November and December are times when Network Meetings take place all over Europe. For example, this weekend there will be a Network Meeting in Porto, from 8th till 11th of December there will be one in Leipzig and one week later in Tbilisi. For active members it’s a great occasion to meet and discuss new plans with other participants, for relatively new members a great way to learn more about AEGEE and acquire new skills in the training sessions about topics such as Public Relations – and for antennae a good way to organise a European event without too much work.

Unless, of course, if you are a Polish antenna. Because then it means a lot of organisational work. Different from most other Network Meetings, which host between 20 and 30 participants, Network Meetings in Poland usually are visited by 150 people. Just like the one in Gdańsk, less than two weeks ago. The main items of the ambitious programme were meetings of the presidents of the locals, the FR, PR and HR responsibles, the involvement in the Estern Partnership Project, the question how can polish locals be involved in the Polish presidency of the EU, Smmer University cooperations, the use of social media for AEGEE, presentation skills training and movie making. The Golden Oldie asked Marek Pezda, freshly elected Network Commissioner, about the event.

Golden Oldie: Marek, how successful was the Network Meeting in Gdańsk?

Marek Pezda: It was successful, food accommodation, logistic, workshops, everything was quite pretty and of quality.

Marek Pezda, enthusiastic new Network Commissioner.

Golden Oldie: Were you satisfied with the content part?
Marek: The main programme was also succesful. We wanted to make people to become radioactive in a proverbial sense, to radiate positive energy to next events and new activities.

Golden Oldie: How many participants were there?
Marek: 146 people paid the fee, plus 12 trainers and nearly 30 organisers.

Golden Oldie: That’s a lot of trainers and organisers. How was cooperating with them?
Marek: The trainers were really professional. Of course it depends on the kind of workshop, but general everything was great, also the local staff. Did you see the great workshop booklet? Check it!

Golden Oldie: Polish Network Meetings always have a great spirit, but usually not so many participants from outside Poland. How many non-Polish were in Gdańsk?
Marek: Yes, I know. It is a problem to get more foreigners to Polish Network Meetings. In Gdańsk were more than ten. Yes, I know, I have to impove it, but I accepted all applications by foreigners.

Golden Oldie: How could that be improved to get a more international mix next time?
Marek: I try to do bigger PR for foreigners, I didn’t have so many time to prepae the Network Meeting in Gdańsk, after Kacpers resignation I didn’t have enough of time to developed all ideas.

Golden Oldie: I’ve heard that a stronger national cooperation was one of the most disputed topics in Gdansk. Do you see the danger of creating a national level?
Marek. No. We want to improve the website , because it already exists, but doesn’t look good. It will be used for promotion of AEGEE in general, not only for Polish locals. I respect the rules of AEGEE and you can be sure I am total against creating a national level. It will never happen!

Golden Oldie: Which ways do you see to foster cooperation between Polish and non-Polish locals?
Marek: I encouraged during the meeting with the presidents of the antennae to establish long-lasting cooperations with locals from other countries. In my part of the network we actually do cooperate with many locals from different countries. You can check the Summer Universites. Last year there was a cooperation between AEGEE-Katowice and AEGEE-Bratislava; AEGEE-Warszawa and AEGEE-Lviv and AEGEE-Lublin. There was planning meeting this year in Poznań. These are jst a few examples. My network is more international and Polish locals cooperate more with locals outside Poland than many other antenna from different countries.

In case you are curious now and enjoy the fanastic Polish hospitality in a great town, join the next Network Meeting in Toruń. It takes place from 30th of March till 1st of April 2012. Here is their promotional Youtube channel.