AEGEE turns 30 next year – and in order to make the anniversary year unforgettable, the CD chose a team of six enthusiastic members, who will coordinate the celebrations and other activities. Head of this team is former AEGEE-Riga President and Network Commissioner Evita Meiere (see photo above). Content managers will be Mara Ponirou (AEGEE-Peiraias) and Veronika Velkovska (AEGEE-Skopje); AEGEEan Chief Editor Anna Gumbau (AEGEE-Barcelona) will be External event responsible; Europe on Track coordinator Réka Salamon (AEGEE-Aachen) will be PR responsible and Johannes Kriebel (AEGEE-Hamburg) Treasurer. The Golden Times spoke with Evita about her AEGEE career and her plans for the big anniversary.

In 1995, AEGEE celebrates the 10th anniversary with a series of events. The highlight and conclusion was the Final Conference with many classy discussions about AEGEEand Europe.

Golden Times: Evita, congratulations for your new AEGEE task! I thought you were retired, after all, you already joined AEGEE’s alumni association Les Anciens…
Evita Meiere (smiles): Thank you! Yes, I also thought that I am totally out of AEGEE life, but apparently there is some addiction that brings you back to it.

GT: How come that you applied for the task of 30th anniversary coordinator? What was your motivation?
Evita: I got the idea to help organizing AEGEE’s 30th Anniversary after Agora Patra when spending some time with my dear friends Alma Mozgovaja and Luis Alvarado Martinez. So I applied to join the team, however got the offer to be the main coordinator. I think it is a great chance to do something valuable for students in Europe and of course gain very unique experience for myself. I love organizing events, but have never organized such a big event outside of my country. It will be crazy, but fun!

The Final Conference took place in Groningen in December 1995. It hosted 300 participants!

GT: Do you already know your new team members? When do you have your first meeting?
Evita: The team was selected by the CD, so I have not been in close contact with anyone of them before. But we did introduce each other through e-mails, we will have a Skype meeting in August and then a live meeting in September. I am very much looking forward to work together and getting to know my team members.

GT: How do you imagine the perfect 30th anniversary year? With many events about the past and future of AEGEE and Europe, a central celebration conference, a gala ball?
Evita: It is hard for me to answer now before we have had our brainstorming with the team. As we are different people with different background and AEGEE experience, I am sure we will have several nice ideas. Let’s see what will be possible to make reality from all of that. Personally me – I think there could be several thematic events during the year organized by different AEGEE locals and one main celebration with a ball – bit more premium style. Moreover I hope to get support also from Les Anciens – people who have been in AEGEE years ago. This is a big celebration for anyone who has ever been involved in our dear association.

anni covers
For the 10th and 20th anniversary nice books were made

GT: Are you also planning anniversary publications?
Evita (smiles): Probably – let’s see. Maybe Golden Times would like to get involved and support us with publications?

GT: Of course! But tell us a bit about you: where are you from, what do you study or work, which is your antenna?
Evita: I am a girl from Riga who has been living, studying and working here all my life. I got my Bachelor Degree in Economics and Business Administration and an MBA some time ago. Now I am just working at Unilever Baltic as Marketing manager for Rexona and Dove brands in Baltics.

GT: When and how did you join AEGEE?
Evita: I joined AEGEE-Riga in summer 2007, after helping them to organize a Summer University here. At that time I didn’t have much time to travel around, thus I was mostly organizing different projects locally and helping to develop the antenna. Later on I started also to participate in exchange projects, visited EBMs and several Agoras. Still never went to any SU.. During Agora Patra some nice guys finally convinced me to join Les Anciens – it is not that easy to leave AEGEE…

20th anniversary
The 20th anniversary year festivities in 2005 were more modest than the 10th anniversary. There were only two events: a small reception in an office building in Brussels…

GT: What did you do in AEGEE on local and European level?
Evita: Just after joining AEGEE-Riga, I became Secretary General in our local board for one year and then for the next two years got elected to be President of AEGEE-Riga. Meanwhile I was also actively participating and organizing all the events that we had in Riga – lots of small local events, Summer University, Winter University, European Days of Languages, LTC, Network Meeting, ES1 and some more. Of course the biggest and best experience was organizing the EBM Riga 2011! For sure I will always remember the time we got the idea to organize it! Some people were thinking we are just joking, all the process of planning, negotiations with partners and last-day preparations as well the event itself. During my active AEGEE life I had as well the opportunity to be Network Commissioner for the locals in the North of Europe, which gave me very interesting and unique experience – you can see how other locals are doing, share and gain knowledge.

GT: What were your best and worst moments in AEGEE?
Evita: Best moments? There are many of them… They are mostly related to several achievements like receiving positive comments after events I was involved in organizing. And of course also earning a lot of great friends around Europe – it is always so nice to meet them again! Worst moments? To be honest, nothing comes to my mind! There are lots of crazy moments I have had – but most of them are fun to remember.

…the second event in 2005 was a nice celebration in Prague with many people of all generations. It is a pity that for the 25th anniversary there was no proper celebration.

GT: What are your hobbies aside from AEGEE?
Evita: There are two main hobbies: traveling, like for almost all AEGEE people, and dancing. I couldn’t live without traveling; it is the perfect way to refresh your mind and soul after many working hours in the office. And regarding dancing: I do Latvian folk dances for more than ten years now. It is a bit like sports, but at the same time also having fun with my best friends! And then participating in the Latvian Song & Dance festival every five years. You have to imagine what it means: dancing together with approximately 15,000 dancers – it is an amazing feeling.

GT: Anything else you would like to add?
Evita: I would just like to invite anyone who has some ideas for the perfect AEGEE anniversary celebration – share them with us! As I said before – this is a celebration for anyone who has ever been involved in AEGEE. Let’s have an unforgettable anniversary year!

AEGEE’s 30th Anniversary Team

Team leader: Evita Meiere (AEGEE-Riga)
Content managers: Mara Ponirou (AEGEE-Peiraias) and Veronika Velkovska (AEGEE-Skopje)
External event responsible: Anna Gumbau (AEGEE-Barcelona)
PR responsible: Réka Salamon (AEGEE-Aachen)
Treasurer: Johannes Kriebel (AEGEE-Hamburg)