Fabian Brüggemann is currently the most popular workshop leader in AEGEE. His Agora workshops are considered inspirational and entertaining. In Budapest Fabian will give two of his workshops. When he announced this on Facebook, 37 people gave this news a “like”. Also his flashmobs are legendary. “I’m in contact with the organizers of the Agora in Budapest already, discussing and planning another flashmob”, told Fabian the Golden Times.

The legendary banana workshop

Golden Times: Fabian, at the Agora you will hold two workshops: “Improve Yourself” and “There’s no ‘I’ in TEAM – but there’s ‘ME'”. What is “Improve Yourself” about?
Fabian Brüggemann: “Improve yourself” is about improving soft skills – being able to react spontaneously, to be able to talk and act in front of people, to be able to deal with the possibility of failing – and in the end even enjoying to fail. This will be done by methods and games of improvisation theatre. The nice side-effect: there are a lot of reasons to laugh, because the outcome of the games is mostly very funny! If you don’t like laughing, this workshop is nothing for you.

Golden Times: Nice! What is the other workshop about, “There’s no ‘I’ in TEAM – but there’s ‘ME’?
Fabian: It is about good teamwork – and the believe that for good teamwork you have to step back and make compromises. I want to challenge that believe in my workshop, since I believe that this is not true by default.

Golden Times: Your workshops are always very popular. How to you manage to make people so interested? Is it the topic? The presentation style?
Fabian: I think they are popular because people have fun and learn something at the same time, so they can really “take something home” that has value for them. It might help a bit to be perceived as a person who has a lot of humor – not that easy, being German… But you should ask the participants, not me, to have a good answer to that one.

Golden Times: What characterises for you a good Agora workshop?
Fabian: A good Agora workshop contributes to AEGEE and leads to an outcome. The outcome of my workshops is rather not measurable, but I believe still valuable.

Golden Times: At past Agoras you made flashmobs. What were they about?
Fabian (smiles): Oh yeah, Agora Kyiv, great fun! Just nonsense – unfolding and checking the city map in the middle of the dance floor, brushing our teeth in the plenary.. Marino as Chair looked a bit puzzled. The aim was just to try how that works, and at the same time to create some kind of team spirit. It worked!

Golden Times: Are you planning to make a flashmob again? What kind of?
Fabian: Yes – I’m in contact with the organizers of the Agora in Budapest already, discussing and planning. My aim is to include as many people as possible, make it as visible as possible, and also include a message or an aim. Which actually would not be a real flashmob any more, cause they don´t have a defined purpose, but I’m not going to be too picky on that one. Be curious what´s going to happen, more details to follow soon!

Golden Times: Which other interesting group actions would you like to try out or implement in AEGEE?
Fabian: I think what AEGEE could benefit on would be some kind of coaching for teams that work closely together. I am trying that already, also because I can gain a lot from it myself. And from the feedback I got so far, it seemed to be really helpful.

Golden Times: Which workshops of others are you interested in or looking forward to at the Agora?
Fabian (smiles): The program is not published yet, as far as I know, so I can´t tell yet. But I heard about a nice one about the history of AEGEE…

Golden Times: I am sure that that one will be great, too. Fabian, you are already working. Is your job related somehow to the workshops you do?
Fabian: Not at all – the workshop stuff is just fun for me so far, with one exception: I´m setting up a little company on my own, and gave a training for Siemens employees on teambuilding already where I included a lot of improvisation theatre games. I wouldn’t mind doing something like that again.

Golden Times: You founded AEGEE-Düsseldorf. Whenever there is a roll-call, you and the other members sing that you are not from Cologne. Why? Is it so bad to be from Cologne?
Fabian: Officially, Cologne and Düsseldorf don’t like each other. This little rivalry is quite funny and we thought we might maintain it, in order to show how ridiculous it really is. Unofficially, we do love AEGEE-Köln, the antenna in Cologne, but we would never state that of course. The fact that I moved to Cologne two month ago makes it actually quite complicated for me, since I am not supposed to sing that part of our anthem any more…

NetCom teambuilding session, Agora Alicante

Golden Times: A few words about you: what did you study, what have you been doing in AEGEE?
Fabian: I studied information systems with some additional business administration I was member of AEGEE-Münster, founded AEGEE-Düsseldorf later and became the first AEGEE-Rheinland member after joining AEGEE-Köln and AEGEE-Aachen, too. I don’t think I did that much in AEGEE compared to others, next to giving around 10 to 12 workshops at Agoras and being MemCom member and then MemCom President from Alicante to Enschede.

Golden Times: You were also coaching the CD conflict resolution. How was that like?
Fabian: In one word: Interesting. It taught me a lot about the motivation why people do certain things. But I have to say I was amazed by how open each they were, and how willing to contribute to a well-working CD, how open to take feedback and to give good feedback in a constructive way. Everybody tried to understand the point of view of the other CD members, which is something absolutely not common in AEGEE, unfortunately. For sure not everything went smooth for the last CD, but things are mostly much more complex and difficult than they appear from the outside.

Golden Times: What do you mean?
Fabian: The sad thing is that in AEGEE we have a lot of people with big egos, a lot of people that think they know things better and start blaming and dissing others. Inside the CD, during the 3, 4 days of coaching that never happened and that was great to experience. By the way, the funny thing about the people that just blame others in public is, that it will come back to them in a negative way – even though they don’t realize that at first. I always smile when I see an e-mail on AEGEE-L from someone who thinks he knows it better and blames others. Can’t take those people seriously any more after.

Golden Times: You are in the Academy, were in the Members Commission, and founded an antenna – what was your personal highlight?
Fabian: My personal highlight is going to Budapest with six people from AEGEE-Düsseldorf. The little baby AEGEE-Düsseldorf is growing, which is great to see! The other highlight was my workshop presentation at Agora Istanbul – it was just great to see what kind of a crazy result a creative open minded bunch of people can produce. After dancing like a banana, standing on stage doesn’t scare me at all anymore – no matter in which context and in front of how many people. Thanks again to all participants for that fruitful workshop and the presentation!

Golden Times: Will Budapest be your last Agora?
Fabian (smiles): Yes! … no… we´ll see.