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.