Meet the Chair Team for Autumn Agora Catania 2017

Are you feeling excited about Autumn Agora Catania 2017? It is happening sooner then we think, but in order for everyone to have a great experience, there is still work to be done. The Chair Team is one of the awesome teams that is bringing their contribution to the Agora, and we asked them some questions so we could find out more about them.

The AEGEEan: Tell us about yourselves.

SenzanomeChair Team: We are the Chair Team, and we are responsible of the content part of the Agora. In our term we set various open calls (participants, workshops, job shadowers, secretary assistants, etc.), we select participants, and we draft the Agenda. After months of working behind the scene, then we will spend three or four days during the Agora itself moderating the discussion and leading the sessions. Not only this, we have a person in charge of the IT, for presentations and videos, and a Secretary of the Agora with the essential role to take minutes. We are not alone in this and a strict collaboration with Local Organisers, Comité Directeur and Juridical Commission is in place. Our team is composed as following: Erika from AEGEE-Verona is the Chairperson, Elisa from AEGEE-Catania is the Interim Vice-Chairperson, Elena from AEGEE-Grodno is the secretary of the Agora and Jani from AEGEE-Maribor is the IT responsible.

Erika: Elisa is a very calm person and this balances perfectly other personalities in our team. Her approach and her juridical knowledge is an asset that is very precious when it comes to all the procedures of Agora, but it has already proved to be useful in the internal decisions of the Chair Team. Moreover, she promised me to find a boyfriend for me (and Jani can testify), so this is a plus. [she winks, ed]

Elisa: Elena is an amazing person, well prepared and full of energy! She has a lot of experience in Agora as she actively took part in ACT and she is a very sweet girl!

Elena: Jani is a real IT guy. When we get emails full of technical stuff,  he is the only one who can understand what is written inside. Without him, Agora would never happen!

Jani: Erika is a really hardworking person. When she decides to do something, she will put all her efforts to accomplish it. Many people don’t like her, but that is in human nature – they envy those who are better. She seems hard, but she is really a fair person. As a true Italian, she likes to cook and no food is better than hers (and Italian) – that’s why she is our Mama. One sentence to describe her: “I have no prejudices, I hate everyone equally”. [He laughs, ed.]

How do you see this term as a team? What do you want to achieve or change?

10842195_757260224343344_2588875490732168666_oErika: As a team, our personalities are starting to blend. In one way or another we worked together already for Agora Enschede, therefore now it is a matter of starting to build a working relationship in order to be perfectly in sync in Catania. For sure, we still are the blue-eyed Chair Team, and Jani will be renamed Ejani to have all four of us a five-letters name starting with E. We started to work as a team only at the end of June, and at the end of September we will already be in front of the Agora. Two months, with all the administration going on also, are not much to create a proper strategy for change or improvements. Moreover, now we are too early in the preparation to see what we can change in Catania, but some ideas are already on the plate. For sure we are working hard to improve our communication channels, introducing more and more infographics thanks to Elena’s VI approved touch. We will also tighten the relationship we have with the Human Resource Committee after the amazing Agora mentorship in Enschede.

Elena: As you can notice, we don’t have much time for preparations. But as all of us already were connected with Agora management in the Past, I am sure we will do the best. As Erika said already, we want to bring more info about how Agora works for the people that applied: this means more pictures, iconographics and Skypes. Agora is the most important place in AEGEE for our decision-making process and people who participate should have enough knowledge. We will put more efforts to help delegates, and all the other participants, to be more prepared.

Elisa: As Erika said, we are a good team! I worked side by side with Erika and Jani during Agora Enschede, even though I was working from the JC side; Although I’ve never worked with Elena before, she is a very organised and well prepared person, and there is never lack of cohesion inside the team. Moreover, we are going to appeal the Agora Audience with our eyes! However, let’s stay serious! The work in the Chair Team requires many hours, selecting participants, selecting workshops, answering questions, but it’s a stimulating job. We are working hard to give people the sensation to be an active part of the Agora, making iconographic (thanks to the work of Elena) and improving the communication from our side. We don’t want to make people feel uncomfortable towards the Agora, that’s also why we support the great job of the Agora Mentorship Project.

What are your expectations regarding Agora Catania?

Elisa: We have seen a huge number of applications for this Agora, so many people willing to participate to the most important meeting of our organisation. Many newbies have shown curiosity towards this event: I hope that this Agora can be an inspiration for people, above all the new ones, that are the future of our organisation. Of course, I wish that they will participate actively to all the Agora contents, that are always a growth opportunity inside our association.

Elena: Many content discussions with fruitful outcome! And, of course, that everybody will be on Plenaries and Prytania instead of the beach (#dreams).


Erika, you have the experience from Spring Agora Enschede in the Chair Team, how do you think that this will help you at one of the biggest Agora?

Every Agora is different from the previous one because all the variables (Chair Team, participants, locations, items to be discussed, candidates and proposals) change, therefore it is very hard to predict what will come next. Agora Enschede was definitely a good starting point. I had the opportunity to apply all the knowledge I acquired in the past years of the organisation and learn what the Chair should do more in depth, especially when it comes to actual chairing. In Catania my role will be different, I will be Chairperson, which is a whole new responsibility – albeit the work from Chair and Vice-Chair is not very different. I hope to be more relaxed, have more fun and learn from the little mistakes I made in Enschede.

DSC_1068Elisa, why Chair Team and not something else? And why Interim Vice-Chairperson?

I like the concept of the Agora itself. And having the opportunity to be the Vice-Chairperson in my city, chairing meetings, being (somehow) the soul of the Agora, it’s a big honour, if not a dream. Why Interim? Well, I was a JC commissioner at the time of the candidatures for Chairperson/Vice-Chairperson of the Agora, and the work with JC was still heavy at that time; I didn’t want to overcharge myself, risking to leave the work with JC without the proper conclusion and doing the work of Vice-Chairperson not in the owed manner. But when Erika sent the open call for Interim Vice-Chairperson, I felt it was my occasion to coronate my dream of leaving AEGEE with one of the most honorable task in AEGEE: being the Vice-Chairperson of the Agora, our main meeting, our parliament, where the most important decisions are taken; the work with the JC during the open call was a bit less heavy, as the Agora was passed and the CIA 28.1 was13418709_623087381184743_1991661692875161002_n almost completed. What to say…I cannot imagine something better!

Elena, why did you choose to apply for Secretary of the Agora?

Minutes are a very important historical document, it’s a golden key to the knowledge from the past. People come to organisation and leave, but minutes as other documents stay here for us. The job of Secretary of the Agora is very often not recognised while that person is a keeper of current knowledge for the future generations. As a historian, I can’t miss that chance to be a keeper of AEGEE history. [she smiles, ed.]

That position is one of the most challenging for me, but I enjoyed taking minutes during a prytanium on Agora Enschede where I was a secretary assistant. So, maybe it is a challenge for myself. [she smiles, ed.] Moreover, as I adore to spend free time reading Agora minutes from the past, it’s a special pleasure to know that one of them is written by janiyourself.

And yes, when everybody has already forgotten about Agora, I will still be listening to speeches.

Jani, what are your fears regarding Autumn Agora Catania as the IT Responsible of the Chair Team?

From my experience from the previous Agora I would say the biggest fears are accessing OpenSlides and playing (too) big videos in OpenSlides. But we are working on these problems, we already found some solutions.

You can follow them here.

Written by Raluca Radu, AEGEE-Cluj Napoca