The spring Agora 2016 will take place in Bergamo. The date is still under confirmation, but probably it will take place in May. One of the great benefits of Agora Bergamo: the short distance to one of Europe’s major airports. Main organiser Paolo Ghisleni and AEGEE-Bergamo President Lisa Gregis told the Golden Times: “The accommodation is literally next to the airport, just three kilometers from the plane.” That will be great news after the long trip that most participants in Gijón had.

Paolo and Lisa
Paolo and Lisa

How do you feel about the news that your antenna organizes the spring Agora 2016?
We are super excited! However, this rush of feelings has been put apart quickly since right after the announcement at AgorAsturias we just waited for our members to be back. We immediately had the first Spring Agora Bergamo 2016 preparation meeting on the 6th of April! Probably we are having a meeting even now that you are reading.

You already applied last year. How did you react when you did not get it then? Was it clear that you would try again?
We never really got discouraged since we always believed strongly in our Agora project. Since the day after announcement that this autumn Agora will be in Kiev, we started to work again to make our application even better! Now everything is defined and we can put all our energies to create the best Agora ever.

Agoras map
The dominance of the South continues.

How big did you imagine your chances? After all, you had strong competitors and the last Agora in Italy was just one year ago…
We never thought that the fact that the previous Agora was in Italy could have been a problem, as well as we never got scared from the other big competitors that we had. Why? Because we prepared a very detailed project with all the locations and transports defined, a real amazing social programme and the budget fully covered. Our chances were very high also because our city is the biggest hub on the continental Europe of the most important low cost airline company; it’s the third biggest airport for number of passengers in Italy – and the 2nd and the 4th are closer to here, in Milan. So everyone can join easily. If they want, it’s possible to arrive even by bike since we are on the European bicycle route 7 – EuroVelo – that crosses all over Europe, from north to south!

AEGEE-Bergamo is looking forward to welcome you!

Did you have to put a lot of work in the new application or could you just recycle last year`s?
We had to change it because 2015 was the EXPO year that was taking places at few kilometers from Bergamo. We adapted our budget and locations, keeping in mind that a collaboration with the EXPO wasn’t anymore possible. At the end we had six more months to work on it and with that time we planned even more amazing things.

The last Agora in Italy was the spectacular Agora in Cagliari last autumn

What did you learn in Cagliari and Oviedo? Any good ideas or inspirations? Also Burgos had a spectacular organization…
We had such great times at the last statutory events, and we believe there is a plenty of best practices to learn from them. Probably it would be too long to list all the lessons we have been noting over the last months, but for sure we want to give the same wonderful feeling that the organizers of the previous Agoras were able to do: 100% AEGEE Spirit distilled!

How many people can you host?
We have planned an Agora for 1000 people at the moment. But, in case we’ll have so many applications as we expect, we are working to have enough sleeping and plenaries place to host the potentially biggest Agora ever!

2014 SU Bergamo
The famous SU beds in Bergamo 2014

That would be more than 1150 people… By the way, your antenna became famous last year for hosting SU participants in beds in a gym. Will we also get beds like that for the Agora?
Haha, unfortunately not, but we’ll have other surprises ready for the sleeping area: every participant will have an eye to the sky and the beauty of the universe. Can’t say more! But of course this summer we’re going to have still beds for all the participants at our second edition of the Summer Games: more Sun, Fun and Sport than ever!

Ryanair wikipedia Arpingstone
Ryanair has many cheap flights to Bergamo. Source: Wikipedia, Arpingstone

What about university building, other locations and logistics in general? Will it be an Agora of long distances?
The accommodation facility is literally next to the Bergamo airport, just 10 minutes by bus from it or, if you like to walk, just three kilometers from the plane. We could have done better only if we would have slept inside the airport. By now we can choose between different scenarios, so it’s up to us to decide which is the right one in order to offer the best experience to our guests. We participated to many Agorae, so we are pretty experienced about what’s the more suitable situation for the different types of participants.

Bergamo Giorces Wikipedia
Bergamo is beautiful. Soure: Giorces, Wikipedia

What about party places? I guess you have some ideas…
We’ve really a lot of ideas. We can tell you just one hint: prepare your swimming suit…

You need a lot of people for an Agora. How big is your antenna? Will you ask other Italians locals for support like Cagliari?
The Agora is an event that needs a lot of people. Our antenna has 75 members, but we will ask for sure other Italian antennae to help us to make this event even bigger. By now we received a lot of support from them and many members are already willing to be helpers in Spring Agora Bergamo 2016.