EBM Valletta: the art of hosting international events

The EBM comes closer, and now it is the chance of AEGEE-Valletta. This year, the Maltese antenna, known for its best Travel Summer University 2012 and for having hosted the spring Agora “A vision for our Future” in 2007, gives a try to celebrating its second EBM, -the first one was held in 2005-. It would be a tremendous mistake to call them “newbies” in organizing international events but, as it is said, every time it is a new adventure. Martha Mifsud, public relations responsible of AEGEE-Valletta has shared with us some of the questions that might come up when setting up a statutory event.

-How do you manage to coordinate more than 300 participants?

-300 participants…yeah that’s quite a lot! However, we believe that together we achieve more. That is the main thread for the Maltese organizing team, that is what links us all together. Coordination is however, the art of good leadership. The most efficient way we thought of going about this event is to have various teams, each chaired by a specific person. To illustrate it better, I am for instance the Chair of the Marketing and PR team.

– When promoting the EBM, which tools do you use to make it better known?

-The strategy adopted was that of making use of all technological means at our disposal. Facebook nowadays is a major asset. On the other hand,  we also have the EBM Official website which is quite prestigious. Moreover, we used local newspapers and radio stations to make the general public aware of AEGEE-Valletta.

-When it comes to money…How do you achieve to get all the financial support needed for covering the costs of the EBM? Do you give something  in exchange?

-Funding is one big headache! The best solution I found is to be persistent and never lose hope! The plan we adopted was to apply for any funding application possible and ask for the sponsorship of any company or even a corner shop you come across, which also help us to invest that money in local events to encourage more people to join us. At the end, we managed and finally the picture started to get to its place. Obviously, nothing comes for free. However, it is only fair on our part to promote our tiny island on behalf of government entities, after all, we are very proud of our home.

-Once you get the funds, how do you distribute them? Which things are more expensive and which ones can be done in a humble way?  

AEGEE-Valletta has always been known for quality events. We want to present the whole package. We don’t believe in having good accommodation while providing for want of a better word ‘barely decent’ food. The solution is to try to get as much money as possible. This requires hard work and sacrifice and months of preparation.  AEGEE- Valletta tries to find the equilibrium between saving money on the one hand and investing in human relations on the other.

-With your minds fully set on logistics, do you have a little space dedicated to the environment? Are you eco-friendly?

-With regards to being eco-friendly, yes, we do our best to protect the environment. We believe that the world is our home and it needs to be safeguarded. In fact, one of the policies I adopted in the EBM Marketing and PR team was to refrain from printing materials and send documents, including sponsorship proposals strictly by email.

-Which advices would you give to other antennas that might be interested in hosting a European statutory event?

-Being one of the main organizers is a memorable experience. It is self-enriching and educative. With the right attitude, it could be the event which defines your life towards professionalism and practical training in view of a successful future career.

* The EBM Valletta will take place under the sunny sky of Malta from the 28th February till the 3rd March.

Photos courtesy of Martha Mifsud.

Written by Ana Valiente, AEGEE Tenerife