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The Netcom Times

EBM Riga


23rd of February 2011


Who cares about quality anyway?

by Olimpia Pârje I trust most of you remember our recent long discussion on AEGEE-L about the aim and purpose of our association and how we’re working towards them. I could start by saying that people care about quality. That all people care in general about our work and the quality of it so we needn’t be so pessimistic in our approach. But that’s not really true. Most people don’t care. In general. They simply don’t care, not about the world, about starving children, polluting the environment, what’s really happening in Egypt “at the doorsteps of Europe” as someone put it. They simply don’t care. Not until it’s being brought to their attention, staring at them in the face until they can’t look away any further

and cannot stand to sit idly by any longer. It’s the same with our organization. Who cares about AEGEE, what we do, the aim we’re fighting for and if we are achieving it or not? We are ambitious to say the least. We want to change Europe, break down borders and achieve peace and cooperation where heads of states, governments and other much larger, much richer organizations have failed miserably. Boy, do we think a lot of ourselves or what? And why shouldn’t we? We are indeed the future of Europe, are we not? But in AEGEE on one hand we have the ones who want to change European society, create a borderless Europe while promoting nice ideals of freedom, democracy and equality, and

on the other we have new members who want to enjoy themselves and don’t know what AEGEE is really about. Some only know and care about their little corner of the world. Until they are personally faced with other realities. We have to put these people togehter, an encounter from which everyone come out diffrently from how they went in. So here we are in AEGEE, a large melting pot of different, often contradictory and sometimes parallel perspectives. People don’t care about the quality, until they are faced with crappy stuff, and realize that they’re not doing what they’re supposed to be doing, that they’re so far from where they really want to be. And here we are, a network of young

people, students from across Europe, who want to practically change the world, bit by bit, getting lost along the way between all the tiny steps and all the big parties. It’s time to realize how far we are from reaching our aims, and how we should rethink and react to get to them. And here we are again, in our EBM, trying and fighting, still sincerely believing in the idea of a borderless Europe. From the president to the one-day member, who’s just started his experience in AEGEE. We care, we try harder and if we work even harder in all our projects, events, planning and administrating, being more serious and more responsible, and proffesional, every time we get just a bit closer to making our dreams come true.

Words from the Speaker

Dear Network,

You are holding the first Netcom Times of 2011. Since Agora Istanbul some changes have been made in AEGEE. There has been a revival campaign of the Working Groups, a guideline for the quality of events got published and we are now using a forum instead of our beloved AEGEE-L. We, as Netcom, will also miss this mailing list, nothing is as satisfactory as receiving a lot of e-mails, but we have to agree that there are better ways to have a good discussion. But nor a mailing list, nor a forum is the best way to develop great ideas. The best way is to come all together, have good facilitators and focus a few days on the topic. So here we are in Riga now, to talk about the future of our organisation. The Network Commission knows where we want to go. Therefor we are facilitating some parts of this EBM. Come see us at our workshop and exchange best practices to organise a high quality event. Find us at the AEGEE Fair and ask us all your questions in person. Or if you have suggestions about the functioning of the NetCom and you want to discuss this with us, come see us at the Round Table Discussion! This edition of the Netcom Times is a summary about quality. You can read an article about the quality of events, a story about the quality of travelling, some good quality comics and an interview with different opinions about the quality of the Network Commission. Do you want to share your opinion too? Come see us during one of our sessions, catch us in the gym or during the parties. We are always there to serve and protect! Yours, Yanike Sophie, Speaker of the Network Commission

One more rule or a pleasant surprise? by Olga Iatsyna

STEPS TO IMPROVEMENT by Lucille Rieux Quality again! As you’ve understood, by quality event, we do not mean that AEGEE events until now were not good. Cause they were. Yet, we believe that in order to help the whole network keep a certain coherence in its action, as well as for the association to really stick to a “common line’ (represented by the strategic plan), a few new steps have to be taken. How to do that? Here go a few ideas that you should keep in mind and discuss within your antenna: First of all, don’t forget that, as member of the AEGEE network, you commit to a common vision, and that any activity proposed (on local or European level) should fit in our Main Fields of Action, and more specifi-

cally in the Focus Areas of the association, defined in the strategic plan every 3 years. For instance, you can privilege European thematic and trigger cooperation with other local associations which are also involved in those thematic (European identity, European construction, youth mobility in Europe…) Then, cooperate! Luckily, we have a wide range a Working Groups and projects which are actively contributing to proposing wise, problematic and challenging contents, and who are eager to cooperate with local antennas. In the last months, not less than 3 European projects, namely YOUrope Needs You!, Higher Education Day, and Youth UnEmployment, proposed locals to join their action days’ initiatives! One day

event is not much of organisation; it has a very positive local impact and gives also a stronger image of AEGEE externally! AEGEE-Gdansk, AEGEE-Istanbul, AEGEEGroningen, are a few examples of the locals who took part in those initiatives, and they can assure you that it was worth it. And what about Summer Universities? Already a lot of antennas took the opportunity (and the challenge) to cooperate with a Working Group/Project Team and give a deeper content to their events. Yes, it is summer, but we are young (and bright) and isn’t it always alluring to learn and discuss new issues? And isn’t AEGEE about that: being able to mix serious topics with a lot of fun and real cultural exchange? Then, let’s work for it!

Close your eyes. Turn on your fantasy. And now imagine AEGEE world without NWMs…You go to Agora, and you sit alone on plenaries as you don’t know anybody there. You see people around you and you’re not sure whether or not they are from your region. Want to know more about European Level, get involved, share experiences, exchange solutions? You want to make a joint event with nearby local, but you don’t know even the name of their president... This is what can also happen with you if you miss such an important event as the Network Meeting! Did you know that since Agora Istanbul attending at least one NWM per year is obligatory for boards to fulfill antennae criteria? One more rule to the list of rules, which your local is obliged to do? No, believe me, it’s

much more than rule, it’s a big help and a favour for you. Now you have the great possibility to easily get one more “plus” to the list of criteria fulfilment, but it will be such a pleasant “plus”! It keeps inside much more than you expected: getting new knowledge, attending great workshops, hot discussions, meeting new friends, planning new projects and, what is the most important, you do all these with people, whom you can see much more often than twice a year at the Agora – people from your neighbouring area! Do you still have any doubts if it’s worth going to a NWM in your region? Have another look at the list of antennae criteria. But now behind these letters you will surely feel inspiration, motivation and overwhelming desire to attend the next Network Meeting in your region!

Upcoming NWMs Place



Kyiv Mağusa

5.03-7.03 11.03-13.03

Olga Doğuş

Novi Sad Sibiu Bratislava Granada

17.03-20.03 17.03-20.03 24.03-27.03 24.03-27.03

Milica Olimpia Dóra Luis

TRAVELS THROUGH THE NETWORK – PART I – nov `10 - feb `11 by Yanike Sophie As active member of AEGEE I live in Europe. Literally, because I don’t have a home in any city. I wanted to visit all the locals in the network. But with only 6 months to visit over 200 locals means I can stay a maximum of one day at one place. I decided to choose quality over quantity. Which happens to be the theme of this paper. After our Netcom Meeting in Barcelona in November I started my trip and I hitchhiked through the Iberian peninsula, ending in Porto. Travelling while you are netcommie gives a new di-

mension. Instead of visiting churches and museums, I carry around my laptop and look for bars with WiFi. I prososed a temporary breakup and during Christmas I decided to leave my laptop home and found out Where does Europe End in Marocco. Completely refreshed and tanned, I made up with my laptop. Not because I missed him, but because in the current international environment I simply can’t survive without. So together we took off to Budapest. Not with any particular reason. Just because it was the cheapest flight ticket to a

place I never went before. In Budapest I sent a text message to Dorá Kocsis, Network Commissioner of this area, that I have arrived in Hungary. She happened to be in Budapest, so I got a citytour and we did a hikingtrip in the hills. After an invitation from Eszter Virag Rab, former speaker, to come to Pécs, destiny told me to go that way. Here I learnt more about being a netcommie, and life after being a netcommie, apparently there is . After missing the bus to celebrate Orthodox newyears with AEGEE-Nis, I decided to go to Beograd.

During a meeting with AEGEE-Beograd I had a good conversation about the history of Serbia and former Yugoslavia. An interesting experience to take the bus the day after to Kosova and listen to a different history there. Together with AEGEEPrishtina we also once again agreed how unfair VISA applications can be. I hope they will be able to attend the Agora in Alicante. Whether Spain recognises Kosova as a country or not, why won’t bureacray let young idealists travel freely through Europe? After these not under-

standable things I met with Milica Lukovic, Network Commissioner, to continue on a netcom trip to Albania. Tirana is a beatiful city with beautiful surroundings. When I told this to the president of AEGEE-Elbasan he adviced me to enjoy it now, as the city is uncontrollably expanding into the nature surrounding it. It made me angry. There is so much to do for the Environmental Working Group in this part of the network. Here... to be continued! Come to Agora Alicante and get your copy of Netcom Times there as well and see the rest of the story!




by Luis Alvarado Martinez What do you think about the current quality of events in AEGEE? Mickey: In this matter we need a better definition of a quality event. What kind of quality do we aim to? Learning, culture, results, number of shots drunk the previous night? Alla: In general a lot depends on the local which is organising event. If it’s local with huge experience or local with really motivated and hard working people – I believe that events there are quite nice and with high quality. But I’m really optimistic concerning this year’s SUs. We have one third of all SUs which will be organised in cooperation with Working Groups or Project Teams, all 77 SUs will have specific topic and prepared content part. What is the current situation of AEGEE Europe’s visibility to

the outside world? Alla: I can say that we have quite a good position in the outside world. AEGEE is really appreciated by our external partners and they really value our impact on society. But we need to start working more for the external world, we need to create not only resultbooklets of projects which we cannot “sell” to externals, but we need to work for changing something in the world around us, to have valuable impact in our future. Mickey: AEGEE is still highly confused with those dirty brainwashers from a satanic sect called AIESEC. Institutions like us but only if we submit old papers, because we have achieved good results in the past but not recently. Right now in terms of numbers of activities we might look cool. The quality issue is related to another question but the numbers of activities it’s indeed impressive. Chapeau! What do you think

about the current Focus Areas of the NetCom? Mickey: NetCom’s focus areas? I didn’t even know they exist! The real question is “what is the NetCom doing?” The Network Commission is a link which job is to make the local level understand better the european level and vice versa. Alla: I was really happy to see that NetCom also decided to work for increasing quality of our events. Increasing quality of our events will also increase quality of AEGEE work. I was an organiser of numbers of events in Kyiv and I was really happy to see how quality of events was improving with each event. Suggestions for future: I would really like to see supporting cooperation between weak and strong locals. How do you see cooperation between NetCom and CD? Any tips to improve it?

Alla: As we have a common Focus Area - quality assurance I’m working quite a lot for it now. As you know we’ve made few steps at the beginning of this year towards our aim: we’ve implemented reporting system and we are checking carefully event’s descriptions before approving. We’ve created events guideline following which no one will have problems with event preparation. Mickey: Yes, there are plenty of rooms for improvements. First of all there’s no need to have a speaker or a vice speaker, or a vice of the vice speaker or a speaker team as it is now. Actually why does the NetCom speak? To speak takes time from work. You ask about cooperation with the CD, but I say that the Agora and the Statutes make them different and independent. The CD is not the European level but only its administrative body, therefore the NetCom should keep an eye on the CD but focus more on how to sup-

port & spread the ideas of Committees, Working Groups and Projects among the network. What do you think about Mickey Turati’s claims about NetCom being a waste of money for AEGEE Europe? Mickey: That guy, what’s his name? Mickey Turati... I think he is right. Alla: To be honest one year ago I would totally agree with Mickey. One year ago being Vice president of my local and not receiving any emails/calls or whatever else for NetCommie gave me an impression that NetCom is just for free travels. But after EBM Krakow I’ve understood that I cannot judge about whole NetCom by only one person. I was following work of NetCom starting from Agora Leiden and I really appreciate their work cause they are the connection between us, AEGEE-Europe and our locals.

CONGRATULATIONS......................... IT’S TWINS ! by Hara Kogkou Two years have passed since AEGEE-Peiraiás and AEGEE-León decided to become a family! The recipe was simple: the very good relationship between the members of the two antennae and a successful exchange the previous year that brought them more close that they could even imagine! Since then, meet-

ings and exchange of SU organizers have occurred, strengthening like that the bond of these two locals! Every time we are surprised to see how many things we have in common and we are always trying to pass this to our newest members! So, now it’s our chance to make this official by signing the twin antenna contract at the EBM in Riga!

... OR IS IT?

by Milica Luković There are many members among us who appreciate what AEGEE offers nowadays. Let’s see what members with different experience really think about organizational changes and improvement of quality: “AEGEE doesn’t need to change structurally and qualitatively, only quantitatively, ie. that we promote the idea of AEGEE better and more so many young Europeans get “infected” with AEGEE virus... especially the countries with AEGEE traditionally weak.. We need to maintain and even increase the volume of entertainment projects in AEGEE. What is good about these projects is that they have also cultural character, are much more relaxed and have more time to get to know the city and country... usually at conferences and debates is quite differently, people do not have much time to go out and are mostly indoors ... also the target of AEGEE are young,

and young people definitely prefer to party.” Emanuel,1999 member “I believe that AEGEE is very well structured organization and that there are no crucial things to be changed. Regarding “fun events” they should be always part of any organization, because they will, first relax people, and second - motivate them to do something or maybe make their own. It’s a really nice opportunity for cultural/opinions/experience exchange in casual way which is more interesting to everyone, to be honest.” Ivana, 2010 member “I am satisfied with a structure, but I would make thematic part more serious. About events that are offered..I am not complaining, it’s diverse, there is something for everyone. Good thing about AEGEE events is that they make you brake the stereotypes but also present your city and people in your way. If it is not as it is, I wouldn’t be a member!” Ana, 2008 member


by Kacper Kulhawczuk A typical addicted AEGEE person has to travel around Europe all the time. AGORAe, EBMs, NWMs, SUs etc… All of them spread around Europe. So you have to travel and there is one rule. Cheap means slow, expensive means fast. Planes are the fastest, most comfortable but the most expensive. Train/bus/car is cheaper, more adventurous but could be uncomfortable for longer time and it’s not so fast. There is a third way you can use – hitchhiking. It’s absolutely free, most adventurous and fun, the speed is unpredictable and you WILL meet a lot of new, cheerful and helpful people. You can say “Yeah, yeah hitch-hiking is cool, but unpredictable, slow, dangerous bla bla bla”. With attitude

like this it will probably be worst time of your life full of stress. But you can gain a lot of things and moments that you are missing when you are going by plane for example. What things? A feeling of adventure and traveling which was killed in airplanes. You will travel dozens of times by plane in the future… when you will be already CEO of your company. And who will take a CEO in a suit from the side of the road? Meeting new people. When autostoping, you HAVE to meet new people, who are for sure helpful (they stopped for you) and probably were hitch-hiking in their past (around 80% of drivers were) and ready to tell you the stories. Despite travelling with friends by car – you will never meet so many people so fast in a train

TOGETHER FOR THE FUTURE OF EUROPE! by Thomas Leszke When AEGEE was founded in 1985, hundreds of young Europeans came together, motivated by the same goal: to develop and promote the idea of a unified Europe. They met because they wanted to achieve something together, something big that none of them could achieve alone. This is how it started. We have to ask ourselves: What are we doing today in AEGEE? Are we still working on something together? Or are we all working on different small things – things of local, private interest? Ask your-

self: What are you doing in AEGEE? Europe is much more complicated today than it was 25 years ago. It is not easy to make a change in Europe just like that. But still, we are in AEGEE to shape the future of Europe. And we don’t do this just by organising Summer Universities, travelling around and creating a big European family. It is not just the European experience that makes us European citizens. A true European citizen – that we all want to be – has to develop ideas for the future of Europe, and fight for these ideas.

So, the first step on our mission in AEGEE is to develop our ideas. I have seen many good ideas already. But only few have been turned into reality. Because... yeah, why actually? What we are missing in AEGEE is planning things together. We have to act as one organisation – not as 209 different local organisations. But of course, working together with so many people from so many countries is not easy. Our instrument in AEGEE to make it easier to work together is the Strategic Plan. Here we define all together which things we want

to achieve on a longer term. This year, we are drafting the next Strategic Plan for 2012-2014 – a unique opportunity for all of us to give AEGEE a new direction. But we must be aware that drafting a nice document is only the first step. Afterwards, if we don’t focus our activities on the aims that we write in the Strategic Plan, this document will be useless. That means that you as an AEGEE member have a personal responsibility: to help writing the Strategic Plan this year, and to implement it afterwards with your Local, your Project or your Working Group!

or plane. And most of them are just crazy! Last one is unpredictable (and mostly unforgettable) moments. Sure, you can have awesome time in bus for 30 hours but nothing will be as exciting as hitchhiking. I was singing with a driver, changing the flat tire, being “attacked” by German polizei and getting helped to get to the better place by a French one. I was a “copilot” of angry and late truck driver, I was made to sightsee anything in France (when the guy got to know that I’m just crossing his country, he get outside the highway and show me Remis) and met drivers that have common friends with me. I was taken by sport cars, buses, police, taxi driver (for free!) and the motorbike is the only mean of transport that I’m waiting to hitch-hike with…

JOIN THE FAMILY AND DON’T LOOK BACK! The big il AEGEEdrino Family has something new on offer: from 30th April, 2011 (Agora Alicante), six new qualified people are needed who want to offer their knowledge and support to the network, travel, meet new people all over Europe, help them with their problems, and make the Agora happy with lots of success stories. The name of this job is „Network Commissioner“. If you are interested in, or just curious about our work, you are very welcome to contact us anytime. But don’t forget, if you enter this family, you can not get out easily…


WELCOME BACK, ROTTERDAM! by AEGEE Rotterdam After a silent period for AEGEE-Rotterdam, we reinforced and reorganized AEGEE contact Rotterdam. The board of AEGEE contact Rotterdam and the students of Rotterdam are very enthousiastic about its purpose. Many activities have been planned for the upcoming year. These consists of business days, discover holland trips, membership weekend and of course very exiting parties. We hope to involve all the students in this international city and make the most out of it. We are looking forward to establish a good relationship with all the AEGEE locals. See you in Rotterdam!


Clues for the crosswords..

Across 1. Founder of AEGEEEurope (6, 9) 5. Winners of the Best Summer University 2010 (8) 6. The mailing list used by Turkish antennae (6-1) 8. This city (like its antenna) is said to never sleep! (6) 9. One of AEGEE’s newest antennae in the network (7) 11. AEGEE’s most important document (3)

Editorial Publisher Network Commission Editor in Chief & Layout Olimpia Pârje Graphic art: Dóra Kocsis

12. Was nominated as Honorary Member of AEGEE-Europe in Agora Kyiv (6, 5) 14. At every Agora, this antenna always sings “Viva …….” (7) 15. The antenna that lies in the Far Far West (3, 6) 16. This antenna lies in the eternal city (4) 18. The SUPS was held here in 2009 (8) 21. The best night of an AEGEE event (8, 5)


13. The first EBM was held here (8)

2. Spring Agora 2003 (9) 3. This antenna is at the very North of AEGEE’s network (8) 4. They are here to serve and protect (3, 3) 7. The Agora that was tormented by a Volcano! (6) 10. Human Resources Working Group? (7) 11. AEGEE-Oviedo’s mascot (8) 12. Biggest AEGEE (2)




Special thanks to:

Milica Luković, Kacper Kulhawczuk, Lucille Rieux, Luis Alvarado Martínez, Thomas Leszke, Pierre Vassallo La Rosa, Olimpia Pârje, Hara Kogkou, Yanike Sophie, Olga Iatsyna

Evita Meiere, Michael Makowiecki, Alla Resheten, Michele Turati, Alfredo Sellitti, Doğuş Kaya, Alexander Sieber E-Mail

17. AEGEE’s most popular DJ (6) 18. It is one of the most requested Summer Universities in France (5) 19. The number of nationalities presently living at the CD House (5) 20. This working group used to be seriously creative (4)

by AEGEE Tenerife Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands. It is of volcanic origin and offers wonderful landscapes of mountains, beaches and woods. Due to its climate it is often called the island of the eternal spring. The majority of the population lives in the northeastern part. The university is located in the UNESCO protected town La Laguna, whilst Santa Cruz is the capital of the island. Tenerife has a very rich culture, a mixture of prehispanic, spanish and latinamerican traditions. The most famous event is its carnival, the second largest of the world. It’s people are known to be very open minded, tolerant and hospitable.

NetCom Times- EBM Riga  

Riga's edition of the NetCom Times