From 2nd to 7th of October 2018 AEGEE-Istanbul will hosts its second Agora. Up to 800 people will be able to participate. At least 800. “We are also working on expanding the capacity to 1000 if there is a need”, says main coordinator Dermansah. Among others, there will be an Action Day on the Sustainable Development Goals, coordinated by former AEGEE-Europe President and Agora Vice-Coorsinator Réka Salamon, as well as a special programm for alumni members who are curious about Turkey and the Agora. The Golden Times spoke with Dermanşah Yalın, Réka and the second Agora Vice-Coordinator Arda Özkuşaksız.

Dermansah Yalin is the main coordinator of the Agora

Golden Times: The Agora starts is 75 days. Until when is it possible to apply?
Réka Salamon: Applications for Agora Istanbul will close on 29th of July! We have many surprises prepared for the AEGEEans, and we hope these surprises will not only provide them with more information about the Agora, but also help their decision to join the event. We want to organise an Agora with 100% attendance of all AEGEE locals.

GT: How many people can you host at your Agora?
Dermanşah Yalın: We are prepared to host 800 participants. We are also working on expanding the capacity to 1000 if there is a need.

In 2010 AEGEE-Istanbul hosted its first Agora – which was the 50th of the association!

GT: AEGEE-Istanbul will host its second Agora! Is your antenna proud of this achievement?
Réka: In 2010 Istanbul was the European Capital of Culture, which gave us a lot of opportunities to host a big event like the Agora. In 2018, Turkey is very different but the same AEGEE spirit is still there! We want to use the knowledge that we gathered with the previous Agora to face the challenges we are facing in 2018. We receive a lot of support from the alumni of AEGEE-Istanbul, which also shows the power of AEGEE, and how you can belong to a real family in this organisation.

Agora Vice Coordinator Arda Özkuşaksız

GT: Why did your antenna decide to apply for the Agora?
Dermanşah: We have had a lot of different internal and external events. Because of these, we believe that we are experienced enough to handle the organizational part of an Agora so that we would like to share this with the AEGEE network. Moreover, we are very thankful for AEGEE-İzmir, AEGEE-Ankara, AEGEE-Eskişehir and other Turkish-speaking locals for their support. We would like to spread AEGEE all over Turkey together and this Agora and the next EPM in Izmir will be keys for this purpose. It is also inevitable reality not to have an Agora in the city where a lot of international events happen every year and where two continents literally connect to each other.
Arda Özkuşaksız: Another point of being together is vital: we want to spread all the motivation we have to the closer network in order to strengthen or reactivate the network. Therefore, we all together remind AEGEE and EU countries that we are still here as youth despite the politicians damaging the EU-Turkey relations.

GT: How big is your organizing team? And how is the atmosphere in your team?
Dermanşah: Our core team consists of nine people, but for the total organising team we are recruiting new helpers every day so it will be eventually around 75.

Réka Salamon (right), together with Agora Chair Tekla Hajdu and Vice Chair Zvonimir Canjuga

GT: Which are the main things that still need to be finalized in the next 75 days?
Réka: As it goes with every Agora, we have ongoing operations that will continue progressing until the event: fundraising, communications and training human resources for managing the event. We also have more workload with the extra thematic day on the Sustainable Development Goals Action Day but we are working tirelessly on creating a special learning experience for the participants of this Agora. In addition, we are also planning to organise an AEGEE alumni event parallel with the programme of the Agora. AEGEE dinosaurs, watch out for more information coming soon!

GT: Where will the plenary take place?
Dermanşah: The plenary will take place in the same place with the rest of the working rooms, on the same campus where the sleeping place is provided.

The whole Agora will tae place at the campus of the ITÜ University

GT: So I guess it will be at the ITÜ University campus in the European part of Istanbul! Will there be a good Internet during the plenary?
Dermanşah: As technology and industry in Turkey is developing and being cheap and fast considering other countries, there will be good Internet at the venue.

First glimpse of the plenary hall

GT: What about other logistics? Where will the participants sleep, where will people eat — and how close are these places to the plenary?
Dermanşah: Gym, food place and plenary place will be next to each other so that you will think you are teleported from one to another in seconds!

GT: Which organisational part makes you most proud? And which part gave you the biggest headache?
Dermanşah: The logistical part is the most important and longest work during the Agora organization. But we are proud of our work done so far. We should also say that we are proud of having good partnerships with worldwide brands such as Turkish Airlines.
Réka: I am really excited to organise the Action Day on the Sustainable Development Goals because something like this has never been done in any of the Agorae. The Action Day will be open to externals and the general public, it will host the Study & Career Fair, workshops and more surprises to come.

GT: The The opening ceremony will be at the Ocean College in Bahçeşehir. What can we expect at the opening ceremony?
Dermanşah: There is a special team working on the opening and closing ceremony. You can expect some amazing Turkish culture implemented to the ceremonies supported by some groups!

The topic sustainability will play a major role at the Agora

GT: The Agora will be very early in autumn. What will be the temperature during day and night?
Dermanşah: The weather in very early October is actually complicated. It may sometimes be rainy, cloudy or sunny. So, it is better to bring a jacket for sure. According to forecast, the weather will be approximately 20 degree Celsius.

GT: Istanbul is full of amazing sights, it’s full of history. Will there be sightseeing tours?
Dermanşah: Why not? Istanbul is so unique because of its intense history, culture, cuisine and art. I guess some participants cannot say no to them!
Réka: We have received many questions from people who would like to come a few days earlier or leave a few days after the Agora. We are assembling another team to take care of the needs of these groups and provide not only sightseeing tour opportunities but also support AEGEEans with accommodation. Tours will include everything from famous sights and cosy food places to the shopping opportunities and visiting typical Turkish places.

AEGEE-Eskisehir will host a pre-event

GT: Which pre-events or post-events do you know of? And will your antenna make one, too?
Dermanşah: There will be pre-Agora events for sure. Let’s not explain them right now and wait for the local organizers. We would also like to help local organizers in any case to make their events awesome. After all, we would like to have an unforgettable Agora even before the beginning and after the ending. We as AEGEE-İstanbul would like to organize a post event too. You will be hearing the details soon.

GT: Can you tell us a few words about AEGEE-Istanbul? How big is your antenna, what are the main events that you organise this year?
Dermanşah: AEGEE-İstanbul has right now about 40 active members and almost 80 members in total. Last November we organized “Run AEGEEan Run Vol.2” with 52 participants. As internal events, we managed to make three LTCs so far and because of the Agora we may make more. We will organize an SU with 25 participants this July named “SUnicorns are Real”. After the SU all attention will be on the Agora.

AEGEE-Istanbul is looking forward to meeting you soon!

GT: Anything else you would like to add?
Dermanşah: We hope that each participant coming to İstanbul will go back to their city with a huge smile, remembering this Agora as very unique. We want our participants to think also what the means of living in İstanbul are. Last but not least, we are having fun while organizing the Agora. So, we expect our participants also to have a lot of fun.

More info:

Of coure also the political climate in Turkey will play a role at the Agora