ACTive Local of November – AEGEE-Warszawa: “Organising local thematic activities is a great way to develop members’ leadership skills and contribute to the AEGEE’s vision”

AEGEE-Warszawa has been elected as ACTive Local of the month because of the activities that they organized for the European Day of Languages and the Week of Global Education, and also as recognition for their more than famous Christmas postcrossing. We talked with Mariana Gasparska and Vladyslav Obushko, two members of the Polish local, to know more about the activities they carried out.

22047715_1939090102982436_1560858029686320880_oWhich emotions did you have when you know that AEGEE-Warszawa was chosen as ACTive local of November?
Marianna Gasparska: We were very surprised, but also excited. For us the thematic events related to Focus Areas and fulfill the objectives of Action Agenda are very important and valuable. We strongly believe in that and by organizing such activities like Global Education Workshop,  European Day of Languages and Christmas Postcrossing we can help in fulfilling the Action Agenda and contribute to the mission and vision of AEGEE. We are also delighted  to hear that our work has been recognised and we can share with the network more info about our initiatives.

Why did you decide to organise these activities?
Marianna Gasparska: For the 7th time in a row we decided to involved AEGEE members in our Christmas Postcrossing initiative. People from all over Europe made friendships through sending each other postcards and little gifts. We wanted to prove that distances and borders don’t matter and we can spread easily the multicultural christmas joy. Through Global Education Workshop we wanted to educate our members on the importance of using natural resources and how to use mobile phones in a smart way. Lastly, we decided to organise the European Day of Languages event, because we think, that sharing information about the culture and language of a foreign country is very important and can ease the understanding of other people.

Vladyslav Obushko: On this regard, I love to share information about my country, and this event helped Polish people to understand better their neighbour – Ukraine.

What was the result of your activity? (I.e.: how many people participated, what were the opinions about it, etc.)
Marianna Gasparska: Around 20 people participated in the Global Education Workshop. They actively took part in the discussion on how can we decrease our negative influence on the environment. Christmas Postcrossing is very popular among all AEGEE members. This year over 900 people took part in it, so it means that 900 participants have made new friends around Europe, what is another step in building united Europe. 20 participant took part in the European Day of Languages event and they really loved it, because they could learn more about Ukraine and had a possibility to try some Ukrainian sweets, which were delicious.

Vladyslav Obushko: This event broke some myths about Ukraine people  and culture. It also brought basic information about living and environment in Ukraine.

IMG_0730How do you inform your members of the Action Agenda/Strategic Plan?
Marianna Gasparska: In every LTC we organise a workshop about AEGEE where our members learn about the structure of the organisation and its aims. Participants are also informed about Focus Areas, Action Agenda and Strategic Plan brainstorming on possible projects that can contribute to the mission of AEGEE. Before every Agora we organiase a meeting for our members too, where they can learn about it and be more prepared for the statutory event.

Do you have any other activities related to the Action Agenda/Strategic Plan plan?
Marianna Gasparska: Our antenna also organised workshops about Excel and contracts on employment, which are connected to Youth Development. In March, AEGEE-Warszawa and European Citizenship Working Group organised the conference Citizenship at its Grassroots about the state of democracy in Europe. Another activity related to the Action Agenda was the Mini European School on self development as an Agora Kraków pre-event.

Why should other locals organise activities related to the Action Agenda/Strategic Plan?
Marianna Gasparska: Activities related to the Action Agenda/ Strategic Plan are very important for AEGEE’s values. If every local organises an event, which is connected with Action Agenda/Strategic Plan, AEGEE could have even a bigger impact on the European Environment and fighting against the anti EU-movements, which are gaining some strength.

Do you have any tips for organising thematic activities?
Marianna Gasparska: Organising local thematic activities is a great way to develop members’ leadership skills and contribute to the AEGEE’s vision. If a local wants to organise a thematic activity, it should gather people who are interested in this specific area. The Board should also support them by giving some guidelines.

IMG_1007Can you tell us a bit more about your local? (Founded in, members, active members, committees you have, etc.)
Marianna Gasparska: AEGEE-Warszawa was founded in 1992. We have around 60 members and 20 active ones, regularly involved in local activities. We have also a few members being part of European Bodies, that help us even more to stay connected with AEGEE-Europe.

When it comes to the way we organise our work. Members are divided into project groups responsible for specific events. They usually meet every second Tuesday during Projects’ Meeting. We have bigger events plan in advance but we also welcome new initiatives coming from our members that can make them happen with the support of other members.

Written by Cristina de la Parte, Action Agenda Coordination Committee