“I love the responsibilities of that position and I am sure that I comply with most of them” ~ Elena Efremova

With the current situation with the Covid-19 pandemic, AEGEE will be organising an Online Agora for the very first time in its history. Like every year, different members have applied to different positions. In this series, we interviewed the candidates of the new Secretary-General. One of these candidates is Elena Efremova from AEGEE-Rostov-na-Donu.

Hi Elena and thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. Firstly, could you please introduce yourself and your history in AEGEE, for those who don’t know you?

My name is Elena, I am a professional historian and I live in a city called Rostov-on-Don (if you want to find it on the map – it’s the south of Russia, on the border with Ukraine). I adore Slavic languages (now I am learning Polish, Slovak and, Ukrainian), read books (and tell the truth I do it very fast, it took me less than a day to read the 7th book about Harry Potter). I can watch “The IT Crowd”, “Black Books” and “The Big Bang Theory” an infinite number of times. And I am lost for the world when I open Adobe Illustrator. 

My first acquaintance with AEGEE happened in 2013. I was a student who researched Coffeehouses: their history, types, and differences. The former president of AEGEE-Rostov-na-Donu was so excited about the topic that invited me to make a lecture about it for participants of their Summer University. (To tell the truth, it was the first time in my life when I did a 1.5 hours presentation in English in front of 30 people). Do you expect me to tell you that it was a day I fell in love with AEGEE? No. It was the beginning of me falling in love with a boy from AEGEE, who then showed me the inner beauty of the organisation.

In Summer 2013, I just found out about AEGEE. In May 2016 I quit the university to take part in Agora Bergamo. For these years I was a member of different European Bodies. I was an assistant of the Network Commission, PR responsible for Youth Mobility Working Group, member of the Action Agenda Coordination Team, Network Commission, Data Privacy Committee. Do you like to take minutes? Because I adore it. I am a person who did the minutes of Agora Catania and EPM Yerevan and helped to finish the minutes of Agorae Chisinau and Enschede. So, as you can see I am a person who is in total love with paperwork and bureaucracy.

What was your motivation for running for SecGen and what are the main things you want to achieve?

My motivation is simple. I love the responsibilities of that position and I am sure that I comply with most of them (and ready to learn new stuff  to comply with others). My main goal does not dissipate the achievements that already exist. 

Besides, there are 2 things I want to work on more:

First, to bring more openness about CD work to the network. To write and publish more information about events CD members attend (especially external ones) with the description of why it is attended and what is an outcome.

Second, to work on AEGEE archives and make it as open as possible. To increase the interest in AEGEE and its locals’ history.

As of yet, there weren’t any more candidates for the DPC, as someone who mentions data privacy a lot in your application, how would you overcome this issue?

Data Privacy is an important topic for the organisation. As data breaches cause financial and legal implications we should be sure we act in accordance with the law. For that, we need to have people in DPC who will be able to teach others about it. My main idea is to work much on making DPC as a commission and Data Privacy as a topic attractive for the people. To look for externals who can and want to educate others about the topic, to make webinars about Data Privacy, to make a good advertising campaign for DPC.

What is your biggest fear about working in the CD, and as a Russian do you think there will be difficulties like the other non-EU CD members experienced last year?

My biggest fear is to let the team down and not to achieve what was planned. About problems with the current CD. If something has changed so that these difficulties disappear? We should think of how to turn these flaws into opportunities.

Finally, what are your plans for the next year if you’re not elected?

To do what you love is not necessary to be elected. So, I will put all my effort into AEGEE History! I want to make online and offline presentations/discussions about AEGEE’s past. For that I already started some research. I want to make people fall in love with AEGEE and its history as it happened to me.