„It is the quality of our work which will please God and not the quantity“ – Mahatma Gandhi.
In AEGEE we have for ever had a discussion whether we should put our energy and will into quantity, for example to have a big Network, lots of projects and lots of members all over Europe and beyond or perhaps should we have less of these things and people, so that we could impact things in another way, in a qualitative way. Now a new year has started, with lots of new challenges, but this is still one of the remaining questions that is yet to be answered.
Although quite some time ago, we as AEGEEans have been trying to bring Europe together, to create tolerance among each other and to create a platform, where we could come together as people and not as members of groups with their own interests, we have for some reason strayed of this path. With this, we have also started to loose the quality aspect in our locals and maybe also the notorious European level, but still retained our quantity. This has in its own turn continued with us having up to 240 locals, but were they really following our ambitious goals or were they just there to sustain nice numbers for the purpose of our external representation? For some reason this important question has been left unanswered, which has in its own turn affected us in a very dramatic way, because lots of energy from the European level had been spent for maintaining empty local level. And how has this chain reaction continued? Well, one could speculate for ever, but it could be possible that this is the reason for us not working together for a common goal, but fighting with each other over personal differences, thus creating a distance in a place where we should idealistically come together as Europeans.
In the end of November I had the pleasure of participating at the Network Meeting in Porto. The event was memorable for many reasons. Firstly it was a reunion, because at the meeting French, Portuguese and Spanish speaking locals came together after a long time. What was noteworthy about it, was that all of them did not speak their native languages, but they all spoke English, which according to the Netcom team in charge of the region was an amazing feat. Many topics were discussed, one of which was the creation of the federation of Spanish locals for the purposes of joining the Spanish National Youth Council (Consejo de la Juventud de España), which up until now has been quite impossible since in order to join the organisation should have a national level. During the latter part of the Network Meeting AEGEE-Toulouse and AEGEE-Porto-Invicta resigned the Convention d’ Adhesion and also AEGEE-Burgos and AEGEE-Porto-Invicta signed the Twin Antenna agreement, thus becoming one of the new twin couples. Lastly it was also noteworthy how the local organisers managed to arrange such an amazing event with only having 10 members in their antenna. The whole Network Meeting hosted around 45 people, for which there was a hall for lodging and sessions, 3 meals per day and social activities every evening, also a small stroll around the city of Porto in the night.
Is it so important to be a big local to host great event? Not necessarily, because in the end the things that count are teamwork, dedication, a goal and most importantly motivation to do something. In this case it was the importance of bringing people together, to rekindle the ties, that were perhaps lost in the past and to bring back some of that European feeling, idealism and knowing, that it is possible to do big things with a small group of people.
Written by Comité Directeur 2011/12