“I believe myself to be a critical thinker, who wants to understand the core of issues. I am not afraid to ask questions, and am keen on listening to both sides and fact-finding before forming my own opinion about something.” ~ Kirsten Broekema

Hello, again, our dear AEGEEans! We have another candidate who will be at the Agora in Novi Sad and her name is Kirsten Broekema applying for the position of Member of the Mediation Commission. 

Hello, can you introduce yourself to the AEGEE-network? When did you join AEGEE and what were your best experiences with AEGEE so far?

Hi everyone! My name is Kirsten Broekema, I am 23 years old and currently a BA International Relations and International Organisation student at the University of Groningen. I joined AEGEE at the end of the summer in 2017 after meeting the association during our city-wide introduction period for new students. Since then I have been active in multiple committees & other bodies in AEGEE-Groningen, such as the Summer University Committee, Conference Team and the Advisory Council. Furthermore, on the European level I had the pleasure of being part of the SUCT last year (2020-2021) as the Content Manager. 

As for my best experiences with AEGEE it is difficult to say, a lot has happened in the past years! However, if I have to bring it down to just a few I would definitely include the Summer Universities we hosted in Groningen in 2018 & 2019. These events were my first introduction to AEGEE-Europe, and not only did I learn a lot from organising these events, it was also so much fun getting to know other AEGEEans. In addition, I surely have to include my year as President & FR-Responsible of AEGEE-Groningen (2020-2021). Taking a gap year from my studies and fully focussing all my time on AEGEE (both as a board member and as SUCT member) was a great experience and definitely made the time during the pandemic a lot more enjoyable for me. I learned a lot as a board member, met many new people and had the opportunity to give something back to the association. 

You are candidating to become a member of the mediation commission. Why did you choose this position? What do you think is exciting about it?

Last year, I learned more about the different bodies and AEGEE-Europe and thus also the Mediation Commission. For a while I have been entertaining the idea to candidate for the Mediation Commission because it would be a way to contribute to AEGEE-Europe in an area I am very interested in and also have been working with on a lower scale. As a board member, but also in my current function I have learned the importance of mediation to maintain a safe environment for everyone included, and keep an organisation running smoothly. Furthermore, I believe it is an essential body for an organisation as big as AEGEE-Europe and believe a smooth working MedCom to be necessary for maintaining a healthy association. Additionally, I think it would be a great experience for my personal and professional self-development.

Do you already have experience in the area of mediation?

Throughout my life I have worked mostly in teams for school/study purposes as well as extracurricular activities. From these experiences I naturally gained some experience with mediation and conflict resolution. Learning tactics, ways to approach issues and about possible obstacles in the way of mediation by being an observer or being involved with guiding a process. In recent years, it has become more prevalent during my time as an active member of AEGEE-Groningen and other student associations in my city, but also my time as a board member and in my current job where I learned more about mediation on a higher scale and within a big organisation. Of course, there is still much to learn and I am well aware I am nowhere near a professional mediator or ombudsperson but I think I possess a good basis to work with, and I am keen on further developing my skills and gaining more experience. 

What are some skills of yours that are important to have while being part of the mediation commission?

I believe myself to be a critical thinker, who wants to understand the core of issues. I am not afraid to ask questions, and am keen on listening to both sides and fact-finding before forming my own opinion about something. Furthermore, I believe I can place myself in different positions with relative ease and that I am quite good at estimating possible consequences of actions and choices. Lastly, I do believe I have the sympathy needed but also know how to put personal feelings aside when necessary and to think rationally and (as) objectively (possible) concerning cases that will be brought to the Mediation Commission.

Do you have any plans for AEGEE? Which aspects of our organisation could be improved and which aspects are working quite well at the moment?

From the standpoint of  and with regard to the Mediation Commission, I currently would not propose future plans for AEGEE in general. It’s a body that’s more focused on being reactive to what is happening in the network and what is needed for it to

function smoothly. It could very well be that during the short term I am applying for (which is only until the 30th of November) I will have encountered specific improvements with regard to the Mediation Commission that I will consequently work on. 

Is there something you want to tell us? Now it’s your time to do so.

I am excited to meet everyone at Agora Novi Sad, and to finally experience a physical Agora! I will be happy to answer all your questions during the plenary, and hope I will convince you of my capability to be a good member of the Mediation Commission. If you want to get to know me a bit more, don’t hesitate to walk up to me during the event or send me a text on Telegram!

See you soon!