5 Things You Didn’t Know About AEGEE (and Europe) During its Anniversary Year

Many things have changed about AEGEE during its thirty year existence. However, instead of looking back at its rich history, this article will take a look at five things concerning AEGEE, and by extension Europe, from 2015 that you might not already know.

AEGEEan1Improbable spelling. Everyone who is participating in the Agora in Kiev in October may have noticed that the local organising it is called AEGEE-Kyïv. This seemingly weird spelling has everything to do with the spelling rules for AEGEE locals. The rule, in a nutshell, is that all AEGEE locals must use the local or national name for the city, in which they’re located, hence not the English name for the city. Then this name has to be converted to the Latin alphabet, if it’s not already. This is why AEGEE-Киïв is written as Kyïv, instead of Kiev. Other examples are AEGEE-Москва as Moskva, instead of Moskow, and  AEGEE-Αθήνα as Athina, instead of Athens. AEGEE-Minsk, however, is still AEGEE-Minsk, because the transcription of the local name happens to be the same as the English one.

Not all countries are represented. Members from various locals have or are going to visit at least one of the two Agorae during this anniversary year, while some countries are not represented by members of their locals at all. Bosnia & Herzegovina, Latvia, Luxembourg, and Montenegro are, for instance, not represented, but to be fair, all of these countries have only contacts or contact-AEGEEan2antennae. The two countries with AEGEE-antennae that have not been represented at either Agora are Albania and Lithuania.***

No locals in Scandinavia. AEGEE-Helsinki, of course, is still an active and vibrant antenna in the network. But Helsinki, or Finland for that matter, is not part of Scandinavia, but of the larger geographical region of Fennoscandia. According to the 2015 version of AEGEE’s map of the network, the last AEGEE local in Scandinavia, AEGEE-København, no longer exists, thus AEGEE’s presence in Scandinavian is missing.

AEGEEan3King of democracies. One of the central themes, and slogan of the autumn Agora in Kyïv is ‘rebuilding democracy’. However, of all the countries in Europe that are considered to be “flawless democracies”, according to the 2014 democracy index, half are technically monarchies. These are Norway, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Luxemburg, the United Kingdom and Spain. The three countries in Europe that by the same index are considered to be authoritarian regimes are Belarus, Russia, and Azerbaijan.

This land is mine. Considering the theme of ‘rebuilding democracy’, the most infamous land dispute in Europe of 2015 is arguably the question of which country has the rightful claim to the Crimean Peninsula, located in the northern waters of the Black Sea. This, as should be noted, is not the only disputed land area in Europe at the moment. Most notable are the self-declared independent regions of Transnistria in the east of Moldova, and the Nagorno-Karabakh in the west of Azerbaijan, and some disputed border areas between Croatia and Serbia. Some may know one of these unclaimed areas as the location of the self-proclaimed independent and libertarian territory of Liberland.

Many other interesting events concerning AEGEE, and by extension all of Europe, have of course happened in 2015. Feel free to comment about those you think that should have been mentioned below.

Written by Willem Laurentzen, AEGEE-Nijmegen

*** Data were retrieved using the participants list of both Agorae, that can be found here.