Chema Rueda, main organizer of the Agora Zaragoza (ZarAgora), has good news for all participants: “Plenaries, workshops and accommodation will be all in one place. So, we are not going to wake up at 5.30 in the morning.” The Agora, which will take place from 30th October until 3rd of November, will also go easy on the theme parties. “I know how it is to fly with limit space for luggage. So we are going to do something really easy to prepare.” Plus: there will be wifi at the Agora plus most probably video streaming for all AEGEE members who cannot come.

Agora Zaragoza chemaGolden Times: Chema, already 220 AEGEE members applied for the Agora in the first two weeks,  did you expect that?
Chema: Sincerely, I didn’t think about this. We know that most of the people wait till the last days to apply, so right now we find this normal. The funny thing is that during the first nine hours we received more than 60 applications, and I heard that some people were partying in their SUs and they stopped for few minutes to use their phone to send the application…

Golden Times: Do you know by heart in how many days the opening will take place?
Chema (smiles): I have a countdown clock on my laptop and I see it every day… so, if you see it you will have your answer…

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Chemas Agora clock on his computer

Golden Times: How many meetings did your organizers team already have since you got the Agora last autumn?
Chema: Many, but I cannot tell the number. If we count meetings with university, city hall, organizers, fund-raising, weekend meeting with Agora Alicante Organizers , maybe more than 40 for the moment. I was in all of them.

Golden Times: How many participants can come? And how much is the fee?
Chema: The total amount of participants will be 800. The fee is 50 Euro for people that don’t need visa and 45 Euro for people who need visa. The participants, as always, are chosen by the Chair Team, not by us. So please, do not send us thousands of emails trying to convince us to choose you.

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The Agora location, Palacio de Congresos Expo Zaragoza

Golden Times: What happens, if not accepted people will come anyway, like at the Dark Agora in Budapest last autumn?
Chema: If you want to come on your own to our marvellous city, you are always welcome, but if you are not an organizer or official participant of the event, you will not be allowed to come inside the parties or the Agora location, the Palacio de Congresos. I am sorry for this, but we have no choice for this, since there are restrictions from the contracts we have already signed, and also security reasons. It is just because we have heard that there are some people thinking on the Dark Agora concept created for Agora Budapest.

Golden Times: Your concerns are very understandable. How stressful is being main organizer?
Chema: It is not always easy to deal with. As main organizer, you need a lot of patience and Sara Alcolea is helping me a lot on this! Furthermore, I read every e-mail when I receive it because I have my Agora e-mail account configured on my mobile phone – so if I’m not at home, I can check it. One suggestion for next Agora organisers: do not do this. To reply them I always wait until I’m at home.

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Agora Zaragoza organisers meeting in Mannheim

Golden Times: How does the economic crisis affect the Agora?
Chema: Because of the crisis, fund-raising is very difficult. No one has money to collaborate, or they don’t want. But we continue working on it and are trying to find new ways to continue it in September – in August all the companies close for holidays here. The good thing is that we are having a lot of support from some people from other antennae to help us on this, so I’m convinced that, at the end, we will obtain good results. We have some good news confirmed, as, for example, special discounts only for participants who come to Zaragoza by train (Renfe) or by bus (Alsa). It has not been easy to obtain them, but we want the best for our participants!

Golden Times: What can you tell us about the Agora location?
Chema: Really everything  will be In the Palacio de Congresos Expo Zaragoza! Plenaries, workshops, meals, toilets, showers – and lodging! It has been really, really hard to get it, but after a lot of meetings we got the opportunity to rent a special area of the building to sleep there – instead of sleeping in a gym five minutes walking from there. Everything in the same building, it’s amazing. So, we are not going to wake up at 5.30 in the morning…

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The Palacio de Congresos from inside

Golden Times: Will there be wifi in the plenary and video streaming for the people at home?
Chema: In the contract we have with Palacio de Congresos Expo Zaragoza it is written that we will have free wifi for all the participants of the event inside the building. We also can say that we are working hard to have free wifi in all the city for our participants during the event. This has never been achieved before, I think! About video streaming: our IT Team is working hard on this and they are doing their best to have it with the best quality.

Golden Times: What will happen in the opening night on 30th of October?
Chema (smiles): We will have the Open Ceremony, about what I cannot tell anything, because is going to be a big surprise for all the people – participants and organizers. Only I know what is going to happen for the moment, since we are still negotiating many things. The idea is that it continues like this till 30th October.

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Agora Zaragoza 2013 organisers meet Agora Alicante 2011 organisers

Golden Times: What about the parties?
Chema: Right now, I cannot say anything about this point because there are things under negotiation, and we will announce them after we sign the contract with the different places. For the moment, I cannot confirm that we will have a European Night during the Agora; we will do our best to have it, but it is really hard to rent a place and bring your own food and drinks. Furthermore, the money we will have to organize is very limited, and before paying for a place to do the European Night we need to be sure that we can cover all the other things more urgent than this.

Golden Times: How about the party themes?
Chema: My first idea was not to have four costume parties in four nights. I know how it is to fly using low cost companies and very limit space for luggage, and I don’t like to travel with more costumes than normal clothes. For the moment I just can confirm that the first one is suit up party. At the other parties we are going to do something really easy to prepare.

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Pablo (incoming responsible) and Joni (graphic designer) looking for healthy menus for the Agora

Golden Times: Will there be many pre-events? AEGEE-Barcelona already announced one…
Chema: Yes. Just in case four nights in Zaragoza are not enough for you and you want to come earlier to Spain, you will have a few pre-events around Spain, that we will announce on our Facebook page and on our website.

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