Some days before the Agora took place in Enschede, Comité Directeur announced the host of the Spring Agora 2013. The result is: It will not be one local, nor two… no! It will be seven locals: AEGEE-Darmstadt, AEGEE-Frankfurt, AEGEE-Heidelberg, AEGEE-Kaiserslautern, AEGEE-Karlsruhe, AEGEE-Mainz-Wiesbaden and AEGEE-Mannheim!
Each one of these locals is too small and has too few members to ever host an Agora by themselves, even if they wanted it so much. So, they tried to find out how they could make their dream come true by still providing the needed manpower. The solution seemed simple: “Let’s do it together!” With this idea they actually created a new concept for the organisation of the Agora.
If you are curious now about who these people are and how they can work together you should read the following interview:
1. Why did you decide to apply for hosting the Spring Agora 2013?
Sebastian (AEGEE-Heidelberg): We have a great potential in this region. Our locals are quite different one from another, but we all have highly motivated members and we believe it is the perfect moment to meet this challenge.
Alexandra (AEGEE-Heidelberg): We (AEGEE Heidelberg) have a strong antenna at the moment, we have a lot of very motivated members and we considered this the best possible moment to organise an Agora. We thought that if we don’t do it now we might never find a better opportunity and a more appropriate time. However, while our human resources are at a peak, the logistical possibilities in Heidelberg are less than ideal for such a major event as the Agora. For this reason, we slowly came up with the idea of organizing a Rhein-Neckar-Agora with our neighboring AEGEE locals and to merge the advantages of each one of the locals into an optimal Agora organisation.
Benjamin (AEGEE-Mainz-Wiesbaden): When I was at my first Agora in Istanbul one and a half years ago, I just knew that I wanted to contribute to such an event. Unfortunately our local is too small and also the facilities in Mainz are not capable of hosting an Agora. When Alexander Sieber (AEGEE-Kaiserslautern) came to me with the idea of a regional Agora, I was totally psyched. The fact of finally being able to host an Agora was just amazing.
2. How will you all work together, when you are from different locals and different cities?
Sebastian: All locals in the Rhein-Neckar-area are less than one hour away, Heidelberg and Mannheim only about 15 minutes. We already have regular institutionalised regional meetings and they will get even more frequent from now on. We will also prepare for the Agora project by a special Regional Training Course which will focus on conference management and we will have at least one team building seminar for the core team.
Benjamin: It is a lot easier than people might think. For everything that can be organised without meeting, we have the world wide web to help us. With e-mail, Skype meetings and cloud sharing it got really easy to share information. Of course not everything is doable through internet, but despite us being seven different locals, that does not mean we cannot meet up often. Our region and all our antennae are really close. You can travel easily by train or car, and as a student you do not have to pay much to use the regional trains.
3. Can you tell The AEGEEan when did you come up with the idea to host an Agora?
Sebastian: The idea was born in autumn 2011. Alexander Sieber asked me what I would think about applying for hosting the Spring Agora 2013 in our region, and from this very second I knew we would do it!
Alexandra: To be honest, I don’t even remember exactly when the idea became concrete. After the Autumn Agora in Skopje we began thinking about how great it would be if we could organize an Agora of our own in Heidelberg in the near future. From this initial wishful thinking, the idea slowly began to form and we started coming up with more and more solid plans.
Benjamin: I think that the idea of a regional Agora was nothing like a funny idea that became somehow real. Our region became more connected a couple of years ago. We meet each other, invite each other to events, travel together to statutory events and so on. I think the Spring Agora Rhein-Neckar is just a big step that developed of our regional community. The concept of antennae working together to create something big is nothing new in AEGEE and not in our region, as there are often three or four locals organising a Summer University together. That is why I think the statutory meetings don’t have to be the exception to this concept.
4. Please tell us something about the team.
Benjamin: Right now I could think of no better team to work with.
5. What is your region in Germany well-known for?
Alexandra: The Rhein-Neckar region is considered a metropolitan region in south western Germany. It is well-known for it’s picturesque areas around the valleys of the rivers Rhein and Neckar and it includes internationally renowned tourist destinations such as Heidelberg and Worms, as well as UNESCO World Heritage sites like the ancient cities of Speyer and Lorsch. In additon, thanks to its bland climate, the Rhein-Neckar region is famous for wine-growing and it is furthermore considered an indispensable German industrial area with prestigious companies like BASF, John Deer and SAP. Moreover, the proximity to the international airport in Frankfurt makes our region easily accessible and well travelled.
Benjamin: The most popular product would be wine, but that is not all. Our region has a big cultural heritage. From cities that were build 2000 years ago, like Mainz, to cities that were cultural centers in the medieval times, like Heidelberg, we have a big part of German and European history just on our doorstep.
6. Give me 10 reasons why AEGEEans should attend your Agora.
Thank you very much for your time! Good luck with the organisation!
Written by Stephanie Müller, AEGEE-Heidelberg