The next Key to Europe will be made by Olimpia Pârje. This was announced one week ago during the Agora in Alicante. The 21-year-old student from Bucharest, who is currently doing a Masters on Cultural and Political Studies, is one of the most prominent members of AEGEE’s current active generation. “I joined AEGEE-Bucuresti in autumn 2007, started off on local level, and shortly after when I left for my Erasmus in Greece I the chance to hang out a lot with AEGEE-Patra,” says the chief editor of AEGEE’s most prestigious publication. “I have been active on European level since 2010 when I joined the board of CWG and later the Network Commission.” The Key to Europe is her next big challenge. Olimpia explained the Golden Oldie what she has in mind for AEGEE’s yearbook.

Golden Oldie: What was your motivation to apply for chief editor of the Key to Europe?

Olimpia Pârje: My motivation was that I truly want this publication to show to the outside world what we, as AEGEE, are capable of and what we are really here for. The Key is a reflection of our mission and identity, our efforts and our results and I want to make sure it mirrors our association appropriately.

Golden Oldie: Aren’t you a bit scared of the challenge? You also have the Network Commission as additional task…

Olimpia Pârje: I’m not scared at all, I think the fact that I am in the Network Commission allows me to have a very deep perspective on our association on both local and European level. I can say however that I’m very eager and excited to start working.

Golden Oldie: Was it a spontaneous idea?

Olimpia Pârje: It was a thought I ever had since I saw the open call for editor-in-chief, but I was waiting for the last day to apply. Nobody had to convince me and I can say it was a bit of a surprise for both my fellow netcommies and also for Michi Makowiecki, the PR Director in the CD, when he found out about my intentions.

Golden Oldie: What’s your background in making publications and PR materials so far?

Olimpia Pârje: My background in making publications is not so extensive. I’ve worked on some local level PR materials but my biggest task-related experience would have to be being editor-in-chief of the past three editions of the Netcom Times. This has given me the opportunity to be both an editor and a layouter, as well as the experience of working with other writers.

Golden Oldie: Do you have journalistic training from outside AEGEE?

Olimpia Pârje: No, I don’t have any journalistic training per say. This is one thing I appreciate about AEGEE. It gives people the chances to prove themselves in certain fields – even if their studies or previous formal education were not in the same field.

Golden Oldie: Is journalism or PR something you would like to do in the future?

Olimpia Pârje: I’ve thought about journalism as a career path for quite some time and actually wanted to study it in university. But I reached the conclusion that journalism is something you can also do without having gone to the specific university, as long as you’re an expert in your field and can do develop journalistic skills on your own. One other thing is that most journalists only report on actions, activities and comment the news. I would like make the news, and my dream job is something that will allow me to do this. I haven’t figured out yet what this job would be.

Golden Oldie: Coming back to the Key: what’s your main idea for this year’s edition? What do you want to focus on content-wise?

Olimpia Pârje: My main idea is to be able to easily reflect the identity of our association, our beliefs and our actions so that every person reading this Key will be able to get what AEGEE is. I would like to focus this issue on impact, meaning the impact AEGEE has on Europeans and European Society. This will be tackled from different points of view.

Golden Oldie: How do you want to structure it?

Olimpia Pârje: I want the publication to be structured in layers. The outer layers represent out results, projects, impact while the inner layers go deeper into our structures and finally to our members – the core of the association. I want to have a section dedicated to members and former members of our association that are now involved in various aspects of European Society – some sort of testimonials how AEGEE has contributed to this and changed their lives. I’m hoping Les Anciens will help me with this as you have the best connection with former members!

Golden Oldie: What kind of ideas do you have for the design?

Olimpia Pârje: The design hasn’t been decided upon yet. I would like to give the main designer a lot of freedom in this aspect. One very obvious point is that we want this publication to stand out in a pile and the first impression of a publication lies with its design.

Golden Oldie: Do you see the Key rather as a classical yearbook of AEGEE or as a PR tool for external partners?

Olimpia Pârje: While the Key is actually an annual report, its main aim is to represent our association to externals. Therefore the structure, the language and the style used must be appropriate for our desired target group: institutions, universities, partner NGOs and others. However, we should also keep a fresh feeling to it so it will be attractive to our members.

Golden Oldie: Is there any Key from the past that you like especially? Or are there mistakes of others that you want to avoid?

Olimpia Pârje: I don’t have any preferences regarding previous editions of the Key. But I would strictly like to avoid grammatical or spelling mistakes and the unrealistic portrayal of the association for example by using professional models for pictures – like we’ve seen in one recent previous edition.

Golden Oldie: Is there any specific publication that might serve you as role model for your Key?

Olimpia Pârje: I’ve been researching other publications from other organizations such as YFJ or AIESEC but I haven’t found one that could serve as a model. I will try to take out ideas from these different examples and see how well they fit to our particular needs and objectives.

Golden Oldie: Nowadays every publication is linked to electronic media or social media. Do you have anything in mind for the Key?

Olimpia Pârje: Surely the publication will be made available online after its printing and will be promoted through various channels, including social media. But in my opinion the aim of having a publication is also having the physical document you can take with you to fairs or presentations, browse through during an exhibition or read on the train to your very important meeting. However I am open to more ideas how to improve the distribution of the Key in electronic media, since it’s definitely a more accessible environment.

Golden Oldie: When will you start working on the Key?

Olimpia Pârje: We will have a concept development meeting in June, the announcement of the exact dates will be made very shortly. That will be the main starting point for our work even though we’ve already had a meeting with some interested people at the Agora in Alicante.

Golden Oldie: You need team members. How many and for which tasks?

Olimpia Pârje: There will be a core team and an extended team. An open call for the core team will be sent out in the next couple of days and they are more than cordially invited to take part in the Concept Development Meeting. The core team will consist of a design and layout responsible, editors who want to be involved in developing the concept, statistics and research responsible. The extended team will be formed later on, after the meeting and will consist of more editors, interviewers, designers and layouters, as well as proofreaders in the final stages of the development. I expect the core team to have around 6-7 members and the extended team will depend on the number of articles and pages.

Golden Oldie: Do you already have team members?

Olimpia Pârje: The team is not formed yet but during our meeting in Alicante around six people were present, including Georg Rehberger, former SUCT publications responsible, as well as newer members from Riga to Athina to Beograd. It looks like a very diverse team to say the least! I’m hoping they as well as the others who have contacted me privately will join the team and make this Key to Europe the best AEGEE has seen.

In case you are interested to give your support, contact  Olimpia Pârje directly: olimpia.parje [at]