet a lot of people, have pre-parties or after-parties. But falling in a soft bed and not being woken up by others who stumble over your sleeping bag is better. The EBM organisers of AEGEE-Valletta managed to get the participants really great accommodation – including a rich breakfast buffet.


3. Endless potential of AEGEE

The final group picture on Sunday night

For a statutory event many active members on European level were missing. Where was the NetCom? Where were most other commission members, project teams and working group board members? They were at home. After all, the Agora starts in three weeks. The EBM was the chance for a lot of people to step out of the shadow and present themselves. And indeed: there are a lot of new great members who will shape AEGEE in the next years. This shows how endless the resources of AEGEE are.


4. “…EBMs are for making friends”

Relaxing participants enjoying the long lunch break

An old AEGEE proverb says: “Agoras are for making decisions, EBMs are for making friends.” This was very much true for the EBM in Valletta. With only one quarter of the number of participants of an Agora and with a very relaxed programme, a lot of people had the chance to get to know each other much better than at the packed and hectic Agoras. This effect is more important than the actual results.

5. Funny flag recovery actions

Beáta Matuszka, best dancer in the CD

AEGEE-Valletta members had to jump on each other’s backs, the CD sang and danced to “I’m sexy and I know it” – on the EBM stage. Why? Because their flags got stolen. At the EBM there was more quality than quantity. The few flag recovery actions were great fun. Where else could you see AEGEE-Enschede dance on stage and tell why AEGEE-Leiden is the best antenna? Wherelse could you see that Beáta and Miguel are rocking the stage? Check the videos for more: AEGEE-Valletta jumps and the CD dances (click here if the video cannot be displayed in your country).


6. Hard work on the Action Agenda

One of the nine parallel Action Agenda meetings

At the core of the EBM was the work on the next Action Agenda. Before the EBM format was changed last year, not many AEGEE members were involved in drafting this paper, which is a blueprint for AEGEE’s focus for the following year. Back then, only a small fraction of AEGEE members knew the Action Agenda. It is questionable whether the new Action Agenda will be a masterpiece, because by default it’s a long shopping list of recurring and repeating ideas. However, more than 200 members were involved in creating it in the EBM. And this is the actual new quality. Since so many people were involved in it and know the Agenda, they will be much more inclined to fill it with life by making great activities.


7. “Let’s do something for highschool kids”

Drafting recommendations with Hanke Nijman and Luis Alvarado Martinez

Hardly any sentence could be more heard in workshops and meetings than this: “Let’s do something for highschool kids”. Sometimes it was already clear right from the beginning of a workshop that this would be the final recommendation or outcome. In some cases this might be justified, for example when it comes to recommendations for policy makers. However, sometimes AEGEE should rather focus more on its core target group, the one it knows best: university students. After all, in most places an antenna represents less than one percent of the local students.


8. The panels: it’s all about identity

The panel discussion on European identity

The first two EBM days started each with a panel discussion. “The impact of the crisis on young people” was the topic of the first one, “European identity” the second panel’s topic. Both of them had very charismatic speakers, but the second one definitely the stronger cast. This was partly due to the very entertaining and sharp-minded James Skelly, but also due to AEGEE-Europe’s honorary member Burcu Becermen, who told the participants how much AEGEE has shaped and changed her. However, it was not only the panel, but also the topic. Talking about identity is an issue that is very much at the core of AEGEE and interested the audience more than youth unemployment.


9. Friendly and capable organisers

Mariella Rapa (right) chaired the last Agora, this time she was EBM organiser

AEGEE-Valletta is famous for its hospitality. And they really proved it at the EBM. The 20 organisers were always smiling, always approachable and extremely well organised – not only because of Rebecca and her loud whistle, which always made everyone listen. The locations were great, especially the location of the official opening – the preidential palace. The food was great and plenty, the buses were well organised: nearly everything was excellent. Only two things could have been improved: the party music (more about it below) and info tables with the programme and locations of the day. Anyway, in general it was a great job. Thank you very much, AEGEE-Valletta!


10. What happened to party music?

“50 shades of grey” was one of the party themes

“The DJ played the same song over and over again”. This sentence could be heard after every party. In fact, the opinion about the parties was quite mixed. Some locations were great, the themes were great fun, but some locations were quite small, in some it was impossible to talk – so: the parties could have been better. Especially the music. What happened to the party music of the 80ies and 90ies that everyone loves and is more danceable? Agora Mannheim, bring back party music!


11. Exciting AEGEE fair

AEGEEan chief editor Patricia, talking with new authors

The AEGEE fair on Sunday was a highlight of the EBM. Not only project teams and working groups presented themselves, also antennae showed their innovative activities. For example AEGEE-Eskisehir, which showed the participants how it feels to be blind – by bringing them into a totally dark room. The SUCT presented a draft of its new SU flyer, the Environmental Working Group got more new members than any other working group – and also the AEGEEan found a lot of new freelance authors.


12. Easy times for the chair

The new chair team

Being chairperson at an Agora is stress. Between 10 and 20 proposals, activity reports, financial reports, elections… it’s a tough business. Being chairperson at an EBM is like holidays. Most of the time there is nothing to chair, because meetings go on. Vice chair Paul Smits was hardly on stage and also chairperson Alla Resheten could deal already with Agora preparations – or just relax.


13. Extended holidays on beautiful Malta

AEGEE-Groningen and AEGEE-Lyon, discovering Malta

Malta is great. And what could be better than escaping winter than going to a fantastic island? Many participants thought like this and did not only come for the EBM, but stayed a few days longer, exploring the fantastic island.