Only a few days are left: On 1st of February the applications for Agora Patra will be opened. The statutory meeting will not only be spectacular because of the many elections and discussions. It will also take place in one of Europe’s most beautiful spots. Moreover, during the time of the Agora – 30th of April till 4th of May – the temperature will be around 25 degrees. Courageous ones among the 700 participants can also go for a swim. Agora main organizer Costas Deltouzos has more good news. “All facilities – except party places – are within walking distance”, he told the Golden Times. And: “We are planning to have the European Night in one of the University’s facilities. It will be possible to share not only songs and dances, but also national drinks and food.”

Costas Deltouzos
Agora coordinator Costas Deltouzos

Golden Times: How are the preparations going for the Agora? Are you feeling the stress or is everything going smoothly?
Costas Deltouzos (smiles): Coordinating an Agora is the biggest challenge I have faced in my life and of course I’m stressed! But I’m trying to transform this stress into motivation to work even harder! I am very happy that all our teams are working hard to complete the tasks they have. We’re going in the right direction but still there are a lot of things to be fine.

Golden Times: Do you know by heart how many days there are until the opening?
Costas: Well I knew it’s less than 100, but I had to check to see the actual number. Maybe I should start counting down each day that I wake up!

Golden Times: Now it’s only 94 days! And the application period for participants starts in just a few days. How many people do you expect to apply?
Costas: We are hoping to get as many participants as possible in Patra and have one of the biggest Agora ever! But looking more realistically, I believe we will have about 700 AEGEEans in our city.

Patra Coordinator and FR girls
Costas and his fund-raising team

Golden Times: What are the biggest challenging in organising this Agora? Fund-raising in the economic crisis?
Costas: This Agora has been full of challenges, especially on fundraising. We were expecting companies would be more tight giving sponsorship due to crisis, but it’s even harder than we thought. Our fundraising team – almost all are girls – do not take “No” for an answer and is working even harder. We also get a lot of support from local community and that gives us even more motivation.

Golden Times: What will be the highlights of the Agora from the organisers’ point of view? What should the participants look forward to?
Costas: Highlights? Difficult to say. Even though the facilities are high quality, nobody will really say after the Agora: “Remember how great the plenary hall of Agora Patra was?” I believe the participants will find it very satisfying that all the facilities – except party places – are within walking distance. For example, the gym is about two kilometres from the Conference Center, so I guess people will prefer to walk and enjoy the sun than going by bus. And without giving away a spoiler, I can say that the social programme team is working on some interesting ideas for the parties! One thing the participants will really look forward to is Patra’s landscape and the weather!

Patra panorama
Despite being the third biggest city in Greece, the Agora distances will be short

Golden Times: Where will the lodging be?
Costas: In my opinion a proper Agora needs a proper gym rather than a five star hotel! But of course the gym should have enough showers and bathrooms, and of course hot water!

Golden Times: What are you planning for the opening? Famous singers or dancers? An open air celebration?
Costas: We would love to plan an open air opening. But an occasional rain even for half an hour could destroy everything. So the safest choice would be the Conference Center of the University that will be used for plenaries as well. There is a lot of discussion within the Social Program team about the content of the opening ceremony, but nothing is decided yet.

Agora Patra logo
The logo of Agora Patra

Golden Times: Can people bring their local drinks to the European Night?
Costas: I’m sure that a lot of participants will be concerned about this! They will be happy to know that we are planning to have the European Night in one of the University’s facilities instead of a night club. This way it will be possible to share not only songs and dances from their countries, but their national drinks and food as well.

Golden Times: AEGEE-Patra is not such a big antenna. How many members do you have? And how many of them will help with the Agora?
Costas: Indeed AEGEE-Patra is not one of the biggest antennae in the network. We have about 60 members and half of them are already organizers in the Agora. But also a lot of people from other antennae will help!

Golden Times: How many helpers from other antennae do you have?
Costas: Having the Agora present in its birthplace brought together all the active members of the Greek locals. Let’s not forget that the last time Agora was here was almost 12 years ago! For the moment we have 60 members from all Greek locals who are either already working actively for the Agora or will come as helpers. I’m sure in the next period more helpers will be added.

Patra Europe on Track
Agora Patra is also the final stop of one of the two “Europe on Track” teams

Golden Times: You had a Regional Training Course in Patras recently. Which role did the Agora play in it?
Costas: This RTC was focused on the need of the Greek locals to train their fresh members in order to make them more active. Even though Agora Patra was not the main goal of this training, it was obvious that having more active members in our region would benefit the Agora as well. And by having the training in Patra, not only did we manage to train our members, but also raise awareness and excitement about the Agora!

Golden Times: What do you take as inspiration for your Agora from previous Agoras you visited?
Costas: From every event you go, you always get good ideas that you need to follow and bad practices you need to avoid. We intend to collect these ideas and practices from all our members, in order to know what needs to be done and avoided from the participants’ perspective. Also by having ex-CD members in the Core Team we have some valuable input on what should be taken care of from the CD’s and Chair Team’s perspective. Putting all these together makes a good combination!

Patra lighthouse
Patra lighthouse: the temperature will be around 25 deges during the Agora.

Golden Times: Patra is at the beach. What is the usual temperature in the beginning of May?
Costas: Patra in on the northwest coast of Peloponnese. The landscape is composed by big mountains entering the sea. On the west of Patra you can find some of the most beautiful spots of Greece and of course the Ionian islands – Zakynthos and Kefalonia. At this moment the temperature is 15 degrees – of course above zero! By May the temperature is usually around 25. I’m sure all the participants will enjoy the good weather and it’s a very good opportunity to travel around Peloponnese or the Ionian islands.

Golden Times: Which pre-events and post-events do you know of?
Costas: For sure there will be a pre-event in the European Youth Capital, Thessaloniki. The theme is going to be about wine, so it will be both interesting and tasty! The other Greek locals will not organize any pre-events, since they are using a lot of human resources for the Agora and their Summer Universities. There is an idea by AEGEE-Skopje about a pre-event, where the Balkan participants can stop on their way to Greece. Another idea was from AEGEE-Bari, since it’s well connected with Greece by ferry. We are waiting for the confirmation on these last two.

Patra Cathedral
The cathedral of St. Andreas is one of the top sights of Patra

Golden Times: Will there be a sightseeing tour in Patra?
Costas: On the arrival day we will organize guided city tours in the centre of Patra. And maybe some excursions to places around Patra worth visiting. Of course during the Agora days, there will be no parallel programme organized.

Golden Times: What should the participants not miss during their stay?
Costas: The main landmarks of the city are the cathedral of St. Andreas that is considered to be one of the biggest ones in south-eastern Europe; the bridge of Rio-Antirrio that was built in 2004 and is the world’s longest multi-span cable-stayed bridge; the port and its lighthouse and the fortress on top of the city.

Golden Times: What else is Patra famous for?
Costas: Patra is most famous in Greece for its carnival! This year the carnival activities will take place during the first weekend of March. We invite anyone that wants to visit us during that time!

Patra – a former Cultural Capital of Europe – is near the GT logo on this map

Golden Times: What’s the best way to reach Patras?
Costas: This year Ryanair decided to cut off many routes from Patras-Araxos airport and left us really unconnected! But they added routes to Athens, so that’s not so bad in the end. We advise the participants to use one of these options: travel to Athens and then by bus or train to Patra; travel to Thessaloniki and why not take part in the pre-event and then by bus to Patra; travel to Bari, Brindisi, Ancona, Venice or Trieste and then by ferry to Patra – or travel to any of the regional airports in Greece and then by bus to Patra.

Golden Times: Will the Agora be the end of your AEGEE career?
Costas (smiles): Well, I said many times the phrase: “This will be my last involvement in AEGEE”, but I never got to do it! So I prefer not to say it again this time…

More information about the Agora: