A Prelude to the Agora: Ideas Factory León 2016

While organising an Agora might be one of their long term goals, AEGEE-León is already showing their prowess by hosting this year’s Ideas Factory León (IFL) in their charming city. To know all about this special event, and their collaboration with others, Sergio Nistal Prieto, the Co-Main Organiser of Ideas Factory León 2016, has answered a few questions for us.

ifl1The AEGEEan: What, in a nutshell, was the Ideas Factory León 2016?

Sergio: The Ideas Factory León 2016, also known as Planning Meeting León 2016, gathered around sixty participants. There were different discussions and sessions for the creation of the new Strategic Plan 2017-2020. The results have to be improved and then approved at Agora Chișinău.

Could you tell us a bit about the team that organised IFL 2016?

My awesome team was composed mainly by members of AEGEE-León, but we also had representation from AEGEE-Madrid, AEGEE-Torino and AEGEE-Castellón. We really started to work after we knew we were chosen for this event on the 7th of May, during the Local Training Course 2 (LTC2) of AEGEE-León. I am very happy, because everybody has really worked hard since the beginning, and especially during the event, since we had a lot of energy everyday and always gave a smile to anybody. We tried to have a more personal approach and to take care of the participants, to break the barriers that there sometimes are between organisers and participants in events.

ifl2Why was the IFL 2016 hosted by AEGEE-León?

AEGEE-León has quite a lot of members (around 120) and many active ones. We are strong at organising events and we offer a wide variety of them, since we do trips, Summer University (SU), local events etc. every year. Due to logistic reasons we cannot host an Agora yet, so this time we felt we had to go one step forward and apply all our knowledge and experience in one event that has a lot of impact within AEGEE: the Planning Meeting. We wanted to show all the members of AEGEE that we could organise a good event and also to put León on the map, since our beautiful city is not known by many people in our association. In my opinion we achieved it, so we are really happy with our work.

What was or what were the general outcome(s) of IFL 2016?

During the Ideas Factory León, we drafted the thematic and organisational part for the future strategic plan. For example, the thematic focus areas proposed are the following: Living Sustainability, Equal Rights, Civic Education, Upgrading European Projects, Beyond Europe, Digital Europe, Freedom of Movement.

The Comité Directeur (CD) and the Planning Team decided to open the event to everyone that wanted to join, so we allowed streaming of some of the sessions and discussions. Moreover we allowed the spreading of the results in the Facebook group and on the forum, plus we also had a flash poll to vote the preferred ideas.

ifl3Why, do you think, is it significant to host such an event?

Having the opportunity to host this event is good not only because we had a good opportunity to show our city and our organisational skills. One of the most important reasons is that this is a good chance to have closer contact with other hard working members of AEGEE and show our local members that there is something more than the local level. Moreover, the members of our local could experience that “things” such as focus areas and strategic plan are real, they are made taking into account the input of every member that wants to participate and that every opinion has an impact.

How do you think the event went?

To make the event possible, we had quite many difficulties, the most important of which was the election of the new Rector, taking place around April (right after the open call for organising the event). But, finally, it turned out to be a boon, since he did everything he promised to do and we had a lot of support from Universidad de León.

Then, I would like to say that a big difficulty was when we started to organise the event. We could not forward the decision that we were going to organise it until Agora Bergamo, so we waited until June to add more human resources to our team, which meant that we only had three whole months to do everything.

ifl4I also want to add that organising this event during summer was complicated. Many public workers (of the Universidad de León, of the Town Hall etc.) were on holidays, and not only them, but also the organisers. Moreover, we organised a SU during the second fortnight of August. All this made it difficult to coordinate the team.

A good point was the close collaboration that we had with the CD and the Planning Team, who were in charge of the content. We had a live meeting in Brussels before the event and the interaction on the internet was always fluid, which allowed us to organise ourselves properly. I want to thank them for their infinity effort to make this event possible.

On the whole, we think that the event went very well. We have already received a lot of good feedback from participants, which makes us feel very happy with all the work done.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I just want to say that for me it is the most important event organised by AEGEE-León so far, and that we feel very happy to have been part of the creation of the future of our beloved association!


Written by Willem Laurentzen, AEGEE-Nijmegen