Maybe you wonder why the Agora sings the Convention d’Adhésion song at every Agora, every time an AEGEE contact signs the paper that turns it into a contact antenna? The reason dates back to November 1995 – and it just started with a simple typo.

An error in the booklet

CdA Agora 1995

At the autumn Agora in Budapest, 12 November 1995, the participants were smiling and joking. What happened? Some people in the back rows of the plenary hall – the same that was used in 1991 and 2012 – checked the programme of the final Agora day in the booklet that the local organisers had prepared. As one of the last agenda items was written: “Singing of the Convention d’Adhésion”. Of course people started to make comments such as: “Do you know the lyrics?” or “What’s the melody”. Of course it was just a typo and it would have been forgotten forever, if not something had happened a few days later…


Inspiration from Karlsruhe

CdA FYW Meeting Szeged

Right after the Agora there was a coordination team meeting of AEGEE-Europe’s Yearplan project “Find Your Way To and Within an Open Society”. Despite this terribly long title it was one of AEGEE’s most successful projects and spinned also ideas like the creation of the Foundation AEGEE Trust Fund. Anyway, that meeting took place in the AEGEE-Szeged office, home of a young antenna that had taken the challenge of coordinating this huge project. Half of the CD was at the meeting, plus members of several organizing antennae. From AEGEE-Karlsruhe there were three members, among them Peter Ginser, who became President of AEGEE-Europe in 1997, and Heiner Kusenberg. In a meeting break, these funny and creative guys remembered the typo and came up with the song that we sing until today. “Convention d’Adhésion, on la signe, on la signe, Convention d’Adhésion, on la signe, tout les temps” – to the melody of “Sur le pont d’Avignon”.


The singers

CdA Zsuzsi

A couple of days later all guests were gone. Then Zsuzsi Bukta (the girl in the middle) from AEGEE-Szeged and I had an idea. I had a laptop at that time, which I took to every single event. Together we sang the Convention song into the small built-in microphone of the machine. Then I replaced the sound file of the windows tune, which the laptop played when you started it, with our recording. In other words, whenever you switched it on, you could hear us singing the Convention song.


A song gets famous

CdA Laptop

At that time not many people had a laptop in AEGEE. And so it happened that many people borrowed it (like the guy on the left), because they had to change something on a presentation or had to type some workshop minutes. Wherever they did that, they heard the Convention song. Within a few months, everyone who was active on European level, knew it. The song was played until summer 1998, when the harddisc of the machine crashed and the file got lost. Nevertheless, it was already so much known that we were singing it already at Agoras and Presidents Meeting (the EBM pre-predecessor). Still, it was not compulsory to sing it for the CD, as it is today. It was more an initiative of the network.


A Sunday Morning Proposal

CdA Poznan minutes

That changed in November 1999, at the Agora in Poznan. Agoras lasted usually from Friday morning till Sunday night – and since people were tired from the parties, the Agora was usually very empty on Sunday morning. So usually someone presented funny motion, known as the Sunday morning proposal. Since normally only 30 or 40 people were in the room, the chair permitted that spotaneous  proposal. For example, at one Agora it was proposed that during the roll-call of establishing the attendance list people don’t shout “present”, but make an animal sound. In Poznan, Coen Hendriks from Venlo had a very special idea in mind. Since no CD member was present in the room, he proposed that the CD must sing the Convention d’Adhésion song. The few delegates in the room voted in favour.


The CD was shocked – but sang!

CdA CD Agora Poznan 1999

During the voting the first CD member showed up, saw it and got shocked. When his fellows arrived half an hour later, he told them: “You don’t know what just happened!” The motion passed, the CD had to sing – and did it! It was however not clear whether this motion was valid for every Agora or just in Poznan. According to the minutes it referred to the Agora in Poznan, however, everyone else regarded it as valid for every Agora. And so the tradition was born.


A one-time alternative song

CdA Markus PM 1999

At the Presidents Meeting in Szeged in September 2000, there were quite some talented singers. So Markus Schönherr had the idea to refresh the song a bit for this event – at that time the Convention was not only signed at Agoras, but also at EBMs. Actually, the contract can be signed anywhere. Markus and I created an alternative Convention d’Adhésion song in a workshop with 35 participants,  to the melody of the “American Pie” song, Madonna version, not the original Don McLean. It started like this:
“Did you read the CiA?
And your statutes look as well ok?
Then you’re prepared to sign today”
We were acually singing it for the locals signing at that event, putting the complete lyrics on the screen. However, since this song was quite long and complex, we did not bring the lyrics to the following Agora and returned to the classic song.


And so it continues…

CdA Agora Torino 2004

This means, we have been singing this song for more than 15 years now. And there is no end in sight. Convention d’Adhésion, on la signe, on la signe, Convention d’Adhésion, on la signe, tout les temps…