The year 2020 has been a weird, upsetting and unprecedented one, for the AEGEE community as much as for the rest of the world. The pandemic of Covid-19 has forced us to adapt and find new and innovative ways to still stay connected, both locally and globally.
AEGEE has proven nothing can stop it and that its members are a resourceful bunch! We survived, we adapted and we overcame! The proof is in the activities both at local and at the European level. It is true that we lost our signature events – no awesome activities and exchanges – but that doesn’t mean we stayed still.
The motivation and the AEGEEan spirit we showed in the last live event – European Planning Meeting 2020 (EPM), Barcelona, 5-9th February – accompanied us though the rest of this peculiar year. With our new Action Agenda drafted and our new focus areas established – Climate Emergency, Mental Health, Political Activism and Social Equity – we set course to the turbulent waters of 2020!
First stop: the very first ever Online General Assembly in the history of AEGEE, Spring Agora Yerevan! Though we did not have the chance to discover “the sunniest city in Europe” and its country, Armenia, we did see the spirit of their people. And we liked it so much that they were selected once again for a remake of the event! May 2021 will take us to the country in the middle of the Caucasus mountain range!
New people were elected for the positions in Europe during the online event (members did heartily follow the event’s motto “you decide”) and new steps were taken towards the progress of our association and its role in the Union.
Europe on Track (EoT) also decided to join the online craze and we got: 20 online sessions, 52 hours of workshops and participants from 30 different countries, most of them in Europe, but also in Africa and Asia. It was challenging, but they did deliver, and raised awareness on the topics of mental health and gender equality. Thank you so much to the team for all your hard work, you guys outshined adversities!
AEGEE became a proud member of Citizens Take Over Europe Coalition (www.citizenstakeover.eu) It isn’t only our organization – as we’re one of the 50 that came together amidst the recent pandemic of the spring of 2020 – that roots for a borderless Europe and believes we have a say in the design of our “continent”. It is a step forward, and towards new directions.
The year 2020 was also a year without our Summer University program. We waited for the Sun as much as we could, but finally, though it broke our hearts, we decided to do what was better and cancelled it. As devastating as it was, we are certain this will only mean that the next one (we know it’s going to happen) is going to be doubly spectacular. Summer 2021, don’t let us down!
Not content with only one online Agora, we got another one in Autumn, and an Extraordinary one soon after. Yes, this year has been one of adversities, and was not gonna let us go so easily – it even took Agora Moscow 2020 from us. But what can we say, in AEGEE, we laugh at misfortunes and transform them into growth opportunities. There’s still much road ahead, but we are ready to take on the task. As the saying goes, “one step at a time” and we have many (new) bodies – FRC, SPC, DPC, StC, SC – and its spirited members to take those steps, and Moscow is ready to host the event again! Agora Moscow 2021 here we come!
Veronika Chmelárová was chosen as a board member to represent AEGEE in the European Movement International. With her vote, she represented our organization in the annual Federal Assembly, where member organizations deliberated policy and the direction the organization would take in the upcoming year. The biggest challenge: retaining and promoting our shared European values.
And, of course, we cannot make a true summary of this year without mentioning our awesome locals! Despite all adversities, you stood strong and kept organizing so many activities – physical and online – and did not even let a pandemic stop you from spreading the AEGEE-spirit. What can we say? You make it all seem possible! And you do make it all possible.
Here’s to hoping the next year will be much more different from this one! Stay healthy and safe, and may we may all meet somewhere in Europe!
We wish you Happy New Year 2021!