Refik Barış Özçe­lik took his first steps on the Euro­pean lev­el of AEGEE as Con­tent Man­ag­er of the Events Qual­i­ty Assurence Com­mit­tee (EQAC). The 19-year old mem­ber of AEGEE-Izmir will present his can­di­da­ture as Net­work Com­mis­sion­er at Ago­ra Kraków.  Check his inter­view!

Eri­ka Bet­tin: Can you please intro­duce your­self, your life in and out AEGEE, your pas­sions?
Refik Barış Özçe­lik: I am a 19-years old boy, born and raised in Izmir, study­ing busi­ness admin­is­tra­tion at Ege Uni­ver­si­ty. I joined AEGEE one and a half year ago. I always aim for suc­cess and I think this quite defines me both in and out of AEGEE. And I love pup­pies.

Why do you think that the Net­work Com­mis­sion is the right place for you?
I decid­ed to apply for the Net­work Com­mis­sion because I think it is one of the most inter­est­ing and amaz­ing jobs in AEGEE. I am over excit­ed about that and I believe that I have the capac­i­ty to ful­fil this duty. I have strong com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills and a vision to improve the Net­work. I know I still have to learn tons of things, but I am con­fi­dent I will over­come this duty.

You were nev­er a Sub­com­mis­sion­er of the Net­work Com­mis­sion. Do you think that didn’t work­ing with the Net­com of your Area can be a minus in terms of knowl­edge trans­fer?
I didn’t apply as Sub­com­mi­sion­er because when I was work­ing for EQAC, my Net­work Com­mis­sion­er cou­ple was Evrim Emiroglu and I was respon­si­ble for her locals so I had the chance to work with her already. Also, I worked close­ly with my Net­work Com­mis­sion­er for NWM Izmir and, if I get elect­ed, we will keep work­ing togeth­er until Evrim’s term fin­ish­es

You are famil­iar with the work of BEST, one of our most known part­ner orga­ni­za­tion. Do you think that your work with this organ­i­sa­tion can be ben­e­fi­cial for the devel­op­ment of a local? If yes, how would you put in prac­tice your knowl­edge of BEST?
On the local lev­el it’s always good to have a part­ner that helps, even if the main focus areas of these orga­ni­za­tions are dif­fer­ent. It means you have the dou­ble amount in human pow­er, legal pow­er and you can share the strengths of the orga­ni­za­tions. For exam­ple, we are always invit­ing IT respon­si­bles from BEST because they have more knowl­edge than us and we are send­ing them train­ers or giv­ing them train­ings about orga­ni­za­tion skills. It’s a win-win sit­u­a­tion. Also, I worked with oth­er exter­nal orga­ni­za­tions and my goal is cre­at­ing a pool of train­ers with such orga­ni­za­tions. I also want to expand my rela­tions and com­mu­ni­ca­tion with oth­er orga­ni­za­tions from each city that I will rep­re­sent and cre­ate long-term rela­tions to help locals improve.

How do you think that being the main organ­is­er of NWM Izmir pre­pared you for the Net­com?
I wouldn’t say this pre­pared me to be a Net­work Com­mis­sion­er. But if I get elect­ed I have to orga­nize two more Net­work Meet­ings, so this expe­ri­ence is giv­ing me con­fi­dence and knowl­edge about upcom­ing NWMs. Even the fact that I was an orga­niz­er I attend­ed the whole train­ing and I also helped my Net­work Com­mis­sion­er Evrim to pre­pare the book­let. I know Netcom’s duty is prepar­ing the con­tent of NWM, but it will help when I have to work with locals who have not organ­ised an NWM before. In that sit­u­a­tion I will work with the locals and I will help and sup­port them as much as I can.

In what way can you con­tribute when speak­ing about LTCs in your pro­gramme? Please be more spe­cif­ic than using only “my expe­ri­ence”.
As I men­tion in my pro­gram “I orga­nized three LTC so I will help as much as I can for LTCs”. The rea­son that I wrote that was that some of the locals are strug­gling to make a Local Train­ing Course; the rea­son behind that is the lack of expe­ri­enced mem­bers or basi­cal­ly they are strug­gling to find train­ers. For that, as I men­tioned, I am look­ing for­ward to get­ting con­tact with exter­nals and mem­bers from oth­er locals to revise the LTC for bet­ter train­ing and edu­ca­tion. I will try to advise locals dif­fer­ent­ly accord­ing to their sit­u­a­tion and I will be there to help them to make it hap­pen actu­al­ly. And if the new inter­nal edu­ca­tion strat­e­gy gets approved in Kraków I would love to work togeth­er with oth­er Net­work Com­mis­sion­ers, HRC and Acad­e­my about that top­ic.

You want to cre­ate a train­ing pro­gram only for board mem­bers. How will you make it dif­fer­ent from all the train­ings that there are in AEGEE? How would you struc­ture the train­ing?
The train­ing will be focused on knowl­edge trans­fer about what will be the obsta­cles that the board mem­ber will face dur­ing their term besides their role. We will try to inspire the board mem­bers with the expe­ri­enced mem­bers of the area and dis­cuss what they can do about knowl­edge and trans­fer the expe­ri­ences to the next board at the end of their term. Besides that, the train­ing pro­gram includes a trainer’s train­ing, because the board mem­bers will direct­ly affect the whole area. They need to learn how to be actu­al­ly train­er so in that pro­gram they will learn a lot and imple­ment it to their local.

Describe what locals are to you and how do you imag­ine your rela­tion­ship with them? Tak­ing into con­sid­er­a­tion the cur­rent Net­work dis­tri­b­u­tion, with what area would you like to work?
I think I can work with every net­work. I am quick learn­er so I don’t think I will strug­gle, but specif­i­cal­ly I would like to work with Turk­ish speak­ing anten­nae because my all expe­ri­ences and knowl­edge about the sys­tem is based on this area, so I would love to work with that area.

You men­tioned sev­er­al time that you want to coop­er­ate with Euro­pean Bod­ies. Tak­ing into con­sid­er­a­tion your pro­gram and the area you men­tioned, name three weak­ness­es of that area and three bod­ies that can help you solve them.
Lack of prop­er edu­ca­tion pro­grams; prej­u­dices about the coun­try that affect the par­tic­i­pa­tion rate at events; knowl­edge trans­fer between boards. For the lack of prop­er edu­ca­tion pro­grams and knowl­edge trans­fer between boards the HRC and Acad­e­my can help and for the sec­ond prob­lem I would love to work with the PRC.

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 local a bit to organ­ise local activ­i­ties relat­ed to Action Agen­da and the Strate­gic Plan?
In the first NWM I will learn the the­mat­ic inter­ests of the locals and ask them what they real­ly would love to do and after that I am think­ing to con­tact Euro­pean bod­ies that are inter­est­ed in the same top­ic. I would love to intro­duce locals to the Euro­pean bod­ies and moti­vate locals to coop­er­ate.

Ques­tion two: What do you think about the anten­na cri­te­ria pro­pos­al pro­posed by CD?
It is a very impor­tant pro­pos­al I believe and I am quite pos­i­tive towards the idea of sim­pli­fy­ing the anten­na cri­te­ria. How­ev­er, there are a lots of changes need­ed to be con­sid­ered as well, so over­all I think it is help­ful but still I would love to hear all ideas at the Ago­ra and con­sid­er all the sce­nar­ios that may occur.

By Eri­ka Bet­tin, AEGEE-Verona

Find Refik Barış’ com­plete can­di­da­ture here.