Who is the AEGEE member of the year 2017? Which antenna, which project was the best? What were the highlights of the year? And what will 2018 bring? The Golden Times asked more than 70 locally or Europeanly active members. Over the next two weeks you can see what they answered. In this first edition: read what Gabriele Nicotra, Laura Pérez Álvarez, Gabriele Scollo, Eyrin Kyriakidi, Maria Kochkina and Luca Bisighini said.

Gabriele Nicotra, former President of AEGEE-Catania, SubCom for Francesca Zorcolo and PRC member, AEGEE-Catania

Golden Times: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2017?
Gabriele Nicotra: I’m aware that it might sound annoying, but for me the highlight of this year was definitely Autumn Agora Catania 2017 – Ideas In EUruption. If you were there you know what I’m talking about, if you were not I’m sure you’ve heard of it!
Who was for you the outstanding member in 2017? Please name up to three.
In my opinion Daniele Giovanni Ricevuto (AEGEE-Catania), Gabriele Scollo (AEGEE-Firenze and AEGEE-Torino) and Réka Salamon (Former CD, AEGEE-Aachen and AEGEE, Debrecen) were outstanding. Daniele for being the strong and goal-focused leader. Gabriele for his passion and dedication to our network. And Réka faced countless issues with a big smile on her face and a great temper.
Which was for you the outstanding antenna in 2017?
No need to say AEGEE-Catania; then maybe AEGEE-Catania, but AEGEE-Catania needs an honorable mention as well. Now seriously: AEGEE-Catania for the great Agora; AEGEE-Napoli for the many and successful events that it managed to host – you can’t believe how many!; and AEGEE-Istanbul, which regardless everyone and everything will host the next Autumn Agora in 2018!
What do you foresee as highlight or the big topic in AEGEE in 2018?
I don’t really know, but I can tell you what I’d like to see in AEGEE in the years to come. I’m very confident towards the major events of our association, starting from EPM Yerevan, then Spring Agora Kraków and finally Autumn Agora Istanbul. Three very different cities, but with one goal, one direction, one mission: Europe. AEGEE will have a greater impact if it opens its event to more people, if it engages the outside world and not just its members – especially when major events take place. My dream is to see an AEGEE that shapes Europe, not just in the plenary hall.
What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2018?
Personally I want to take a sentimental break from AEGEE. I guess I gave too much and now I need to recover quite a bit. I might show up in the next Agoras – kidding, I would never miss the next statutory events – and I will definitely give some help to my antenna that after one gap year will organise a Summer University again!
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
That’s perhaps the hardest question: I got accepted to all the NYE that I applied to, but I won’t go to attend them – my bad! I’ll move abroad next January for a master program, so I want to spend this time with my family and my friends.

 

Laura Pérez Álvarez, AEGEE-León, Network Commissioner

Golden Times: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2017?
Laura Pérez Álvarez: This answer is easy for me; joining an amazing team as becoming member of the Network Commission in Agora Enschede. I also joined my second local ever – AEGEE-Delft – and every day I still am excited about their internal complexity and dedicated hardworking members.
Which memorable moments of AEGEE-Europe in general in 2017 do you remember most vividly or were outstanding?
Agora Enschede had some outstanding moments – not all in a positive way, sadly. A specific moment I remember now happened during Agora Catania, when Damien from the MedCom had a surprising statement on stage concerning one of the passed motions, I thought this was one of those “should I laugh or cry” moments.
Who was for you the outstanding member in 2017? Please name up to three.
Jeroen Roseboom, for his work in the board of AEGEE-Delft, his involvement during Agora Catania and being able to drive for 12 hours from Delft to Passau and 12 hours back almost non-stop. Daniel Llamazares and Alejandro Martínez from AEGEE-León, for keeping up the motivation for more years than I can count and still working actively on the local level – so for being the best partners in crime in the Advisory Board for this next term.
Which was for you the outstanding antenna in 2017? You can also mention up to three.
AEGEE-Enschede and AEGEE-Catania for their organization of our two Agorae this year. And: AEGEE-Paris; for the most amazing comeback I have ever seen in a local, establishing itself again in the city and organizing a promising New Year’s event. I would also like to mention Lila Quaile here as outstanding member for making it all possible.
What do you foresee as highlight or the big topic in AEGEE in 2018?
Sustainability, the topic of Europe on Track, and some thematic changes: Action Agenda or no Action Agenda?
What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2018?
Finishing my term in the Network Commission and helping a bit more as part of the Advisory board in AEGEE-León.
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
With friends somewhere in Lviv – it’s going to be my first time ever visiting Ukraine!

 

Gabriele Scollo, during the SU of AEGEE-Tartu in the island of Hiiumaa.

Gabriele Scollo, former Network Commission, AEGEE-Torino

Golden Times: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2017?
Gabriele Scollo: The most personal one was the SU in Estonia organized by AEGEE-Tartu. I went there as a trainer, but the most amazing thing for me was to share those days with a perfect group of participants and organizers, and discovering such an incredible country. It was really unforgettable. I also want to mention the recently ended NWM in Napoli. The atmosphere during the whole event was full of excitement – and everyone gave their best possible contribution. The end of my term as a Network Commissioner couldn’t be lighter, seeing such passion from Francesca and her huge team of SubCommies that inherited exactly the same locals I was working with in the last six months. Most participants at the NWM were members for less than a year and many of them were recently elected board members, so I had a very strong feeling that a new generation of AEGEEans is born and they only need guidance in the right direction and the maximum support by more experienced members.
Which memorable moments of AEGEE-Europe in general in 2017 do you remember most vividly or was outstanding?
The opening ceremony of Agora Catania, when the president of the Antenna, Gabriele Nicotra, told everyone to turn on the light on their mobile and the whole theatre looked like a night sky. Also Loes’ speech was really touching.
Who was for you the outstanding member in 2017? Please name up to three.
First of all, my friend Marco Daniele. I thought he had completely lost his mind when he decided all of a sudden to run for the CD, but in the end it was a great decision, since he is full of innovative ideas for this organization. I am sure AEGEE could use some inspiration from him. Secondly, Alejandra Piot. She is the kind of person we need the most in AEGEE. She is an excellent teamworker, a calm leader and especially someone who works out of passion, not because she likes to be in the spotlight. For the same reason, I will also mention Marina Klanjčić, who will probably kill me after reading this, but she did a perfect job as a main coordinator of EPM Zagreb, president of her local and Network Commissioner, so she deserves it (see? I wasn’t cheesy!).
Which was for you the outstanding antenna in 2017? You can also mention up to three.
Well, AEGEE-Catania has to be the one. My family is originally from there and I can’t possibly imagine how hard it is to organize an Agora in such a chaotic place. The love this group of people put in every aspect of this event is something that should inspire us more than anything else. Secondly, I want to mention AEGEE-Agrigento. Despite the huge problems this local has to face because of the local university being shut down, a very tiny group of members, together with some VIPs of AEGEE, managed to organize the Project Lab, an event with amazing content. A perfect example of not giving up. I will also mention my lovely AEGEE-Torino because this year they made a lot of big steps and I honestly think they are one of the locals with most potential in our network… Stay tuned for W.I.N.E. 2018!
What was for you the outstanding European project, Working Group or Interest Group in 2017?
Leaving aside the Summer Universities, I think it is clear that Europe on Track is at the moment our best project. The idea of connecting locals with a topic and giving local organizers the opportunity to gain credibility and new connections in their city, is something that can really help us in the long run.
What do you foresee as highlight or the big topic in AEGEE in 2018?
Maybe this will piss some people off but… I’m afraid the participation in EPM Yerevan will be very low and, consequently, the validity of the new Action Agenda draft will be questioned. I think we have to find a new way of setting our goals, because the current process is too chaotic and the results always a bit random. I see an EPM turned entirely into a thematic conference without the statutory part.
What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2018?
After TNT in Bucuresti, I hope to find a job, so I will have an excuse to be less active in AEGEE, but I will try to be available as a trainer for nearby locals at their LTCs. I will also coordinate Europe on Track in Torino and I really can’t wait for that because I love the topic and there are many good ideas and opportunities opening up thanks to this project!
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
As every year, with my old pre-AEGEE friends. We will go to the mountains at a friend’s house, drink “vin brulè”, which is hot wine, and eat polenta or bagna cauda, a typical Piedmontese dish. It became sort of a tradition throughout the years, so if I don’t spend at least those days with them, it’s a bit like telling your family you won’t be with them for Christmas – which at least in Italy is kind of a tragedy.

 

Eyrin Kyriakidi

Eyrin Kyriakidi, Content Manager EPM Zagreb and De-Fence Europe project, President of AEGEE-Athina

Golden Times: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2017?
Eyrin Kyriakidi: 2017 was a very special year for me and I cannot pick only one moment. I was fortunate enough to be able to participate in the content team of EPM Zagreb which gave me a new perspective on the European side of AEGEE. I also got more active in Interest Groups, like MIGR and POLIG and gained a lot of experiences. But the one thing I cannot overlook is that I worked with many members and partners of AEGEE-Athina and developed a lot of new things with them. This year’s experience with AEGEE-Athina has been unforgettable.
Which memorable moments of AEGEE-Europe in general in 2017 do you remember most vividly or was outstanding?
Even though I attended neither, I can say that Agora Enschede and Agora Catania were the highlights. It was interesting to observe both events from a distance and have the chance to reflect on certain situations.
Who was for you the outstanding member in 2017? Please name up to three.
I feel like I need to pick İlknur Demir from AEGEE-Ankara. She brought back the Politics Interest Group, which is an essential part of AEGEE. One more person is Luca Bisighini, with as many titles and positions as Daenerys Targaryen and his eternal love for cats, for his persistence and willingness to do things in AEGEE. He may spam us with posts every two seconds, but we need to admit he never gives up. And this is something we need.
Which was for you the outstanding antenna in 2017? You can also mention up to three.
One antenna that I got to know better and came to love, is AEGEE-Zagreb. Their energy and their willingness amazed me in February, and seeing them organise all those events is a huge inspiration. The second antenna which never stops surprising me is AEGEE-Napoli. Those people are unstoppable and it’s obvious that they have managed to create a great atmosphere in their city.
What was for you the outstanding European project, Working Group or Interest Group in 2017?
Firstly, I need to pick MIGR, because after all this time we are finally developing our own project. Working with a specific a purpose in mind, and having a whole team which shares the same vision is one of the best things in AEGEE. Secondly, it’s definitely POLIG; it was something that was missing from AEGEE and it has been a platform to share ideas and exchange views. Last, but definitely not least, who can oversee LIG? They always come up with new cool content and workshops, it is remarkable how many things they have been able to do!
What do you foresee as highlight or the big topic in AEGEE in 2018?
I think all the upcoming statutory events will be interesting. However, EPM Yerevan, the first statutory event in the region, as well as Agora İstanbul, which holds a big and bold political meaning, will give us the chance to connect better with different parts of our network, understand them, and improve our policies and methods.
What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2018?
My term as the president of AEGEE-Athina is coming to an end, but I will keep being active in my local and help as much as I can as an advisor and helper. We have a very exciting exchange coming up, as well as our event regarding the DIVE project with AEGEE-Europe, AEGEE-Cagliari, ESN, JEF and the YES Forum, and working on youth engagement and social inclusion is one of the things AEGEE-Athina has been interested in for some time. Other than these, I will focus on MIGR’s project in Italy, since I am responsible for the development of the content.
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
I’ll be spending the New Year’s night at home, with my family. And yes, it will probably be the stereotypical “My big fat Greek wedding” type of gathering.

 

Maria Kochkina

Maria Kochkina, AEGEE-Moskva, Events Quality Assurance Committee (EQAC)

Golden Times: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2017?
Maria Kochkina: The new EQAC board selection. We put a lot of efforts in the development of this AEGEE body and I am happy to see young and motivated people inside of it who will continue this development. #makeAEGEEeventsGREATagain
Which memorable moments of AEGEE-Europe in general in 2017 do you remember most vividly or was outstanding?
Probably, the choice to make Autumn Agora in Istanbul. I support the Turkish locals with all my heart and believe that it is a great start for them to make Turkish events more popular and increase the tolerance to non-European countries. It seems my plans to leave AEGEE in 2018 are ruined as I can’t miss this Agora.
Who was for you the outstanding member in 2017? Please name up to three.
This year I have three people in my mind that inspired me. Firstly, Luca Bisighini. He is one of the most enthusiastic people I ever seen. He can motivate, is always in the center of discussion and made a whole commission stay alive. Secondly, Maria Martynova, a member of AEGEE-Moskva who lives in Voronezh now. She is PRC member and a good person. There is a small amount of people who can make great AEGEE designs. She is the one, did them perfectly and was always ready to help. Thirdly, Zvonimir Canjuga, our EQAC daddy, who isn’t attached as CD member anymore, but who is still in our hearts. This person managed great and hard tasks – and found the time to laugh and motivate EQAC and me. I can’t imagine the last CD term and EQAC without him.
Which was for you the outstanding antenna in 2017? You can also mention up to three.
Firstly, I applause to AEGEE-Sankt-Peterburg. They did a great SU and Network Meeting, they improved their organizing skills and came up with interesting ideas. Secondly, AEGEE-Gaziantep: it’s a new and far away local who found the power to do a great NWM for the Kebab Network. I’m impressed with their enthusiasm and passion for AEGEE goals. Thirdly, AEGEE-Pisa: it is a quite young but fast growing local with wise people inside it.
What was for you the outstanding European project, Working Group or Interest Group in 2017?
It’s hard to say… Nothing impressed me enough to be mentioned. There were cool ideas and activities but nothing new that didn’t exist before.
What do you foresee as highlight or the big topic in AEGEE in 2018?
Agora Istanbul. For sure.
What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2018?
Developing my career, learning other foreign languages and staying as Advisory in EQAC. And of course, I plan some trips. My focus is on the Caucasus region and Turkey.
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
I will meet it in a train in the middle of nowhere! I will go together with AEGEE-Moskva’s New Year event and we will celebrate it in the train, having fun and enjoying the ride.

 

Luca Bisighini, former Audit Commission

What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2017?
I have plenty of great memories, as I had the chance to be in so many places surrounded by great people, even in summer when I did not go to an SU, but made a heck of backpacking trip. The sense of gratitude and smiley faces was shown by many people who were in the same initiatives I was part of. Europe on Track IV was especially gratifying thanks to the extraordinary efforts of great people, despite that fact that we started with a very limited team in terms of numbers. And having helped to fix and giving an identity to an entire Audit Commission can be also a personal achievement.
Which memorable moments of AEGEE-Europe in general in 2017 do you remember most vividly or was outstanding?
The closing ceremony of Agora Catania was amazing and should remind all of us why this association is so gratifying, nice and even make you feel heart felt emotions – despite the fact how much it can be life-taking, energy-sucking, sources-demanding and stress-generating. I can say the very same for the ending of Network Meeting Gdansk, as I wrote to Network Commissioner Stas. It was an amazing type of meaningful ceremony.
Who was for you the outstanding member in 2017? Please name up to three.
I would probably say 50, 100 or more names for so many different reasons. Due to the fact I was everywhere this year I had the chance to see how extraordinary this organization can be. All the people involved in Audit, Academy, MiGR were really awesome, too.
Three names for the final ranking:
– Jorge Sanchez Hernandez, because he is unstoppable and I think he has a clone or more to work that much and that good. A standing ovation;
– The whole Europe on Track IV project team, because it was a heck of experience thanks to you guys and I am honored to have worked with you;
– Ilknur Demir, because she will be shocked and send me messages including LEL a lot.  You deserve it a lot!
Which was for you the outstanding antenna in 2017? You can also mention up to three.
Well, here I have no doubts about what to say. There have been many deserving antennae but AEGEE-Genova takes this title. I won’t explain, but I guess you got why.
What was for you the outstanding European project, Working Group or Interest Group in 2017?
Europe on Track IV and V without any doubt above all.
What do you foresee as highlight or the big topic in AEGEE in 2018?
Spring Agora Kraków can be a time where to discuss about democracy, environment, gender equality and inequalities, racism and migration and so much more all at once. Trust me, I am living here and I know this can all be achieved in such a meeting.  All at once. The same goes for Istanbul. Luckily I lived there too and we all know how much such a place can mean. East, West, Middle-East, Europe and Asia in one city, democracy issues, terrorism and many other topics can be brought in. And tons of cats, to make the Agora memorable!
I hope to see more focus and efforts on locals who are dying – but hey no resources or interventions.
I hope to see more efforts to have more financial solidarity from all the members – yes, you reader included! – towards the people who are coming from remote places to play their own part in our internal democratic process.
I hope to see thematic Agorae organized with a content from organizers.
I hope not to see locals who are doubting whether they will still exist next year due to missing people or other types of issues.
I hope to see to see finally #MyAEGEE and no longer the Intranet.
I hope to see to get rid of many overlaps from bodies creating just bureaucracy. Imagine, it’s hard for me to follow so many overlaps and I am active on European level… Imagine what others should think.
I hope to see to see a reformed AEGEE. In general.
What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2018?
Next year I will be 29 and my deadline is somehow coming soon. I don’t see myself in AEGEE after my 30, so I guess one last intense year might come and then I will stop by the next, somehow. This year was already stressful due to so much AEGEE matters and private stuff that actually I don’t know how much I can go on like this. However, before saying “Goodnight and Goodbye —> Bang!” like Kenny Omega awesomely does every time, I was thinking something like this more or less: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VHoT4N43jK8
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
In Budapest with BudaPécs people. With a personal challenge: not drinking that much in that event.
#FeelingLikeAGrandpa
#IAmOld
#DrinkWiseDrinkLessThanTwice

 

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