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.