Tekla Hajdu for Member of the Comité Directeur: “I Have Now a Deeper Understanding of The Problems and Challenges the Network is Facing”

Tekla Hajdu, a 24-years-old Hungarian student of Leadership Management, is one of the candidates for a position as Member of the Comité Directeur. She joined AEGEE-Budapest almost four years ago becoming their PR responsible and then Vice President. She got elected as Network Commissioner during Autumn Agora Cagliari and chosen as NetCom Assistant from Agora Kyïv until now. Preferred task? Network Director but not only…


tekla 1The AEGEEan: Many people already heard your name: former PR responsible and Vice President of a big local, former Network Commissioner and Vice Speaker of the team, currently NetCom Assistant. Now you are running to become our new Network Director or, if needed, Communications Director. Why would you prefer to cover the first one? What motivations lie behind that preferred task?

Tekla: I applied as a Member of the Comité Directeur, where there are no fixed positions, but of course we can have preferences about the tasks that we would like to cover. My European Bodies experience as former Network Commissioner and Vice Speaker mostly covers tasks connected with the position of Network Director. I am currently also a member of the NetCom team, where I really enjoy the work and the initiatives of the team, so further supporting them and the newly elected Network Commissioners is the main motivation that encouraged me to apply. Also, I have now a deeper understanding of the problems and challenges the Network is facing, and together with the Network Commissioners, I would like to continue working on the projects. However, due to not having fixed positions I would also be open to accepting other tasks, if the team requires me to do, and my local level experience and educational background allows me to take over some Communication tasks as well.

As mentioned before, you covered several task related positions and your deep NetCom experience must be a good starting point for this new possible adventure. What do you think you achieved during your NetCom term? What did you achieve during your NetCom assistant  experience?

I honestly think that I developed a lot during my NetCom term, as the position is challenging, but very rewarding: I started as a person with a lot of enthusiasm, but with less general knowledge about what the locals are facing, and I have ended my term as a member of a team who is always thinking about new ways how to improve the work of locals with many initiatives and successful projects – I am glad that I could be a part of such an awesome team like ours was. I think my biggest personal achievement, during my term, is that my former locals have started to regain their trust in the Network Commission and their assigned Network Commissioner. In this part of the Network there were many resignations and changes, and I was the first one after a long time to fulfill my term and provide continuous support for the locals. My experience as NetCom Assistant rather deepened my knowledge in the overall situation of the Network, and my focus is more directed to the internal work of the Network Commission, of the current NetCom team, so my biggest achievement in this period is rather learning how to support them and with what tasks I can ease the enormous amount of work that is facing Network Commissioners, as working with the locals is only one (but very important) part of NetCom work.

One of the most immediate task you would take care of is our Network Development. There are different ways of development, probably the most taken paths have been found new locals or strengthen the existing ones. In your program you looked more oriented in opening new ones. Is this the best path at this moment for AEGEE?

Actually, opening new locals is the third pillar of my programme. My first and most important initiative would be to evaluate how the Network’s current situation is, as within the Commission we have certain knowledge and information regarding how we see it, but it would be also important to know the Networks’ input regarding their roles and their perception of the current situation of the Network. The NetCom team has already started to take initiatives towards this (come to our Progress Meeting at the Agora where we are going to talk about the current situation and number of members plus active membership in AEGEE). I would like to continue with this direction and make a research out of the information I can get with the survey I plan to launch together with the NetCommies. I would also like to look for more opportunities to support current locals with looking for other ways of financial support and improving the Internal education within AEGEE. But to answer your question, I believe that especially in the recent political atmosphere and situations that we are facing it is important to welcome people who would like to join our organisation with open arms and give more support to Contacts to be able to become Contact Antennae (and later Antennae).

In case you will find yourself in opening a new antenna, do you have any previous experience? What are in your opinion the problems a new contact or you and the Netcom can face?

tekla 4During my term with my SubCommissioners we have started to map the possible locations and finding interested people to found a new contact, but at the end we did not reach any concrete outcome by founding a new local. However, due to the preparations we have made I am well aware of the process that a person has to go through when founding a new local, and I have been part of the Pro-active local founding NetCom project where we were looking for ways to actively support opening new contacts, so I believe that with the knowledge transfer received in case I get elected I will be able to participate with sufficient knowledge and experience. Also a lot depends on the founding team’s enthusiasm and former AEGEE knowledge when they decide to open a new contact in a city within Europe. In my opinion, the biggest problems are lack of support from the University at the early stage for getting new members for the contact, and local regulations regarding the Statues and the operation of the contact– in some part of the Network legal environment and regulations are still a problem for even Antennae and Contact Antennae as well. If the Network Director, the Network Commissioners and other bodies and locals of AEGEE can provide support for contacts to overcome these problems, I think they can develop faster and tackle these challenges.

Some time ago the NetCom and CD faced some problems about using logos and AEGEE related names for contacts, that was banned. Will you be strict or do you think something should be changed in this procedure?

I think that recently there is an improvement in this field: contacts are now provided a toolkit that contains not just information, but also visual elements that they are allowed to use thanks to the collaboration with PRC. The key factor here is informing the contacts: in some cases they are not entirely aware of the elements of AEGEE they are allowed to use (such as logo, and AEGEE- name), but we should definitely watch over this carefully and remind them what is correct and what should not be followed. In general I would like to be rather strict about this, but it depends on the situation, and the NetCommies’ (and other European Bodies’) input about the status of the case is also quite influential, so I would consult with the relevant European Bodies in each case to be sure in making the best decisions.

One of the biggest problems of a Network Director is the definition of its role and it got frequently confused with the NetCom Speaker. Are you going to better define what is your role maybe with the Network Commission in order to work better during the year? Or maybe it is possible to find a balance without creating new rules and definitions?

I personally think that the Network Director should be also part of the NetCom team, not just the CD member appointed for Network Development and communicating CD decisions to the locals. However, Network Commission is an individual body, and the Speaker team is the one who is responsible for managing the Team. Therefore, I believe that the Network Director’s role should be rather an observer regarding internal decisions of the NetCom and a link between NetCom (and the locals) and CD to provide the interest of the Network to CD decisions and get information, but also to give information and the necessary materials to the NetCom and the locals (so to have this link for both ways). In my opinion new rules are not necessary to set in case this agreement is made at the beginning of the term and respected throughout the collaboration.

Talking about Antenna Criteria: the number has increased in the last years. Are the locals respecting them or are they struggling? Are you going to be strict or flexible about their fulfillment?

Due to my Non Disclosure Agreement, I cannot fully answer this question – what I can tell is that in general I would say the locals are trying to respect them with their available resources and capabilities. I am in favour of pursuing the locals to fulfill most of them, but, if the exception request is viable, I am of course going to grant it.

Since the Local Training Courses (LTC) are now Antenna Criterion, as Network Director how will you encourage local in organising them? Will you solicit the Financial Director to grant more money to locals in need of trainers or funding?

In my opinion, organising an LTC can help the local educate their members, train new trainers and develop the local activities of the antennae, contact antennae and contacts. They are already used as recruitment tools in some locals, others consider them as an educational tool for members, while some of the locals have just started to put emphasis on organising them. However, apart from being an Antennae Criteria, I would try to provide financial help (to see a way to give financial support to LTCs as well, not just to Regional Training Courses (RTC)) and giving more support for how to hold trainings (as sometimes this is the biggest problems for locals) with improving the current internal education guidelines for LTCs in collaboration with the Academy and other European Bodies (such as videos, suggested session outlines, etc.).

How do you plan to bring Action Agenda closer to the Network initiatives?

tekla 5How I see it currently is that some locals who are interested in/well-educated in the Action Agenda are contributing a lot to it with many events, others have even problems with grasping the concept of it. The key again, in my opinion, is information and education, and with a strong collaboration with Action Agenda Coordination Committee (ACT) I think this can be improved – also relying on the locals’ input and giving the chance of changing a field, if the Network does not find it viable.

What do you think about the current Network Meetings (NWM) situation? Should its definition be modified again or do you think too much standardisation can also be dangerous in such a beautiful and multi-coloured network?

With the former and current team, we have already worked on reforming NWMs in terms of content and organising, and I believe that we are going in the right way, but I think the definition since Agora-Cagliari does not need to be changed much as it is quite clear and distinguishable from other events (such as RTCs). I think that in regards of NWMs the most important should be always the locals’ needs: there should be some sessions which would be the same in other NWMs as well, but the program should always adapt to the participants’ needs regarding sessions.

There are five candidates but only four positions as members of the Comite Directeur. It means at least one of you will be out: why should our readers vote for you?

Because I am a reliable and a hard-working person who strives for the best to achieve in her work, and has sufficient experience in the organisation’s functioning, how to lead a team and how to be a good team player. Also I would like to see AEGEE as a wonderful place for finding what you like to do most, and I am willing to devote my energy to make this dream come true for others as well.




How quick do you answer e-mails?

Usually within 24 hours due to being used to NetCom policy and the internal policy we used in our Board in Budapest, and when I’m abroad or less available, I try to check them as much as I can and respond if super urgent (depending on wifi connection). In general I try to be as available as I can in many communication channels.

If you could only make one big change in AEGEE’s current state, what would you want it to be and how would you contribute to it in the position you are running for?

I would try to bring the members and the European Bodies closer. I really liked the period when the CD was able to visit the locals personally, I feel like that currently the European Bodies are sometimes further away from the locals then ideal, and I would really like to have this approach back to the Network. I would try to have more occasions for European Bodies to meet with locals, not just mostly Network Meetings and Statutory events such as case study trips or providing financial opportunities for organising international teams to be able to meet face-to-face more often, not just virtually.

From your own experience, you know that NetCom is a huge amount of work. If you’re elected as Network Director (ND), what ideas do you have to improve the cooperation between ND and NetCom?

In general due to being aware of the workload a NetCom is facing, I would try to have the cooperation as supportive as possible depending on the Network Commission’s request. I also think that appointing Assistants for coordinating the internal work of the Network Commission helps to ease this workload (in our case it worked well). I have some other suggestions as well, but I think this is a topic which should be discussed with the Network Commission first before coming up with more concrete ideas.

In your candidature we can read a lot about researching, evaluations, etc. Don’t you think that we already had enough about this kind of reporting and control during the last years? Why should the Network again be handled in this bureaucratic way? Is it the solution or the cause of our issues?

tekla 3I think that for my plans my research would be necessary to make in order to get an objective overview of the Network’s current status and to make statistics that have not been done for a while. I believe that in order to keep objectivity and be able to rely on data and facts, not just assumptions, sometimes we need tools that are more strict and reporting. I would try not to do too much controlling as we also have to respect that we are volunteers and contributing to many things out of our own interests, but there are some things where you can only get input by using more bureaucratic tools or sticking to the rules.


You can read her full candidature here

Written by Mattia Abis, AEGEE-Cagliari