Member of the Month July: Fabian Brüggemann

He is one of the best known faces in AEGEE. No matter if you were a newbie or an oldie at the Spring Agora Enschede , he is one of those people you have heard about thanks to his many accomplishments. He is the founder of AEGEE- Düsseldorf, former president of the Members Commission, active member of the Academy; you also might have participated in some of his improvisation theatres and coaching or might have heard that he helped the Comite Directeur with the mediation and coaching concerning the issues after the Agora and that now he is working on the closing evaluation for them. He is no other than Fabian Brüggemann.

AEGEEan: Did you expect the nomination?

Fabian: No, I seriously did not expect it. It was a nice surprise, having been approached by Ada and being told I had been nominated for this month. Still, no clue who got the idea to nominate me, and what for.

After all this time in AEGEE, tell us what keeps you so involved?

Two things: Fun and people. I just enjoy being surrounded by nice people, travelling, having fun with them. And AEGEE is a great playground to try stuff out, like organising projects, dancing like a banana on stage, but also new ways of training people. I am not an idealist, but I do enjoy improving skills of people to support idealistic ideas, so that´s why I love giving my workshops at Agoras and other occasions.

Let’s talk a little bit about AEGEE- Düsseldorf. How did the idea arise?

I just enjoy being around nice people, to travel, to have fun with them

After having been member of AEGEE-Münster for some years I moved to Düsseldorf. In Spring 2009, I had two friends, and while having breakfast I told them about the Summer University project, specifically about the Transibirian SU. They asked me “Why doesn´t AEGEE exist in Düsseldorf?” – and my answer was just “Actually… why not?” That´s how it all started. With a lot of help from Benjamin, our current president and one of the breakfast guests, we managed to set up an antenna (I signed the Convention d´Adhesion at Autum Agora Kyiv 2009) which is alive and growing for 3 years now. My goal from the very beginning was: To have a beer with the members at a social meeting in the year 2019, exactly 20 years after I founded AEGEE-Düsseldorf, so only 17 years to go now! Our biggest achievement was to be accepted as AEGEE-Rheinland antenna at Agora Istanbul, by our dear friends of AEGEE-Köln and AEGEE-Aachen. Even though Benjamin would rather see the fact that 80% of our numerous new members are girls as the biggest achievement…

And your involvement in the Academy, why there of all the other working groups?

For me training people is of utmost importance for AEGEE. Only good people can achieve great things. That´s why I joined the Academy after being asked by the former speaker, Arne, in Istanbul 2010. I am very happy with the way the Academy is going, for example with a program like ProTrain in which I enjoy to be a mentor. The recent board(s) of the Academy did a good job in transforming it into the most (atr)active body in AEGEE. Even though in my Members Commission term I had the feeling we were the most active body, with three MemCom cases to deal with at the same time, and with Mickey Turati in the team we had the most attractive body in AEGEE anyway…

Being in one of the most active commissions in AEGEE history must have been an experience. Tell us three points which you found hard and three which you really enjoyed?

My girlfriend laughs at me every time I say “and this is going to be my last Agora”

My MemCom terms from Alicante to Skopje as a member and then from Skopje to Enschede as its president were quite intense, indeed. We had to deal with three cases simultaneously, one of them has been taken over by the recently renamed MedCom. The name MedCom (Mediation Commission) by the way was proposed by us, after realising that mediation is the key to solve problems in AEGEE, and basically that was what we did most of the time. The hardest thing for me (and I´m only going to name this one) was that normally single persons causes a mess in an antenna, but we were only allowed to act against the antenna, according to the CIA. So taking a decision to punish the whole antenna, hurting people that did not have anything to do with causing the mess beforehand, was quite hard. But at the same time it was 100% necessary to do so.

What I really enjoyed was working together with Katja Behrendt, Mickey Turati, Ermanno Napolitano (JC) and Jüri Kirpu(CD observer). Even though we had quite different opinions, our discussions were always conducive. Also, even though we, as the MemCom, were taking unpopular decisions, the people of the antenna concerned (with little exceptions) respected the job we did and the decisions we took. I did very much appreciate the discussions about the Skopje case at the Agora in Enschede and all the critical questions. By the CIA we were forced to take a decision which was either black or white, and I am happy (and that might surprise some people!) that the Agora realised there is a grey zone, and took the decision accordingly. But then again, I would take the same decision again, excluding the antenna from the Summer University Project for one year, since it helped that these matters are taken seriously in AEGEE, and I hope that it helped to prevent future cases. Or to say it in AEGEE terms: We probably created awareness with our decision.

So here we are and here you are after such a long time in AEGEE, any advice for the newcomers?

Find something you like and just go for it – AEGEE consists of opportunities!

What plans do you have for what’s left of the summer?

Giving my workshops at SUs in Köln and Aachen, welcoming the outgoing CD in Köln for two days to do the final evaluation at end of August, settle in Köln since I just moved there for my job (still trying to find out what to do in Budapest during the roll-call – singing the second verse of the AEGEE-Düsseldorf anthem “we are not from Cologne” wouldn´t really be appropriate anymore then for me…) and going canoeing for a week in Sweden with the former president of AEGEE-Utrecht.

Future plans inside and outside AEGEE life?

No more plans inside AEGEE. My girlfriend laughs at me every time I say “and this is going to be my last Agora,” the “first” last one was in Istanbul 2010 I believe… Outside AEGEE? Get my own little training company started!

Last question, will we meet you at the Autumn Agora Budapest, and if so, is there anything we can expect both in an educational and funny way?

Yes, I will be there. And I have an idea for the Agora in Budapest, which I am really looking forward to putting into practice. This idea derives from the fact that I think flashmobs are a great tool for PR, teambuilding and having fun at the same time, and therefore should be used at a place where so many great people are gathering. But no more details at this point, you will find out what I mean in amazing Budapest!

Thank you. We are sure we will hear from you again Fabian!

Written by Andra Toma, AEGEE-Bucuresti


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