Events Committee Competition Winner Encourages to Organise as Many Exchanges as Possible

Recently we published the article giving you an insight into the story behind 2nd place winner of the Events Committee’s (EvC) Facebook competition. Now it is time to reveal the winner which includes not only AEGEE-Oviedo but also AEGEE-Yerevan and the Eastern Partnership Project Team.

The winning photo

The Peace Building in Europe took place in Gijón last year, and the EvC’s competition has granted us the opportunity to get to know more about the event, how it came about, and the significance of exchanges among AEGEE antennae. Several of the participants of the event took their time to contribute to an interesting interview which you can read below.

Congratulations on winning the competition, why did you take part in it?

Tereza Tokmajyan (AEGEE-Yerevan) Thanks! It all begins with checking the dozens of AEGEE-emails in my inbox. I know every AEGEEan feel this every day and every week.  And while I was reading the info about what we need for participating in this great competition, the photo of our crazy event came out. I just wanted everyone to know all the amazing people who have organised this project.

What does it make you feel that you managed to win?

Gerardo García Díaz (AEGEE-Oviedo): I’m really happy and also proud because we managed to win, and because we won just for “being ourselves”.

Panagiotis Barlampas (AEGEE-Athina): Friends from the Network  helped us spread the joy

Tereza: And it was like: HELL YES we did it.


Take us back to the event, who came up with the idea to organize a YiA project between AEGEE-Yerevan and AEGEE-Oviedo?

Tereza: As far as I know, it was not directly the idea of AEGEE-Yerevan or AEGEE-Oviedo. The project was proposed by the AEGEE Eastern Partnership Project Team (EaP) back in summer 2011. Armenak Minasyants, who at that time was member of that team, developed and reshaped the project with the AEGEE EaP Team. Later on AEGEE-Oviedo was approached and to be honest, for the first application in 2011 the guys failed and the project got the rejection and lots of people thought that it was the big ned of a cooperation that had not even really started yet. It was a big disappointment. Amazingly, Armenak,  AEGEE-Yerevan’s ex-president, and Alberto Cuesta Noriega, from AEGEE-Oviedo, with the big support of AEGEE EaP Project Manager Alla Resheten, found totally new motivation and inspiring hope for rechecking the whole application, making plenty new amendments to it, developing a new agenda and concept and of course applying for the EU Youth in Action funding. It took from the both of lots of hard work, patience and dedication but in the end of the day the result you may already see on your own.

When asked why the choice of AEGEE-Yerevan and AEGEE-Oviedo for the project Tereza said with a smile “Maybe we are the marvelous, absolutely fabulous antennae in AEGEE Network?” and continued “But if we talk more seriously, the partnership was firstly based on the big personal trust of our above mentioned main organisers. Additionally it should be mentioned that the participants were not only from AEGEE-Oviedo or AEGEE-Yerevan. The organisers have involved as the partner promoters AEGEE-Athina, AEGEE-Tbilisi, AEGEE-Kyiv, AEGEE-Budapest, and Moldavian National Youth Council. In the end we got totally crazy and motivated participants plus awesome trainers’ team”.

What did you do in Oviedo?

Gerardo: Actually the event took place in Gijón. Oviedo is the Capital of the Principality of Asturias and the University of Asturias is the University of Oviedo. But the largest city on the region and the biggest campus of this University in is Gijón.

Armenak Minasyants (AEGEE-Yerevan): It was a great selection of the location: Atlantic Ocean on your one side, beautiful Asturian forests and nature on the other side… What could be better place for making such a project?

Christos Gkagkas (AEGEE-Patra): We had trainings on conflicts and different stereotypes, we learn how to recognize them and work on them in order to be able and overcome them. I think we manage to see that each culture is important and respectful.

Tereza: Adding to that in spite of this was a YIA project and we had non-AEGEE members we did not forget to show them all what AEGEE Spirit is.

Panagiotis: Which is why in the end, we left everyone speechless by our awesomeness.

What did you like about the event?

Panagiotis: In seven days we made friends from six different countries and learned about their culture, conflicts (internal, external), and language!

Christos: I liked most the conversations we had after the trainings, in which we found out that each culture is sharing something with other cultures and some of them are strongly connected.

Tereza: We had super great trainers. Every session was interesting and unique itself, even the ice-breaking games were amazing.

Gerardo: It was an awesome group of awesome people, and we had a really good time together.


Gerardo from Oviedo


In AEGEE we focus a lot on cultural exchanges and this was indeed one of those. Would you encourage others to take part/organise exchanges?

Tereza: As a person who has directly participated to such type of the project, I would not only encourage but, as the Vice-President and HR of my local, even officially suggest on the behalf of AEGEE-Yerevan to organise such exchanges as much as possible! Through such exchanges we are getting a quite unique chance not only to get familiar with other people’s culture, but also to represent ours.

Gerardo: There’s no better way to get to know other cultures and ways of thinking than actually living with people from other places and getting immersed in their stuff. Even that this event was short in time, lessons learnt will last forever.

Christos: I will give you one example. Before the event in Gijon I did not know where Armenia was but I fell in love with my Armenian friends and after this event I wanted to learn more about their ways of living so I applied and went to another YiA in Yerevan.

Panagiotis: For sure when you will come home after an event like this you will be a little different, more open minded.

Written by Patricia Anthony, AEGEE-København