“She has been responsible for the successful revival of the Cultural European Night at the EBM”. Who is this mysterious person, you might be wondering? It is Alice Bednarova from AEGEE-London. The European Night during Autumn Agora Budapest raised many questions and gave way to many discussions. The Culture Working Group (CWG) has decided to take things under control starting with EBM-Valetta and return the initial spirit of the event. This time the very person who helped in the revival of the CEN concept has been elected member of the month, and The AEGEEan was glad to interview Alice.
Alice: I became an AEGEE member in 2010. To be honest I found AEGEE only by chance. I remember I was browsing through the internet searching for what am I going to do in the summer and I found the Summer University (SU) project, so I joined. After the SU I became very active because I wanted to and because I was doing my Erasmus in Athens.
And you are also active in the CWG?
Yes. I started with the CWG in 2012. I was looking for the way I can get involved in AEGEE and at the same time how this activity can correspond to my interests.
So you are into culture. Any other hobbies?
That’s my huge hobby and also my job since I am studying about galleries and museum sector. The course – Museums, Galleries and Contemporary Culture – is a new project of the University of Westminster. I spend my free time in galleries where I either work or simply enjoy my free time. Of course, I love travelling too. I also work in a little coffee shop. There is no way to survive without a job here.
You were the one responsible for the Cultural European Night (CEN) at the EBM. What’s the story behind it?
I answered the open call for a person that would be in charge of the CEN at the EBM. We all knew that the last CENs were not successful so far and many voices had risen after the last European Night at the Agora Budapest. There was even this article in the AEGEEan questioning the original purpose of this event and it has been even broadly discussed whether this kind of event in this form should be kept on the program of statutory events. Since the whole CWG see the huge importance of having the CEN we have decided to try to bring a new concept to it- keep the ‘fun elements’ such as the drink and food fair but also, more importantly, – show that CEN is more a celebration of cultures than just a party with free booze.
No, actually, this was the very first event. There were many ideas how we could change the EN to make it more cultural. I thought we needed to make it more interactive, to encourage people to join the program. I have requested a projector from the organizers where we played for the first time the CEN video (that was an amazing work from Dasha, AEGEE-Moskva). The most difficult part, however, was to make people join the program. I do not even remember how many times I have sent a reminder saying the same worlds: always asking people to bring their folklore and perform. A week before the event we had only one performance confirmed! I felt that this was going to be a disaster.
During the EBM some guys from Turkey came to me willing to show their dances and not only I had to limit their part because they would make the whole night only Turkish. The Dutch part was also amazing thanks to the organization of Hanke, from AEGEE-Enschede. It started with three – Turkish, Dutch and Greek.
I counted on having more, but was happy with at least three. But then more and more people started joining. Beata organized the Hungarian performance, followed with Anna Gots with the Ukrainian folklore.
Every single performance was so well done. Some of them were simply breathtaking.
Is there anything you would like to tell our readers?
I would like to say how happy I am for being part of AEGEE. It means a lot to me. Even though we are often working very hard, we end up being rewarded greatly afterwards. I would like to thank also to Danae Matakou and Guillermo Tabares Garcia for their support in the CEN project.
Thank you for all the efforts to Alice and the Cultural Working Group. We are looking forward to the European night at the next AGORA!
Written by Olga Volovyk, AEGEE-Kyiv