October was a month of preparations… for the ZarAgora. So expect to read many stories of endless meetings, preparing powerpoints, discussing Progress Meetings. But not only, since we also participated in several events around the network and did other interesting things. Join us on the trip about what we did while preparing for ZarAgora.
October started with some meetings at the European Parliament, interviewing some of the leaders of the EU Political Groups about their priorities for the upcoming European Parliament Elections 2014, which will be included in the Voting Guide of Y Vote 2014. After this, I flew to Greece as CD representative in NWM Thessaloniki were I could really see how motivated and willing our members are. With lots of structured work they will soon become very strong.
Directly after the NWM, I went to my home town in Las Palmas, but this time for a Y Vote 2014 Convention on Bridging the EU democratic gap which was a total success. Happy and active participants, many decision makers and personalities present, and mentions in the media showing our work.
After that I was back to Brussels for the kick off meeting with partners of our EVA (Erasmus Voting Assessment) new project, researching to see if participating on ERASMUS has an influence in participating in the European Parliament elections. A few days later I went again to the European Parliament with Kathrin for the second ceremony where AEGEE was awarded the Charlemagne Youth Prize for its project Europe on Track, prize received from the hands of President Martin Schulz.
After some more days in Brussels preparing everything for the Agora, I had to fly to Madrid to participate as speaker at a Conference called “Foro Ético”, and then I went directly to Strasbourg as I was selected to become member of the Ad Hoc Task Force on Youth Rights of the European Youth Forum (YFJ) and to set the agenda of the Forum on the topic, for the next years, especially related to the Council of Europe and the United Nations.
Directly after that, I went back to Spain for the Agora, where I had the pleasure of meeting all of you once again and making a very big step in the history of the organisation. I’m proud of the results of Agora Zaragoza 2013 and thank you all for the big effort. See you all around Europe.
October has been a really busy month. It started off with attending our partners’ event on the Recognition of Youth Workers, a project where AEGEE is partner and with which Madalena, our employee is working. I was in Krakow for 3 days following the development of the project.
I spent the beginning of the month, establishing the work with internal bodies with which I will be working this year, such as the Policy Officers, the Events Committee (notably working on transforming the Events Committee into a Quality Assurance Committee), and the Academy, since I am newly CD appointed member there.
In the middle of October, I had a very busy week attending external events, like the EUCIS-LLL board meeting, as well as the Education and Training Forum from the European Commission, where new features and insights on the Erasmus+ programme have been presented.
In the second part of the month, I focused my work on the preparation of the Agora, notably working on the strategies that we have presented at the Agora, such as the Policy Strategy of AEGEE-Europe (to engage and structure the work of AEGEE in policy), the Secretariat Strategy (with the views to develop a plan in order to have paid staff working in AEGEE), but also the Non Formal Education Internal Strategy (aiming at increasing AEGEE’s quality in Non Formal Education, as well as creating an internal tool for recognition). Along the way, I have also worked on Y Vote 2014 project, contributing by writing an article on the need for real European Elections in 2014 and supporting the team in other tasks. I have of course dealt with general Secretary General activities, like managing the head office, taking minutes during our weekly CD meetings etc.
Finally, the month ended up in Zaragoza, where I was very happy to meet again active volunteers and friends from accross the continent, and which was also the chance for me and the rest of my team to get some feedback, to share the current initiatives and projects we are working on, and get some inspiration from the network!
As Pavel mentioned wittily, “Agora” month was extremely busy for me but extremely productive at the same time.
Of course 70% of my time this month was dedicated to Agora preparations, namely:
– calculation of the membership fees and dissamination of the information to the locals;
– preparation of Agora booklets together with Pavel and Madalena;
– constant and intensive, especially this month, communication with both the Chair team and local organizers;
– negotiation on the contract for Agora Patra;
– preparation of the financial documents (reports and budgets);
– and on the very last days – preparation of the registration desk, presentations and non-disclosure agreements for newly elected members.
Besides all that I was contributing to our external projects by preparing financial guidelines for the EVA project,
and finding replacement for the EduCoach project in the person of Anna Pykhtina and Sergiy Lahtadir from AEGEE-Kyiv.
October was, as to be expected, a full and stressful month of Agora preparations. After coming back from a weekend in Passau, I was dealing with the printing companies of the Key to Europe and the merchandising, being in touch with local organizers, the Study “Fairies” (Anna, Olga, Dasha and Mada), and the universities and partners for the Study and AEGEE Fair. At the same time, together with Luis and Anna, I was preparing the kick-off meeting of the EVA project, which happened on the 14th of October in the AEGEE house.
I had the chance to attend the presentation of Europe on Track in the CULT Committee of the European Parliament and shake the hand of Martin Schulz, once again celebrating our success with the project and the award Charlemagne Youth Prize.
Another big point this month was the selection of the new Liaison Officers and the new Pool of Representative. Out of a total of more than 40 applications, we selected 17 representatives and 6 new Liaison Officers. For this, with many of them, I had separate interviews, to get to know them better and make sure that they have the qualifications needed to represent AEGEE externally.
The rest of the time was spent in CD meetings to prepare Agora, finalizing the Identity Process to present at the Agora, creating presentations and arranging all the little details of the Agora.
October was an extremely active month and not only because of the Agora, but beside many tasks, I also spent two-third of the month on the road. We had the very first Network Meetings of this autumn, so in the beginning of the month I was preparing training outlines, I was consulting with the trainers and NetCommies on program and on the knowledge that we wanted to pass to the participants. I was a Comité Directeur representative in Network Meeting in Foggia.
After the Network Meeting, I was representing AEGEE at the meeting of IFISO (Informal Forum of International Student Organisation) in Lisbon, Portugal which is a forum for best practice sharing and a perfect place to work on future common projects. We had the possibility to discuss the knowledge management, the alumni network, the online training and fundraising strategies in the different organisations.
After this meeting I had a full week to catch up with the craziness of the Agora: I was finalising the Network Status update, I was in daily contact with many locals and basically in hourly contact with the NetCommies, I was preparing the European level meeting which has been organised for 34 participants which is a platform created for the European level bodies in order to share best practice, discuss issues on the European level in order the strengthen not only these bodies and the European level, but also the whole association.
Besides, I also finished the final draft of Human Resources Cycle manual which has been presented at the Progress Meeting at the Agora. With Pavel, we were working on the Network development strategy and on the relation of the locals and AEGEE-Europe with Kathrin, these topics were also presented at the Progress meeting on the Network.
Agora month, also known as October, started for me with the long time needed ITC meeting in Thessaloniki, which was parallel event to NWM. Outcomes of this meeting will be soon transformed in a long term IT strategy for AEGEE which includes new Online Membership System.
Right after ITC meeting, I started to inform the network about Visual Identity, as the tool for logo generation was developed at this time, and also provide the Network with templates for PR materials.
In parallel I was working on YouthRights.NOW Campaign which was launched last month, and coordinated implementation of new translation and on-line promotional campaign. And also helped Anna to design Agora booklets, to have a fresher design than in the past and in line with the Visual Identity.
Third week, before I left for Vienna for Youth Barcamp to discuss Online Active participation of youth, I was working on Communication Strategy which should be presented for feedback next month, which includes definition (and at some point re-definition) of information flows in our organisation.
Last week of the month was full of Agora preparations, preparing presentation and the three Progress Meetings which I was responsible for.
I spent most of October in Brussels, which allowed me to focus on the elections of the Working Groups, a very demanding task; but a very rewarding also when you see the new WG teams to start planning their year, with new initiatives and ideas developing into learning experiences and opportunities to change the world.
We hosted in Brussels a team meeting of the EuroArab team, bringing together European members of the team with also one member of the team from Tunisia. It was a very enriching experience to see the different ways of working, and watching live how understanding was built through discussion. I am sure the project will bring many good news soon to our association.
In Brussels, I had the opportunity to represent AEGEE at the meeting of an innovative project to create a new system to rank universities according to a selection of criteria made by the person, and not predetermined. The project, supported by the European Commission, has AEGEE as one of the partners to provide them with a Student’s point of view to test the system.
On the travel side, I had the opportunity to attend the Y Vote convention in Las Palmas, where I took partly charge of communication with the media, and also worked as trainer in some sessions. The event was a great opportunity to see old friends from that local, and to meet with some new members as well, and we discussed recommendations to bridge the democratic gap in the EU institutions.
Finally, after some days of intense Agora preparations, with endless meetings and presentation preparations, I took one day off to travel to Alicante. My local was organizing a Pre-event “Mediterraneanly”, together with the Health4Youth project and I took the opportunity to visit them, also my friends and family, before going to the ZarAgora.
October came with new experiences for me regarding work development in different fields.
It started with the 3rd partners meeting of the project “Certification of the Qualifications of the Youth Workers in NGOs” in Krakow. This meeting aimed to update the partners on the work developed, to discuss the methodology of the certification tool that will be created, to present our part of the Pan-European Database. As we are one of the partners responsible to bring together expertise and the advocacy process, we also presented to them the idea of creating a Pool of Experts. More than a database with information, we want to increase the impact of this project creating the “space” of discussion and team work in the field of advocacy for a better recognition of Youth Workers. Therefore we believe that this Pool of Experts composed with experienced people and experts on the field will be the sustainable base for a more constructive work and knowledge-base. The partners welcomed this idea and appreciated that this could be managed through the contacts within the database.
Another new challenge presented there by AEGEE, was the 2nd visibility event that we will organize on the 5th of December at the European Parliament aiming to present the project and its tools, to share the European priorities for Youth Work – Recognition and certification of Skills and Competences , discuss the challenges in the youth field in this context, what is the strategic pathway for recognition on policy level, actions for the future and also to gather relevant stakeholders working in the same field for a stronger discussion and debate reinforcing the purpose, efficiency and collaboration within the database.
Apart from this meeting and its follow-up, I was also representing AEGEE at the International Education Forum on Sustainable Development organized by the EU-China Friendship Association that took place under the World Green Design Forum. This event aimed to create the space to present the political agenda and share best practices on Education and Sustainable development under the cooperation between EU and China. This event brought some new information on possible cooperation links and new ideas for the work in Education promoted by AEGEE-Europe.
Another new challenge was participating in the partners Meeting of the EVA Project. I was invited by the Board to follow the meeting to be aware of the project, our responsibilities and its dynamic in the sense of collaborating on it further on.
Besides the normal work I develop in Education, I was attending the Agora for the first time. It was an amazing experience that gave me the opportunity to better understand the dynamic of the organization, meet the members and follow the discussions in some of the sessions and at the plenary. This was the purpose that AEGEE-Europe invited me to go and also to give support in some sessions. I must say that was a very important role to my future work in AEGEE.
PS: Thanks to Jorge Sanchez (AEGEE-Alicante) for taking the header picture of Comité Directeur in Agora Zaragoza Opening Day.