AEGEE-Zagreb is Calling You to Visit the City of a Million Hearts

A month after Spring AgorAsturias, from the 30th of April until the 3rd of May, a Network Meeting (NWM) will take place in Zagreb, the capital of Croatia. Thirty lucky participants will get a chance to learn more about the history of AEGEE and get valuable advice about organising quality events. They will also find out about the Action Agenda and about Human Resources. We talked to the NWM Coordinator Ana Drmić, the organising team and to NetCom Ana Potočnik in order to feel a little bit of the Balkan AEGEE spirit before the actual event.

The AEGEEan: First of all, congratulations for having been chosen to be the host of  the upcoming Network Meeting. What motivated you to apply?

AEGEE-Zagreb: Since we have a lot of new and highly motivated members, we decided to give them a chance to find their role through practice being guided by experienced members whose knowledge will be helpful. Being the organiser, rather than a participant would help us acquire useful organisational skills for the future. Organising this Network Meeting would also make our antenna more active by motivating new members to participate and to learn how to work as a team on a project. We want to place our antenna as visible, highly motivated and experienced in organising European events. Of course, making new connections and friendships with participants from other locals would help us make the AEGEE spirit grow.

Tell us something about the organising team. Who is the Main Coordinator? Can we expect any helpers from AEGEE-Zadar considering the well-known cooperation with the members of that antennae?

The organising team consists of eight members, including the new ones, but also the experienced ones. The entire board takes part in the organising team and the Main Coordinator is our current treasurer, Ana Drmić. Although all the help is welcomed, we will have enough organisers and helpers for this event, but we would be happy to host our friends from Zadar as participants.

Do you have a fundraising strategy you are going to use and are you getting any form of support from the University of Zagreb?

At the moment we are not getting support from the University of Zagreb, but we are still negotiating. We will do corporate fundraising and we have already started applying for grants.

Why do tourists find Zagreb worth visiting and what does the social program include?

Since Zagreb is a historical town, the centre of culture with lots of happenings and crazy nightlife, we are sure that it will be an attractive destination to visit, especially at this time of the year. Participants can easily come to Zagreb by plane, train or bus, because there are several connections every day from all the capital cities in the area. Except for the European night, we will also provide city tours, visiting famous attractions and  night clubs.

What about the program of the event? Can you reveal the main goal and share some ideas you have already come up with? Have you already appointed the trainers?

Ana Potočnik: We are still developing the program. Like in the past, the Network Commission and Comité Directeur came up with some very interesting sessions from which locals will benefit a lot. We allocated a lot of time for sharing best practices and other sessions where locals can get to know each other and plan common activities. We will be tackling common problems of my locals and get into HR strategy together with the HR Director, Ivan Bielik. I am also in contact with some projects and Policy officers to make sure participants get to know the thematic AEGEE is working on and hopefully be inspired to organise theatrical events also in their locals and get active in European bodies.

Why should people apply for the NWM? Do you have any new ideas for motivating the members of the Balkan locals on both the local and European levels?

Ana Potočnik: Simply because it is going to be awesome! We are preparing a very diverse program with a lot of interesting and interactive sessions on how to improve thematic and organisational work of the locals. Together with my SubComomission team and Ivan we will make sure participants will not be bored during the day… and during the night. I don’t think there is a better recipe for boosting our motivation than the Balkan AEGEE spirit.

What does the emotional title “Million hearts, one soul” mean to you and who came up with the name?

AEGEE-Zagreb: The organising team came up with lots of ideas for the name of this event but from the moment we reached this one, it was clear to everyone that it was the one. Zagreb is called the “city of a million hearts” and the licitar heart [decorated heart shaped biscuits made of sweet honey dough popular in Croatia, ed.]  is one of its most recognisable symbols. On the other hand, the title symbolises also the community of a lot of members who think and act like one and it is what we are trying to achieve, to bond members of AEGEE and unite them in their actions.

Can we expect more statutory events hosted by the AEGEE-Zagreb? We have heard rumours about organising an European Planning Meeting (EPM) one day. Is that true?

Yes, it is true. The idea was proposed by the current President, Zvonimir Canjuga, and the Ex-President, Silvija Perić, during European Boards’ Meetin (EBM) Valletta in 2013. For us, this is a slow process because we want to motivate our members and give them organising experience by organising NWMs and Summer University events. Also EPM is one of the biggest and most important events and we want to have a good team that can handle such responsibility. But, with the right guidance, AEGEE-Zagreb will soon be ready for this challenge and we will apply for EPM 2017. 

What plans does the current board of AEGEE-Zagreb have for the future? Are you going to organise a Summer University this year?

This year we decided not to organise a Summer University because we want to focus more on motivating our members to take an active role in AEGEE, so our focus is on organising some local trainings to make it happen. However, the experience of organising the Network Meeting will help us prepare for other events of which one will most definitely be Summer University next year.

If you have anything more to add, please do.

We are looking forward to every application and are encouraging everyone to apply for this amazing event!

Written by Ivana Mijanac, AEGEE-Beograd