After two years with the same Comité Directeur, the Agora elected on the 3rd of May the six people who are going to live in the CD house and work for the association for the next 12 months. Paul Smits (AEGEE-Enschede), Antonija Parat (AEGEE-Zadar), Aleksandra “Ola” Kluczka (AEGEE-Kraków), Holger Shmitt (AEGEE-Berlin), Ivan Bielik (AEGEE-Brno) and Mayri Tiido (AEGEE-Tartu) are our new Board of Directors.
Paul Smits was elected as the new President and won over two very strong candidates: Léa Charlet (AEGEE-Paris) and Réka Salamon (AEGEE-Debrecen/Aachen). After being up by only three votes, he won again in the second round against Réka Salamon by only 19 votes. Being elected brought him “a shock of happiness and relief. The Agora had been very tense and put quite some pressure on me, so I have to admit I was happy this whole election thing was over. I immediately thought about the other candidates that went through a very stressful time. Going down to Réka felt like the only right thing to do, because for her the circus ended right there. The full realisation of being elected only came when I began receiving the congratulations after the plenary session.”
Even more close was the victory of Antonija Parat, elected Secretery General, with only two votes apart. For her being elected “is an honor. I feel really grateful for this opportunity, and I’m looking forward to starting my term. It took a while for me to process everything and to really understand the ways in which my life will change now. But I’m definitely excited and I can’t wait to see what the year will bring.”
The emotion to be elected was huge for everyone. “I was happy to share this moment with my friends sitting next to me. I was also really grateful that people trusted me and I thought that I want to do my best now even more”, says Ola. Holger adds “I am very grateful and very much aware of the responsibility it means to be elected by so many AEGEE members and I take this responsibility very serious. Generally I am very happy and I can ́t stop smiling, thinking about the great things to come next”.
Building the team is the focus for all the newly elected CD members. For Antonjia “the most important thing will be knowledge transfer and teambuilding. I think it’s important for us to be fully aware of our tasks, to get to know each other and start functioning as a team. I’m really excited about getting to know everyone a bit better and starting my term. I hope it will be a great experience for our entire team, and that the Network will be happy with our work”. “I think that after some teambuilding and knowledge transfer we will work fine”, Mayri agrees. “ Also, I am more than sure that we will have a lot of fun together!”
Along with the excitement some fears may come. A part of being scared of “getting more interviews [he laughs]”, Paul only sees “interesting challenges. The only scary thing might be the high amount of these challenges, but that only means we have to plan and manage them properly.”
Living abroad is a huge challenge and something will be certainly missed. For Mayri it is “hard to predict, since usually we don’t know what we miss until we don’t have it anymore. As being part of the Comité Directeur is a lot of work, most probably I will miss the amount of free time I have at the moment.” Ola is very familiar with living in Brussels since she had done her Erasmus there and she was an Intern in the CD house, but she says: “I might miss some Polish food too, but you just need to know where to find it!” Even getting used to new tradiction seems hard. “People in Brussels put their garbage on the streets on certain days of the week. It looks horrible!” jokes Ivan.
A lot of CD members were involved in other projects and committees. Holger Schmitt resigned from his position of Network Commissioner and Julia Fuss (AEGEE-Mannheim) was elected Netcom Assistant until Agora Cagliari. Holger has a huge trust in her. “She already gained a lot of experience being president of AEGEE Mannheim and being involved in the Spring Agora Rhein-Neckar and my subcommie for the Rhein-Neckar area, where she organized an RTC and visited many locals. I am very much looking forward to intensively work together with and support her wherever I can. Of course I will continue my personal relations I have in my NetCom area and I will be their contact person in Brussels”, he says.
Mayri Tiido was the Project Manager of the successful Health4Youth. “As the project has been already ongoing for one year and an haf, in Autumn Agora Cagliari this cycle of the project will end. I will give my best to finish up as many things as possible before August. After that I will kindly hand over the project until its ending to Matthijs Overhaal (AEGEE-Tartu, Public Relations Manager)”. Ola Kluzcka is the Content Manager of the YVote 2014 project and she admits that “we haven’t really discussed [the follow up] with the team yet, but I definitely hope so. It’s one of the things high on my agenda and I hope we will be able to realise this project. Especially with the results of the recent European Parliamentary elections showing that initiatives as Y Vote 2014 or the project about spreading europtimism are needed more than ever due to the low voter turnout and the rise in support for eurosceptics.”
Ivan Bielik will keep “a low profile in IPWG right now. Of course, I will continue in the initiative AEGEEDebate. Moreover, I am a researcher in EaP project right now.” Paul Smits, soon-to-be former Chaiperson of the Agora is working with the Chair Team to “finish up after Agora Patra. Soon after this is completed the newly elected Secretary of the Agora will be introduced and a call for an interim vice-Chair will be sent. Even more than before the Agora, I am convinced the Chair Team will be fine and will find someone motivated and capable to bring the team back to full strength.” Some rumours about interested people are already spreading in the Network.
The new team will have a heavy legacy from the Comité Directeur 2012-2014, but Antonija is sure that “the current CD set a great example for us, they did a lot for AEGEE in the last two years, and I’m really thankful for that. They are a very good team, and they set the bar for future CD’s pretty high, so following them is surely a challenge. But I believe our team is capable of taking on this challenge: I think we can learn from the current CD, but also develop our own vision and keep improving AEGEE in the next year.”
Written by Erika Bettin, AEGEE-Venezia
With the contribution of Svenja van der Tol, AEGEE-Nijmegen