The early 90ies: Yugoslavia falls apart. The wars in the former country also left their mark in AEGEE. While AEGEE-Ljubljana was one of the first antennae in Central and Eastern Europe, it took some more years until AEGEE finally set foot on Serbia. Exactly 18 years ago, in November 1995, both AEGEE-Novi Sad and AEGEE-Beograd signed the Convention d’Adhesion at the Agora in Budapest. Founding President of AEGEE-Novi Sad was Livija Jakovljevic. The Golden Times asked her about the beginnings of her antenna.

Livija signing the Convention

Golden Times: Livija, how and when did you hear about AEGEE for the first time?
Livija Jakovljevic (smiles): During the European Week Eindhoven in 1995, especially the evening programme. The presence of the strong AEGEE lobby could not be missed. So they found us, I suppose, being the students from the cities that still hadn’t have an AEGEE antenna. I remember that I first didn’t expect that it might even work, since in Novi Sad we didn’t have any international student organisation active back then. Not long after that the AEGEE-Eindhoven members John Stienen and Stephan van Uijtregt paid us an “inspection” visit in Novi Sad and Belgrade.

Golden Times: How did you get information about AEGEE, how did you communicate with the CD or your members? Not all students had e-mail back then…Livija: The contacts had been established during the European Week, and the communication with the members of AEGEE Eindhoven them and the CD went by e-mail. I also remember receiving a load of post at that time… With our members, we had weekly meetings at the Aero-club in Novi Sad.

Under Livija’s successor Jasna Bogdanovic AEGEE-Novi Sad became one of AEGEE’s most prominent antennae.

Golden Times: What was the first event you attended?
Livija: The Agora in Budapest in November 1995, together with a large representation from Novi Sad.

Golden Times: Agora as first event! How did you feel when you saw all these crazy Europeans at the Agora?
Livija: Great! The parties were great, of course. I remember that the official part had made a bigger impression on me. All the procedures, official board members sitting in front, endless meetings, AEGEE etiquette… It was all new to me.

Livija Novi Sad
Livija today.

Golden Times: How was signing the Convention d’Adhesion and how did the people react to you?
Livija: It was fun, a bit exciting. I don’t remember any particular reactions – it can be that my memory is letting me down. All good I suppose.

Golden Times: How many members did you have after one year?
Livija: In the first year, if I remember well, we didn’t grow very fast. We wanted to register first, to have a stable basis, acceptance from the university and so on. Later on, when Jasna Bogdanovic took over the presidency from me, the expansion began. It’s great to see how active AEGEE Novi Sad is at the moment and has been all these years.

Golden Times: What was your favourite event that you organised?
Livija: The CD meeting in Novi Sad.

The Presidents Meeting in Novi Sad in 1999 has been the most famous event of the antenna so far.

Golden Times: What are your favourite memories and moments of your AEGEE time?
Livija: They are connected to the very beginning of discovering the organisation, how it all works, the people, the nationalities, exchanging e-mails till the early morning hours. And of course, a couple of great Summer Universities.

Golden Times: Until when were you active in AEGEE?
Livija: Not that long, a couple of years. Thereafter, I supported it from the background.

Golden Times: What are you doing now?
Livija: I work for a government organisation in the Netherlands, The Hague area, and along with my work I’m in the graduation year of my studies at the school for Classical Homeopathy.