Aydin Mehdiyev gath­ered local expe­ri­ence as Pres­i­dent of AEGEE-Baki and made his first inter­na­tion­al steps in the East­ern Part­ner­ship Project and the Youth Devel­op­ment Work­ing Group. At Spring Ago­ra Kraków he will be one of sev­en can­di­dates for six open Net­work Com­mis­sion­er posi­tions for the term 2018/19.

Gun­nar Erth: Aydin, how would you describe your­self in five key­words?
Aydin Mehdiyev: AEGEEan, hard­work­ing, respon­si­ble, devel­op­er, inno­v­a­tive.

Net­work Com­mis­sion­ers must know AEGEE inside out, but your expe­ri­ence on Euro­pean lev­el is lim­it­ed. You haven’t been to an Ago­ra, EPMs or Net­work Meet­ings, only attend­ed SUs and events in Baku. Why don’t you gain more Euro­pean expe­ri­ence first, for exam­ple as Sub­com­mis­sion­er?
To tell the truth I can­not say that I know AEGEE inside out by heart, but I know many things. The rea­son not to attend Ago­ras, EPMs and NWMs was because of my stud­ies; I must attend the lessons in uni­ver­si­ty. Nev­er­the­less, I was watch­ing videos from the social net­works, read­ing about the pro­ce­dures and changes, thus I trust in my AEGEE knowl­edge. More­over, cur­rent­ly I am in the East­ern Part­ner­ship Project and was part of Youth Devel­op­ment Work­ing Group Month task force. I was work­ing on the issues that are relat­ed to our local with our Net­Com­mie Spy­ros Papadatos very active­ly. He vis­it­ed my local and I had a knowl­edge trans­fer. More­over, one of AEGEE-Baki’s mem­ber is the Sub­com­mis­sion­er of Evrim Emiroglu. For most issues the three of us worked togeth­er a lot.

Your pro­gramme on the AEGEE serv­er is only three lines long and main­ly about your­self, while oth­er can­di­dates pre­sent­ed many con­crete ideas. Why is it so short?
At the time I decid­ed to apply we were orga­niz­ing the Inter­na­tion­al Youth Fes­ti­val Novruz in Baku and the dead­line was fin­ish­ing. I have a lot more to say than I wrote there. I will try to update my appli­ca­tion as soon as pos­si­ble, though I am so busy with work­ing for AEGEE nowa­days.

Which pre­cise area of the net­work you would like to take care of? Locals in Azer­bai­jan, Geor­gia, Arme­nia, Turkey, south­ern Rus­sia? Or oth­ers?
I have not decid­ed yet, but I am flex­i­ble and I can adapt based on the needs of the net­work and pref­er­ences of the local.

You wrote that you want “to devel­op the locals with dif­fer­ent strate­gies”. Can you elab­o­rate on the dif­fer­ent strate­gies you would apply?
I want to encour­age mem­bers to be active in dif­fer­ent ways, make the peo­ple of the city be aware­ness of the local, to let the mem­bers work on dif­fer­ent projects on local or Euro­pean lev­el; I will offer a new local struc­ture which is designed for obtain­ing AEGEE expe­ri­ence while work­ing in a local and oth­er bod­ies. I will explain my ideas in more depth dur­ing my pre­sen­ta­tion at Ago­ra Kraków.

AEGEE needs more Euro­pean projects and the­mat­ic con­fer­ences. Which top­ics would you sug­gest and moti­vate locals to turn into events?
So, in gen­er­al my offer is to acti­vate the inter­est groups more, or devel­op new ones. I want to help cre­at­ing inter­est groups in the locals. The mem­bers first will build them in their local; if they are suc­cess­ful then they can push for­ward on the Euro­pean Lev­el. As top­ics, cur­rent­ly AEGEE does not have all top­ic areas where young peo­ple can gain expe­ri­ence for their future, as every­one is study­ing dif­fer­ent fields. I would sug­gest: First Aid, Sus­tain­abil­i­ty, Urban Devel­op­ment, Psy­chol­o­gy, more project man­age­ment and fundrais­ing con­fer­ences, IT, tech­nol­o­gy, to launch a Win­ter Uni­ver­si­ty like the Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ty, events based on local hol­i­days and tra­di­tion and more.

Your own anten­na was down­grad­ed due to issues that hap­pened sev­er­al years ago. How as Net­com would you have pre­vent­ed this? And what did this expe­ri­ence taught you that can be use­ful for your work as Net­com?
For upgrad­ing the local must ful­fil the anten­na cri­te­ria, besides we had inter­nal board prob­lems. Fol­low­ing all steps and hav­ing an alum­ni club was the key for upgrad­ing our local again. The alum­ni club takes care of the local when inter­nal prob­lems hap­pens. Also before being board mem­ber, I worked and helped board mem­bers so that I could apply a good sys­tem. The new board oper­ates well. How­ev­er, for upgrad­ing you need to find all required doc­u­ments and con­tact each com­mit­tee active­ly, which I was doing. How I would have pre­vent­ed it? I would have trav­elled to the local which has prob­lem and talk with the board and the mem­bers about the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion; so I would help them to get upgrad­ed in accor­dance with the CIA. Actu­al­ly, as I have been work­ing with my Net­Com­mie, this expe­ri­ence made me apply for the Net­work Comis­sion.

How can you organ­ise a Net­work Meet­ing with­out hav­ing attend­ed one?
Orga­niz­ing an event or deliv­er­ing ses­sions is not hard for me as, I have been doing it for almost five years. Regard­ing the NWM: I have read and talked to peo­ple about it, fur­ther­more, while prepar­ing it I will get advice from expe­ri­enced AEGEEans.

How would the pro­gramme of the per­fect Net­work Meet­ing look like?
The per­fect NWM would most­ly con­sists of work­shops and ses­sions. How­ev­er, I think the social pro­gramme is also an impor­tant part of it, to let the peo­ple social­ize. Com­ing to work­shops and ses­sions, they most­ly should be relat­ed to the top­ic of the NWM. I would start it with a SWOT analy­sis of the relat­ed top­ic in AEGEE. More­over, the impor­tant parts of the NWM should be fundrais­ing, human resources and sim­i­lar fields — and also how to make train­ings and the­mat­ic con­fer­ences, the struc­ture of com­mis­sions, com­mit­tees, non-for­mal edu­ca­tion stuff and oth­er things. In my opin­ion, the ben­e­fit of attend­ing an NWM is to devel­op your­self or to find ways how to devel­op the local.

The net­work is shrink­ing. It’s impor­tant to found new ones. Where in your area would you help seed­ing con­tacts? Please name some cities and explain why.
I am open to work with any area. How­ev­er, I would men­tion Nicosia in Cyprus, Koben­havn in Den­mark and Vin­ni­tysia in Ukraine; these locals have dif­fer­ent oppor­tu­ni­ties. For instance, Koben­havn is the one local in Den­mark which can get the atten­tion of all Dan­ish youth; Nicosia is in an island so it has great oppor­tu­ni­ty to orga­nize AEGEE events, espe­cial­ly it can have a coop­er­a­tion with AEGEE-Magusa; and Vin­nit­syia has oppor­tu­ni­ties based on the fact that AEGEE is one of the best-known youth orga­ni­za­tions of Ukraine, with six locals if I am not mis­tak­en. Of course these are not all oppor­tu­ni­ties, how­ev­er, I should keep my answers short.

Questions from the network

Ques­tion 1: In your pro­gramme, you basi­cal­ly only men­tion how you would ben­e­fit from being in Net­Com. How would the locals ben­e­fit if you are elect­ed?
I came this way through the dif­fi­cul­ties of my local had, which were real­ly com­plex to solve for me. In a very active sup­port­ive way the locals will get ben­e­fit from my expe­ri­ence. Fur­ther­more, the strate­gies I men­tioned before would be the most ben­e­fi­cial for them. I applied to work in and for AEGEE.

Ques­tion 2: Many can­di­dates, espe­cial­ly those for CD, men­tioned in their pro­gramme that they want to bring the the­mat­ic part of the asso­ci­a­tion clos­er to the locals, but yet you didn’t men­tion in yours any­thing relat­ed to that. What are your plans to do push locals a bit to organ­ise local activ­i­ties relat­ed to the Action Agen­da and the Strate­gic Plan?
As I men­tioned before, there are some plans to do good stuff about it. But first­ly the local should answer the ques­tion: why it is so? What’s the prob­lem? There­fore before every­thing I would search for it, encour­age board to make some research on it. I have done it in my local so it basi­cal­ly start­ed to work. I have tried dif­fer­ent stuff, expe­ri­enced it in my local, some of it worked, some not. But with­out research to apply the same things to anoth­er locals would not be the right action, because peo­ple are dif­fer­ent. After find­ing out the rea­sons with the board of the local I can work on it.

Ques­tion 3: What do you think about the anten­na cri­te­ria pro­pos­al pro­posed by CD?
I think there is not too much dif­fi­cul­ty, that while upgrad­ing my local to anten­na lev­el, I had hard­ships in find­ing the past years doc­u­ments. It is quite fair, but I think the activ­i­ty of the local should be tak­en into account.

Check Aydin’s pro­gramme here.