It was an invitation. And a sign of friendship and appreciation, presented by the speaker of the provincial government of Alicante: “I hope all of you will be back and that AEGEE-Alicante will hold another Agora in our city”. These words were one of the highlights of the opening ceremony of the Agora in Alicante in the very modern Alicante Auditorium, the new cultural top venue of the city.

Most of the about 800 participants – the final number of participants is still not known – dressed up elegantly for this occasion, you could see suits, evening dresses and a lot of style.

The Agora’s main organiser Carol explained what makes this Agora so special: the support of several generations of members and several Spanish antennae, plus the huge support by the university, the city hall, the provincial government plus a long list of companies added up to a whole package. “I’d specially like to thank the oldies and AEGEE-Zaragoza, which held the last Agora here in Spain,” Carol said. Indeed: David Barco, main organiser of the Agora in Zaragoza, supported this Agora a lot. Carol ended her speech with a promise: “I promise to make this Agora unforgettable”. Felipe Timoner, president of the antenna, added that the organisation of this Agora was expressing the ideals, vision and mission of AEGEE.

When AEGEE-Europe’s president Manos Valasis entered the stage, everyone lifted his or her hands, because Manos means “hands” in Spanish. In his speech he was giving an outlook of some of the content of the Agora: “We may change the logo, we choose the next Flagship project, we may change the strategic planning of AEGEE”, he said. However, whatever the outcome of the 20 proposals of the Agora might be, more important was for him this: “You are dear friends. No one in the room is else than that.” Manos stressed that AEGEE should stop calling itself the future generation of European citizens. “We are not the future, but the present of Europe! We should be active now and put our plans in practice now!”

Finally, after all speeches, a cultural highlight was awaiting the participants. A live band on stage made people get up from their chairs and dance to Latin music. This was a perfect ending to the opening ceremony, before the participants were brought by bus up the fortress on the castle hill, where they could enjoy the view, had some coke and got a bit of food, if they were fast enough to get it. Many of them stayed hungry however, so around midnight, when the freezing participants returned to the gym, many went to grab some food from the fast food place oppsite the university first, before they went for the party.

However, one participant could not enjoy this evening. Eszter Rab, former speaker of the Network Commission, injured herself seriously in front of the gym, when she tripped and fell down. She was taken to the local hospital, where the doctors found out that her elbow was broken. A surgery is necessary. The Golden Oldie wishes Eszter sincerely all the best and hopes she’ll be healthy again soon!

More photos of the opening: