For the Equal Rights Working Group Coordinator we have Viola Bianchetti from AEGEE-Heidelberg as a candidate. She is a person that sees a bright future for this WG, has some well defined plans already in mind and is passionate about it. Below, you can read why she wants to be the coordinator for the Equal Rights WG.
The AEGEEan: Viola, can you describe yourself in five words?
Viola: Curious, passionate, diligent, sincere, AEGEE-addicted.
Why do you think that this position fits you best and how will the knowledge that you gathered in your AEGEE and non-AEGEE experience help you in coordinating this Working Group?
In my view, a good Working Group Coordinator should master project as well as team management skills. I see the Coordinator as the person who should guide the activities of the Working Group, ensure efficiency and performance, but also build a healthy and productive team environment. I developed the first set of skills starting from my European Voluntary Service in the field of project management, and then inside the Your Vision for EUrope project. On the other hand, I acquired good team management skills while I was responsible for the photoblog Faces of Europe, where I had to coordinate a large number of team members and reporters. In regard to my knowledge about the topic, a Bachelor in Political Science and a Master (in progress) in Politics and Economics of South Asia provided me with a very good understanding of issues related to equal rights, not only in Europe but in a global perspective.
In your programme you mentioned that “Working Group could cooperate with AEGEE projects”. How exactly do you see this for the Equal Rights Working Group?
The most obvious example is Summer University: the ERWG could provide content to locals willing to organise a SU with a focus on equality and non-discrimination. I would also love to collaborate with the next edition of Europe on Track, which could be dedicated to the topic of equal rights, in its broader sense. Also, in case a new Yvote Project would be launched, the ERWG could cooperate on a conference on gender equality and/or LGBT+ rights in Europe.
How do you think that you will manage to engage locals in organising events related to Equal Rights Working Group?
First of all, I believe there is a general interest in the topic over the Network (otherwise the Interest Groups wouldn’t be so active and the Focus Area wouldn’t have been approved). I don’t think my task is that of forcing locals to organise events on a certain issue, but rather to empower them to do so if they want to. Nevertheless, I think some points are important:
a. Give visibility to the ERWG (e.g. during NWMs and Statutory Events, but also online, with an active Facebook page).
b. Inform locals about specific events or initiatives related to equal rights in their city or region, where they could participate or also cooperate.
c. Provide content for the locals, ranging from small workshops and fun activities which can be integrated in local trainings or events, to content support for conferences or bigger events. For the latter, involve also European partners to ensure high quality.
d. Help locals develop partnerships in their cities with associations dealing with discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation, nationality and race (within the limits of the geographical and linguistic competences of myself and my team).
How do you see the evolution of the Gender Equality Interest Group and LGBT+ Interest Group in relation with the Equal Rights Working Group?
In my understanding, the Interest Groups have different aims and objectives than the Working Group, and they should not change their nature but just start cooperating with a new actor, i.e. the Working Group. The Interest Groups have the task of fostering discussion and of keeping our Network informed and aware, being in this respect an important ally of the Working Group. Interest Groups and Working Group could promote each other, pool resources (e.g. workshop outlines and toolkits), cooperate on specific initiatives, and in short form an alliance which would benefit both.
What will be the first thing that you will do in case you get elected?
Start recruiting the team!
Tell us the most relevant aspects of your candidature and why should people vote for you.
The two main points of my programme are: focusing on internal education and making the most out of internal and external opportunities. Concerning the first point, as the Focus Area and the Working Group are new, I would like to concentrate on informing our members and raising awareness about the topic. Concerning the second point, I think I have a good understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of thematic work in AEGEE, and I can take advantage of the former and minimise the latter. On the one hand, it is important to cooperate with other AEGEE bodies and truly involve the whole organisation in this Focus Area. On the other hand, we need to reach out to external partners in order to educate ourselves, obtain (training) resources and gain more visibility. Only with the help of other NGOs committed to equal rights we can achieve a high quality level in our activities.
You can read her full candidature here.
Written by Raluca Radu, AEGEE-Cluj-Napoca