CD stands for Comité Directeur, for board of Directors. One former CD member actually became movie director: Piotr Tylko-Tylczynski. The fresh Les Anciens member was Network Director of AEGEE-Europe, Speaker of the Human Rights Working Group and board member of the deceased East-West Working Group. Piotr looks back at his AEGEE time, for example when he was sold for the price of one pack of condoms to a Romanian girl.



Golden Oldie: When and where were you born?

Piotr Tylko-Tylczynski: I was born in Warsaw in 1976 on Christmas eve.


Golden Oldie: Where and what did you study?

Piotr (smiles): I’m a big fan of lifelong learning, that’s why I studied international law at Leiden University and Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco in the first place. A few years ago I did a postgraduate degree in directing at the Polish National Film School in Lodz.


Golden Oldie: When did you join AEGEE and how?

Piotr: I believe it was something like 1999. I went to an event in Den Bosch in the Netherlands. Basically it was just a nice party. I met several people from AEGEE over there and before I knew it, I was hooked on the idea of travelling, meeting people from all over Europe and so on. The way I joined my antenna, AEGEE-Leiden, was not really special I guess, like probably 80 percent of all AEGEE members…


Golden Oldie: You were Network Director AEGEE-Europe, Speaker of the Human Rights Working Group, Board member of the East-West Working Group. Why so many and different tasks?

Piotr: I’ve always loved doing different things in my life. I’ve always tried to avoid being confined to one specific task or area. The EWWG was my first real pan-European experience in AEGEE, the HRWG was a direct result of my studies in international law and Network Director was a position I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to fulfil. I thoroughly enjoyed that time.


Golden Oldie: What where the greatest memories, biggest challenges and rewards of these jobs?

Piotr: I think my greatest memories are connected to the latter position. The best event I remember in AEGEE was actually the Network Commission meeting in Brussels in 2001. We had a total blast and really bonded as a group. After that meeting the Network Commission became one of the most active groups within AEGEE and I always felt that there was a real spirit of friendship within that Network Commission.


Golden Oldie: Tell us a funny story of your AEGEE time!

Piotr (smiling): A woman in Romania “bought” me for a pack of condoms… It was during the pre-Agora event in Cluj-Napoca in 2001. We had a fantastic party in a big club over there, and suddenly somebody was giving a few guys pieces of paper with numbers. They told us it was a lottery. Only afterwards did we realise it was, in fact, something of a lottery, and we were the main prize! We had to go onstage. There were about eight of us. And basically we were being offered to the public. We were being “sold” to the highest bidder. In order to market ourselves each of us had to perform a dance, or even a little stripshow… We did it. After lots of laughter and some awkward moments, I was sold for the exorbitantly high price of one pack of condoms to a Romanian girl…


Golden Oldie: What was your favourite AEGEE event?

Piotr: Oh, too many to tell. I remember the wild nights in Udine in the gym, which by the way was my first large event in AEGEE, I remember the foam party in Cluj-Napoca at the pre-Agora event, the “playboy mansion” swimming pool in Sardegna during the Summer University, the insane setting of a party in Rijeka where we had a whole castle to ourselves, the day trip outside of Tallinn that members of AEGEE-Tallinn took me to, an insanely funny PM in Malta, bathing at night in a hot pool in Turkey, living together with my fellow board members in a crazy house in Brussels…  But I do not only remember the parties.


Golden Oldie: Tell us more…

Piotr: I remember the whole entourage: the sleepless nights, the early wake-ups, the crappy food, long discussions about life with many, many people, the open-mindedness, the feeling that these were all people that shared a common mentality with me. I remember my network trip which was probably one of the most exhausting I ever undertook, as I visited about 15 different cities in 7 countries in 3 weeks. In Charkiv I was picked up by this old Russian car with blackened windows, as if I was some sort of high-ranking KGB official. One evening we left Charkiv and drove about two hours in a cab to the countryside where supposedly a big group of young people was partying. We arrived in a forest with a totally abandoned old hotel. There was no light, nobody was there. The cab had left us. There we were, at 4 am, with nothing except our t-shirts, 10 degrees outside. We made a fire, and one of the guys had some chicken on him – I really don’t know where he got that from – and we grilled the chicken and ate it and slept in an old wooden cabin in the forest. The next day I had serious stomach problems… Finally I remember also a lot of hard work as Network Director or while organising for example the HR conference in Torino in 2001.


Golden Oldie: Exciting times… Which of them were your best moments in AEGEE?

Piotr: It’s impossible to make a ranking, too many great moments to remember, but I guess the pre-event in Cluj-Napoca, the Network Commission meeting in Brussels and my Network trip are my favorites. However, don’t ask for specific moments because my memory is like Swiss cheese…


Golden Oldie: Ok, then tell us your worst moments.

Piotr: It was not really AEGEE’s fault, but at the end of an SU in Croatia, I got a quite severe case of food-poisoning, while I was travelling with my friend Giovanni Soffietti onboard an international train from Zagreb to Budapest. Trust me, thinking you are about to die on a dirty toilet, is not a pleasant way to spend your day… All in all that SU in Croatia was fun generally speaking, but also quite unfortunate for me, because two weeks earlier I had also gotten sick. In Croatia, they took me to a weird hospital where some crazy doctor, who looked more like a butcher than a doctor, called out about six nurses to assist, and suddenly I was lying on a stretcher with about eight people around me. One was taking blood samples, the other was squeezing my hand, a third one was doing something else, a few were just staring. I felt as if I just had a severe accident and was near to dying. My blood pressure dropped like a stone and I nearly fainted from anxiety… Then they put me on glucose infusion and my pressure skyrocketed again. All this just to tell me, in the end, that I basically just had a strong flu… Wow, that was quite the joyride there.


Golden Oldie: What a story – with a happy end! And AEGEE-wise, any disappointing memory?

Piotr: Emotionally, the worst was perhaps 2005 in Turkey. We were partying the whole night and in the morning waiting for the buses to take us to the airport, as it had been the last night. I stumbled upon a very tired looking guy from Cyprus. I thought he had been drinking a lot and made a joke about it. He looked very sad. Suddenly he told me that Azra, the young girl from Cyprus, had just died in hospital after a car accident during that night. It was horrible. I felt devastated for a long period of time. She was a very positive and energetic person whom I had met at an event in Prague. The news just hit me like a bulldozer.


Golden Oldie: I’m very sorry. I remember the story and know more people who felt horrible. Let’s turn to something positive: was there any AEGEE member, who particularly impressed you a lot?

Piotr: I met many interesting, humorous and intelligent people during my times in AEGEE. At the start, when I was just a newbie, I think almost everybody impressed me by the sheer internationalism they displayed. I loved it. I would like to thank all people that turned my time in AEGEE into the most amazing adventure. There’s just too many to mention. Special mention goes out to the Polish, Italian, Romanian and Dutch antennas. I got a lot of support from these countries.


Golden Oldie: Any things you regret that you haven’t done them in AEGEE?

Piotr (smiling): I regret that I didn’t join AEGEE earlier…


Golden Oldie: Did AEGEE influence your career decision?

Piotr: No, not really. Actually when I was in Brussels as Network Director, I was very focused on my job and perhaps I forgot a little bit to look out for myself in the process. So after I left the AEGEE board I found myself without a job and also without money. Within a few months I was working in the publishing industry, which, honestly speaking, was not really a dream come true… However, at one point in time, AEGEE – or better AEGEE members – did influence the place where I lived. During an event in Sardegna I had many discussions with people about moving away from Holland, because I was toying with the idea to move to Italy. They convinced me and in 2003 I, quite spontaneously, packed two suitcases and left Holland for good…


Golden Oldie: As a child, what did you dream to be your future job after growing up?

Piotr: When I was four, I wanted to be a garbage man. I’m quite happy I dropped that idea of a future career by the time I was five…


Golden Oldie: What are you doing now as main occupation?

Piotr: I work as a freelance movie director and music producer. You can have a look at some of my projects at my website


Golden Oldie: Are you single/married/married with 5 children?

Piotr: I am not married and, unlike some others, I will probably not find my future wife amidst AEGEE. On the other hand, never say never…


Golden Oldie: Which languages do you speak?

Piotr: English, Dutch, Polish, Italian, German, French.


Golden Oldie: Where do you live now? What do you like/dislike about your city?

Piotr: I live in Warsaw. I love this city for its vibe. There’s always something going on. If you want to do something cultural there’s loads of opportunities, if you want to party there’s plenty of clubs and if you just want to meet up with some good friends there’s a huge choice of nice pubs and restaurants to go to. Besides, in recent years, the city has undergone huge renovation and currently I really like how the city looks like. The city has a positive, young atmosphere and there’s plenty of very ambitious and intelligent people living here. Also it is one of the greenest cities in Europe with an amazing amount of parks and forests. From the opposite side of the Wisla river you have an amazing few of the old and new Warsaw. I enjoy strolling through this city, although, I have to admit, the winter months can be a bit depressing…


Golden Oldie: What are your best liked cities?

Piotr: London, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Antwerp, Bologna, Budapest, Warsaw, San Francisco, New York and yes, really, Ulan Bator.


Golden Oldie: And the least liked cities?

Piotr: Amsterdam, Paris, Munich, Berlin – all of them are a bit overhyped in my opinion. Also Vienna and Eindhoven. A special mention to Venice, which is horrible during summer, but great when nobody is there… Generally, when I travel, I tend to go into nature, especially mountains, and avoid cities. In terms of nature my preference goes out to places like New Zealand, Mongolia and Hawaii. Few people, lots of nature.


Golden Oldie: What is the furthest place you ever went to?

Piotr: New Zealand and Hawaii. In terms of most remote I would say Mongolia.


Golden Oldie: Which country would you like to visit in the near future?

Piotr: Canada, Argentina, Chile, Bhutan, Cuba, South Africa, Iceland and the Faroer islands.


Golden Oldie: What are your hobbies?

Piotr: Everything related to music and film. But also travelling of course, photography, aviation  and ice-hockey, of which I am a huge fan!


Golden Oldie: What are you most afraid of?

Piotr: I think what I am most afraid of is to miss out on certain opportunities in life. I’ve always had the goal of experiencing as much as possible in life.


Golden Oldie: What’s never missing in your fridge?

Piotr: Kefir! You know the sour yoghurt that you can drink. I love that stuff! Very refreshing when you have a hangover…


Golden Oldie: How would you describe yourself in five keywords?

Piotr: I guess others should describe me in five keywords…it’s not up to me.