Tekla Hadju, former Network Director of the Comité Directeur, after eight Agorae as active member, wants to be still involved in the European level so that she presented her candidature as Chairperson/Vice-Chairperson of the Agora. She is aware of the responsibilities of the position and she expresses some ideas about how to improve the organisation of the Agora. We interviewed her about her candidature and her programme.
The AEGEEan: Tekla, what would you like people to know about you?
Tekla: Hello dear AEGEEans, I am Tekla from AEGEE-Budapest, and an active member of AEGEE for a while. Like many other AEGEEans, I enjoy travelling to the fullest, meeting new people and challenging myself to learn something new. I also like reading, animals (especially horses and dogs), games, spending times with friends and, of course, having fun.
What is your history with AEGEE?
I have been a member for five years and I have been active both locally and in European Bodies: I was PR Responsible and Vice-President for External Relations in AEGEE-Budapest, I was Network Commissioner between Agora Cagliari and Agora Kyiv, Vice-Speaker of Network Commission between Agora Asturias and Agora Kyiv, Network Commission Assistant between Agora Kyiv and Agora Bergamo, and last year I was Network Director in the 54th Comité Directeur.
What is it that you like the most about AEGEE?
For me, AEGEE’s core are the members: they are coming from many different cultures and backgrounds, but the same goals and the AEGEE-spirit link us together. I also like the many opportunities for attending AEGEE events, and amongst them Agora is one of my favourites due to making important decisions, but also for learning something new, reuniting or meeting with people, and of course for all the excitement that happens during an Agora.
What made you want to become the (Vice-)Chairperson of the Agora/EPM?
Agorae have played an important role in my AEGEE-life, and the Chairperson/Vice-Chairperson position is the one I was interested in pursuing after my CD life. My motivation also comes from the reason that I find the well-being of the Network and the members very important, and I feel like this is the position where I can contribute with my experience and my knowledge which I have gained not just from my former positions, but also with the 8 Agorae I have attended so far (Catania will be my 9th).
What do you think are the Chairperson responsibilities for Agora?
The Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson are mainly responsible for the facilitation of the Agora: they are the final responsibles for setting up the agenda, making sure that the most important things are brought forward, coordinating the event on spot, taking into consideration many factors (timing, logistics, requests, etc.) and most importantly they should be objective and give enough possibilities for all sides to express their opinions both during the preparation process (selection processes, creating the agenda) and during the event itself (timing, speaking rights, opening and closing the question lines, announcements, statements, etc.).
Chairing the Agora means a lot of work before the Agora, with a long term planning and a lot of last minute changes. How much time do you think you will be able to dedicate to your position if you will be elected?
I already have some experience from the Drafting part of the EPM on how to put together the agenda, and as Chair Team jobshadower now I have an estimation of how much time and effort is required for these tasks for the Agora. I would not like to give concrete numbers, but so far I was showing high level of responsibility towards my tasks, and I will make sure that I will dedicate enough time for these tasks from my daily life.
How much time would you dedicate in making online preparatory sessions for all delegates? It looks really difficult, if just for the high number of Antennas.
Because of the different availability of people, first of all I would like to collect the needs of the locals and the delegates regarding what they would like to focus on for Agora preparation, including their availability for online preparations. In order to make a good balance of preparation but not taking too much time from them, at first I would say three or four meetings would be scheduled, and I would collect the feedback after Agora Kraków for improving the system. I would like to issue more supporting booklets and materials for delegates (not just the Agora for Dummies), which can be helping also those who will not be able to attend the meetings. I would also have ideas to collaborate with the HRC’s Agora Mentorship project for the preparations, but I would first discuss the idea with them.
How would you improve the organisation of the Agora?
What is usually taking more time than expected is technical problems – with the selection of IT of the Agora and using the previous experience of Local Organisers, former Chair Teams and the IT director I would explore possibilities on how to reduce the amount of technical problems during the plenaries. I would also bring back timers for candidatures and AEGEE presentations in order to keep the timing more effective, and to remind them to stay within their allocated time. Of course the organisation can be improved by putting together a suitable agenda, which depends mostly on the collaboration between Chair Team, CD, Local Organisers and JC (and of course on the needs of participants). For this, I would like to maintain a close cooperation with these Bodies. Last, but not least, my aim would be to increase the level of participation, which could be solved again by putting together a suitable agenda.
What themes would you propose for the next Agora in order to get involved more visitors?
First of all, I would consult with Local Organisers and CD regarding this topic, as Local Organisers would know which projects could be interesting for their city (and for possible sponsors), and CD is the Body that is aware of the hot topics in the European agenda (for possible grants). Personally, I would be happy to see a V4 related-theme for Agora Kraków, as this would not just be fitting for possible (financial) support, but also there have not been many events recently on this topic within AEGEE, but as I said this also needs to be consulted with different actors.
Why should people vote for you in particular?
I am a hard-working and reliable person who is always very dedicated towards the position taken. I believe that my motivation and experience make me a good candidate, and I am able to work well within teams both as a team leader and as a team player. Last, but not least, I would still like to see AEGEE as a place for finding out what people like to do the most, and I would like the Agora to be this place for many people.
Questions from the Network
During NWMs 2014/2015, as a trainer you seemed quite impatient when participants did not engage in sessions much, didn’t show up or came late. On Agora, this behavior is maxed out – and people won’t be respectful. Will you be able to deal with this?
Since 2015 I have put more efforts in improving my training methods, and I think I have developed them more to deal with this part as well, but it is true that I do value attention and showing up in time for sessions. I will of course remind people to pay attention, but my main focus will be on the smooth functioning of the event, which will be prioritised over other matters.
Due to open calls after open calls, people that apply on time for the Agora suffer and get their acceptance very late. Every time I apply on time I feel cheated, as I have to wait for weeks and weeks to finally know if I can buy flights. Do you plan to favor people that apply on time, finally?
Personally, I would look for possibilities to have different timing and selection of participants according to application time, but this part has to be agreed together also with the other Chairperson/Vice-Chairperson and the Local organisers as well, so I would consult with them and of course with the other Bodies that are involved in the Agora process.
Until now, the programme of the Agora has been in a way that one slot is for AR, one for PM, one for Updates etc. This makes it impossible to listen to all ARs, for example. Do you consider changing the system to make it possible for a person to see all ARs or all PMs etc, depending on interest?
This particular topic has been always in focus by participants of the Agora. It highly depends on the logistics of the event, the requests of locals and European Bodies towards changing the agenda and of course by CIA what is needed to be placed in a Prytanium, and how many parallel sessions can take place, but I would consider checking which improvements could be made in order to allow people participate in more programmes.
In case the Agora will end up to be like Enschede – AKA with some Greek drama people, slurs, backstabbing and offense towards candidates and personal revenges – how would you react to this and which decisions would you make?
I would like to make sure that every side has a possibility to express their opinion, however, I would like to make sure that the boundaries between being opposing or being personal are respected at Agora. The Chair Team has the right to warn people for unacceptable behaviour and in the worst case to take actions against them (such as expulsion from the Agora, which is regulated by the Policy on Banning People in CIA); in the worst case I would be willing to use them.
You can read her full candidature here.
Written by Matteo Lai, AEGEE-Cagliari