Poli­na Kha­pae­va from AEGEE-Sankt-Peter­burg has been real­ly active since she joined AEGEE in 2016, being pres­i­dent of her local for two years, mem­ber of the Youth Devel­op­ment Work­ing Group and the AEGEE-Acad­e­my. Now she’s ready to take the next step — at Ago­ra Kraków she runs for Net­work Com­mis­sion­er.

Lisa Greg­is: Why do you think you are the best per­son in this orga­ni­za­tion to join the Net­Com?
Poli­na Kha­pae­va: I’m not the best per­son for sure, but I have a lot of moti­va­tion, some expe­ri­ence and big pas­sion for AEGEE. And I will com­bine these all to be a good mem­ber of the Net­Com.

Why do you think the Net­Com would be the right next step in your AEGEE Career?
My AEGEE career — if I could call it like this — seems pret­ty log­i­cal for me: I became super-excit­ed about AEGEE after my first SU and decid­ed to be an orga­niz­er of our win­ter event. Then I start­ed my first term as pres­i­dent, I orga­nized an SU, I joined the Youth Devel­op­ment Work­ing Group. After­wards I ran for a sec­ond term as a pres­i­dent, I joined the AEGEE-Acad­e­my and now I feel that I’m ready for the next step. At every stage I had peo­ple who inspired me to go to the next lev­el and now I want to inspire locals to do every­thing they can and even more.

Can you give us some exam­ples of how would you imple­ment the “dic­ta­tor­ship style” and the “democ­ra­cy style” of man­age­ment with locals that you men­tioned in your pro­gramme?
I knew that I should’ve been more accu­rate with these words. (Poli­na laughs) I am always ready to lis­ten to sug­ges­tions, ideas and under­stand the con­crete sit­u­a­tion which is hap­pen­ing. I want to imple­ment this behav­ior into my work with the locals. And also I don’t want to be just a nom­i­nal Net­Com only with boards know­ing about my exis­tence: I real­ly want to know the mem­bers of the locals. This is part of my “democ­ra­cy style”. And about “dic­ta­tor­ship”: I hope I don’t need to use it. Ok, maybe with month­ly reports. (Poli­na smiles)

How do you imag­ine could be a day in the life of a Net­work Com­mis­sion­er?
Should it be dif­fer­ent from a day of not being a Net­work Comis­sion­er? Just a lot of com­mu­ni­ca­tion, reminders and fun as usu­al.

How would you plan to work with a team of peo­ple who might not share your views on almost every­thing?
I will try to find a com­pro­mise between a democ­ra­cy and dic­ta­tor­ship style.

What would be your strat­e­gy to face the decreas­ing num­ber of locals?
My aim is to focus on exist­ing locals and not on found­ing new once. So I plan to work with locals on top­ics relat­ed to their sur­vival and devel­op­ment such as Human Resources, Pub­lic Rela­tions and acti­vat­ing mem­bers.

Describe what locals are to you and how do you imag­ine your rela­tion­ship with them?
Locals for me are babies of dif­fer­ent age, back­ground and behav­iour with their own views and goals. So the best is to find a per­son­al key with every­one to build a close rela­tion­ship.

What is your vision of AEGEE in five years?
To be a well-known organ­i­sa­tion around Europe, focused on youth devel­op­ment and the­mat­ic projects where every per­son can find space for growth.

Questions from the Network

Ques­tion one: Many can­di­dates, espe­cial­ly those for CD, men­tioned in their pro­gram 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 Strate­gic Plan?
From my point of view this ques­tion is a lit­tle bit in advance. It’s like to ask a cook what dish he wants to make before he knows all the ingre­di­ents. There is a lot that I need to know about locals, what is rel­e­vant for them, which top­ics or which types of activ­i­ties. And only after this phase there could be a con­crete plan.

Ques­tion two: What do you think about the anten­na cri­te­ria pro­pos­al pro­posed by CD?
I do not per­son­al­ly agree with reg­is­tra­tion of Con­tact Anten­nae before approval. About every­thing else: this is an inter­est­ing pro­pos­al and at the same time with this scheme AEGEE needs a real­ly strong and wise Net­Com and Net­work Direc­tor because there is a lot of pow­er and respon­si­bil­i­ty. And ok, even if it doesn’t work and we’ll see in a year that there is a need for next changes, why not? Now we are not fac­ing the best sit­u­a­tion with locals’ devel­op­ment and def­i­nite­ly we need to change some­thing. Anten­na cri­te­ria are not the main tools in such changes but it’s one of the steps.

Writ­ten by Lisa Greg­is, AEGEE-Berg­amo

You can read Polina’s full can­di­da­ture here.