The Autumn Agora 2015 will be hosted by AEGEE-Kyiv – and hardly ever was there so much enthuasiam about the decision for an Agora location. The race was tough, five antennae competed for the organization of the most prestigious event in AEGEE: Beograd, Bergamo, Cluj-Napoca, Kyiv and Valletta. Never before was the interest so high in welcoming 800 or more students for the general assembly. The decision to make the Agora in Kyiv is a signal to the world: the members of AEGEE stand united behind their friends in Ukraine, who experienced an exciting and not easy year. AEGEE-Kyiv President Anna Pykhtina, on Facebook better known as Anna Smailikova: “This Agora is not only gift for AEGEE-Kyiv, but a chance to locals in Ukraine and neighboring countries!”

Anna Pykhtina (left) with Maryana Semenyak (AEGEE-Lviv) in Cagliari.

Golden Times: How do you feel about getting the Agora?
Anna Pykhtina: How do I feel?! I still remember how loud members of my local were, when they heard the final result! And many words were said by my friends and people from other locals who greeted AEGEE-Kyiv – it was amazing! It’s probably the best moment of the year, I am really happy, excited and ready to take the challenge!

Golden Times: Which importanсe has this event for AEGEE in Ukraine in this particular international conflict situation?
Anna: This event will be the reason to unite. This year’s events in the country, EuroMaidan and all the protests and consequences changed our life and the life of Ukrainian locals. Some became even more active, some unfortunately less. Therefore, as I mentioned in my speech, this Agora is not only a gift for AEGEE-Kyiv, but a chance to locals in Ukraine and neighboring countries. We were always telling and describing to our members, sponsors, governments – and parents of course – how powerful AEGEE is. And now finally we can show them!

In 2009 there was already an Agora in Kyiv. The motto also fits today: “Power for change”

Golden Times: Will there be also some thematic discussion connected to the situation in Ukraine in the Agora itself or as a pre- or post-event?
Anna: In 2015 there will be lots of discussions about the situation, as a similar topic was selected for EPM Burgos. But I believe that the content should be much wider than talking only about the situation in Ukraine. We need to discuss and share the opinions also about the importance of democracy and the active role of the young generation in creating it, about Human Rights and the need of input from all of us.

Organisers of the Kyiv Agora 2009

Golden Times: When did you get the idea for applying for the Agora?
Anna: AEGEE-Kyiv always thinks to apply for big events. So it was not only me who decided to take the challenge, but many pushes from oldies, from members. And the latest events in the country and their effect on the work of Ukrainian locals only made us surer about the utmost importance of hosting such big event. It is essential for our part of Network to prove that we can organize such statutory event as the Agora as it will be reason for a better cooperation with all target groups – members, sponsors, government and other NGOs.

Golden Times: Fundraising must be hard now. Was it easy to secure the basic support for making the event?
Anna: On one hand, fundraising now is hard as we have a crisis in Ukraine. But on the other hand, we didn’t have much support for the past year, apart from international companies represented in Ukraine. So it is like a start from the new page – nowadays the elected government has a Pro-European direction, so having the same aims, we hope for a productive cooperation!

The Chair Team of the Kyiv Agora 2009.

Golden Times: Will you also be main coordinator?
Anna: I will. But only because I have an amazing, experienced team and support of not only Ukrainian locals.

Golden Times: Anything else you would like to add?
Anna: Don’t be afraid to come to Kyiv, to Ukraine. Be afraid to stuck in the virtual reality that the media show you and blindly following it!

Read also Anna’s interview in The AEGEEan Magazine.