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 Oksana Prokopchenko, Marta Pąk, Marta Labanowska, Marta Massó, Franjo Lovro Popovic and Timon Turban said.

Oksana Prokopchenko, Network Commissioner, AEGEE-Sheffield

Oksana Prokopchenko with AEGEE-Sheffield

Golden Times: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2018?
Oksana Prokopchenko: One of the most emotional moments for me was the first meeting of the newly created area of Boomerang, which consists mostly of locals in France, Great Britain, Belgium and Nordic countries, and which I am honoured to be assigned to. It happened at Agora Istanbul and made me feel once again, how amazing the people from these locals are, how inspiring all the work they are doing is and how rewarding it is to bring them together, see them creating connections and bigger projects together.
Which memorable moments of AEGEE-Europe in general in 2018 do you remember most vividly or was outstanding?
I believe that one of the important moments for our organisation was the prytanium on the antenna criteria proposal at spring Agora Kraków. First of all, it was great to see people fighting for what they believe is right. Secondly, it showed me that we can raise important issues at Agorae, instead of just discussing minor bureaucratic changes to CIA, which don’t have any significant impact on the association whatsoever. And that is what I would like to see more in AEGEE, more vision and bigger ideas, supported by relevant data and analysis, of course!
Who was for you the outstanding member in 2018?
First of all, I have to mention Lila Quaile. I honestly don’t know how she manages to find time for all the work she is doing – coordinating a Working Group, being President and then Vice-President of a local, organising multiple events, doing a great job as my SubCommissioner, reviving AEGEE in France, all while staying positive and having fun with all of that. Secondly, Paolo Ghisleni – for always being there when someone in AEGEE needs his advice or guidance, inspiring and having a massive positive influence, all behind the scenes and without trying to be in a spotlight for it. Last but not least, my fellow NetCommie Polina Khapaeva – an amazing team player, who fights for her beliefs and always remains genuine and heartful – it is truly a pleasure to be working with her.
Which was for you the outstanding antenna in 2018?
One local in my area had a staggering rising this year – co-organising a Network Meeting, signing the Convention d’Adhésion at Agora Istanbul and just recently winning the Franck Biancheri Award 2019 for a conference in July next year – all the more impressive when you realise that AEGEE-Angers was only approved as a Contact of AEGEE-Europe in June! I am very excited to see their future development, and I think they will impress the network even more next year! Secondly, AEGEE-Helsinki for an amazing comeback this year, which shows that no situation is hopeless when there are the right people, their hard work and probably a bit of luck from the universe.
What was for you the outstanding European project or WG/IG in 2018?
The Y Vote team did an amazing job this year. There were a few people I met in different countries, who knew about the project even before hearing about AEGEE – it seems like a fair indicator that the project managed to have a real impact. I am excited to see more from them in the upcoming year!
What do you foresee as highlight or the big topic in AEGEE in 2019?
After all the consultations we as the NetCom team did at Network Meetings and some RTCs, I feel like antenna criteria can be that big topic. We will make sure to analyse the opinions we gathered from the network. Let’s see what the new year brings!
What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2019?
Continue doing my work as a Network Commissioner as good as I possibly can and finish my term with results for my locals.
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
It will be in a small circle of good friends in Kyiv, having fun and making silly resolutions for the New Year.

 

Marta Pąk, Former Network Commissioner, AEGEE-Warszawa

Marta Pąk

Golden Times: Which memorable moments of AEGEE-Europe in general in 2018 do you remember most vividly or was outstanding?
Marta Pąk: One of the most memorable moments was not that entirely happy and positive at all – I am talking about the Spring Agora Kraków drama. The local organizers did a wonderful job ensuring that everybody felt good and comfortable, and then the Shell issue appeared. It was an incredibly demotivating experience seeing all the vivid discussion in the plenary, and local organizers who suddenly, apart from all their tasks, had to worry how to deal with that shit. The whole Agora was full of drama, and was super stressful for many people that had to explain themselves for less or more valid reasons. I am happy that AEGEEans are active and they care about quality of events, planning, life, future, whatever you call it – and I hope that we will slowly learn how to solve problems without messing things up.
Which was for you the outstanding antenna in 2018?
I would like to mention two locals: AEGEE-Kraków for all their heart and energy they put in organizing the Spring Agora! The second one is AEGEE-Odessa, with whom I had the pleasure to cooperate for the Autumn Network Meeting. They are a great example that, even when a local is small and not the most experienced, if you have a will to do things, you can really develop fast: two Summer Universities, an NWM, participation in international events, and some incredibly motivated and motivating young people there – if you ever have a chance to visit them do not hesitate!
What was for you the outstanding European project or WG/IG in 2018?
Y Vote! And I am not saying it only because of the local event in Warszawa, or because I highly recommend their app to all my non-AEGEE foreign friends. They really make an impact. I also feel kind of jelaous of this year’s Transsib edition! But only kind of, I can hear Vladivostok calling me! [laughing]
What do you foresee as highlight or the big topic in AEGEE in 2019?
Of course the European elections and the Y Vote project. The team did a wonderful job, and I am certain that in the following months many AEGEEans and outsiders will get more interested in international politics, showing that young people know how to use their voice – after all, we are not the future, we are the present of the world. Speaking of elections, we will also have important elections in Poland – and I believe it will be a truly hot topic in this part of Europe. And let’s hope we will not burn.
What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2019?
I am going to become this annoying oldie or, as some people say, “dinosaur”, that unexpectly joins random local or regional events and tells people how things were in the past… [smiling]
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
One of the coolest things about AEGEE is that you meet people with whom you want to spend your private time even when the professional bounds end. Sofia. Again.

 

Marta Łabanowska, EaP+ & 30 Years of SU project member, AEGEE-Warszawa

Golden Times: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2018?
Marta Łabanowska: 2018 was an extremely busy year for me, also in terms of AEGEE activities. But if I have to choose I would definitely mention two moments: the SU Adventure during which I visited five different Summer Universities as an interviewer and trainer; and the study trip to Georgia I partially participated in – and as a result of which new contact in Batumi has been founded.
Which memorable moments of AEGEE-Europe in general in 2018 do you remember most vividly or was outstanding?
Doubtlessly EPM Yerevan as a first statutory event in the beautiful area of South Caucasus. It was a really well organized event both in terms of logistics and content, but the fact that it was held in that particular region makes it even more special.
Who was for you the outstanding member in 2018?
Jasmin Kaiser, the girl for whom the sky is the limit. I had the pleasure to cooperate with her in two different projects and I have to admit that her hard work left me speechless. Armenak Minasyants, who did an amazing job as main organizer of EPM Yerevan, proving that our association can be more professional and that it’s worth dreaming and acting big. And also Anastasiia Sheremet, who showed us that even small locals like AEGEE-Odessa can do amazing events. Organizing two SUs this year as well as a Network Meeting just a few months later, in the meantime successfully running for SUCT… Is there anything the girl cannot do?
Which was for you the outstanding antenna in 2018?
I won’t be original and mention three locals that took the challenge of organizing statutory events in 2018, so hats off to AEGEE-Yerevan, AEGEE-Kraków and AEGEE-Istanbul.
What was for you the outstanding European project or WG/IG in 2018?
I was really impressed by the amount of work the European Citizenship Working Group with Álvaro González Pérez as a coordinator did. The cooperation with that great team while organizing the “Citizenship at its Grassroots” conference in Warsaw was a real pleasure and it was only one of numerous activities the working group worked on during its term.
What do you foresee as highlight or the big topic in AEGEE in 2019?
I am really looking forward to Spring Agora București, to see how crazy Ștefania Ciuraru along with her team manages to organize such a big event only in a few months. On the other hand, I am really curious what the outcome of the Strategic Planning Meeting 2019 will be and what direction AEGEE will choose for 2020-2023.
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
After months of being abroad I am more than happy to spend my whole Xmas break back in Poland, including the last night of 2018. I don’t have a specific plan for the New Year’s Eve yet, so probably, just like it happened in past years, I will end up celebrating it with my closest friends.

 

Marta Massó Estradé, President of AEGEE-Tarragona

Marta Masso Estrade

Golden Times: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2018?
Marta Massó Estradé: I will remember 2018 as the year in which AEGEE-Tarragona appeared again on the map of AEGEE locals. After three years of not being that much active, together with a few members we managed to motivate newbies to organize one RTC and “Renove VIII”. For the ones that don’t know, Renove is the biggest event in our region in collaboration with the Netcom. Its aim is to bring together newbies and oldies to share experience and do networking while having lightweight workshops. Personally, I feel very proud of being the main organizer and to have received such a good feedback from the 110 participants.
Who was for you the outstanding member in 2018?
Instead of naming just one person, I would like to name one type of people! For me the most outstanding members in 2018 are the ones who have dedicated their time and energy to make the AEGEE family bigger, founding new contacts. Big thanks and congratulations to the new Contacts of AEGEE-Europe in Montpellier, Parma, Strasbourg, Palma de Mallorca, Batumi, Münster, Gothenburg, Würzburg and Angers.
Which was for you the outstanding antenna in 2018?
All antennae are involved in great projects and for that they are outstanding. However, I would like to congratulate AEGEE-Moskva for organizing the Transsiberian Dream year after year – and to have climbed to the top position in the ranking of Summer Universities this year. I also appreciate the hard work of AEGEE-Kraków, AEGEE-Yerevan and AEGEE-Istanbul for having organized both the Agora and EPM this year so well.
What was for you the outstanding European project or WG/IG in 2018?
Beside the Summer University, Europe on Track is one of the biggest projects in AEGEE. Every year it is gaining more and more fans as it combines the passion of travelling that most of us have while bringing thematic workshops and raising awareness to young people.
What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2019?
For 2019 I want to keep learning and working hard at the local level to increase the number of members of our local and to motivate them to have a more active role. Among other activities, we are planning to organize a Summer University together with two other antennae which will be the first one since 2014.
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
This New Year’s Eve will be different for me as I will be in a train travelling from Moscow to Tyumen together with the participants and organizers of the New Year’s event “Meanwhile in Siberia vol 2”. Can’t wait for that!

 

Timon Turban, Eastern Partnership+ Project, AEGEE-Aachen

Timon Turban

Golden Times: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2018?
Timon Turban: The EPM in Yerevan and everything which happened before and after the trip. Many special moments which go for me beyond AEGEE!
Who was for you the outstanding member in 2018?
I think I should mention here that I evaluate members here rather on a friendship-based approach than the AEGEE view due to my missing information about what is going on in the network and how the people are. I admire Dominic Dimian for his passion and huge effort for AEGEE, Jonathan Lessing for his amazing work in the background which unfortunately almost no one sees and Réka Salamon for what she did in Turkey and what we didn’t really appreciate.
Which was for you the outstanding antenna in 2018?
AEGEE-Yerevan for what they managed this year. The first EPM in the Caucasus, contributing to a revolution in Europe and organizing amazing events for people that don’t get these opportunities everyday – a youth leader event for English and Russian speakers from Russia, the Eastern Partnership countries and Central Asia! Also I’d like to mention AEGEE-Izmir as the lead for a lot of Turkish locals with their contribution in Istanbul and the upcoming EPM. Last but not least: AEGEE-Tyumen. I have no idea about you guys, I don’t know anyone there but you survive the fucking low temperatures in Siberia – that’s simply amazing. Keep on doing that!
What was for you the outstanding European project or WG/IG in 2018?
Luca’s Human Rights Days are amazing. To be so crazy about such a project is amazing. I hope now everyone knows why we celebrate the Human Rights Day on the 10th of December!
What do you foresee as highlight or the big topic in AEGEE in 2019?
I see a lot of fun coming up in Izmir with the EPM. Let’s have a nice secular event and be open! Apart from this I am open for any other highlight showing up!
What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2019?
Definitely reducing my work and trying to get more efficient with what I do. I want to look beyond Europe – and I will try to make AEGEE take part in this! We have some ideas in mind and will see what we can actually realize.
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
With my beloved ones and my beloved one in my beloved city!

 

Franjo Lovro Popović, Mediation Commissioner, AEGEE-Zagreb

Franjo Lovro Popovic

Golden Times: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2018?
Franjo Lovro Popović: This was a really exciting and successful year, but without a doubt, my personal highlight was getting elected as member of the Mediation Commission during the Autumn Agora Istanbul. It was a surreal experience, and a long-time wish come true.
Which memorable moments of AEGEE-Europe in general in 2018 do you remember most vividly or was outstanding?
The moment I will remember most vividly from this year is the visit of the “30 years of Summer University” project to Zagreb during the final week of preparations for the Summer University in Zagreb and watching the World Cup final with them.
Who was for you the outstanding member in 2018?
The most outstanding member this year for me is Viola Bianchetti. Just the fact that she was nominated for the “Women of Europe Award” should tell you how active and important she is. Also, I would like to mention the incredible work of Loes Rutten, former president of AEGEE-Europe and my fellow MedCommie, who just got elected to the board of the European Youth Forum for the year 2019/2020. She has done great things for AEGEE, and her desire to actively shape the future of Europe and fight for young people and their rights tells all you need to know. Last, but certainly not least, I would like to mention the incredible work of Ola Miklasińska as a route manager of the Europe on Track 5 project.
Which was for you the outstanding antenna in 2018?
This is always a tricky question to answer, but I believe AEGEE-Kraków deserves a specially mention, for organizing an extraordinary Spring Agora! Honestly, that was one of the best experiences I have had in this organization and they deserve all the praise for the willingness to take on such a big task on themselves and making it so special. I would also like to say AEGEE-Angers, one of the newest antennae in our network and already doing amazing things, like organizing an NWM within a few months of their existence, and winning the Franck Biancheri Award. And last, but not least AEGEE-Sheffield and AEGEE-Manchester for organizing a Summer University in the United Kingdom and helping to bring more AEGEE spirit to the Isles.
What was for you the outstanding European project or WG/IG in 2018?
Outstanding project was, without a doubt, Europe on Track 5. It was creative, ambitious and really impacted the thinking and plans of many AEGEEans who were a part of it. The legacy of this project is an increase in events and discussions about the environment and sustainability within the network, and for that, they deserve our collective thanks. Special mention also goes to the Equal Rights Working Group for all their activities, conferences and hard work put in creating a more content-full AEGEE.
What do you foresee as highlight or the big topic in AEGEE in 2019?
Hopefully, sustainability will continue to be a topic discussed in the network, especially after the EPM in Izmir dealing with this topic.
What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2019?
Personally, my plans are just to devote my free time to the Mediation Commission in order to improve a few things that we have discussed with the current and former team.
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
This will be the first time since 2014 that I won’t be travelling somewhere for the New Year’s Eve. I will spend it with my friends, planning my next adventure or trip.

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