Maryana Semenyak for Member of the Comité Directeur: “Our Power is in Our Diversity”

Energetic and passionate, Maryana stepped up to fill the gap left in June in the composition of the Comité Directeur. Member of AEGEE-Lviv, at her first European level experience, but with a strong motivation to do great things in Brussels: let’s read how she sees her upcoming year in Brussels!

The AEGEEan: Who’s Maryana? What don’t we already know about you?

Maryana: It’s quite hard to tell something totally new about myself: I’ve been in AEGEE already for 7 years, I’ve attended more than 50 events, both as participant and organiser.

I studied International Economic Relations and Pedagogy, I was working as a teacher in a college in Lviv. I was dancing for more than 10 years. I really like the sea, also in winter time, even though I never lived next to it. I have a small black funny dog.

I’m interested in history and art. When I’m travelling I’m trying to read and prepare many things in advance, so I could sometimes be quite a boring person telling all the stories to friends who are travelling with me.


This is your first official European level experience, despite the fact that you have been a member for quite some time. What helped you make the jump?Maryana_1

It wasn’t my main goal to run for any of positions in AEGEE before, I felt fulfilled as a member contributing to our organisation, being active on local level and participating at many events, from statutory events to Network Meetings (NWM) in different parts of the network.

The Open Call helped me to make the jump! I thought this is the time to give back to AEGEE using my previous experience. I applied and in 10 days I was already at the knowledge transfer in Brussels.


You are running for a position you already hold ad interim, but you didn’t run for it at the previous Agora. Why? And what made you change your mind?

During the last three years I was working as a member of administration at a college, and I didn’t have the possibility to travel during study year or to apply. This June I decided it’s time to move on, and I already changed my work. Then I saw the Open Call for this position, and you know already what happened.


How is your best skill (“organising events”, according to your candidature) related with the position and how will it help you to get the best out of your role?

This is not my only skill, or so I hope. The important thing is to understand the reality of the organisation, and how it works inside. On the other hand, any CD member should really be a multitasking person. So this is just one of my skills.


Do you thMaryana & Christinaink that restoring one local in one part of the network means enough experience to manage the whole network?

Of course not. Restoring even three locals won’t help. Our network is really diverse, and what works in one part will never work in another. For this reason we also have a big team of Network Commissioners, who do work, help and support really a lot.

Anyway the experience of restoring the local helped me to be involved and very active in the organisation. And definitely the best experience was working for the past three months as interim Network Director.


If you had to choose, would you prefer to enlarge the network (despite of the Antennae criteria) or to strengthen it (despite the number of locals)?

None of this two options is the best. I would say that they come together, and they should be balanced. But the important thing is, while founding locals, to be sure that current locals are receiving enough support.


In your candidature you plan to support locals. What is your idea exactly? How do you plan to support the whole Network? And which tools will you use/need for it?

One of the first points in this work are communication, learning and explaining. Then detecting special problems of each local. In this case we are working as one big team with NetComs.


In order to found new locals you plan to develop a new strategy. Do you already have something in mind? Maryana_2

We plan to establish collaboration with universities to include our newsletter in their regular communication with the students.


What are your plans to enhance communication between the European and the local level? How can you bridge this gap?

There is not real European or local level, every activity that locals organise contributes to AEGEE-Europe’s goals. We should also work more on transparency and communication channels, using the last in the best way for promoting contribution to the Network.


How do you plan to ensure the impact of Network Meetings? And how will you measure it?

We are working currently on impact measurement and improving this tool for upcoming NWM.


Maryana 3What will be this “one day event” about? Will it take place after the “European Day of Language” experience or you have something different in mind?

This is a new idea which we’ll present at the Agora during one of the Progress Meetings.


About Summer University, what are your plans for improvement (besides learning about problems and specifications?)

First of all to make a consultation and  then analyse the data. After this work is done, we can properly asses the project.


Considering the importance of this project for AEGEE in terms of funding, promotion and fresh members motivation, do you think that the priority of AEGEE would be to have more events around Europe, or rather less, but with higher quality?

The dichotomy quantity vs. quality should not be the core of the discussion. The discussion should be moved to how to shape the projects in a way that is more appealing to the network and adapt it to the current needs of young people.


In the program you mentioned Visa Directive: how will your involvement contribute to the work of the Eastern Partnership Project (EaP) and the Youth Mobility Working Group (YMWG)?

As far as we all know EaP is finishing now,  and the Visa Freedom Working Group (VFWG) was deleted last year. During our task division I took responsibility for Youth Mobility WG, which also includes Visa Directive.

My interest is related to my personal experience, and I really would like to continue working on Visa guidelines and to help our members implement the idea of a border-less Europe. My ambition about the Visa Directive is very high, but this isa  really slow process (again from my personal experience) and I hope I’ll manage to do my best during the term.


You didn’t mention anything about internal education and human resources, despite the fact your candidature (and current position) concerns also these responsibilities. What are the current AEGEE needs in terms of internal education? How can they be improved?

Internal education and human resources are one of our main aims in the Activity Plan. It’s related Maryana 4with many other topics: trainings and educational opportunities, develop the strategy of the knowledge base (KT), using best practices in AEGEE, educate members about fundraising and others. This is a long-term strategy, where we should ensure knowledge and continuity in the network.


Still in the field of human resources, what are the current needs of AEGEE both on local and European level? And how, considering your position is also very close to network management, could you give a contribution to the network?

A lot of research about our members’ motivation were already done. But so far it’s still one of the main topics and of course one of our main aims in the Activity Plan.

My direct contact with the network allow me to see the HR needs of the network.


To conclude: why should the Agora vote for you?

AEGEE gave me really a lot and makes me who I am. Actually AEGEE is my life. Now it’s time to give back and give all my time and experience for developing our organisation.

Many people already know me as a participant and as an organiser, now also as Interim Network Director. And It won’t be anything new to say that: I have non-stop energy, I am positive and always smiling. And what is really important, I’m curious to always learn more.

I’m not afraid to accept new tasks. I appreciate working in teams and I have good experience related to team-work. I do believe in the ideas which AEGEE is standing for, and my dream is to contribute more.

I’ve already repeated many times:“My life credo: our power is in our diversity! AEGEE gives all opportunities to prove it in our lives!”


Written by Alfredo Sellitti, AEGEE-Salerno