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. In this edi­tion: read what Tekla Haj­du, Zvon­imir Can­ju­ga, Veroni­ka Chmelárová, Timo Haar­man, Eyrin Kyr­i­aki­di and Lau­ra Blake said.

Tekla Hajdu, Chairperson Agora Kraków – Agora Istanbul, AEGEE-Budapest

Tekla Haj­du

Gold­en Times: What was your per­son­al AEGEE high­light in 2018?
Tekla Haj­du: Being in the Chair Team Spring Ago­ra Kraków – Autumn Ago­ra Istan­bul as Chair­per­son. Of course there were ups and downs, but I think we did our best in both events, and it was a great expe­ri­ence for me being part of this team and doing the work togeth­er.
Which mem­o­rable moments of AEGEE-Europe in gen­er­al in 2018 do you remem­ber most vivid­ly or was out­stand­ing?
Spring Ago­ra Kraków 2018. We had every­thing that didn’t hap­pen in years: the vote of con­fi­dence against the Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ty Coor­di­na­tion Team, the Shell motion, the ten­sion about the Inter­im Activ­i­ty Report of CD55, reopen­ing the can­di­da­tures for Mem­ber of Comité Directeur, hav­ing a sec­ond round of vot­ing for Finan­cial Direc­tor of AEGEE-Europe and more. Apart from all the dra­ma, in my opin­ion it was also the best organ­ised Ago­ra that I ever attend­ed dur­ing my AEGEE time, and I attend­ed quite many of them.
Who was for you the out­stand­ing mem­ber in 2018?
I would like to nom­i­nate my Chair Team as the three out­stand­ing mem­bers in 2018: Zvon­imir Can­ju­ga, Eyrin Kyr­i­aki­di and Sergey Peshkov. And I would like to also men­tion a few oth­er names that I am per­son­al­ly thank­ful for: Sven­ja van der Tol, Eri­ka Bet­tin, Lia Tus­ka, Veva Chmelárová and Réka Sala­m­on.
Which was for you the out­stand­ing anten­na in 2018?
AEGEE-Kraków. They organ­ised an out­stand­ing Ago­ra and were very coop­er­a­tive in all mat­ters with the oth­er teams involved dur­ing the organ­i­sa­tion of Ago­ra Kraków. Thank you to all the helpers, organ­is­ers, to the Core Team, and spe­cial thanks to Karoli­na, Kasia, Ania, Mateusz and Aga­ta, with whom we were in reg­u­lar con­tact.
What do you fore­see as high­light or the big top­ic in AEGEE in 2019?
Euro­pean Elec­tions, the final Brex­it pro­ce­dures, and the ris­ing of pop­ulis­tic and nation­al­is­tic ide­olo­gies in every­day pol­i­tics.
What are your per­son­al AEGEE plans for 2019?
I still have a few plans, but slow­ly I am going towards retire­ment as I fin­ished my uni­ver­si­ty stud­ies and I have a full-time job now.
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
At the New Year’s event “Noon Moon: Nordic NYE”, organ­ised by AEGEE-Helsin­ki and AEGEE-Stock­holm.

 

Zvonimir Canjuga, former Vice-Chairperson, AEGEE-Zagreb

Gold­en Times: What was your per­son­al AEGEE high­light in 2018?
Zvon­imir Can­ju­ga: Two moments in par­tic­u­lar. Vice-chair­ing both Ago­ras in 2018. It was a new posi­tion and some­thing I had nev­er done before. The amount of work for us put into prepa­ra­tion and imple­men­ta­tion of those Ago­ras was impres­sive. We lit­er­al­ly lived for these two events.
Which mem­o­rable moments of AEGEE-Europe in gen­er­al in 2018 do you remem­ber most vivid­ly or was out­stand­ing?
The whole atmos­phere dur­ing Ago­ra Kraków was amaz­ing. A lot of ques­tions, dis­cus­sions and ten­sions dur­ing that event is what we need on every Ago­ra. Yes we are all vol­un­teers and we are fight­ing for our goals, but we also need to take respon­si­bil­i­ty for the work we are doing and we need to be able to take some bad crit­i­cism. The argu­ment and play­ing on feel­ings that we are vol­un­teers and should be able to make mis­takes and con­tin­ue work­ing is in my opin­ion not allowed on top man­age­ment posi­tions with­in AEGEE. We showed one healthy and pro­duc­tive demo­c­ra­t­ic process.
Who was for you the out­stand­ing mem­ber in 2018?
Réka Sala­m­on and Tekla Haj­du. Their ded­i­ca­tion for Ago­ra Istan­bul and the Chair team was amaz­ing and I am once again hap­py and flat­tered I had a chance to work with them after our CD year. They are my friends and role mod­els, and see­ing them work made me learn a lot of new things.
Which was for you the out­stand­ing anten­na in 2018?
I would say AEGEE-Kraków and AEGEE-Yere­van for tak­ing up the chal­lenge of orga­niz­ing a statu­to­ry event. AEGEE-Kraków did an amaz­ing and per­fect­ly orga­nized Ago­ra, and AEGEE-Yere­van did an impres­sive job with the EPM. As third local I would men­tion AEGEE-Saler­no for their work on the the­mat­ic field.
What was for you the out­stand­ing Euro­pean project or WG/IG in 2018?
If I am hon­est I can­not name more than one. Between the medioc­ra­cy of things we are doing late­ly there is one shin­ing star and that is Europe on Track. The lat­est ver­sion blew my mind with its lev­el of orga­ni­za­tion and struc­ture. A job well done. We oth­ers need at least try to get close to such a work­ing struc­ture on a project. I am hap­py to see the project devel­op­ing and project man­age­ment cul­ture final­ly bloom­ing. I hope it will keep devel­op­ing like that.
What do you fore­see as high­light or the big top­ic in AEGEE in 2019?
We have elec­tions for the Euro­pean par­lia­ment which will define the future of Europe. We need to use AEGEE to pre­pare our­selves and our friends and fam­i­lies to make the best pos­si­ble deci­sion for the future of Europe. The sec­ond one is that AEGEE will start con­sul­ta­tions and draft­ing a new Strate­gic Plan. We need to fil­ter out bad ideas for the Focus areas more care­ful­ly so we do not repeat the mis­take from the last time. There we had a huge cam­paign and hype about the top­ic equal rights, but now, out of the sud­den, there is nobody will­ing to take respon­si­bil­i­ty. This is mak­ing their work­ing group unef­fec­tive, wast­ing mon­ey and time, when we could have devel­oped oth­er the­mat­ic fields instead.
What are your per­son­al AEGEE plans for 2019?
I am sec­re­tary of the Foun­da­tion AEGEE Trust Fund, so I will keep an eye on that and try to join some Les Anciens events, if my time allows. I am also here for any mem­ber that needs my input or help for some­thing.
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
A few of us from AEGEE-Zagreb rent­ed a van and will crash AEGEE-Maribor’s New Year par­ty. Par­ty hard and go home!

 

Veronika Chmelárová, Chairperson of the Agora, Speaker of the Data Privacy Committee, AEGEE-London

Veroni­ka Chmelárová (left) with Moni­ka Mojak

Gold­en Times: What was your per­son­al AEGEE high­light in 2018?
Veroni­ka Chmelárová: I have to say that my very per­son­al high­light was Ago­ra Kraków, thanks to the work with two great teams of peo­ple. It was chal­leng­ing, I dare say for all of us, but we sup­port­ed each oth­er in order to make it.
Who was for you the out­stand­ing mem­ber in 2018?
Choos­ing just a few peo­ple out of those many who are work­ing towards mak­ing AEGEE bet­ter is extreme­ly hard. I am going to say Ste­fi Ciu­raru from AEGEE-Bucuresti for the amaz­ing sac­ri­fice she is mak­ing with her whole team. Orga­niz­ing an Ago­ra in six months is remark­able and deserves respect. Lucia Gavulová from AEGEE-Acad­e­my, because of every­thing she did in the past five years as a mem­ber of AEGEE and the lift she gave the Acad­e­my when it was need­ed. Daniel Amesz, for­mer Med­Com pres­i­dent, who worked very hard on the data pri­va­cy struc­tures and imple­men­ta­tion in AEGEE. Final­ly, I can’t do else than also to high­light the IT team of the new Online Mem­ber­ship Sys­tem: Sergey, Nico and Fab­rizio.
Which was for you the out­stand­ing anten­na in 2018?
I am sure that the Ago­ra locals will get most of the nom­i­na­tions, but I can’t help myself and not say AEGEE-Kraków. Their Ago­ra was one of the best I have been to, if not the one. And AEGEE-Istan­bul for mak­ing an Ago­ra hap­pen under unbe­liev­ably chal­leng­ing con­di­tions.
What was for you the out­stand­ing Euro­pean project or WG/IG in 2018?
The most out­stand­ing project for me is def­i­nite­ly Y Vote. The con­cept of the project is great, while we can also see them be very active and suc­cess­ful in their mis­sion.
What do you fore­see as high­light or the big top­ic in AEGEE in 2019?
There are quite some top­ics that are going to be impor­tant. Brex­it is hap­pen­ing and we can’t look the oth­er way, the Euro­pean par­lia­men­tary elec­tions are com­ing up, nation­al­ism in the EU coun­tries is ris­ing, while the rule of law is being ignored or over­passed. All in all, now is the time for us to not only dis­cuss these issues in our AEGEE bub­ble, but to act and shape the Europe we want to see in ten years. And I believe AEGEEans are capa­ble of it.
What are your per­son­al AEGEE plans for 2019?
My speak­er term in the Data Pri­va­cy Com­mit­tee lasts until June, so my plan is to enjoy it while it lasts and work on the Com­mit­tee get­ting stronger and sus­tain­able, while also effi­cient in its work. At the same time I am hon­oured to be the Chair­per­son of Ago­ra Bucuresti and Ago­ra Saler­no, so there is not much room for air in between those two — and as they are both impor­tant roles to me, I will focus on doing the best that I can. After both of my terms are over… well that’s some­thing I haven’t quite fig­ured out yet.
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
I will spend it with friends in an undis­closed loca­tion.

 

Timo Haarman, Vice-Chairperson of the Agora, AEGEE-Enschede

Timo Haar­man

Gold­en Times: What was your per­son­al AEGEE high­light in 2018?
Timo Haar­man: For me 2018 was a year with a lot of AEGEE high­lights. First of all, the moment that I got elect­ed as the Vice Chair­per­son of the Ago­ra. But also the largest part of my board year took place this year and I attend­ed more events than in any year before, which were all big high­lights.
Which mem­o­rable moments of AEGEE-Europe in gen­er­al in 2018 do you remem­ber most vivid­ly or was out­stand­ing?
One of the most mem­o­rable moments of this year for me were the events in the Cau­ca­sus! I attend­ed both the EPM in Yere­van and the pre-event in Tbil­isi, where I got to know the most hos­pitable peo­ple I have ever seen. I think AEGEE-Yere­van did a great job in orga­niz­ing a large scale Euro­pean event in a region like the Cau­ca­sus.
Who was for you the out­stand­ing mem­ber in 2018?
For me, the most out­stand­ing mem­bers of 2018 were Zvon­imir Can­ju­ga and Tekla Haj­du as they did a great job as the Chair of the Ago­ra for both Kraków and Istan­bul. I also want to thank them for their great knowl­edge trans­fer, which was a great begin­ning of my term in the Chair Team. They were always open for ideas and did a great job in han­dling unex­pect­ed sit­u­a­tions.
Which was for you the out­stand­ing anten­na in 2018?
AEGEE-Yere­van did a great job in orga­niz­ing a statu­to­ry event in the Cau­ca­sus, every­thing was arranged very well and I had a great time. I also want to name AEGEE-Istan­bul, which showed again that with a lot of flex­i­bil­i­ty you can orga­nize a great event, even when there are giant last minute prob­lems which have to be solved. They showed again what the pow­er of empow­ered young Euro­pean stu­dents can be.
What was for you the out­stand­ing Euro­pean project or WG/IG in 2018?
For me one of the most out­stand­ing projects this year was Europe on Track, I had the feel­ing that they real­ly had a great reach because of good PR and a very inter­est­ing top­ic!
What do you fore­see as high­light or the big top­ic in AEGEE in 2019?
I think sus­tain­abil­i­ty is get­ting more and more a big top­ic with­in AEGEE. Also, as we have seen a lot of the­mat­ic con­tent dur­ing statu­to­ry events that took place this year, I think this can get big­ger and big­ger in the upcom­ing years.
What are your per­son­al AEGEE plans for 2019?
2019 will bring some awe­some things for me, like being in the Chair Team for the Ago­rae in Bucuresti and Saler­no. But I also plan to make some more progress in my stud­ies and to still make a lot of awe­some trav­els with AEGEE!
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
This year will be the first time in more than three years that I won’t be in the AEGEE-Enschede pub Aste­r­i­on on New Year’s Eve. That’s because I am cel­e­brat­ing it in Rus­sia, where I am going to attend the New Year’s event of AEGEE-Mosk­va and AEGEE-Tyu­men, which I am real­ly look­ing for­ward to!

 

Eyrin Kyriakidi, Secretary of Agora Kraków and Agora Istanbul, AEGEE-Athina

Gold­en Times: What was your per­son­al AEGEE high­light in 2018?
Eyrin Kyr­i­aki­di [laugh­ing]: Send­ing out the min­utes of Ago­ra Kraków and fin­ish­ing those of Ago­ra Istan­bul? If I had to pick only one moment, that would be dur­ing an exchange we organ­ised in Athens, see­ing peo­ple have fun and a bond­ed team of old mem­bers and new­bies get­ting to know AEGEE and meet­ing peo­ple from all over the net­work. It was a moment of inde­scrib­able ful­fil­ment — don’t ask why, I have no idea.
Which mem­o­rable moments of AEGEE-Europe in gen­er­al in 2018 do you remem­ber most vivid­ly or was out­stand­ing?
The moments that Chair­per­son Tekla Haj­du declared Ago­ra Kraków open and closed. The first one came with excite­ment and stress, the sec­ond with immense relief, after every­thing that had hap­pened! Ago­ra Kraków was event­ful, a motion against a spon­sor, a vote of con­fi­dence, rumours about every­one and every­thing. Gen­er­al­ly speak­ing, I don’t know if I was more stressed about the min­utes or about what we would have to deal with next. I also remem­ber the lit­tle moments of Ago­ra Kraków, such as “the food of AEGEE”.
Who was for you the out­stand­ing mem­ber in 2018?
When it comes to out­stand­ing peo­ple I need to men­tion the Chair Team of this year’s Spring and Autumn Ago­rae: Tekla Haj­du, Zvon­imir Can­ju­ga and Sergey Peshkov. It was a priv­i­lege to work with the most hard­work­ing and sup­port­ive peo­ple I have met! I can­not pick one or even men­tion them indi­vid­u­al­ly. I would also like to give an hon­orary shoutout to Karoli­na Lapczyk, for Spring Ago­ra Kraków, and to Luca Bisigh­i­ni, for his com­mit­ment through­out the years.
Which was for you the out­stand­ing anten­na in 2018?
AEGEE-Kraków, again, for the Ago­ra. Sec­ond­ly, AEGEE-Zagreb; they nev­er cease to amaze me with their events, pro­fes­sion­al­ism and ener­gy. Last­ly, AEGEE-Izmir, for their hard work so far and for mak­ing mem­bers of AEGEE-Athi­na feel like they are at home when­ev­er they get the chance!
What was for you the out­stand­ing Euro­pean project or WG/IG in 2018?
Undoubt­ed­ly, “Europe on Track” was the most out­stand­ing project! Well-man­aged, sig­nif­i­cant out­reach and a bond­ed team which stayed togeth­er. In addi­tion, the “Europe Café” of the Pol­i­tics Inter­est Group — and the POLIG itself — can­not be left out, since it cre­at­ed a sig­nif­i­cant plat­form for peo­ple to dis­cuss pret­ty much any­thing that is hap­pen­ing around us.
What do you fore­see as high­light or the big top­ic in AEGEE in 2019?
Sus­tain­abil­i­ty is gain­ing ground as a top­ic, as can be seen in Europe on Track, EPM Izmir, the Soci­ety and Envi­ron­ment Inter­est Group and so on. Yet, I can’t help it but feel like it is a trend in which we need to invest more as an asso­ci­a­tion so that the efforts of all the peo­ple cur­rent­ly work­ing on the project will not go to waste in a cou­ple of years. Dis­cussing any top­ic is ben­e­fi­cial, hav­ing events, being will­ing to devel­op projects. How­ev­er, I have the feel­ing that we need to push more, not with devel­op­ing more con­tent or with organ­is­ing even more events, but in incor­po­rat­ing all of the work cur­rent­ly done into our activ­i­ties; mak­ing our events — espe­cial­ly the statu­to­ry events — more sus­tain­able, mak­ing the way we func­tion green­er, and all of that while not hurt­ing the locals which strug­gle to realise all of the events and activ­i­ties. Except for sus­tain­abil­i­ty, I would say it will be POLIG’s year, with the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment elec­tions and any devel­op­ment on Brex­it. It is an oppor­tu­ni­ty for AEGEE — not only for the Euro­pean lev­el but espe­cial­ly for the locals — to recon­nect with AEGEE’s val­ues and iden­ti­ty, which we fre­quent­ly for­get, espe­cial­ly dur­ing the recruit­ment sea­son.
What are your per­son­al AEGEE plans for 2019?
Unfor­tu­nate­ly, I don’t have any. After mov­ing away from Athens I tried to remain as active as pos­si­ble. How­ev­er, it didn’t real­ly work out; nei­ther for my own local — I can only keep up with remote tasks and occa­sion­al­ly chat with the new board; nor for the local in the city that I live now — my apolo­gies. I have to admit, it was rather shock­ing to sud­den­ly step out of the AEGEE bub­ble, but it did put things in per­spec­tive, most­ly regard­ing AEGEE’s out­reach and impact over­all. How­ev­er, I do hope that dur­ing the next semes­ter I will be able to at least help out local­ly and attend the Spring Ago­ra in Bucharest. And not take min­utes.
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
I will be at work from 20:00 until 8:00. Feel free to join for emo­tion­al sup­port.

 

Laura Blake, President of AEGEE-Angers

Lau­ra Blake (right)

Gold­en Times: What was your per­son­al AEGEE high­light in 2018?
Lau­ra Blake: I made my dream come true! We found­ed AEGEE in Angers!
Which mem­o­rable moments of AEGEE-Europe in gen­er­al in 2018 do you remem­ber most vivid­ly or was out­stand­ing?
Too many good things hap­pened in 2018! When we entered the net­work of AEGEE-Europe on the 13th of June, when we offi­cial­ized our statutes at the admin­is­tra­tive cen­tre of Angers, when I was invit­ed for a lunch to rep­re­sent our asso­ci­a­tion at the city coun­cil with the may­or, when we first met Oksana, our first par­ty in Sep­tem­ber with more than 140 peo­ple, our first Net­work Meet­ing orga­nized with Paris… #Boomeran­gAreaFor­ev­er! Many good moments. But the most mem­o­rable moment was at Ago­ra Istan­bul. In front of the assem­bly of amaz­ing AEGEEans, Spy­ros hugged me after sign­ing the “Con­ven­tion d’Adhésion” and said to me “Wel­come to the fam­i­ly”. Wow.
Who was for you the out­stand­ing mem­ber in 2018?
First: Lila Quaile. For­mer Pres­i­dent of AEGEE-Paris, Euro­pean Cit­i­zen­ship Work­ing Group Coor­di­na­tor, Sub­com­mie of the Boomerang Area… At this rhythm, Lila is going to be Pres­i­dent of I-do-not-know-what-but-it-is-going-to-be-great! She did an amaz­ing job for the NWM we co-orga­nized in Novem­ber. For me, Lila is one of the out­stand­ing mem­bers of the year!
Sec­ond: Oksana Propochenko, Net­work Com­mis­sion­er. She is AEGEE-Angers’ “Euro­pean mama”, giv­ing us so much advice and love that I real­ly feel for­ev­er grate­ful to her. Oksana inte­grat­ed us direct­ly so well in the net­work… Thank you so much again for what you are doing for us and the entire net­work! Third: the girls and guys of AEGEE-Angers’ board! Bastien-Quentin-Léo­cadie-Lau­ra-Agathe-Ade­line-Thibault-Eglan­tine. Ok… It is more than one mem­ber but let’s say they are so out­stand­ing that the board has fused? Thanks to them, our orga­ni­za­tion was born and tries every day to be dynam­ic and inno­v­a­tive!
Which was for you the out­stand­ing anten­na in 2018?
I will say AEGEE-Istan­bul for the orga­ni­za­tion of the super and first Ago­ra I went to, as well as AEGEE-Mosko­va and AEGEE-Tyu­men for their award of “Best SU 2018”.
What do you fore­see as high­light or the big top­ic in AEGEE in 2019?
The Euro­pean elec­tions and the Franck Biancheri Award 2019 orga­nized in Angers!
What are your per­son­al AEGEE plans for 2019?
Con­tin­ue to have fun and try­ing to do the best that I can as Pres­i­dent of AEGEE-Angers. Our team is ambi­tious and has got new activ­i­ties planned for 2019: the Franck Biancheri Project “Imag­ine Europe in 2040” orga­nized in Angers in July, a Syr­i­an cook­ing work­shop, a mock-up of the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment with the Young Fed­er­al­ists of Angers and of course orga­nize more par­ties, try­ing to inte­grate the best that we can stu­dents from abroad in France and so on. Let’s come and vis­it us, you are real­ly wel­come in the Loire Val­ley!
How and where will you spend New Year’s night?
Unfor­tu­nate­ly I will stay in Angers, try­ing to study hard to pass my exams because I have got a lot of work as a med­ical stu­dent! Life is not always easy but I learned in 2018 that with ambi­tion and moti­va­tion, yes we can!