Member of the Month Mattia Abis: “Only if you have passion you don’t get tired of doing your job”

Mattia Abis, “class” of 1987, has been elected as Member of the Month of August. Member of AEGEE-Cagliari since January 2012, he took up the position of internal vice-president in the local Board. After being Claudio Armandi’s (AEGEE-Napoli) subcommissioner during his term at the Network Commission, he ran in Autumn Agora Zaragoza and he was elected as Claudio’s successor, taking care of Italian locals, AEGEE-Valletta and the Contact of AEGEE-Europe in Lugano. His endless, and often sleepless, work for his locals, combined with his engagement in the organization of Autumn Agora Cagliari, made him worth the award.

Erika: Mattia, How does feel to be recognized with the Member of the Month award?

Mattia: Quite suprised and embarassed, especially because our work is spread in one year and I didn’t imagine I could get this prize. Honestly I was always reading the articles about past LoM and MoM, I wanted to get it one day but I didn’t expect it now. So I am feeling very happy, and grateful to the people who nominated me and The AEGEEan for the award. It gives me more motivation to keep up my work since sometimes I have the feeling nobody notices what me and the NetCom are doing. The prize goes to them, too.

After Spring Agora Patra, you were elected in the Speaker Team of the Network Commission together with Arsenis Tselegidis (AEGEE-Thessaloniki) and Ana Potocňik (AEGEE-Ljubljana). Beáta Matuszka (AEGEE-Budapest, Former Network Director of AEGEE-Europe) called you the “the best Netcom Speaker Team I had in my two years as Network Director”. Which is the secret of a good team work according to you?

I think that somehow we are quite similar people, we want to work seriously without pretending to be serious all the time. During our Skype meetings we are both working and having fun making jokes about ourselves, NetCom and AEGEE in general: this also gives us the possibility to create a personal relationship and communicate also beyond AEGEE stuff. For instance, last month, I had a Skype drinking meeting with Ana and some people of the team.

 With 29 locals, you are the NetCommie with the highest amount of locals. How can you manage to care about them while being so proactive as member of the Speaker Team?

I don’t know if I am as good as you said, but I am trying to do my best all the time both with my locals and within my team. I think it is just about passion for what you are doing, only if you have passion you don’t get tired and continue doing your job. Anyhow, I have been lucky since I joined the Speaker Team after Patra: since my locals are very busy with their Summer Univiersities, I can breathe sometimes.

 The NetCom’s motto is “to serve and protect”. Do you believe that all NetCommies (as far as you have been able to see during your term) were able to deliver such a motto?

Well, we should first analyze the motto. I think that since the Commission has been created, it has changed a lot and maybe the motto can be given different interpretations. The first interpretation I give is to “serve and protect” the Network for what concerns the gap between local level and European level, which is what is requested to the Commissioners. The other interpretation, the one that I like, is to serve and protect the Network in every aspect: from solving the most simple situations to help out a local in difficulties. Sometimes it can happen that we do not follow the first interpretation, often the second one. But this situation is common not only for the NetCom but in every AEGEE body. As member of the ST what I want is that NetCommies are at least following the first one, otherwise they are not doing they job at all.

You are involved in the organization of the Agora, the Travel Summer University La vita è bella with AEGEE-Napoli just ended, you are not only member of the Network Commission but also in the Speaker Team… how many hours do you sleep per night?

Actually I usually sleep at early morning, from 4 am until 8 am. Except for the days I do not hear the alarm clock and I am waking up late. But in general four hours I would say. I’d like to make a plea: if some of the readers have the same rhythms, please contact me and we can be nocturnal Internet mates.

 Among all the tasks you have as Agora Cagliari’s Vice-Main Coordinator, you are food responsible, which is the same task you had organizing the TSU. Can we assume you are a ‘buona forchetta’ (literally Good fork. It’s an italian common saying to define a hearty eater ed.)?

As I declared in a previous interview, they gave me this responsability because I am the most famous glutton in Cagliari. So yes, I am definitely a buona forchetta: I like to eat good meals and drink good drinks and fish is one of my biggest passion! About the TSU, I was accidentally food responsible for the part in Cagliari. I understood I only had to prepare one dinner, then I discovered I was for everybody the food responsible for the whole Summer University.

 Not only a cooker for your Summer University, but also a valuable handyman, repairing broken toilets in other Summer Universities. Regardless the fame, are you still a “man of the people”?

I wouldn’t define myself as a handyman, it just happened that a few days before I went to AEGEE-Udine’s Summer University, I hosted Enrico Cadeddu (Vice-Persident of AEGEE-Cagliari and PR responsible of Agora Cagliari) in my flat and he obstructed my sink. I spent four hours to fix the situation and when it happened in Udine it took me only five minutes to solve the problem. About being “a man of the people”: I think that more time a member spends far from local activities and problems less close to the Network and AEGEE he is. So, if there is something we can do at local level, although it seems stupid, we should do it whenever there is the possibility.

Christian “Bobo” Vieri, a former italian football player, one of Mattia Abis’ idols

Italians are well-known for being great Latin lovers, so tell us, Christian Vieri (a former Italian football player, one of Mattia’s idols ed.), who is the “hottest one” in the Network Commission?

Am I? [he laughs]. About the hottest one, I would say our former NetCommie Pauline Létard (AEGEE-Tolouse), but she unfortunately left us, so I will say Arsenis. I didn’t notice him until he has been elected to ST but he is pretty sexy.

You are used to give and have nicknames. Your locals, for example, call you Uncle Abis. Do you have one in the Netcom too?

Well, southern Italian locals are calling me that way, it’s true. I don’t know if it is because I call everybody Zio (italian for Uncle ed.) or because I am getting older. Probably both hypothesis are true, I better not think about it too much [he laughs]. In the NetCom, someone calls me the team-builder, but I would avoid telling you the reasons of this! Meanwhile the Speaker Team proclaimed itself as the Speaker Team Dragons, STDs for short (that could remind people the Sexually-Transmitted Diseases). That’s why we use the Meditation of the Dragon to calm down and think about our next steps.

 Organizing an Agora is the longtime dream of every local and you are living this as Vice-Main Organizer. What is the most amazing feeling you have towards it and your worst nightmare?

It is, certanly, the longtime dream of every local and mine as member of AEGEE-Cagliari already after two months I joined the local. The best feeling I have is that we can organize the best Agora ever and hearing people talking about us years after. My nightmare is to have one of those totally unexpected situations, although you worked hard for one year. Some examples? I heard about Agoras with dead pidgeons falling on screaming participants, others where hot water stopped working during the event and participants were on strike. The second story happened during holidays and there were no plumbers available… and our Agora is on the same dates.

Your term will end after Agora Cagliari. Have you already found someone to succeed you or you are  planning to run for a second term instead?

There is one of my subcommies who wants to run, so I guess he will become my successor. About spending another year in the NetCom, I thought about it for the last months, but I do not want to lose the few hair I have left. I don’t know if I will quit my experience in Cagliari, at home, or if I want to have another great, but different, experience as I am having now. This year as Network Commissioner is giving me a lot and I am already quite satisfied.


Written by Erika Bettin, AEGEE-Venezia