Who is the AEGEE member of the year 2019? Which antenna, which project was the best? What were the highlights of the year? And what will 2020 bring? The Golden Times asked more than 80 locally or Europeanly active members. In this edition: read what Aynur Hasanzadeh, Daniel Cervera, Marga Arbina, Nacho Argüelles, Anastasiia Gryn and Ruben Verboon said.

Aynur Hasanzadeh, Civic Education Working Group Coordinator, AEGEE-Leiden

Golden Times: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2019?
Aynur Hasanzadeh: My personal AEGEE highlight was for sure the moment I got elected as the coordinator of the Civic Education Working Group during Agora Bucharest. I was candidating with two others, which made it very challenging. I still remember the question line after our presentations; so long. I did not expect that at all!
Which moments of AEGEE-Europe in general in 2019 do you remember most vividly or as outstanding?
This is a difficult question because AEGEE Europe is full of outstanding memories for me. However, I know that many AEGEEans are remembering me from Agora Bucharest. Surprisingly, at every event, there is always someone starting a conversation with me about the Agora in Bucharest.
Who was for you the outstanding member in 2019?
I would like to nominate our Civic Education Working Group team of 2018-2019. Especially Julia who encouraged, motivated and helped me a lot this year. Thanks to her support I am now in her shoes. Also, our CD responsible of 2018-2019 Monika Mojak is for me the outstanding member of 2019! I only saw Julia in real life during Agora Bucharest, however Monika was present at every event to support the CEWG even though she had and still has incredible amount of work. I am more than happy that I have been able to work with her. She is such an amazing contribution to AEGEE.
Which was for you the outstanding antenna in 2019?
This is probably not really objective, but I think AEGEE-Leiden deserves this title! As I am travelling around a lot for the CEWG and I am in touch with different locals, members, I see how special AEGEE-Leiden is both at local and European level. We are doing a great job and could serve as an example local. I remember someone telling me how envious she was of AEGEE-Leiden. Because we were always present in large numbers during statuary events wearing all green! Furthermore, during the NWM Isparta I really liked to see how AEGEE Isparta has developed in such a short time!
What was for you the outstanding European project, Working Group or Interest Group in 2019?
Oh gosh, is it fair to name CEWG after mentioning AEGEE-Leiden as the outstanding local as well? Okay, the projects related to elections such as Y Vote but also Election Observation project have done a great work regarding this year’s elections. Their contribution is really valuable because they have the ability to put AEGEE in the highlights by the externals.
What is the biggest threat and biggest opportunity for AEGEE in 2020?
I am still sad about the visa situation that the CD is facing at the moment. This is the biggest challenge to our association which is threating our mission and vision at its core – namely, borderless Europe. At the same time, we are entering a new term with our Strategic Plan 2020-2023. I am really curious about the outcomes of EPM Barcelona. Hopefully, we will get the most out of it for AEGEE!
What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2020?
We have many things ahead as CEWG! Implementing the Action Agenda as CEWG coordinator will be my priority until the end of summer. One of my dreams, having a Model European Parliament of AEGEE, organised by all Working Groups together, is coming true this year as well. I wish to continue with developing this event in the future years too as Model European Union. Furthermore, I hope to work on the EuroArab project officially when my term as CEWG coordinator ends. We just kicked off with a geographically diverse team of ten members all strongly connected to the Middle East. Last, but not least, I am gathering a small group of students to establish a new AEGEE local. Let’s see if we will manage it until the Agora Yerevan.
How and where will you spend New Year’s eve? 
With my family and friends in the Netherlands.

 

Daniel Cervera, SMASH Core Team, Netcom Subcommissioner, AEGEE-Las Palmas

Golden Times: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2019?
Daniel Cervera: My AEGEE highlight in 2019 was the Safe Person Training in Tbilisi, where I learned a lot and I shared a special week with 17 wonderful trainers and participants. During this training, I saw how sexual harassment affects our organization and I decided to work on it.
Which moments of AEGEE-Europe in general in 2019 do you remember most vividly or as outstanding?
My most special moment of AEGEE was during the last Agora in Salerno. In the last day, the CD recognized the work of all European bodies creating a line of active people on the European level.  It was a great way to show to the Agora all people working for the organization.
Who was for you the outstanding member in 2019?
First, I want to recognize Danïel Amesz. Our president has put the problem of sexual harassment in AEGEE on the top of his work and his candidature. Second, Adrian Guerrero. He was working with me as Subcommissioner of the Netcom and he was the main organizer of the NWM León, being the main responsible for the content and the logistics. And third, I have to say, María Ballesteros. She is not a member of AEGEE anymore but she is one of the best trainers I have ever seen and she has been helping me a lot when I was a Safe Person, especially during the Summer University. We need more people like them in AEGEE.
Which was for you the outstanding antenna in 2019?
It is the easiest question: AEGEE-Alicante. This year I have been three times there and I can say that they make everything with love. I cannot wait to see Agora Alicante in the future.
What was for you the outstanding European project, Working Group or Interest Group in 2019?
SMASH/Safe Person: this project changed my life in AEGEE and made me more active and more involved. Now, I can say that I see the world in a different way.
What is the biggest threat and biggest opportunity for AEGEE in 2020?
The biggest threat is the lack of active people. And the opportunity is, with the new Focus Areas we can connect better with the problems of the Youth in Europe.
What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2020?
I want to continue working with the Safe Person project in order to get a safer space for all our members. Let’s see if I have more time for other projects.
How and where will you spend New Year’s eve? 
With my family! I live far away from my home, in the Canary Islands, and I will spend all Christmas being with them.

 

Marga Arbina Martinez, EPM Barcelona Content Manager, ERWG member, AEGEE-Oviedo

Golden Times: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2019?
Marga Arbina Martinez: This has to be my first Agora – Autumn Agora Salerno. Yes, I know what you are thinking, after more than three years that was your first Agora? But unfortunately yes, due to different reasons I was unable to attend the previous ones, which is a pity, cause I really, really loved it. I am eagerly looking forward to Agora Yerevan!
Who was for you the outstanding member in 2019?
First of all, I should mention Nacho Argüelles. He was my mentee two years ago and now he is the one answering my AEGEE-related questions… He has ended his term as PR and FR Responsible in AEGEE-Oviedo and has become the new Vice-President, putting a lot of effort in attracting new members and make them active. He was also Subcommissioner of the Juridical Commission, member of the Human Resources Committee and the Academy and part of the Safe Person project. Apart from that, also the work that Tamara Álvarez from AEGEE-Alicante is doing is remarkable. She is a member of the Equal Rights Working Group, she was part of the gender watch project during the last Agora, she is very active at the local level and she was one of the organisers of the SMASH training for trainers. Last but not least, Isabel Santos, our former Netcommie. She has been active both on the local and European level, she was one of the organisers of the Summer University Project School Valladolid that I attended last year, she was part of the local board too and she even found time to study… I want to know her secret, hahaha.
Which was for you the outstanding antenna in 2019?
One of them is AEGEE-Malaga, despite being a really new antenna they have organised an RTC along with AEGEE-Alicante and they have also made a Summer Event. I am sure they will do great thing in the future. The other one has to be AEGEE-Barcelona, they are doing an amazing job to make the next EPM unforgettable, and I am sure it will be.
What was for you the outstanding European project, Working Group or Interest Group in 2019?
Without any doubt the SMASH project. I think it is really important to have made such a project so that we can tackle sexual harassment inside AEGEE and hopefully reduce it. It is a pity that it only lasted for one year. But we have some amazing trainers that have been trained so that more people can become Safe Persons in the future and make this association a safer place for everyone.
What is the biggest threat and biggest opportunity for AEGEE in 2020?
It is obvious that AEGEE is not living its best moment and every year less and less people want to become involved on the European level, as it became clear in Agora Salerno. I think this is one of the biggest threats that our association is facing right now.
What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2020?
Right now I am focusing specially on the EPM, and of course I will continue working on the Equal Rights Working Group until the term ends. After that, who knows… I still have no future plans regarding my studies so I can’t think about AEGEE plans, but I would like to continue to be involved on the European level somehow.
How and where will you spend New Year’s eve? 
I will celebrate it in my hometown with my family. I will of course follow the Spanish tradition of eating twelve grapes, and afterwards I will party with my friends.

 

Nacho Argüelles, AEGEE-Academy, Vice-President of AEGEE-Oviedo

Golden Times: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2019?
Nacho Argüelles: 2019 has been a roller coaster full of wonderful AEGEE experiences and discoveries. One of my personal highlights was representing our organization at the General Assembly of the Spanish Youth Council, which was indeed a great responsibility but also an opportunity to engage with youth workers and activists from all over the country. I also can’t help but mention the Summer University Project School Valladolid, as it turned to be an unforgettable event that encouraged me to keep getting involved in AEGEE and led me to meet amazing people I can call friends today.
Which moments of AEGEE-Europe in general in 2019 do you remember most vividly or as outstanding?
The Opening Ceremony of Autumn Agora Salerno was a very emotional moment for me. Being with hundreds of AEGEEans from all over Europe reunited at the same place for the same reason really touched my heart.
Who was for you the outstanding member in 2019?
There are some members I really look up to and find incredibly inspiring. Among them, I must mention Isabel Santos from AEGEE-Valladolid for her excellent work as NetCom and Daniel Cervera from AEGEE-Las Palmas for his commitment and strong values. Also, I want to give a shout-out to the board of The Academy, you are doing an amazing job!
Which was for you the outstanding antenna in 2019?
I reckon AEGEE-Alicante has been a consistent antenna throughout the entire year. They have organized many good-quality European events such as an RTC, the Europe on Track Conference, a Summer University… Plus, I had the chance to attend the SMASH T4T in Alicante and it was by far the best event in terms of logistics and organization I have ever been to. The organizers’ team was very professional, caring and made everyone feel at home. AEGEE-Alicante has become a model and an example of how things should be done for the whole network.
What was for you the outstanding European project, Working Group or Interest Group in 2019?
I am very satisfied with how great both the reception and the development of the Safe Person project have been. I am extremely proud of AEGEE being a true pioneer among the student associations in Europe in matters of tackling sexual harassment and inclusion and I believe we are going in the right direction.
What is the biggest threat and biggest opportunity for AEGEE in 2020?
This a tricky question. I think we should keep working on funded projects, trainings, and thematic events as they may represent a big opportunity to increase our visibility and exposure. On the other hand, the main threat we will have to face is the decline of members and locals.
What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2020?
I go with the flow! You never truly know where AEGEE will lead you to, but that is part of its charm after all, right?
How and where will you spend New Year’s eve? 
My destination is still unknown. Definitely somewhere in Europe.

 

Anastasiia Gryn, EQAC Team, AEGEE-Paris

Golden Times: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2019?
Anastasiia Gryn: After four years in AEGEE I was ready to finish this page of my life, but AEGEE has surprised me one more time with the amazing Events Quality Assurance Committee renewal program. And here I go: again motivated and ready to rock it!
Who was for you the outstanding member in 2019?
Outstanding members of this year for me are Network Director Oksana Prokopchenko with her never ending energy and amazing ability to motivate people as well as Sergey Peshkov from the ITC for the events calendar creation! By the way: don’t hesitate to check it out on the MyAEGEE platform:   https://my.aegee.eu/calendar.
Which was for you the outstanding antenna in 2019?
Definitely AEGEE-Salerno for the Agora, but also AEGEE-London and AEGEE-Paris with their rise of their activity and new motivated boards, ready to impress the whole AEGEE network.
What was for you the outstanding European project, Working Group or Interest Group in 2019?
I would like to name the incredible work of the ITC, which is developing the MyAEGEE platform, helps us to move to GSuite and to have the best working tools to achieve our goals.
What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2020?
I plan to concentrate my energy on the European level, and to do my best to make AEGEE Events great again with our EQAC team!
How and where will you spend New Year’s eve? 
I will go home to Kyiv to spend New Year with my lovely family, so it is going to be a cosy family celebration. However, if some AEGEEans are by chance coming to my beautiful city – I would be happy to show them around!

 

Ruben Verboon, Member of Team Chapel, AEGEE-Utrecht

Golden Times: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2019?
Ruben Verboon: 2019 was once again a year with many great events and memorable moments. Two events however stood out the most for me. The Transsiberian Dream Vol. 11 and the European School on Leadership. I cannot chose one of them as the single highlight as they are so different but both so special to me.
Who was for you the outstanding member in 2019?
It is always difficult to just name a few outstanding members. However I didn’t have to think for too long for it this time. For me the most outstanding members were: Philipp Blum, Ekaterina Nemova and Lisette Mijnen. Philipp for managing the Y Vote project for the last two year with amazing final results. Katya – and the rest of the Agora Moskva team – for going through hard times during Agora Bucuresti, but not letting go of their dreams. Working through great difficulties, finalizing the Agora application during Transsib and making the first Agora in Moskva a reality! And Lisette for managing the Y Vote conference and Speak Europe festival in Utrecht. She went to great lengths and pushed all the limits to transform what started as a tiny idea into a great event.
Which was for you the outstanding antenna in 2019?
The one outstanding antenna I have had nothing but respect for this last year is AEGEE-Bucuresti. They did what no one else wanted and could do. They took the nearly impossible challenge to organise an Agora in a bit more than half a year.
What was for you the outstanding European project, Working Group or Interest Group in 2019?
There is only one project that immediately came to my mind, Y Vote!
What is the biggest threat and biggest opportunity for AEGEE in 2020?
The biggest threat and opportunity at the same time is the new Strategic Plan. A strong and good implementation will give AEGEE a good direction to work on for the next years and will benefit the organisation in many ways. The threat is however that once again the same happens to it as to the last Strategic Plans. Great ideas, but no actions. I am confident though that with the Strategy Committee we can really make the new Strategic Plan thrive.
What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2020?
As always I have too many plans and too little time. I will be working with the Strategy Committee on the new Action Agenda as well as the implementation and dissemination of the new Strategic Plan. I will also help in the drafting of the new Strategic Plan of AEGEE-Utrecht, and furthermore work  on bringing AEGEE-Utrecht to the next level.
How and where will you spend New Year’s eve? 
I will be celebrating this New Year in Utrecht together with friends I made through AEGEE!

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