Bosnia is not a blank spot on the AEGEE map anymore. AEGEE-Tuzla and AEGEE-Bihać have been added to the network at the Agora in Zaragoza. In case of Tuzla it is actually its second foundation. It was first founded in 1995, during the war. However, it did not very long, since the members could not travel easily and visiting them was very difficult even after the war was over. Now, nearly two decades later, students in the city decided to refound the antenna. „AEGEE will help in bringing unity to youth and others in our country“, says Daria Vilušić, the enthusiastic President of the new AEGEE-Tuzla.

Tuzla Map
Tuzla is a university town in the Northeast of Bosnia

Golden Times: When and how did you hear about AEGEE for the first time? 
Daria Vilušić: Sometime in April this year I’ve heard about AEGEE for the first time. A friend of mine talked to me about different student organizations – and on his incentive I decided to research this topic a little bit more. Because of all of the goals that AEGEE wants to accomplish, values that it nurtures and creative ideas, AEGEE was the one that I liked the most, the one that Tuzla needs: an organization that can definitely stimulate positive changes in our local community.

Golden Times: How many members does your AEGEE branch have now? 
Daria: In the very beginning, a team of young and motivated people gathered and gave their best to make AEGEE-Tuzla shine in its brightest colors. Considering that we just started our journey, we are happy that a lot of young people already applied to be a part of our team. Currently, we’re working on promoting AEGEE here and we’re positively surprised that the youth in Tuzla recognizes the opportunity given to them. Every day, interested and motivated students contact us to learn more about AEGEE, with a desire to join our team, and we’re happy to assist them in every way we can.

Tuzla fountain
Fountain in the old centre of Tuzla

Golden Times: Unfortunately, you couldn’t be at the Agora Zaragoza, where you were supposed to sign the Convention d’Adhesion. What happened? 
Daria: Unfortunately, because of our personal and college obligations, we couldn’t use the opportunity to explore that beautiful city with other AEGEEans, but we’re looking forward to the next meeting.

Golden Times: Is it correct that you will sign at the next Network Meeting? 
Daria: At the Agora Zaragoza, we have been approved as contact antenna. Next step is the Network Meeting in Wien where we will finally sign the Convention d’Adhesion and get a chance to meet the organization trough people that represent it. It should be one of the final pieces of our AEGEE puzzle.


Golden Times: A lot of AEGEE members reacted positively on Facebook when your AEGEE contact was announced. How does that make you feel?

Daria (smiles): Maybe it’s because of my video? Joke. I don’t know. I’m happy and fulfilled to join this great network. Facebook is a miracle. I already had a few conversations with other AEGEE members. Everyone is open and very kind and that makes you feel welcomed. Therefore, I encourage everyone to feel free and come visit us anytime they want.

Statues in the Centre of Tuzla

Golden Times: With whom are you in close contact? 
Daria: Because of the small language barriers, I’m in close contact with a Balkan based AEGEE community, especially with AEGEE-Beograd. Other AEGEE antennae that I have contact with are AEGEE-Verona and AEGEE-Malta. I hope that in the future we will get a chance to interact with a lot more AEGEE antennae.

Golden Times: Do you think many AEGEE students in your city will be interested in joining the association? After all, Bosnia is still politically a torn country.
Daria: As I mentioned before, there’s already a great interest from people to join our antenna. We’ll do our best to bring AEGEE closer to them. I think there is a lot of prejudice about Bosnia and Herzegovina. Because of the media and ignorance, a lot of false information is sent, so people get a bad picture about Bosnia. For some people this might be a shock: the war in Bosnia ended almost 20 years ago! AEGEE will help in bringing unity to youth and others in our country, will be a good example, introduce a new proactive way of acting and raise the level of self-awareness.

Flashback: in 1995 AEGEE-Tuzla was founded for the first time

Golden Times: How is the support of your university for AEGEE?
Daria: People who tried to establish AEGEE in Tuzla before me did a decent amount of work with the University of Tuzla. I want to thank them. They gave me some advice and I appreciate it. Also, they got the approval letter from the rector so I didn’t have that problems. I have no doubts that we will all work fine together.

Golden Times: What’s the first event that your antenna wants to organize? 
Daria (smiles): We want all of our members to feel welcomed and happy so we want to throw them a Welcome party as our first activity. You’ll be invited too! There will be others events as well. After presentations on all faculties at the University of Tuzla, we’ll organize different student exchanges, but we’ll save that for the next interview.

AEGEE-Tuzla Cover
The cover picture of the new AEGEE-Tuzla Facebook page

Golden Times: Can you tell us a bit about yourself? How old are you, what do you study, and what kind of hobbies do you have besides AEGEE? 
Daria: Personally, I prefer meeting people in person without doing a background check on them. That’s the reason why I don’t like to talk a lot about myself. For those that I won’t get a chance to meet, I’m Daria Vilušić, president of AEGEE-Tuzla. I always say that I study the most beautiful subjects in the world – mother language and literature. Besides AEGEE, I have been volunteering at a few NGOs for a couple of years, I write and play the guitar, I like learning from others and I hope that one day I’ll fulfill my dream to travel the world and meet all the beautiful cultures that we are surrounded with.

Golden Times: What’s the next event where we can meet you or your other members? 
Daria: Two of us will soon attend the Network Meeting in Wien. Depending on the possibilities, we’ll try to attend the other events in future too. So, see you all somewhere in Europe!

Golden Times: Is there anything you would like to add?
Daria: There is one inspiring quote from Mahatma Gandhi that I would like to share with my dear AEGEEans: “Be the change you want to see in the world.”