The announce has just been made… the next EPM hosting local is AEGEE-Zagreb from the 23rd to the 27th of February . The Croatian antenna will finally bring back to Balkans a statutory event. Excited? Well… We asked some questions to Zvonimir Canjuga to have the first sneak peek on it.
Zvonimir: It was not some random decision for us. The idea of organising an EPM at that time in Zagreb was born on EBM Valletta in 2013 which Silvija (ex president) and I attended. As that was my first event, I was impressed with concept and since then I believed that AEGEE-Zagreb was capable to organise such an event. At that point we had all new members in the local so we decided to prepare our local and our members for EPM by organising smaller events like Summer University, and to educate our members about Project Management, event management, time management etc. Such programs took exactly three years from first plans about EPM to be finally realized.
There are several reasons why we wanted and we are organizing EPM. Firstly, we want to show to the youth of Zagreb, but also AEGEE members that Europe and EU is more than traveling without passports. EU offers much more: chance to activate yourself, develop softskills, learn languages, take anactive role in your community or be active in EU circles.
Secondly, with refugee crises we can see how the core values of Europe are weak and some important are threatened. We can see wire fences rising and border patrols all across Europe. We can see some nations want to leave EU. This is not the picture of the Europe that generations before us fighted for. With organising EPM we want to take a chance and participate in fight for rights of youth and values that we cherish.
Thirdly, we want to organise it for all former and current members of AEGEE-Zagreb. As I already said, since 2013 we worked very hard and in several different fields to prepare our members for such big project as European Planning Meeting 2017. We organised a great number of local and European events and we know we are more then ready for task ahead.
Fourthly, we were amazed with the support that we received both from institutional partners and 34 AEGEE locals. With so many people believing in us we owe to them to do our best and work as hard as we can do not let them down.
Last but not least, we want to organise a statutory event on Balkan, the first after Agora Skopje 2011. Balkan countries are all slowly approaching the EU entering process, but we do not see EU as bureaucratic machine, but as community of young people, ideas, knowledge, experiences and inspiration. Organizing the European Planning Meeting 2017 would have great impact for them and their community as well.
Well it took a long time for the CD to decide who will host EPM, but we knew that it will take time to give someone such great responsibility to organise statutory event. With every email from CD, and we passed two rounds of additional questions, my heart went trough the roof because I was hoping that somewhere in that emails was hidden that we got it. The night when we actually received the good news I was home in my bed almost went to sleep. When I saw email I must admit that I was positively shocked and I started to cry. My mind went crazy and I was wondering “What now? How will we do it?”, but I soon calmed down and i notified my dear Core team. The excitement between the Core team was amazing and we are very proud when we look on our work in local and on our application. Now we are 100% focused on work for EPM and we cannot wait to host AEGEEans in Zagreb next February.
Please, present your local.
AEGEE-Zagreb was founded in 1993 and now we have around 60 members. I can say that we are a small local,l but we have awesome members with great experience and motivation to work for local. We learned long time ago that a local is our members, and we, leaders of AEGEE-Zagreb are really trying to offer a lot of different things except travels and SUs to them. We meet once per week on our regular weekly meeting in our office, but teams and projects have different meetings days during week. Also our members are active in European bodies of AEGEE-Europe, from project teams to Commissions, and maybe we will have a CD member again soon, who knows. Now we are more focused on local internal work to strengthen our members’ base and work on EPM preparations. All in all this is it, I invite everyone to visit and contact us if someone is in Zagreb.
Who will be in the core team? Do you have already decide?
Core team is consisted of people who were with me from the start. So firstly I want to take opportunity and thank every each of them for their work and support on this. I’m very proud of them. So, I would like to present you my dream team:
- Vinka Suhin is alongside me most experienced person and person of great trust and she is Vice- Coordinator
- Andrea Završki will be Incoming group team leader
- Nika Krnjak is our Human Resources group team leader
- Marina Klanjčić will be IT and PR group team leader with help of Manuela Džankić and Nika Alujević to help her
- Jakov Rakić will be Fundraising team leader with help of Ana Drmić
- Lucija Kozjan will be Logistics support team leader
- Dominik Vukošić will be Social program coordinator
- Me as Main Coordinator
So this is team that I will lead as Main Coordinator and we are fully confident and prepared to work hard and organize awesome EPM.
Tell us three things that make your local special.
The first thing that makes us special are our members. Although we are a small local, we are full of ambitious, motivated and skillful people who really care about AEGEE and want to make our antenna the best possible. Furthermore, we are very active for a small local. Apart from our weekly meetings, so far this year we have organized exchanges with AEGEE Ljubljana and Amsterdam, various language workshops, PR and public speaking workshops, teambuildings, social drinks, a fundraising concert and so on. Also, we have good relations with other locals and with other student associations in Zagreb.
And now three things that make your city special…
Zagreb is the capital of Croatia, but its main attraction is its peaceful and welcoming atmosphere. It makes you slow down and teaches you how to relax. Although people are very busy, there is always time grab a cup of coffee with your friends or have lunch at delicious nearby restaurants. If you are walking through the centre, don’t be surprised to see cafés full of people all the time. The second thing is that Zagreb has a lot of greenery at the city centre and with mountain Medvednica and lakes Jarun and Bundek within easy reach, you can find spaces for recreation almost anywhere. Finally, most of the city attractions are free and easily reachable by foot, which allows you to really experience the vibe and the atmosphere of Zagreb and discover little things which you cannot find in travel guides. The charming appearance, relaxing atmosphere and accessibility make it very easy to feel like home in Zagreb.
We were really brainstorming a lot about several options where to hold EPM and we decided that it will be Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing (FER). This faculty offered us huge gym, 5 workshop rooms and plenary room within range of 100m. At Student Center which is 300m from FER we will organize all three meals in student canteen per day. In general Faculty is very well connected and its is really easy to reach it from airport, bus or train station which are really close to Faculty. For more informations about EPM I invite all members to follow us on social media and other channels.
Written by Erika Bettin, AEGEE-Verona