The results of the local that would host the upcoming Autumn Agora 2014 took a bit longer than usual to be announced – the deadline was extended after ZarAgora, and at that moment, AEGEE-Cagliari saw the chance to take up such a big challenge.
The support they got from many other locals, especially from the Rainbow network (Italian-speaking and Maltese locals) has been overwhelming, and Enrico Cadeddu, the president of AEGEE-Cagliari, has unveiled the first secrets from the upcoming Autumn Agora to The AEGEEan…
First of all, congratulations to AEGEE-Cagliari for being selected! This time has been especially hard to find a local to host the Agora and the deadline to present the applications was extended. What made you decide to take the step and apply for it?
Well, we were thinking about it since our board was elected. We have been talking about it for a year and day by day the idea started to become a reality without realizing it. Arriving in Zaragoza, we knew that there wasn’t any local that could host the event, so we began to think seriously about hosting it in Cagliari, giving us three days as a deadline to find an accommodation and plenary hall location. Back in Cagliari we couldn’t have imagined that in a simple 30-minute meeting we were going to get them, thanks to the municipality of Cagliari.
I think that hosting an Agora is a dream for any AEGEEan who is pretty active in his local, but the main reason that took us to apply has been the motivation of giving back the Agora in our part of the network after eight years of abstinence.
We have heard you have received big support from locals, especially the ones from the Rainbow Region. What can you tell us about it?
When our Vice-President and now Netcommie, Mattia Abis, announced to the Rainbow Region that we had the strong intention to apply to host the Agora, almost all the antennae were delighted to hear this news.
They inmediately offered us their support, signing an agreement to help us in terms of Human Resources in order to organize this Agora in the best way possible and make it unforgettable for all the AEGEEans. We received more than 20 letters of support just from Italy and several from all over Europe. I think that our candidature has generated a positive turmoil within these locals: some of them created even a support video while sending their Agreement letter (like AEGEE-Catania!)
Do you already have a team for the Agora? What have your first steps been?
Of course we do: only the Core Team is compounded by 16 people! Everyone is already taking care of an aspect of the event: Fundraising, Public Relations, Human Resources, Logistics, Food, Study Fair etc.
The coordinator of the team will be Simone Ruscica, although he’s still quite a young member, he’s really experienced in marketing, social media and event planning, even outside AEGEE. His experience led us to present the candidature, because we found in him the person that could complete the AEGEE world with perfect knowledge of our local level. He was the marketing assistant of the main Sardinian music festival “Mondo Ichnusa”, if you don’t know what I’m talking about have a look on Google or Youtube.
What about the locations: do you have any idea where plenaries will be taking place?
Yes, of course! We already got, during the first meeting, the Teatro Massimo in Cagliari, it is in the City center and it is an awesome location for our plenaries. The other meetings, such as Prytania or Workshops will be at the University which is only 200 metres far from the theater!
And the accomodation?
The accommodation will be in the University Sport Centre of Cagliari. The participants will sleep in three gyms: two of them are in the same building and the third one is only 50 metres distance from the other two rooms. The sleeping place is only ten minutes walking distance from the Theatre but we are already planning to have buses for the laziest AEGEEans.
How many participants do you expect to have?
I don’t know, it depends on you! Considering that usually during Autumn Agora there are more participants than in the Spring one, I hope that we will accommodate 800 participants.
What makes the city of Cagliari so special?
It’s difficult to explain it and I think it would not be even fair since I’m living here, so I will use the words of a person that was capable to express what he felt when he arrived in Cagliari some years ago:
“And suddenly there is Cagliari: a naked town rising steep, golden-looking, piled naked to the sky from the plain at the head of the formless hollow bay. It is strange and rather wonderful, not a bit like Italy. It makes me think of Jerusalem: without trees, without cover, remote as if back in history, like a town in a monkish, illuminated missal. And it seems like Spain or Malta: not Italy…Lost between Europe and Africa and belonging to nowhere. Belonging to nowhere, never having belonged to anywhere. To Spain and the Arabs and the Phoenicians most. But as if it had never really had a fate. No fate. Left outside of time and history. And that is Cagliari.” (D.H.Lawrence)
If you want to know something more about Cagliari… just join the next Autumn Agora!
Is it going to be an easy city to reach for the members of our Network?
What I know about my local is that we have been always present, with a lot of members, to all of the Statutory Events since its foundation. So I can say yes! Maybe a lot of people don’t know that our Island is one of the most visited regions in Italy, the most visited even during summer. Cagliari has an international airport, one of the best connected by low cost companies (such as Ryanair and EasyJet).
Moreover, on the island there are another two airports (Alghero and Olbia) which are as well connected with many European cities. If your city is not directly connected to Sardinia you can easily reach it via other Italian airports in less than 50 minutes for all destinations!
And… don’t forget that there are ferry boats from a lot of destinations: Barcelona, Marseille, Genova, Roma, Napoli, Palermo, Tunis etc etc. So if you want to come here in an original way, why shouldn’t you take one?
Have you received so far any support from the local institutions?
Yes, many institutions are supporting us: from the City Council that is offering us the theater and the transportation, even the university that is giving us support in terms of logistics (gyms and other facilities), passing through the Sardinian Region and Student Rights Office in financial terms.
We are even contacting other institutions and private firms but for the moment I won’t tell you anything else!
Can you tell us a bit more about AEGEE-Cagliari?
We have a brilliant history: we hosted two Statutory Events (Presidents’ Meeting and Planning Meeting) and since this year we are coming of age we want to show you our maturity!
Now, AEGEE-Cagliari is the 9th biggest local in the network, counting about 170 members. 80 of them applied for a Summer University in the last year and more than 40 of them are now active! We will try to take advantage of the possibility that an Agora offers us to get even more people active as far as it would be the perfect moment for them to meet the friends they have all over Europe.
We are really active on the local level with Seminars, Conferences, Promotional Days, Training courses, European Days, Youth in Action and of course social events like concerts and parties.
What are your next plans in the organization of the Agora?
Now, after celebrations, we don’t have so much time to organize the event (due to the fact that the deadline was extended) so we have to work harder, but we are already doing so!
We are having daily meetings with the core team, especially about Fundraising and PR Strategy, because we know we have the means to organize the best Agora ever.
Last but not least: most of the people who have been to any Statutory event will have heard your scream “OLIO!”. What can you tell to the future attendants of the Autumn Agora Cagliari about it?
Sounds like AEGEE-Cagliari is already getting things started to organize a promising Agora… The AEGEEan wishes them the best of luck with it!
Written by Anna Gumbau, AEGEE-Barcelona