Mickey Turati (middle) with the Juridical Commission.

More than a week has passed since the autumn Agora 2011 finished on 30th of October – time to look back and draw conclusions. The Golden Oldie asked Mickey Turati, General Secretary of the Foundation AEGEE Trust Fund and Members Commissioner, about his impressions. For Mickey the Agora Skopje in Struga was already his tenth Agora. “Content-wise it was a very interesting Agora, but the logistics were not sufficient,” says Mickey, who is also member of AEGEE’s alumni association Les Anciens.


Golden Oldie: Was the Agora Skopje in Struga among the best or worst of your ten Agoras?

Mickey: I must admit this wasn’t the best Agora ever: the theatre show between local organisers and AEGEE-Europe seemed to be a bit exaggerated, considering that in the end it everything resulted in hugs and kisses. Still, content-wise it was a very interesting Agora, but the logistics were not sufficient.


Golden Oldie: Regarding the accommodation and fee affair that overshadowed the Agora, which mistakes were done? How could it have been prevented?

Mickey: In the end the issue was only about the accommodation and the Agora went well. What mistakes have been done? Good question, but we aren’t organisers so we will probably never know. From an external point of view I can suggest to have contracts signed with any provider of services far in advance, but this depends in the end on local business customs in many countries. It’s not always possible to set up everything in advance.


Sangria time at the European night party

Golden Oldie: If you could give a grade from 1 (very bad) to 10 (very good) what would it be for logistics, including accommodation, food and distances as well as parties.

Mickey: I give a 3 for logistics. It could have been much worse. Parties: 6. Somehow the party place wasn’t big enough and the parties in the hotel were just messy. The respect for smoking laws indoor was very insufficient. Someone might argue that it was Macedonia or that we were in the Balkans, but still in an association that strives for youth activism we shall expect the respect of law. Or not?


Golden Oldie: Content-wise, how do you see the performance of the old and the new CD? Is AEGEE going into a good direction?

Mickey: The Activity Reports have been approved, it’s a sign that the association is running in the direction which is decided by AEGEE. If it’s the right one I don’t know, my role is to give inputs and then I leave it up to the association to discuss about them. Of course I have my vision about AEGEE, sometimes I agree about the actions taken, sometimes I disagree, but in both cases I express my comments loudly so that a critical member can use it for further development.


AEGEE-Budapest protected itself with blankets from the cold in the plenary.

Golden Oldie: As former Financial Director, you have a special interest in the finances of AEGEE-Europe. AEGEE made another loss of around 6000 Euro. What do you think about the finances of AEGEE-Europe?

Mickey: Thank you for the tricky question. Some might say we need to spend money to run projects, because through projects AEGEE tries to achieve some results. So by this point of view a loss on projects is not so bad. It is bad though if the loss is administrative, meaning overspending the budget allocated. This should be punished by the Agora, but not if the loss happens on projects. Is it fun when this is said by the last treasurer who closed the financial year with a profit?


Golden Oldie: Since you were the last treasurer who generated a profit. Do you have any advice you would give the CD regarding finances?

Mickey: My suggestion is to delegate finances to the Financial Director: most of CD members have other more important tasks to perform than to care about money. In my time we used to have regular updates about the spending during CD meetings but decisions were carried by the Financial Director only, because of his overall knowledge about budget lines. There is always the President of AEGEE-Europe that monitors this work and also the Audit Commission has the power to control the Financial Director regarding the legitimacy of expenses.


Presentation of the Eastern Partnership project during the AEGEE Fair on Saturday.

Golden Oldie: What do you think about the decisions that were made at the Agora? Which will have the biggest impact? The EBM reform?

Mickey: No, the most important decision is to link the events organised by antennae to the Strategic Plan. This will improve the quality and the contents of European events.


Golden Oldie: How did you see the participants? Were they active, full of AEGEE spirit, contributing? Or was everything better in the past?

Mickey: Participants never change, since my very first Agora in Torino in 2004 I always saw both party people and more serious participants who give an active contribution to the Agora. Those who we meet in workshops and prytania are really interesting people with something to say, ideas and comments, which is great. Still most of the people show up for parties only and their main target is to shark.


Golden Oldie: You candidated again for the Members Commission – with a very entertaining presentation. How did you enjoy being a candidate again?

Mickey Turati's candidature presentation.

Mickey: Yes, I’ve candidated again for MemCom and I was re-elected. If the presentation was funny, it’s up to the plenary to decide. Truth is that I haven’t prepared it much, it consisted in four black-and-white slides and two photos: one with the map of Europe with stars on cities I’ve been to thanks to AEGEE, and one with the structure of AEGEE, with ticks on everything I’ve done. That was leaving an impression, according to some feedback I’ve received.


Golden Oldie: Was it your last election?

Mickey: Yes, this was my last candidature for AEGEE-Europe. I wanted to quit last year before turning 30, but with the rise of a MemCom case I’ve agreed to serve AEGEE once more with my experience. Once this case is done, I can finally retire from being active in the association.


Golden Oldie: Except for your candidature, what were your personal highlights at the Agora?

Mickey: I remember two highlights: the first one is shared with AEGEE-Delft at their desk, presenting and promoting the passports. I felt honoured when someone asked me to sign their AEGEE passport. The second highlight happened during the progress meeting about finances. Alfredo Sellitti, President of AEGEE-Europe, and I had a hot discussion about regulations and budget increases, which concluded with a draw, 1-1. The Dutch people in the audience were amused by the argument between two Italians about lack of flexibility of finances and quotes from the CIA.


AEGEE-Delft presenting the brand new AEGEE passports.

Golden Oldie: Last question. Since it was so cold in the hotel and the plenary, many people returned home sick. How could you prevent getting a cold?

Mickey: This was easy: I brought very warm clothes to the Agora. I didn’t abuse of my liver again, and: the last EBM in Riga was way colder, we had minus 14 degrees there.

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For more Agora impressions check out the photo album on Facebook. There you will also see tags and comments.