Today the GT Review of 2019 comes to an end. In case you miss someone: I might have forgot some, but not on purpose; it’s a bit difficult to keep the overview on the people active on European level. In total I asked 110 people, of which 73 sent their personal answers. Some people wrote they have no time, others did not want to send answers, again others did not reply at all. In this last edition we have a unexpected contribution: Anna Pamplona from the Silver Times shared her insights with us. Oh wait, also Hemmo de Vries from Eindhoven just sent something. Here you have them both. Enjoy!

Anna Pamplona, President of AEGEE-Bielefeld

Golden Times: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2019?
Anna Pamplona: Becoming President of AEGEE-Bielefeld, and totally acing the job! Our lovely antenna reached its 200th member this year. Coincidentally, it was Dutchie Hemmo, and he could celebrate that Bielefeld is the 10th antenna he is a member of. In spring of 2020, we will organize a very special event to celebrate this.
Which moments of AEGEE-Europe in general in 2019 do you remember most vividly or as outstanding?
The announcement of Agora Vladivostok was something I feel warm about. I think it is finally time that we as a network start accepting that they are a part of Europe too. I myself am ready to finally discover the true other side of Europe.
Who was for you the outstanding member in 2019?
This must be our glorious leader Daniel, because he managed to find time to write his own Harry Potter fan fiction, which I have read and absolutely loved, aside of his tasks as President of the Comité Directeur.
Which was for you the outstanding antenna in 2019?
I know this will be considered self-centered, but hey, that is who I am! AEGEE-Bielefeld of course! I admire them for their tremendous amounts of support to the network and several other antennae. Did you know they bought AEGEE-Bratislava in order to save them?
What was for you the outstanding European project, Working Group or Interest Group in 2019?
This must definitely be the Winter University Coordination Team! As we all know, from 2020 on, Summer Universities will stop and shift to Winter Universities. The amazing WUCT is working round the clock to get all of this in order for the next winter season! A Dutch farmer named Jan is doing a great job as Project Manager.
What is the biggest threat and biggest opportunity for AEGEE in 2020?
We should finally become truly democratic and should start our own independent republic in the Lithuania/Belarus/Poland region, as the CD has been planning for several years.
What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2020?
After long negotiations with the organizing team, I am allowed to announce that I am the first out of three ambassadors of Europe on Air 2020! In this project we will travel from AEGEE-Vladivostok to AEGEE-Reykjavik entirely by airplane and helicopters to educate young Europeans about the importance of the Climate Emergency. Off course we will bring our own plastic cups and sporks to compensate for the CO2 emissions during our trip. And there is this other plan I have, which I will keep a secret for just a bit longer – since it is Completely Different.
How and where will you spend New Year’s eve? 
I heard there is a lovely Dutchie going to the Kyïv New Year’s event. He has been both at Agora Bucuresti and Agora Salerno, which I have attended too, but I missed him on both occasions. Sadly, because I feel we have so much in common that sometimes it feels like we are one. I must meet this guy!

 

Hemmo de Vries, Silver Times, long-time member of AEGEE-Eindhoven, AEGEE-Tilburg, AEGEE-Leuven, AEGEE-Aachen, AEGEE-Düsseldorf

Golden Times: What was your personal AEGEE highlight in 2019?
Hemmo de Vries: This is going to be a bit self-centered, but it’s going to be the founding of the Silver Times. AEGEE is an amazing network of students and young Europeans, but ever since I joined I realized that sometimes people take discussions that seem to be just about “points and commas” very seriously and sometimes they even get really heated. Satire is a way to lighten the mood about a topic without disrespecting it. Plus, it is a way to stay entertained during plenary topics you may not be personally interested in. Also, the Silver Times made me a lot of new friends!
Which moments of AEGEE-Europe in general in 2019 do you remember most vividly or as outstanding?
Easy. Autumn Agora Salerno was the sixth and both the worst and the best Agora I have ever attended. Travel and sleep wise it was unfortunately the worst because of the enormous amount of bad luck the organizers had while preparing it, and I personally had some bad adventures on my way home. But, it was also the best because of the enormous AEGEE spirit it showed, especially when the European Night was cancelled and people organized their own. I was staying at the visitor’s hotel, and on the giant shared balcony there were so many doors open to rooms where people were celebrating the European Night in a unique way that only AEGEE could. On my way out to get some fresh air, I stumbled upon a disillusioned main organizer and I dragged her out to the field to show her that more than 100 people were partying there in the dark with just the headlights of a car and some bluetooth speakers for music. I told her this European night was better than any Agora hosting local could ever organize it.
Who was for you the outstanding member in 2019?
Paul van Hoorn, or as you probably know him: Pavel Janlukashvili. Many people may know him for drinking Talka and wearing his Russian hat, but I know him for basically reviving AEGEE-Brussel/Bruxelles and putting a lot of unseen effort elsewhere in the network. He is one of those silent forces that drive the network, and has been a helper for many events all over Europe.
Which was for you the outstanding antenna in 2019?
AEGEE-Bratislava. They didn’t have a new board in quite a while and basically stopped their efforts to rescue the antenna as it felt like it was no use. They were downgraded at Agora Salerno and announced their “final event”. Just a little cozy Secret Santa with the board and a few members. Then came in more than a dozen of people from all over Europe, and this is where I saw the eyes of their President light up again. These people are working really hard to give their antenna a bright future. It is not going to be an easy task, but they have my trust that they can do it.
What was for you the outstanding European project, Working Group or Interest Group in 2019?
The Safe Person project! I think that bringing people from different cultures together is an amazing benefit of our association, but it also leads to misunderstanding and different expectations. This is not specifically a problem, but when alcohol and intimacy are involved, it can become one real quick. The Safe Person is working hard to educate people from all over the network how to tackle this, and I truly believe that this project helps to make AEGEE unique in its kind, but also a great example for other organizations.
What are your personal AEGEE plans for 2020?
In German culture, there is a joke going around that the city of Bielefeld doesn’t exist and is a plot by the government. I have known this joke for years and therefore I decided that Bielefeld is the city where the fictitious founder of the Silver Times, “Anna Pamplona” is from. While doing research for this joke, I found that Bielefeld actually has a university and a lively campus. This makes Bielefeld a perfect city for AEGEE, and in 2020, I want to go there and see if I can inspire some young and enthusiastic students to start a contact! Furthermore, I want to finally visit the one country that intrigued me the most ever since I joined AEGEE, Russia. And I don’t really feel like waiting until the Agora in Moskva. Finally… there is a new project I am working on, that may even see daylight before 2020 even starts! Stay tuned.
How and where will you spend New Year’s eve? 
A wise member once told me “You will spend the year the way you started it”. So I will start it surrounded by amazing people in the city I have considered my second home ever since I first visited it: Kyïv. To everyone in the network: Have an amazing holiday season and an even more amazing 2020!

Check out all the other 72 answers in the Golden Times!

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