NWM Ioannina: “This October, the destination to motivation is Ioannina”

Located in the north-west of Greece, AEGEE-Ioannina is going to host the Autumn Network Meeting for the second time, after “Fire with Fire” in 2012. Constantly growing, the young local hopes to increase the level of motivation in participants. We asked Evi Topali (Vice-President) and Ioanna Papaodyssea (Treasurer) how they plan to do so.

Can you tell us something about your local?

Evi: Back in 2012 there was a boy called Dionisis Tzavaras, the current president, who had an idea: “Why not an AEGEE local in Ioannina?” After that simple thought, not more than ten friends started to create AEGEE-Ioannina. And since that moment, those ten friends have become more than 110 in just two years. Looking through these two years, we see a lot of outstanding moments: AEGEE-Ioannina as the Youth Representative selected by the Delegation of the European Commission, as participant in the conference “Croatia in Europe”, as organiser of the first successful TSU ranked on the top 10 of 2013 and as Local of the Month in September 2013… And more is coming!

Why did you decide to apply to host the NWM?

Evi: Unfortunately, this summer we did not have the pleasure to organise a Summer University and spread our craziness abroad. The AEGEE wind still blew off on us through 22 members who chose to pass their summer “AEGEE-ing”. So, right now – refreshed and pretty motivated – we want to start our third year as dynamic as we can. We were considering the idea of organising a European event and we ended up applying for the NWM. But why a NWM?! Our very first event as an official local was a NWM where we got experienced with the AEGEE world. It was a way for our antenna and our members to dive into AEGEE. This is what we want to do now; to transmit and receive the AEGEE vibes!

How many participants do you expect to have? Only from your area or from other part of the network too?

Evi: We are expecting approximately 26-27 people, with among them three trainers and one CD member (Holger Schmitt). As you can easily understand the Greek element is going to color our NWM with participants from AEGEE-Athina, AEGEE-Kastoria, AEGEE-Patra, AEGEE-Peiraias and AEGEE-Thessaloniki . We are more than lucky to host AEGEEans from AEGEE-Barcelona, AEGEE-Bratislava, AEGEE-Cluj-Napoca, AEGEE-Moskva and AEGEE-Osnabrück, too.

The title of the NWM is Destination to motivation, can you explain the reasons behind it?

Evi: The proposal came from our Local Activities Responsible, Ingle Zlatkou. We were dealing with many titles and we ended up with this one. As Inge said and convinced the whole team “motivation is what gives strength to the weak, hope to the desperate and a goal to the ambitious ones”. And that’s the truth: people can achieve anything if they have a good motivation, if they are inspired! So, through our event our aim is to get the participants motivated about AEGEE’s goals and even more, to get active as young EU citizens… In other words: this October the destination to motivation is Ioannina.

Now that Arsenis unfortunately resigned as NetCom, who’s going to be the new appointed NetCom? How are you dealing with the situation?

Evi: That’s the charm of AEGEE: you get the pleasant chance to meet and co-operate with new people all the time. Lia Tuska is now the appointed Netcom. We know her for two years now – I think AGORA Budapest was the first AEGEE event for both of us and, speaking on behalf of AEGEE-Ioannina team, we wish her the best!

Do you have any local municipality or university support?

Ioanna: As an antenna which is directly linked to the University of Ioannina we were lucky enough to have its full support in all the events we have organised so far. The participants of the NWM will be hosted in the International Center of Hellenic Education-Culture and Vocational training ”Stavros Niarchos” which is a university facility. Furthermore, the meals will be provided by the university restaurant.

Which kind of fundraising strategy have you used, if any?

Ioanna: Our Fundraising Responsible, Vasiliki Apostolou, had the idea that, instead of trying to approach big well known companies as sponsors, we could focus on getting in touch with small, local shops and ask them for their support. This idea turned out really beneficial since the local entrepreneurs were eager to help us and promote their products at the same time.

What are your plans for the social program?

Ioanna: As far as the social program is concerned, our participants will have the chance to explore the city of Ioannina as well as some traditional villages in the surrounding mountains. While doing that, they will also take part in some special-surprise activities that we are currently planning. Needless to mention the parties at night, in a city with a well known night life due to its many students.

What are AEGEE-Ioannina upcoming projects?

Evi and Ioanna: For now and the upcoming months we are planning to work on a project about youth unemployment in Greece in comparison, in one hand to the Mediterranean countries, and on the other to the rest of Europe. Moreover we are working on the creation of a new working group and on a series of non formal education projects in cooperation with another Greek nongovernmental organisation, under the supervision of the University of Ioannina.

Written by Erika Bettin, AEGEE-Venezia