It was a very close race between two excellent candidates. Finally, the delegates at the Agora in Alicante decided to make Alfredo Sellitti President of AEGEE-Europe. The result: 54.1 percent in favour of CD member Alfredo Sellitti, 45.9 percent in favour of Muriel Eerkens from AEGEE-Utrecht. Starting from September, AEGEE-Europe will be in the hands of Alfredo and his new CD team. Alfredo, currently Network Director, wants to strengthen the external focus of AEGEE and to create better projects with more visible results, he told the Golden Oldie.


Golden Oldie: Alfredo, tell us a few words about yourself. How old are you, where do you come from, what did you study?

Alfredo Sellitti: I’m 25 years old, turning 26 in September. I come from Nocera Inferiore, a city between Napoli and Salerno, and I’m a member of AEGEE-Salerno as I was studying International Relations at the University of Salerno and I had my post Master degree in Diplomatic Studies in Napoli.


Golden Oldie: How did you join AEGEE?

Alfredo Sellitti: By chance. In 2005 I went in Erasmus in France. When I was back, a friend of mine told me that in Salerno there was as association dealing with Europe and European Affairs, in touch with Erasmus students and students from all over Europe.


Golden Oldie: 30th of April, 8.19 pm, the announcement of the election results in Alicante. How did you feel in that moment in time?

Alfredo Sellitti: Nervous… But strangely I started being nervous only when Percin started giving the results of the elections…


Golden Oldie: Did you have doubts that you would be elected? Did you expect the result would be so close with 54.1 percent in favour?

Alfredo Sellitti: Yes. You can never be sure, the Agora is always the Agora, and Muriel is a very good candidate. What I couldn’t expect was a so close result – I expected the Agora to vote for one of us with a bigger majority.


Golden Oldie: When did you decide to candidate?

Alfredo Sellitti: When I candidated for the CD last year I wanted to spend one year here. I don’t remember the exact moment when I decided to candidate. It started as a joke, then I started considering seriously…


Golden Oldie: How does it feel being president in waiting? And how are you preparing yourself for taking over the presidency in September?

Alfredo Sellitti: The biggest advantage of being already in the CD is that the knowledge transfer started as soon as possible. I already attended the Council of Member of the European Youth Forum, in the past I already met members of our partner organisations, and I’m discussing a lot with Manos about team management. My plan is to have our Secretary General Alma supporting me in this, while I will mostly focus on external relations.


Golden Oldie: In your candidature you said that you want to strengthen AEGEE’s external relations. Is AEGEE too much internally-focused?

Alfredo Sellitti: Exactly. Our relations with externals now are good, but not enough – for two reasons: the first is that Manos didn’t have so much time to go around, meeting relevant stakeholders, and the second is that we do not produce enough content, meaning projects with results to present to externals.


Golden Oldie: How will the external relations of AEGEE-Europe hopefully look like after your term?

Alfredo Sellitti: If the plans will work as expected, I’d finish my year with more patrons and more partner organisations, while I’m pretty confident the work carried on from this year will be successfully followed up next year giving input for more thematic actions in the network.


Golden Oldie: Which other focus areas do you have for your term?

Alfredo Sellitti: I would like to focus mainly on those two, external relations and thematic output, but my dream is to see AEGEE more involved in the civil society – contributing, discussing, even protesting when necessary. In Spain now there’s a protest going on where Spanish locals are involved. If they could have also a more systematic approach, it would be a great example for the whole Network. We are European, but we still have countries, and the political action has to be carried on on every level.


Golden Oldie: One of the big issues of the past year was the corporate identityof AEGEE. The majority likes the new design results, but there was no two-third majority, mainly due to the logo. What are your aims in the corporate identity field?

Alfredo Sellitti: I will discuss this matter with the new team and we’ll set up our goal. From my point of view, I’d like to see a clear and univocal visual identity, linked or not to an eventual new logo, even though I like the proposed one. Maybe the Strategic Plan drafting process will help in clarifying also our corporate identity as such.


Golden Oldie: Many people are concerned that AEGEE-Europe made a loss of more than 15.000 Euro for two years in a row. How do you want to turn around that?

Alfredo Sellitti: Tricky question! In AEGEE unfortunately we lack personal responsibility: AEGEE allows everybody to carry on an idea that will become a project, but the persons working for the projects are responsible only for the thematic part. For the financial part, usually linked to grants as “Youth in Action”, AEGEE-Europe is responsible, so if the project has any problem, AEGEE-Europe has a loss. We are considering already now in our CD to find a way to give more responsibilities to project managers. AEGEE is a great platform and we are here also to learn, but this shouldn’t mean that we do not take our responsibilities seriously.


Golden Oldie: Another issue is the shrinking network, partly due to the bachelor/master system. With which strategy do you want to make AEGEE grow again?

Alfredo Sellitti: Well, this is a very valid question, and I’ll have a lot of work to do with my team to find an answer. My personal idea is to work way more on our idealism, which is something left behind. I think we don’t really need a huge association with hundred of thousend of members, but rather an organisation where members are contributing to it because they really share the same ideal of Europe and wish to get involved in order to achieve it!


Golden Oldie: Currently you are Network Director. What are your biggest achievements so far in that task?

Alfredo Sellitti: Assessing the Network. Now more than 85 percent of locals fulfill nine or more antenna criteria. 24 locals were deleted since the beginning of our term, that means that currently only three antennae fulfil less than six criteria.


Golden Oldie: In case you need advice in AEGEE-Europe matters, is there someone outside your CD you turn too?

Alfredo Sellitti: I have several mentors out of my CD: Agata Patecka, former President of AEGEE-Europe; Eleonora Campione, one of my best friends and honorary member of AEGEE-Salerno; as well as some previously active members of AEGEE-Europe, such as Alfonso Giordano, Amedeo Ferrara, Luca Falcone, Ugo Simeoni… yes, it is a long list!


Golden Oldie: How do you imagine the relation with Les Anciens? How can it be improved?

Alfredo Sellitti: There”s always room for improvement. My knowledge transfer about the relation with Les Anciens started somehow at the “Back2Brussels” event in March, when I met a lot of people and talked with them. I don’t really know how to improve the relation, maybe involving more Les Anciens members in their professional life to contribute to the AEGEE dream.


Golden Oldie: Finally a few personal questions: Do you manage a good work-life balance in the CD? What are your hobbies?

Alfredo Sellitti: Once upon a time I had hobbies… really, I love reading and volleyball, I was volleyball referee before moving to Brussels. However, now I’m not paying any attention to them.


Golden Oldie: What do you want to work after finishing AEGEE?

Alfredo Sellitti: When I was finishing my studies I was sure I wanted to start the diplomatic career. Now, after living in Brussels for one year, I’m a bit re-directed. I wish to have more influence on the decisional process, more than on the implementation. I guess I’ll try to work for international organisations – perfect would be dealing with migration, as it is my field of studies.


Golden Oldie: As a child, what did you dream to be your future job after growing up?

Alfredo Sellitti: Eheh… don’t laugh, but since I was five years old I wanted to become President of the Republic.


Golden Oldie: What are you most afraid of?

Alfredo Sellitti: Hard question. Being idealistic. I’m afraid to wake up from my idealistic dream and realise that I failed.


Golden Oldie: What’s never missing in your fridge?

Alfredo Sellitti: Mortadella!


Golden Oldie: How would you describe yourself in five keywords?

Alfredo Sellitti: Charismatic, Stubborn, Determined, Brilliant, Smart, Crazy!