Edouard Mougin, this name definitely rings a bell. Some of you might know him as a dedicated board member of AEGEE-Lyon, but probably most of you have experienced him as the President of the Juridical Commission, in which he was trying with great dedication to take part in all the reform processes of AEGEE, has always been there to give you advice in AEGEE related juridical matters, has been helping AEGEE-Europe significantly in all issues related to the French registration and French law, and moreover has coordinated a great team of JC Subcommies. All this next to his demanding studies and several jobs including one in a real French bakery selling baguettes. Electing him as the Member of the Month has not been difficult. Now let us get to know him a little better.
Michael Makowiecki: Edouard, you have been a JC Subcommissioner and then elected as President of the JC. Now, the next Agora is approaching and after one term we could not find your application for a second term. Why did you decide not to candidate?
Edouard Mougin: Well, this was a difficult decision to take. Even if this term was really interesting and inspiring, I have to balance several other things at the moment. I’m finishing the second year of my Law Master this year and I need to finish a 6 month internship. Being the JC President is really one of my favorite experiences in AEGEE, but it also requires a lot of commitment. If you want to be sure to be able to attend the next Agora, you should be for sure also able to to have a clear vision of its agenda. For now, I have my internship but I don’t know if I will be able to take days for the next EBM and Agora. More of it, I always think that when you take responsibilities you have to be sure to do your best during your mandate. I know that there is a lot of unknowns and I prefer not to recandidate than to resign in few month. But honestly, I’m going there with a lot of motivation, ready to enjoy every moment, but I know that I will be nostalgic at the end!
Michael: This seems to be indeed a very responsible approach! You have mentioned that it is important to have a clear vision of your agenda while candidating. Looking back at your term, what was the vision that you had while presenting your candidature at the Agora Alicante and was it developed or changed during your term?
Edouard: The Agora Alicante was the perfect timing for me. 3 days before the opening ceremony I passed my last exam of the year. I knew that my next year will only start in October so my vision was pretty clear at that time : you have no obligations for university in the next 5 months, go for it! I had lots of ideas on how to improve our work and from the early beginning we tried to implement an activity plan, new projects and also develop the accessibility of the JC. Well, now it’s time to evaluate it. We made some progress, but I’m happy that some actual JC Commissioner and Subcommies will candidate and pursue this wave of changes. Indeed, the during every mandate JC faces lots of unexpected situations and has to create new tools in order to raise awareness of AEGEE members of all their actions.
Michael: Could you please share some more concrete challenges that you had to face during your time as the President of the JC?
Edouard: During my term, we faced some important changes regarding data protection policy and some parts are still not solved mostly about communication between all the competent bodies. During my candidature, I pointed out the fact that we had some lack about registration in France and started a huge amount of work on it. Finally, we also put a lot of effort in updating legal information about the AEGEE network, which is one of the most important work on our archives. One thing is for certain though: the archives were one of the biggest issues we solved during this term!
Michael: Many readers might not understand immediately what the archives really are and how this kind of work look like. Could you please describe it shortly?
Edouard: In a fun way we can describe the JC archives as a bunch of dusty folders full of really old papers that were hardly maintained in a coherent organisation. More seriously, the archives are a vital tool for the JC. In order to give coherent interpretations of the AEGEE rules or help association to maintain their legal statutes, we need to know what was already answered in some situations or provide a copy of legal documents containing fundamental informations. Our job was really long, but fruitful. Indeed, we start to convert some files to a digital format in order to improve the access of the commissioners to it thanks to the newest electronic tools. This work helped us, for example, to work on documents that explain some important questions that every AEGEE members can encounter. And for that the opinion of previous commissioner was really valuable for us!
Michael: Looking more into the future, what would you advise your successors, what are the most important challenges for them and what would be the main project or reform that should happen in order to significantly improve the way AEGEE works?
Edouard: I would advice my successors to pursue the work we started. Meaning they should try to more foresee what we will have to do and then adapt our agenda accordingly. For instance, always prepare things earlier, even if though I think we really have improved our work for this Agora! I will also recommend them to complete the work on the website and publication of the frequently asked questions. For me, this means a huge step forward in our way of communication and offering tools to prepare proposals, for example. Finally, continue the good quality of our knowledge transfer and the work with subcommies. Mainly organise teambuilding times, as we did during this term and that will finish just before the Agora by going all the team together to the Agora!
Michael: After your successors will be elected and you will officially finish your term, are you still going to be involved in AEGEE? Is there any new challenge awaiting you on the European level? You were also elected as the External Relationships Responsible and Vice President of AEGEE-Lyon. Does it mean that you are going to focus more on the local level?
Edouard: When I started to worked on the European level I think I immediately started to be addicted! During my term as JC President, I was also President of AEGEE-Lyon. But with the start of my professional life, I step back in the local level and will do quite the same in the European level. But I heard it a lot of times in AEGEE and now it’s my turn – it’s really difficult to stop immediately. So I plan to stay really active on the European level by joining the AEGEE-Academy as trainer and also to work on the human resources of AEGEE! Plus some personal projects not related to any bodies, mostly projects that I started and I would like to finish now that I have more time.
Michael: Mentioning Human Resources, it is widely observed that HR is one of AEGEE’s current challenges. What are you planning to do in this field, what is your vision about it?
Edouard: AEGEE has faced huge challenges since its born in 1985, but I truly believe that this is actually our biggest challenge. In constant evolution, AEGEE now has new partners that weren’t there at the beginning and needs to adjust to it. Some parts of Europe see the rise of the eurosceptism, but I know that our creativity will be the tool to sustain our future. In the last year, the creation of new teams with ambitious projects and a strong work in the HR area were developed and we need to make them more concrete. I’m also really happy that this year a member of the Comité Directeur will pursue the good work of the previous HR responsible in the CD. This Agora will see the presentation of a new committee: the Human Resources Committee. They already gathered 20 members that are motivated to work in this field. A new wave of HR workers is coming and I’m sure that it’s collaboration with AEGEE-Academy will be not only fruitful for AEGEE locals, but also bringing more people to the European level. As the choice was really tough, I’ll be involved in the two structures in order to contribute in both fields : training and HR work. With my experience I hope to motivate more people to contribute to projects, working groups and also commissions in order for everybody to benefit from the incredible AEGEE experience!
Michael: Edouard, thank you a lot for the very inspiring and extensive answers. Now you are probably asking yourself: why this interview… I have to reveal the secret that you have been selected the Member of the Month of AEGEE! How do you feel now?
Edouard: I have to admit that I’m quite surprised! This are very nice news and it touches me a lot! As the month is finishing by one of the most important AEGEE event of the year, I will for sure work even more to thanks everybody for this recognition!
written by Michael Makowiecki
Attention: If you think you know someone, who deserves to be honored as “Member of the Month”, send an email with the persons’ name and the reason for nominating him or her to firstname.lastname@example.org.