Who is the AEGEE member of the year 2018? Which antenna, which project was the best? What were the highlights of the year? And what will 2019 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 Nataliya Klimenko, Sergey Peshkov, Isabel Santos Alonso, Midas Veraart, Elitsa Hadzhieva and Michał Szyszko said.

Nataliya Klimenko

Nataliya Klimenko, Editor-in-Chief of The AEGEEan Magazine, EPM Yerevan Content Manager, AEGEE-Moskva/AEGEE-Passau

Golden Times: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2018?
Nataliya Klimenko: 2018 was an overwhelming year for me. In AEGEE, no doubts, the biggest highlight was the Key to Europe. I was actually rather nervous before starting, but surprisingly it has worked out really good in a great team.
Which memorable moments of AEGEE-Europe in general in 2018 do you remember most vividly or was outstanding?
The EPM was truly a big event for me, but I must say other most remarkable happenings in AEGEE-Europe that first came to my mind have a negative connotation for our organization. However, it’s thanks to such developments that we all can realize how challenging the work in an NGO can be, and take off the rose-coloured glasses we sometimes wear.
Who was for you the outstanding member in 2018?
Ksenia Lupanova, Alejandra Piot and Erika Bettin. They are warm-hearted, sincere, reliable, hard-working, enthusiastic, helpful and true professionals and I could add more adjectives here [smiling]. I had immense pleasure working with them on the Key to Europe and I wouldn’t have made it without their assistance.
Which was for you the outstanding antenna in 2018?
AEGEE-Yerevan, for organising a really memorable EPM. In addition, I want to nominate AEGEE-Passau. And it’s not because I live in this city now, but because of the tireless daily work of their active members, their openness, inclusion and extraordinary events at the local and international levels. This is a local which embodies AEGEE’s objectives and can serve as example to many others. Keep on the awesome job!
What was for you the outstanding European project or WG/IG in 2018?
Y Vote. Even though I myself have little to do with the project as a non-EU citizen, I am pretty much astonished by how much efforts the project team, the CD and locals are putting into this. Educating youth on what EU is and why the young EU people should appreciate the life that the EU has provided them instead of taking it for granted is a truly worthy mission, and I’d like to see more high missions like this within AEGEE.
What do you foresee as highlight or the big topic in AEGEE in 2019?
European elections, of course!
What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2019?
Reviving The AEGEEan and strengthening AEGEE’s ties to the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, of which I am a proud family member.
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
All I want for the New Year is to meet it with my beloved persons in Moscow. Can’t wait for being back home!

 

Sergey Peshkov, IT Responsible for the Chair Team at Agora Krakow and Agora Istanbul, OMS developer, AEGEE-Voronezh

Sergey Peshkov

Golden Times: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2018?
Sergey Peshkov: Being IT Responsible for the Chair Team at Spring Agora Krakow and Autumn Agora Istanbul 2018. It was really the most interesting and exciting experience for me, as it is really a possibility to work with wonderful people, knowing all of the internals of the Agora and making my contribution to AEGEE. Also, working on the Online Membership System was interesting. We are really close to shutting down the old Intranet and switching to OMS instead!
Which memorable moments of AEGEE-Europe in general in 2018 do you remember most vividly or was outstanding?
For me it was Spring Agora Krakow 2018. It was the biggest drama Agora I have ever seen. The Shell Motion, the Vote of Confidence for the SUCT, the CD Activity report – you name it. It was also the top-notch level of organization, I have never seen an Agora running so smoothly, even with all of this drama. Also, this year I was a helper at the anniversary part of the Transsiberian Dream TSU and I am really amazed about the quality of the organization. They have definitely earned the “Best SU” award, as their effort was astonishing.
Who was for you the outstanding member in 2018?
For me personally it is the people I was working with for the last year: my Chair Team fellows, Tekla, Zvonimir and Eyrin, and the OMS team: Nico, Fabrizio and other people who were helping us.
Which was for you the outstanding antenna in 2018?
Of course, AEGEE-Krakow, AEGEE-Istanbul and AEGEE-Yerevan as hosting locals of EPM and Agorae. The organizers really put a lot of effort and energy into making it happen. Also my big shoutout to AEGEE-Moskva for making the best SU of this year and to AEGEE-Minsk – we have visited them with our AEGEE-Moskva friends, and it was one of the sweetest trips for me this year.
What was for you the outstanding European project or WG/IG in 2018?
I adore this year’s Europe on Track edition. Our antenna was a hosting local for one of the stops, and it was a really nice experience. But I also like the idea of this year’s topic in general, as sustainability and climate change really is a thing for now.
What do you foresee as highlight or the big topic in AEGEE in 2019?
Two things: Euroscepticism and sustainability. First – because there’s a lot of populism and a lot of people do not believe in the idea of a united Europe. Second – because the climate change, the pollution, the enormous amount of garbage in the oceans is happening now, and we should do our best to raise awareness about it and stop hurting our planet.
What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2019?
I want to finish the OMS tasks, so we can finally shut down the old Intranet and let it rest in peace. Also I would be really excited to go to Agora Bucuresti and Agora Salerno – I won’t make it to Izmir unfortunately.
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
In the train from Moskva to Tyumen with a wagon full of crazy participants and organizers as an organizer of “NYE Meanwhile in Siberia vol. 2”.

 

Isabel Santos

Isabel Santos, Network Commissioner, AEGEE-Valladolid

Golden Times: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2018?
Isabel Santos: Network Meeting Zaragoza. It was amazing sharing ideas with passionate people and discussing how to improve what we already have.
Which memorable moments of AEGEE-Europe in general in 2018 do you remember most vividly or was outstanding?
Agora Kraków and everything that took place there. I discovered so many things about AEGEE – it definitely motivated me to continue getting involved.
Which was for you the outstanding antenna in 2018?
AEGEE-Kraków and AEGEE-Istanbul for organising amazing Agorae.
What was for you the outstanding European project or WG/IG in 2018?
The Equal Rights Working Group has been really active, the same with the other working groups. In addition, the Language Interest Group has also made lots of things to spread knowledge about languages.
What do you foresee as highlight or the big topic in AEGEE in 2019?
Trying to motivate people to join AEGEE and to be active is going to be necessary and a topic to be discussed.
What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2019?
I want to continue learning and working with my team for the wellbeing of the network. I also plan to attend as many events as possible to meet more amazing people and discover new places.
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
After three years spending New Year far from home I have decided to return to my family’s village for this date, spending some quality time with my family.

 

Midas Veraart, AEGEE-Academy board member, AEGEE-Leuven

Midas Veraart

Golden Times: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2018?
Midas Veraart: SUPS Cagliari was definitely my highlight of 2018. Coming from a cold Belgium, I arrived at Cagliari Airport and got picked up in a real Italian Fiat, with the complementary driving style. In between the palm trees, sun and beaches I got to know what a real family is as AEGEE-Cagliari made me part of theirs. These were the moments I really realised how much I love AEGEE. The training itself went fantastic, together with the other trainers, I got to motivate and train enthusiastic future organisers who can spread this spirit across Europe. I can’t wait for my next SUPS in Valladolid!
Which memorable moments of AEGEE-Europe in general in 2018 do you remember most vividly or was outstanding?
Gunnar’s “What is AEGEE” workshop told me the story of AEGEE over the years and made me realise where I am a part of and what part of history I could join.
Who was for you the outstanding member in 2018?
I believe Lucia Gavulova has always been outstanding in AEGEE, but especially in 2018. After all those years in different positions she now has a lot to do in her private live, studies, job and moving, but at the same time she still puts tons of energy in AEGEE. Now as speaker of the Academy she does not only know politics, strategy and organisation in AEGEE, but she is also my favourite leader. Matthias Bommel is also a superstar. He is a smart and curious person who keeps the overview in any project or team he joins. He knows what matters and where to look while at the same time having the real AEGEE spirit. There is a reason he got honorary member status in Bamberg. Matthias for President!
Which was for you the outstanding antenna in 2018?
AEGEE-Bamberg is definitely the most outstanding antenna in my opinion. Bringing forward great members in the network and organising quality events in this beautiful city has improved even more. With limited resources they reached a lot. We can all learn from them.
What was for you the outstanding European project or WG/IG in 2018?
The SUPS is getting better every year. Roberto Rossetto is doing a fantastic job while trying to avoid hair dropping from his head from all the stress. This event has used the same concept while relaying on feedback to improve it every season. This is where real organisers are born! I have also seen the YDWG do great things this year. Desireé van Langen and all other people in the team spend a lot of time on reaching their goals and improving the network. The focus on training and conferences has been extremely good and with this leadership it will reach even further. The AEGEE-Academy is also improving a lot, but I’m not sure if I’m allowed to say it as one of the board members. We transformed to more quality and outsourced the TNT and TAT to extremely competent people to create an army of trainers who will develop the network further.
What do you foresee as highlight or the big topic in AEGEE in 2019?
TNT/TAT in Bamberg is going to be an extremely interesting event. This week long event will focus on emotional learning and best practices to bring the trainers to an unbelievably high level. The participants will never forget this event and the members will feel the impact of them in the network.
What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2019?
SUPS 2019 and then slowly thinking about retirement as I have a prospect for a nice job. I will miss this organisation way too much. I am very thankful for all the crazy, interesting and happy years in this group called AEGEE. Oh, and talking about it in the job interview really was key to land this prestigious job.
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
In Valencia with my Erasmus friends! Sadly no event of AEGEE, but also outside life is good.

 

Elitsa Hadzhieva

Elitsa Hadzhieva, Financial manager of Y Vote, President of AEGEE-Sofia, Liaison Officer towards the YFJ

Golden Times: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2018?
Elisa Hadzhieva: This year I explored the AEGEE life outside of my local. It was scary, challenging, but also an amazing experience. I still have a few personal highlights from my local as the main organiser of the Network Meeting this May and the Summer University in the end of August.
And before I make all of my other highlights about Y Vote I can mention two highlights that are not connected with it: I became the Liaison Officer towards the European Youth Forum about which I am very excited about. And I was chosen as one of AEGEE-Europe’s representatives towards one of the three political committees of European Movement International.
And now Y Vote: I could first list the “Why European Parliament” workshops that travelled around Europe this summer mostly thanks to the 30 years of SU project and their adventures. I am very happy that I was one of the people from the team involved in creating them and I am very proud to share my EU love with all AEGEEans. Another highlight for me were the AEGEE locals who host our conventions that applied for Erasmus+ funding. Not all of them were successful but pretty much all received very positive feedback on their applications. This is a good start and I hope they apply for more funding in the future.
I would mention last but not least my new position as Assistant Financial Director. It is more than an honour for me that Matis and the CD are giving me this opportunity and they believe in me this much that I can actually help them effectively around the office.
Which memorable moments of AEGEE-Europe in general in 2018 do you remember most vividly or was outstanding?
I would say the most outstanding moments for AEGEE-Europe this year was getting grants for the network. It is remarkable that YEP gave a lot of opportunities for Y Vote, 30 years of Summer Universities project and the Academy, and “My Europe. My Say” is already making it happen for Y Vote, Europe on Track and a number of locals and bodies. In addition it is a big step ahead for the organisation to employ people working on those grants that are hired to work for AEGEE. For me it is very visible that this is already creating a positive impact on the organisation.
Who was for you the outstanding member in 2018?
This is a difficult and tricky question. I meet new incredible people every year in AEGEE but only a few of them are constantly leaving a mark. I want to say that all of the people I work with in Y Vote are outstanding for me, but Philipp Blum as our project manager is the one that gives the last and most important ingredient to making our team amazing. The second person would be a shared spot for Maria Ballesteros Melero and Viola Bianchetti. Two very incredibly hard-working human beings that I love working with. And last but never least: Ms Salamon and her Istanbul dream. I have never been or will ever be an Agora enthusiast but despite the problems, I think Réka helped the passionate Turkish team of organisers a lot.
Which was for you the outstanding antenna in 2018?
AEGEE-Salerno for their never-ending positive vibe and good work in organising events like the Franck Biancheri award conference, one of the best Summer Universities and meeting the European Parliament President Antonio Tajani during it, an Autumn Network Meeting and in 2019 the Agora!
I will be very cheesy and mention also all eight locals that have been working with Y Vote for the past one year on organising a convention. So, a huge appreciation for AEGEE-Cluj Napoca, AEGEE-Passau, AEGEE-Warszawa, AEGEE-Düsseldorf, AEGEE-Tartu, AEGEE-Utrecht, AEGEE-Sofia and AEGEE-Torino.
What was for you the outstanding European project or WG/IG in 2018?
For me, the most outstanding project would always be Y Vote. We had a pretty good year and I can only hope that the year of the European elections would be even better.
What do you foresee as highlight or the big topic in AEGEE in 2019?
The European Elections, of course! Any elections are an important event but the European ones always have the chance to be a big driving force for citizens’ involvement all over Europe. Considering that in 2014 only 28% of the young people voted, I am really happy that AEGEE and all of the big European youth organisations are combining forces to motivate young people to vote in May 2019.
What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2019?
For now, my personal plans are to move to the CD house at the beginning of January and being Matis’ assistant. And in addition to that, 2019 will be again a year for me that is dedicated to Y Vote.
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
I will spend it with my family as those would be my last days in Bulgaria and I want to spend them with the people that love and annoy me the most. And that would be at our home on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast.

 

Michał Szyszko, member of Audit Commission of AEGEE-Europe, President of AEGEE-Warszawa

Michał Szyszko

What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2018?
Many would expect me to name some events during one of the Agoras, but as it’s my personal highlight, I’d refer to something local. This autumn I was invited as a trainer for an LTC of a local other than mine. It is a great pleasure to know how my work and skills are seen and respected. Big thanks to AEGEE-Gliwice!
Which memorable moments of AEGEE-Europe in general in 2018 do you remember most vividly or was outstanding?
Agora Kraków definitely. Why? There is a personal reason – having the biggest of our events so close to home. But not just that. It was for me an event that showed our unity. I believe that unity is shown not when everybody agrees with everybody and creates a fake fairy-tale. Unity is when it remains even while disagreements happen. Agora Kraków had lots of them, yet didn’t lose the AEGEE spirit.
Who was for you the outstanding member in 2018?
What I value about members is when they go active on European level of AEGEE, but don’t forget about their local. When their members can benefit from their experience and competences. That’s what I always try to stick to. And what I witness about her. Former JC, Secretary General of AEGEE-Europe, Monika Mojak. On this place I would also like to thank all locally active members. Who may be anonymous to most of the network, but it’s them who are the network. They are the main reason of our work. And with whom we can relax and socialize, have some rest from our hard work.
Which was for you the outstanding antenna in 2018?
What a president would I be if I didn’t mention my guys from AEGEE-Warszawa? I am writing these answers just after finishing the Y Vote convention on Education & Training. The third big event this year in our local. The happy faces thanking us for organizing it are the answer for anyone who would ask “why do you do this?” Same thing as it was about our SU – big thanks to our co-organizers from AEGEE-Gdańsk. And after our “Citizenship at its Grasroots” conference in March. That was amazing: I wasn’t even personally present there, busy with auditing AEGEE-Europe, but even then people contacted me to share their experiences! Yes, definitely AEGEE-Warszawa, thanks to whom I’m here, is my outstanding antenna in 2018.
What was for you the outstanding European project or WG/IG in 2018?
There is one very special project, as it can’t be repeated soon. Because of unique circumstances – the 30th anniversary can happen only once. “30 Years of SU” was the one of all amazing projects, for which 2018 will be remembered. The Working Groups also made an amazing job. Taking a personal approach, I would highlight the European Citizenship Working Group, without whom “Citizenship at its Grasroots” wouldn’t have happened! And I’d also like to point out one of the Interests Groups – the Politics Interest Group. They are the field for discussion and sharing views and opinion for the whole network.
What do you foresee as highlight or the big topic in AEGEE in 2019?
Of course the European elections. The Y Vote project is and will still take a great role. As well, as Europe on Track. As an organization for which a united Europe is the sense of existing, our action must promote our values, so people know and understand them while choosing who will represent them in Strasbourg.
What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2019?
Two terms in the Audit Commission is definitely enough. But I would be bored without European activities. Maybe one of the European projects? Locally, I’d love to coordinate some event in Warszawa – NWM, RTC, or maybe something new and unique? The possibilities are numerous.
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
With friends, including fellow AEGEEans, on some little party. Little pleasures we all deserve from time to time.

Facebook Comments