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 80 locally or Europeanly active members. In this ninth edition of the AEGEE-Europe review: read what Francesca Zorcolo, Jorge Sánchez Hernández, Daria Shcherbyna, Tim Mollenhauer and Maria Zwartkruis said.

Francesca Zorcolo, Network Commission, AEGEE-Cagliari

Golden Times: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2017?
Francesca “Zorci” Zorcolo: For sure when I presented my candidature for the Network Commision during Autumn Agora Catania, the best moment of the year.
Which memorable moments of AEGEE-Europe in general in 2017 do you remember most vividly or was outstanding?
The closing ceremony of Autumn Agora Catania, it was so emotional, seeing all of the organisers so happy and united. It brought me back to when I was part of the team of Agora Cagliari, I didn’t think I could have felt the same emotions again, but I did.
Who was for you the outstanding member in 2017? Please name up to three.
María Ballesteros! She is so strong and full of energy that everyone should be inspired by how she works for our association. She is everywhere, multitasking and I am so happy that she is in the Comité Directeur now.
Which was for you the outstanding antenna in 2017? You can also mention up to three.
I experienced my best AEGEE moment thanks to this local, so of course, for its love, its members, AEGEE-Catania is the antenna of this year. But I will nominate even another one, because it’s grown so fast this year that I think it will reserve lots of surprises even for the next one: AEGEE-Paris, for being the phoenix of this year, it’s really inspiring!
What do you foresee as highlight or the big topic in AEGEE in 2018?
EPM Yerevan and Autumn Agora Istanbul, in my opinion these two events are a huge sign of what Europe is for us: borderless, open-minded and inclusive.
What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2018?
For the moment just being Network Commissioner. I will focus all my energies for the wellness of the locals.

 

Jorge Sánchez, Project Manager of Europe on Track and Partnerships Officer, AEGEE-Dresden

Golden Times: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2017?
Jorge Sánchez: Becoming Project Manager of Europe on Track. My team has given me a great opportunity to develop myself and to drive an incredible group of people working towards the same goal. Becoming Partnerships Officer of AEGEE-Europe was also a highlight, together with being ambassador of Europe on Track 4 and stepping up as Liaison Officer towards the Asia-Europe Foundation.
Who was for you the outstanding member in 2017? Please name up to three.
Firstly, María Ballesteros from AEGEE-Madrid, for her dedication and amazing job with Europe on Track 4 and the kick-off conference in Budapest, as well as for her work as External Relations Director of AEGEE-Europe, which she has taking to a whole new level with the biggest liaison office we’ve seen so far. For her way of training, thinking and making decisions among many other things that she does for AEGEE, she is the most outstanding member in 2017. Secondly, Jens Oehlen from AEGEE-Dresden, for the passion he puts into AEGEE and AEGEE-Dresden. For all the time and effort he spends on our antenna to drive it along the best path to achieve his shared vision with AEGEE, and for succeeding with it! Bravo, Jens. And also Pablo Hernández from AEGEE-Alicante, for all the effort and dedication to AEGEE, even if it’s not that well seen because a lot of it is in the background. I hope that Pablo will remain involved in AEGEE for many years and keep improving processes and supporting the people who need it.
Which was for you the outstanding antenna in 2017? You can also mention up to three.
AEGEE-Dresden has done an incredible job this year. They organized two amazing European events as well as a stop of Europe on Track, an LTC, many meetings and lots of activities with the Buddy Program. I can’t be more proud of my baby, AEGEE-Dresden, and how the members are driving the boat now, including and developing the newcomers.
What was for you the outstanding European project, working group or interest group in 2017?
I think that all working groups deserve an applause for what they are doing. They are really changing the way we knew working groups from the previous years and are working really hard. Props to all of you! But! Europe on Track is on fire this year. I want to say congratulations to all the team of Europe on Track 4, but especially to all my team members of Europe on Track 5, who inspire me every day to continue developing the best project we’ve seen in AEGEE: Ola, Spyros, Erifyli, Viki, Khrystya, Iren, Alex, Klaudia, Iren, Melissa, Fede, Lucian and Maryam. Thank you for aiming at inspiring 3000 young Europeans in 2018. You can already cross one off the list now.
What do you foresee as highlight or the big topic in AEGEE in 2018?
I am positive that sustainability and climate change are going to be quite big in 2018. Our Environmental Action Week and Europe on Track are quite strong this year and we hope to put the environment in the minds of young people in Europe, towards having a positive impact in our society and on our planet! I also think that Y Vote will do great and that AEGEE will be back all in with projects in 2018!
What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2018?
To do the best Europe on Track edition ever. We have the topic, the hype, the antennae, the partners, the patrons, the ambassadors and the team. I am certain that we will do a good job, and we are walking the extra mile every day to make it happen. Another aim is to send many AEGEEans to events of the Asia-Europe Foundation and to strengthen the collaboration between AEGEE and the foundation. I also want to close a couple of interesting partnerships we’re dealing with right now. And maybe I will join The Academy and try to bring it to the next level as much as I can and to start putting the sustainable development goals on the agenda of AEGEE.

Daria Shcherbyna, Events Quality Assurance Committee, AEGEE-Kharkiv

Golden Times: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2017?
Daria Shcherbyna: My personal highlight was a live meeting in Kyiv with members of the Events Quality Assurance Committee. It was my first live meeting with being a part of European body. It was very productive and we had a very good time. I think about it with a smile – hours of work in the cozy kitchen around a big table like a family in the apartment in the very heart of Kyiv.
Which memorable moments of AEGEE-Europe in general in 2017 do you remember most vividly or was outstanding?
Even though I didn’t attend any statutory event this year, the appearing of an AEGEE contact in Stockholm was really a nice moment for me when I think about 2017.
Who was for you the outstanding member in 2017? Please name up to three.
My personal outstanding member of 2017 is Zvonimir Canjuga. When I came to EQAC in 2016 he was the speaker and then he became our CD couple. He always provided us with a lot of support and help during this year. He believed in me when I became a speaker and was a ”Big Daddy” for all members of our team! And I believe it was an outstanding year for him! I wish him only good luck in the future and I am very thankful for this year!
Which was for you the outstanding antenna in 2017? You can also mention up to three.
AEGEE-Enschede, AEGEE-Catania and lovely AEGEE-Kharkiv.
What was for you the outstanding European project, working group or interest group in 2017?
That definitely was the FAFA by the Audit Commission and EQAC in Kyiv, The Art of the Possible project and The AEGEE Day!
What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2018?
I am moving on and going out of active AEGEE life. But AEGEE will always be in my heart and you never know where you will be next! So, we will see!
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
At home with the best family ever!

 

Tim Mollenhauer, President of AEGEE-Aachen

Golden Times: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2017?
Tim Mollenhauer: My personal AEGEE highlight in 2017 was the 30th anniversary of AEGEE-Aachen. It was amazing to meet and mingle with newbies, oldies, alumni, founders, locals, partners and friends. I am proud to be part of such an amazing antenna that is doing so well!
Who was for you the outstanding member in 2017? Please name up to three.
The first person that comes to my mind for sure is Damien Latacz. I have seen him taking his tasks very serious, be it in the advisory board of AEGEE-Aachen, the Mediation Commission, his engagement as a trainer for various events or any other task and project he worked on this year or wants to tackle in 2018. Not only professionally I like him on my side, but also as a friend he’s always up for giving a good piece of advice. Another person I would like to mention is Jorge Sánchez Hernandez. We agree in a lot of core values, although we don’t have matching views many times – the Jorge Method is useless, Jorge! Get over it! I really do appreciate his professional approach and his commitment towards the tasks he is carrying out. I am super stoked to see how Europe on Track will go!
Which was for you the outstanding antenna in 2017? You can also mention up to three.
Props to AEGEE-Torino, you made it to my list! After getting in touch with some AEGEEans from Torino earlier this year, having visited Torino myself later on, having some of them over in Aachen; after they organized the best SU of 2017, I do feel like they deserve spot number one.
What was for you the outstanding European project, working group or interest group in 2017?
Not an AEGEE-Europe project by definition, still a project on a European base: The newly established Montopinto Trilanda network. We are ten antennae in the tripoint region Belgium-Netherlands-Germany, working on improving our cross-border cooperation. I see great potential in this amazing union of geographically closely located locals.
What do you foresee as highlight or the big topic in AEGEE in 2018?
I do see that a lack of trainings and strategic thinking in AEGEE has caused us problems and will cause even bigger problems next year. There are certain issues that need to be addressed. Is it going to be the big topic though? I doubt it.
What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2018?
I will continue working on the internal education part of AEGEE-Aachen and will try to find ways how to strengthen the Montopinto Trilanda project. Really looking forward to it!
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
New Year’s Eve is my single day off from AEGEE every year. Some friends and I rented a nice chalet in the middle of nowhere, somewhere in Europe. Really looking forward to it! A glass of Champagne, a Partagas No. 4, my friends around me and maybe a Jacuzzi, that’s it!

 

Maria Zwartkruis, Network Commission, AEGEE-Utrecht

Golden Times: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2017?
Maria Zwartkruis: My personal highlight was organising Network Meeting Utrecht together with Laura. This was one of the very few Network Meetings that was organised by two Network Commissioners at the same time. And it turned out to be great! It is so beautiful to see an event that you put so much work in become reality… And to see the participants enjoy it of course. And for me this NWM was extra special, because we had the opportunity to collaborate with my home local, AEGEE-Utrecht.
Which memorable moments of AEGEE-Europe in general in 2017 do you remember most vividly or was outstanding?
For me, the difference between the atmosphere at Agora Enschede and Agora Catania was outstanding. Whereas Agora Enschede was very exciting and tense, Agora Catania was very calm. Of course, a bit of excitement is good, but I think we can all agree that the kind of negative tension that was present at Agora Enschede is not something we want to repeat; we should be able to express our opinions, but we need to keep respecting each other.
Who was for you the outstanding member in 2017? Please name up to three.
This is not an easy choice, but I will name three! Apart from being very active as Youth Development Working Group coordinator, Svenja van der Tol has played a special role for me this year. Not only was she a dedicated SubCommie, working hard and coming up with new ideas, she has also been there for me personally when I needed her. Thank you so much Svenja! Furthermore, although I have not worked with her for such a long time, Tekla Hajdu also deserves a place in this list. For the few months I was working with her, she was always working hard as Network Director and responding to my messages in no time. Marco Daniele also played a special role for me this year: he is always bringing in fresh new ideas, and especially during NWM Utrecht I really appreciated that!
Which was for you the outstanding antenna in 2017? You can also mention up to three.
For me, AEGEE-Manchester, AEGEE-Sheffield and AEGEE-London were very special this year. They did an amazing job by organising a conference on Brexit. This was one of the best AEGEE events I have ever attended! The content was so interesting, and the social program was amazing. It was clear that the organisers put a lot of effort into the programme, and the result was awesome. And being their NetCommie makes me even more proud of them!
What was for you the outstanding European project, working group or interest group in 2017?
I guess it was already launched in 2016, but I really liked the Faces of Europe blog by the Your Vision for EUrope project. It is beautiful how it shows the views of different people from Europe and gives us material to think about. It’s this kind of projects that we need in order to help creating the kind of Europe that AEGEE strives for, a borderless and understanding Europe.
What do you foresee as highlight or the big topic in AEGEE in 2018?
I think that internal education will get a boost in 2018. At least to me, this is a very important topic that needs a lot of attention. After all, it’s the foundation of an active, well-working organisation!
What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2018?
Of course my term as Network Commissioner lasts until the end of May. After that, I’m not sure yet what I will do. For sure, I would love to attend Agora Istanbul, and maybe more events if my schedule allows me!
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
I’m not sure yet. I have been travelling a lot for the past few weeks, so I guess I’ll celebrate in Utrecht with friends, because sometimes you need some time at home as well.

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