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 active members. Over the next two weeks you can see what they answered. In this edition: read what Alejandra Piot Pérez-Abadín, Roberto Rossetto, Zografia Lepoura, Müge Güner, Mateusz Gierczak and Katharina Jiménez Weese said.

Alejandra Piot, Comité Directeur, AEGEE-A Coruña

Golden Times: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2018?
Alejandra Piot: When I presented the new communication strategy of AEGEE-Europe and it got approved by the Agora at the Autumn Agora Istanbul. It was a moment where I felt that all the work invested in this was worth it and that I could keep going in the right direction and keep doing my best to improve the communication of our organization.
Which memorable moments of AEGEE-Europe in general in 2018 do you remember most vividly or was outstanding?
I would say Agora Kraków, for the good and the bad. That Agora was super intense for me, because of my candidature for CD, and for everything that happened involving people close to me. I think I learned a lot during that this Agora and I had one of the most intense moments in my AEGEE life.
Who was for you the outstanding member in 2018?
First, I want to mention Marco Daniele. He is in his second term as CD member, what is already a huge achievement! Besides, as Network Director he did an amazing work and now, working with him I can see that he has a lot of great ideas and he is doing a good job trying to implement them. I couldn’t be happier of having him in the same team with me! Secondly, I have to mention my dear Viola Bianchetti. She is an exceptional person and hard worker. She was shortlisted for the “woman of the year” for a reason, she is doing a really good job in AEGEE and she is a really amazing company in the house. I am super happy of being in the same team with her! Last, but not least, I want to mention Celia Riveres. Her year as NetCom was outstanding, I was following all the work and time that she was investing in it. As a former Network Commissioner I can say that she did an amazing job and I feel super proud of her.
Which was for you the outstanding antenna in 2018?
I want to highlight AEGEE-Yerevan, even if I couldn’t attend the EPM I just heard amazing things. After visiting them in November, I can confirm that they are really outstanding!
What was for you the outstanding European project or WG/IG in 2018?
In this case I want to highlight the Society and Environment Interest Group. For being an IG they are having an active role in our organization and they were cooperating with AEGEE-Istanbul for the content of their Agora. They are also working with AEGEE-Izmir for the EPM, so they definitely deserve a mention here!
What do you foresee as highlight or the big topic in AEGEE in 2019?
I can say quite surely that it will be the European Parliament Elections 2019. It’s already one of the hot topics in Europe and in AEGEE, and it will continue at least until May.
What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2019?
First, I need to survive to my CD year! Jokes apart, I am not sure about my plans after the CD yet, but probably I will still be around, doing some trainings and attending some events.
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
I will spend it in my home town, A Coruña, with my friends, chilling and enjoying the night.

 

Roberto Rossetto, SUPS Coordinator, YDWG member, Academy member and Network Consultant, Advisor of AEGEE-Napoli

Roberto Rossetto

Golden Times: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2018?
Roberto Rossetto: My personal highlight in 2018 was clicking the “send” button to apply AEGEE-Napoli as hosting local of the Autumn Agora 2019. In the end we were not selected, but just sending that application was nevertheless an important achievement! When I mentioned “Agora Napoli” one year ago it sounded like something totally foolish, but in the end we gathered a huge core team of enthusiastic people willing to make it real! And who knows, perhaps we will run for the Agora again in the future…
Which memorable moments of AEGEE-Europe in general in 2018 do you remember most vividly or was outstanding?
To me, the most outstanding moment of AEGEE-Europe in 2018 has been the election of the new Academy board. Our association deeply needs a strong training body and thanks to its new board the AEGEE-Academy is starting to shine again.
Who was for you the outstanding member in 2018?
It is difficult to mention just a few excellent people, as the previous CD did a great job and many other AEGEEans contributed as well. Anyway, the first people coming to my mind are Maria Ballesteros and her grants writing skills, Lila Quaile and her revival of France, Lucia Gavulová and the Academy renovation.
Which was for you the outstanding antenna in 2018?
Probably AEGEE-Salerno. The Frank Biancheri Award, one of the highest rated SUs, a great NWM, and eventually getting the Autumn Agora 2019 – they have performed amazingly well this year.
What was for you the outstanding European project or WG/IG in 2018?
I would like to mention the projects DIVE and My Europe My Say, as they showcase AEGEE-Europe’s ability to develop partnerships and get funds. Y Vote deserves a mention as well for greatly involving the network with its conventions.
What do you foresee as highlight or the big topic in AEGEE in 2019?
The highlight of 2019? Please allow me a short premise. In AEGEE we throw amazing voluntarily-organized and self-funded youth exchanges, training courses, conferences and other projects which rarely get the visibility and recognition they deserve. Since my first Agora I have had a vision of AEGEE as “The Forge of European Projects for Youth”, thinking of ourselves as providers of opportunities for everyone, stepping out of the “AEGEE bubble” and being eventually acknowledged as the Procter&Gamble of youth projects. Non-AEGEEans joining our conferences and applying as Ambassadors for Europe on Track are nice steps in this direction, for example. That said, some people are dreaming of a huge event for 2019 to involve thousands of youngsters beyond AEGEE. Such an event would greatly strengthen the position of our association as a provider of international projects for young European people; if it really happens, it’s going to be the highlight of 2019 for sure!
What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2019?
I will begin the year by making the February SUPSes as great as they deserve to be! Afterwards, as Agora Napoli will not happen anytime soon, I will evaluate several interesting possibilities – and one I think of quite often is to run for CD.
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
I will be pouring wine on my fellow AEGEEans in the event “Napolis on Fire – Vol. 2”!

 

Zografia Lepoura, Moderator of the Language Interest Group, AEGEE-Athina

Zografia Lepoura

Golden Times: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2018?
Zografia Lepoura: My personal highlight was my start of the New Year, in the train to Siberia during the New Year’s event of AEGEE-Moskva and AEGEE-Tyumen. It was an amazing experience that I will never forget.
Which memorable moments of AEGEE-Europe in general in 2018 do you remember most vividly or was outstanding?
Agora Kraków was for me the most outstanding event – intense, dramatic, joyful, at times heartbreaking and incredibly well organised. I will remember it for a long time.
Who was for you the outstanding member in 2018?
For me the most outstanding member in 2018 is Jorge Sanchez Hernandez, coordinator of the Europe on Track project. I had the opportunity to be at the starting conference in Thessaloniki and also watch the presentation at Agora Kraków. I admire him a lot for his hard work. Also Alvaro Gonzalez Perez, former Coordinator of the European Citizenship WG who did an amazing job and Stella Krokou, two-times president of AEGEE-Thessaloniki, who is incredible.
What was for you the outstanding European project or WG/IG in 2018?
Europe On Track for the amazing, next-level professional work they did. The European Citizenship Working Group for the great activities, booklet and conference. The Language Interest Group because we did a lot of new activities, most notably the Language Survey which will be published in 2019.
What do you foresee as highlight or the big topic in AEGEE in 2019?
The European Elections, I hope. I know European politics is being discussed a lot in AEGEE, but the elections are our chance to do something with all our political discussions and ideas, so I think AEGEE has a role to play in promoting their importance.
What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2019?
As I am in my last year of my studies, I have to stay away from AEGEE for a while – it’s sad, I know! So I will only be around for the Language Interest Group in order to help with some projects. However, if a chance presents itself at the right time, I might end my little break.
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
In Athens with friends and family, probably eating enough to last the whole 2019!

 

Müge Güner, HRC member, former president of AEGEE-Muğla

Müge Güner

Golden Times: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2018?
Müge Güner: It was the CD election period. While going through the process, it was priceless to see that I was supported and encouraged by Greek and Armenian speaking people apart from Turkish speaking ones. I do appreciate them. On my behalf I took a lot of lessons from this experience; before, during and after.
Which memorable moments of AEGEE-Europe in general in 2018 do you remember most vividly or was outstanding?
Not the best things to remember, so I want to skip this question. I will try to collect better memories to remember in 2019, or we should do better things all together for that.
Who was for you the outstanding member in 2018?
Erwin Groot, the speaker of the Human Resources Committee. At a time that I thought it was best to step out due to my busy new life in Athens and the unfortunate things I witnessed in AEGEE, he texted me and changed my mind. He had Skype meetings with HRC members one to one, to get to know them and to help them with determining the project that they want to be involved in. He also welcomed us to HRC with lovely postcards that really melted my heart. I want to thank him for being such a good and thoughtful leader. Also Ştefania Ciuraru and Marta Labanowska, my dear sunny girls I met during the European Planning Meeting Yerevan. I want to send them my love for not only being so outstanding experienced helpers in EPM Yerevan but also for being beloved friends.
Which was for you the outstanding antenna in 2018?
The progress AEGEE-Antalya made in a short period of time is worth mentioning. AEGEE-Antalya is the example of how an antenna can improve so quickly when experienced antennae support new ones. Apart from that, I know that AEGEE-Muğla is doing good on the local level and building strong relations with other Turkish speaking antennae. I believe 2019 will be AEGEE-Muğla’s year due to the effort they are currently making.
What was for you the outstanding European project or WG/IG in 2018?
At this point my credits go to Europe on Track project, especially for the online workshops they delivered for the locals that really wanted to be involved in the project but weren’t on the route.
What do you foresee as highlight or the big topic in AEGEE in 2019?
I think the theme ‘’It’s up to you’’ of Spring Agora Bucureşti 2019 will be a big one. “We can’t choose where we were born, we can’t change society. But there are things that we can change, it’s up to us!” These words touched my heart. We can’t change the past but we can shape the future together, so why not focusing and discussing the things we can change?
What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2019?
I’ll take part in the Agora Mentorship and the HR Cycle Project. Also I’ll be helping Ştefania with her Agora preparations, you will probably see me as helper during the Agora.
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
I will be in Athens. My neighbour is organising a dinner, I will make a traditional Turkish dish that we call Kısır and join the diner.

 

Mateusz Gierczak, AEGEE-Kraków

Mateusz Gierczak

Golden Times: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2018?
Mateusz Gierczak: Definitely my participation in the organisation of Spring Agora Kraków. When we decided to do it I was actually the only one in the whole antenna who was opposing that idea. Several months after the event, I am really proud of it, although we surely made some mistakes.
Which memorable moments of AEGEE-Europe in general in 2018 do you remember most vividly or was outstanding?
This year I was surprised how many new Contacts appeared on our map! I think there more of them than in recent years and hopefully that could be some turning point. I also really appreciated this year’s Europe on Track edition. I was surprised with the size, content and PR of it. I would be very happy if we could keep this level in the next years.
Which was for you the outstanding antenna in 2018?
I would like to highlight AEGEE-Angers! They have just created their antenna and they are so active – they co-organised a Network Meeting and just won the Franck Biancheri Award. Just wow! Keep going guys!
What was for you the outstanding European project or WG/IG in 2018?
Europe on Track was the most outstanding project for me. They really did an awesome job. I am really happy also with the Europe Cafe, organised by POLIG. The first part of the year was really full of interesting thematic events. I was happiest with those, which were organised by the Civic Education WG and European Citizenship WG. The Summer and also Agora Istanbul went really green! Thanks to the Society & Environment IG of course. Now, we have a really successful Y Vote project. I think, this year was just full of thematics! And that is what I appreciate the most!
What do you foresee as highlight or the big topic in AEGEE in 2019?
Definitely the European elections and Y Vote campaign. These are the hottest topic everywhere, I guess. Second topic in my opinion will be sustainability, as we already have EPM Izmir in plans. These are two very important or even crucial topics of today’s world.
What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2019?
I thought I would retire just after Agora Kraków, but of course I didn’t. I am active on local level – I am member of our local International Politics Working Group where we weekly discuss political topics and plan to organise bigger discussions for students. And, what is kind of a surprise even for me, I have just created our local “Eco Group” where we started educating people on some “green topics” – starting from AEGEEans of course. I will focus on these two topics for the next several months. But after that, I guess I will get really close to my final retirement!
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
Last four years I spent New Year’s Eves in really crazy ways, so this year it’s time to take a rest. I will play table games with a few good friends and drink hot wine. A lot of hot wine. Sometimes it’s good to just calm down.

 

Katharina Jiménez Weese, AEGEE-Bamberg & AEGEE-Barcelona

Katharina Jiménez Weese

Golden Times: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2018?
Katharina Jiménez Weese: Unexpectedly becoming an honorary member of AEGEE-Bamberg. It was an amazing surprise and it is a great honour.
Which memorable moments of AEGEE-Europe in general in 2018 do you remember most vividly or was outstanding?
The incredible boat party at Agora Istanbul was a moment to remember. Hundreds of AEGEEans dancing on the Bosporus between Europe and Asia… Well done, AEGEE-Istanbul!
Who was for you the outstanding member in 2018?
Chris Seuling, Project Manager of SUCT and fellow Bambi. I still remember telling him about AEGEE back in our Business English class in 2015… And now look how far he got!
What was for you the outstanding European project or WG/IG in 2018?
Y Vote is doing a great and important job! The team is working highly professional and so far, the outcomes seem very positive.
What do you foresee as highlight or the big topic in AEGEE in 2019?
The European Parliament elections in May and related to that, youth participation in politics.
What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2019?
January will start with the attendance of an event about external representation in Brussels, not from AEGEE but through AEGEE. Afterwards let’s see if I get to combine my last master semester with AEGEE activities. I hope so!
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
We will have a private mini event with AGEE-Bamberg “oldies” and “not-so-oldies” which I’m very much looking forward to.

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