Réka Salamon – President
November was a month I was looking forward to – not only because of the quiet time in office that left me with more time to work on project ideas and applications, but also because it is NWM season, and during such an intense month with so many events around AEGEE, the network really comes to life!
I used a bit more quiet time to review the workload of CD, have meeting with CD members, update the task division and review the progress in our Activity Plan. While work-wise it was easier to check data, it was also difficult to work on our daily tasks since half of us were away for NWMs all the time.
I spent November also on research and development of project grant ideas, including collaboration opportunities with other organisations (capacity building on Erasmus+), and submitting a grant application for Agora Enschede. Together with following the policy processes on the European Solidarity Corps, submitting AEGEE’s contribution to the EU Skills Agenda and preparing for the general assembly of the European Youth Forum, the hub of the youth policy and participation sector: November felt like I was up to speed in Brussels to the extent that AEGEE needed to be. And that speed is a hyperactive one.
December started with the amazing adventure of taking a Network trip, visiting some of the Turkish-speaking locals around the time of attending NWM Ankara. This trip has not only grown my understanding of the struggles and needs of the network, it has also given a new boost of motivation to continue the work for strengthening our network, our locals, and bring the spirit of AEGEE to all parts of Europe, which is more important than ever today.
From inspiration, I arrived back to Brussels for the Christmas Party in our headoffice (external and alumni relations, ahem), the evaluation meeting of AEGEE’s activity in UYD Mollina, and meetings on AEGEE’s involvement on the anniversary of the Charlemagne Youth Prize.
The last week before closing the headoffice for Christmas holidays was spent in a strange feeling with all of us still working, but Christmas lurking around the corner. We were all ready to take a rest. Except that, for me, rest once again meant I only sent half of the usual amount of emails during the holidays. Happy new year to all of you!
Katarzyna Sokołowska – Secretary General
In the second part of November I went to NWM in Beograd where I could see how various is our network. It was a very valuable experience to be present on 2 NWMs in different parts of Europe. I can truly recommend you to participate in more than one NWM in the next semester. After that, I stayed in Brussels quite longer than during the previous months. At the end of November I helped with packing the General Mailing and went with Tekla to AEGEE-Delft to send them. I represented AEGEE on a few events at the European Commission about youth work and entrepreneurship of young people. During my time in Brussels I also solved all questions regarding staff management and our employee. The last task, which definitely brought me a lot of happiness and positive energy, was the Christmas party. Together with other CD members, on the 9th of December we hosted our Christmas party, so the first days of December my main task was to coordinate the preparations. During the last working day of 2016, with all the people from the office – with our employee Andrea and assistant Maria – we went for a Christmas dinner to sum up our year and integrate for the next year.
I would like to wish all of you happy, merry Christmas and amazing New Year’s Eve. [she smiles, ed.]
Zvonimir Canjuga – Financial Director
November started by attending the NWM organized by AEGEE-Cagliari. Numerous workshops and awesome participants made this NWM special. We also started coordination of EPM together with AEGEE-Zagreb organizers. Besides regular finance work, I was also focusing on the work with E.Q.A.C. and CIRC, and we have new teams with new work plans and results that you will see soon. Also, together with the AUDIT Commission, I started to work on the concept of a new toolkit that will ensure proper KT for treasurers in locals and offer help with fundraising. The biggest point of this period was writing and submitting the Operating Grant, that is of highest importance for AEGEE. Together with other CD members, we successfully finished and submitted it. In November I also had the opportunity to travel to Athens for the Coca Cola Hellenic stakeholders annual meeting. After that, I participated to my second NWM organized by AEGEE-Aachen, and I can only say it was awesome event, and I enjoyed my time on both NWMs together with AEGEEans from all around the Network. I spent the end of my year repairing ALEX (one of our servers) and checking other IT infrastructure around the Head Office. In addition, GREAT and MY-WAY projects finished and it was time to recheck reporting systems and finish the transactions. Lastly, together with Lia we worked on the selection of the Interim Chairpersons for Agora. What is happening in January you will read in our next CD telegram.
Maarten de Groot – Vice-President and External Relations Director
In November and December I have been busy with the first preparations for EPM Zagreb: selecting the Content Managers and starting to work with them, discussing and determining the overall outlook of the event together with the rest of CD. Moreover, I have been coordinating the selection of the Franck Biancheri Award 2017: there were many good applications, but there could only be one winner – AEGEE-Budapest. The first preparations for the conference ‘Education for the Present, Democracy for the Future’, taking place in April, have already started. Additionally, I have started to work with the newly formed Agora Reform Task Force. Currently, we are still in the process of defining the exact direction of the task force, but more is to follow soon. A major highlight of these months was the Network Meeting in Moscow: just like many other participants, it was the first time I got to apply for a visa, and it took me some time and nerves to get it. However, it was totally worth it: it was a great opportunity for me to get to know another side of the AEGEE Network, and of Europe.
Apart from these internal AEGEE processes, Réka and I have represented AEGEE at the European Youth Forum General Assembly in Varna (Bulgaria). Apart from the board elections, the Work Plan of the Forum was finalized and adopted, and – interesting for us – advocacy on civic education is included in it. I have also contributed to a workshop on e-participation that was hosted by us within the framework of our participation in the EUth project. Lastly, the event provided an opportunity for me to talk to other youth organizations about the state and future of the ‘Free Interrail Ticket’ idea that is being developed inside the European Parliament, and that the Agora asked us to actively follow and contribute to. Apart from this event, I also attended the Members’ Council of European Movement International, the European Angst Conference and the Steering Committee meeting of the European Civic Forum. These different events have helped me to get a better understanding of the playing field in Brussels: who the relevant players on certain topics are and how we as AEGEE can effectively work together with some of them in order to realize our own thematic priorities. Our European Citizens’ Initiative ‘More than Education – Shaping Active and Responsible Citizens’ is currently the main project for which we look for partners in the civil society. I hope to be able to work more on this from January onwards, together with the task force.
Joanna Pankowska – Projects and Communication Director
In the period of November and December I travelled twice to Berlin to attend the Communication Seminars organized by European Movement International. Just as my colleagues, I also attended a Network Meeting and I must admit that it was a very nice break from our daily work. Both AEGEE-Leiden and NetCom Loes did their job faultlessly. By the way, during the NWM we went to the streets to collect signatures for ECI! At the beginning of December, I also had a live meeting with the ECI Task Force, and a week before the Europe on Track team visited Brussels. I went to a few conferences and meetings, of which the most relevant were the Meeting of the Education Network of European Youth Forum and the Europe Angst Conference by European Movement. Shortly before Christmas break, I organized a skype session for all the Interest Group Moderators in order to discuss the place that Interest Groups have in our Organisation. Thought this whole period I was collaborating closely with Maria – our Communication Assistant.
Evangelia Touska – Human Resources Director
Coming back from NWM Zielona Gora, I had to finalise the preparations for the Hackathon. In the end, we had 11 people attending the event and they got the chance to improve their knowledge about the current status of the Online Membership System and share their views about the Project. Later that week, I helped with preparations for the General Mailing.
The following week, I attended “Greek-Turkish Relations and the Geopolitical Aspirations of Turkey” by the Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies, where I got updated about the current status of the Greek-Turkish relations. At the same time, I was in contact with the Human Resources Committee and the Academy, participating in their internal meetings.
At the beginning of December, our server ALEX, after three months being in a coma, finally got back to functioning, so I had to check if all its functions were working properly, together with Zvonimir. Meanwhile, with Tekla we participated on the selection of participants for EPM Zagreb 2017.
The last week in office was intensive, we had our last monthly evaluation for 2016, which I moderated. With Zvonimir we worked on the selection of the Interim Chairpersons for Agora. Last but not least, I had the Information Technology Committee’s live meeting on the last weekend before I left the house for Christmas holidays. We got the chance to clarify the tasks of each person in the committee and to plan for the future.
Tekla Hajdu – Network Director
For me, November finished with two major tasks to concentrate on (apart from the regular ones): helping out with the Operating Grant by collecting the plans of locals for 2017 and coordinating the General Mailing. Making the packages might have taken some time indeed, but thanks to the help of my fellow CD members, our CD Assistant Maria and AEGEE-Brussel-Bruxelles for the transport, we managed to take and deliver the packages to Delft, where AEGEE-Delft helped us sending them to the addresses of the locals. [she smiles, ed.] On the 6th of December, I attended the Startup is MY-WAY conference, which was held in H-Farm, Italy, and where I spoke in a panel about the role of student organisations and how implementing your own ideas plays a role in AEGEE. The following day, I participated with Pablo Hernández -CD 53 member- in the partners’ meeting of the MY-WAY project, in order to prepare for the reporting and the closing period in early 2017. During December, I was also working on EPM preparations with supporting the selection process of participants and planning the Drafting part together with ACT. I also managed to attend the Christmas party of AEGEE-Aachen, which was a lot of fun for the end of the year. In the last weeks of December I hope to enjoy my holidays but also to continue working on the EPM, supporting the NetCom Speaker Team for the preparation of the NetCom Meeting in Brussels, supporting the new Speaker Team of PRC and evaluating the term so far with JC.
Written by the 54th Comité Directeur of AEGEE-Europe