Member of the month, January 2020: Franjo Lovro Popović!

He was the main organiser of NWM Zagreb, deals with Changemakers Academy Project, was a member of the Mediation Commission of AEGEE Europe and is now a member of the ERWG. We’d like to Congratulate Franjo Lovro Popović, the Member of the Month, January 2020!

Congratulations on being awarded the Member of the Month! We’re all eager to hear your AEGEE story. 

My story of AEGEE started in March of 2016, almost four years ago. I was in my last year of my bachelors degree, and was finishing an active year in a different student association. My brother had, at that point, been a member of AEGEE-Zagreb for a year and was trying to get me to join, which I finally did, mostly to travel and celebrate finishing my degree. I did not expect to become so active and attend so many events with so many incredible people. After a period of relative inactivity, I was a helper at the EPM Zagreb in February 2017, which completely altered my perspective of AEGEE and opened my eyes to many opportunities that were available in it. After that experience, I attended my first Agora in Catania, became a board member on the position of Human Resources and started thinking about European level. Following a very busy and difficult board year, I got motivated to follow my desire and join the European level by becoming a member of Mediation Commission 2018/19 in Agora Istanbul. In it I spent a year dealing with difficult, fascinating, interesting, and very human problems of conflicts, miscommunication, and distrust, and, running the risk of sounding weird, I enjoyed every moment of it and could not imagine a better way to spend a free year. Mentally, I was ready that finishing the term in MedCom would be the end of my active membership in AEGEE, but surprise, surprise, I am still here and still active on the European level, now as a member of Equal Rights Working Group since December. I am very thankful for the incredible people I got the privilege to work with there.

What has been the highlight of your time in AEGEE?

There are two highlights to my AEGEE career. The first one was during my board year when Marija Valentina Žuvić, my then fellow board member, decided to embark on a wild ride that is organising a Summer University on our own. Not only did it turn out to be a pretty successful SU, but started a tradition of solo organisation of Summer Universities on the topic of sustainability in AEGEE-Zagreb. This year, it will return in its third iteration with the same

topic but a new enthusiastic organising team. The second one is joining and successfully finishing the term of the Mediation Commission. Let’s just say that year I learned more about people management, team leadership, problem solving skills, and minutes taking than at any point in my professional education.

What are some of the most memorable moments you’ve had in AEGEE?

Just a few off the top of my head; standing at the stage as part of the helper team during the EPM in Zagreb. Attending my first Agora as a delegate in Krakow, opening ceremony of the Summer University in Zagreb as the main organiser, presenting my candidature at Agora Istanbul, late night meetings with the MedCom team in Bucharest, playing the dual role of medcom and secretary assistant in a prytaneum in Agora Salerno, and most recently, holding a workshop during the EPM in Barcelona 2020.

What are some ways in which AEGEE helped you in your life?

They are far too many to really count, but for sure it helped me with my confidence. I was (and somewhat still am) a shy person that likes to fly under the radar, but AEGEE taught me the meaning of “fake it till you make it” in regards to confidence and believing in myself. Other than that, AEGEE has been incredible for the development of communication skills, team management, event organisation, time management, and rekindling my passion for creating and delivering workshops.

What are your words of wisdom to your fellow AEGEEans?

AEGEE is a playground! Use it to the best of your abilities, get active, say yes more often and don’t be afraid to fail. I promise you it is not that scary once you get started, and the benefits outweigh the potential fears so heavily you will forget why you feared it in the first place.

Any closing remarks?

There are way way too many people I wanted to mention in this text. So many incredible stories to tell and amazing friendships to remember, but surely I would forget some. Because of that reason I would just say a massive Thank you to all the wonderful AEGEEans that made these years so fun and memorable!