She started locally in 2012 in AEGEE-Poznań, then moving to AEGEE-Warszawa, joining also AEGEE-Enschede last year. She has been part of Eastern Partnership Project team, Network Commissioner from Autumn Agora Cagliari until Autumn Agora Kyïv, and Network Commission responsible for locals in Poland and in Ukraine. She was in the Chair Team in 2016 and then Chairperson of Spring Agora Enschede last May. She is Marta Wnuk, and she is our Member of the Month of May, with her work before and during her last Agora – at least is what she said – being recognised with this nomination.
Marta: Positively surprised. I strived to do my best as a Chairperson and I am happy that my work was recognised. It is a very nice gesture for the end of my active role in AEGEE.
One of the reasons why you were nominated is your work as Chairperson in Enschede. How was the overall experience in driving our General Assembly?
Overall, it was a very good experience. I like the constructive working atmosphere and in Enschede, it was just so. Venues were comfortable, we mostly manage to be on time on the agenda and cooperation with local organisers. Also, Juridical Commission was very satisfying. Even though there were several challenging situations to handle, I felt at ease most of the time and I was glad I could perform my tasks without major disruptions.
Haha. I am not able to tell. Probably everyone has their one particular word that uses frequently without fully realising how often. I myself was not really aware until it appeared as a crossword in the bullshit bingo in Agora Chișinău. I have found it really amusing, I must say.
How different was the experience from the Agora you chaired as Vice?
Well, roles of Vice-Chair and Chair do not differ much; task division is very similar. As the main Chairperson though, I had the final responsibility for the decisions made during the Agora and the conduct of the event. While being a Vice-Chairperson I learnt a great deal from Tom Simons (Chairperson of the Agora 2014-2016). In Enschede, I could apply all my knowledge and experience to make my own judgment and decide on the course of action. Besides, working with different people has its different dynamics. However, I was very lucky when it comes to my working partners and with both Tom and Erika we managed to create great tandems.
What was the most challenging moment of all the Agora you have chaired?
That was definitely the closing plenary of the Agora Bergamo. It was my first Agora in a role of a Chair and we were faced with a quite challenging situation that unfolded during the plenary and had to be handled at the spot. It required very good knowledge of procedures, ability to adapt to constant changes in the agenda and various demands of people as well as calm judgment despite the stress involved. Yet overall, I was satisfied with the way we managed the crisis and I learnt a lot from this experience.
Oh, AEGEE has changed my life in numerous ways and this interview is certainly too short to give space to all of the aspects. Most importantly, AEGEE has certainly allowed me to live my passion and to make the meaningful contribution in the areas where I felt inspired to act. However, AEGEE has also taught me how to find the courage and persevere and how to stand up for what I believe is right. During my journey in AEGEE, I have experienced many truly magical moments and moments of hardship too. It all has shaped me and made me remember those five years as decisive in my life.
Now it is time for a new chapter in my life. Change of work is certainly on the horizon. However, I take it easy for now and enjoy new scopes of free time that I have. I enjoy classical music concerts, yoga in the park and good movies. I have also more time to invest in learning languages. Yet, after recharging my batteries I will surely seek for new opportunities.
Oh, it is difficult to pick only one feature for each side. However, if I were to boil down all that I have observed about the association, I’d say that the best aspect of AEGEE is the empowerment it gives to its members and the impact has on individuals. AEGEE has empowered me to strive for the best and I have also seen the impact that had on numerous people and how they flourished. When it comes to negative aspect – I think that AEGEE is stuck in perpetual inefficiency, which in my opinion is caused by sort of “political correctness” present on European Level, when it comes to discourse about the means of reforming our association. Attempts to change or reform things that aren’t working are often impeded by a very narrow understanding of our vision and are being dismissed without any constructive arguments just because the proposed solutions are not considered desirable by certain groups. Sadly, I have seen many capable members being driven away by such attitude.
Written by Erika Bettin, AEGEE-Verona