It was about time! More than two and a half years after the last physical Agora in Salerno, we could finally squeeze ourselves, our luggage and air mattresses into a gym again. You might wonder if we did this voluntarily and the answer is yes! (more or less). This upcoming article is about the special AEGEE phenomenon that the Agora is. Your delegates – Belinda, Carla and Lars – present to you here what it was all about!
The Agora exists out of different parts. First of all, during the plenaries all of the delegates are present. Here, the candidatures, motions and possible amendments are being discussed. Secondly, during the Prytania (also: parallel sessions) smaller group discussions take place. Every day ends with a voting round during which only the delegates are allowed to be present.
The opening ceremony, for some of us the first one ever, was very fun and social. We all had the opportunity to dress under the ‘Suit Up!’ theme and joined in a location close to the gym. It ended with singing an apparently very famous Serbian song that no one knew, but soon everyone joined. After the Agora, many videos were shared of participants dancing to this song (Crno i Zlatno) at home.
The opening plenary, a day later, started off with speeches by the President of AEGEE-Europe and the President of the hosting local, AEGEE-Novi Sad. We enjoyed the Roll Call, where every local showed their presence through songs, exclamations or anything else representative of their local. After this, we were informed about what the Agora will look like, the general rules and we went through the agenda. We also got some practical information about the accommodation, the parties and the food.
During the Plenaries, it was time to ask questions to the candidates for several eligible positions. The most important body is the Comité Directeur (CD), the board of AEGEE-Europe in Brussels. First, Filip (AEGEE-Praha) presented his candidature for President of the Network. After his question round the candidatures for Member of the CD followed, as nobody applied for Secretary-General or Financial Director. Arshadturan (AEGEE-Antalya) and Paul (AEGEE-Brussel-Bruxelles) climbed on stage to answer questions. Paul received critical questions, also from the side of AEGEE-Groningen. A day after the voting the Agora was told that he did receive enough votes, nor did he after a second question round. To give new possible candidates a chance, the Agora decided on reopening the positions. Elisa (AEGEE-Aachen) soon applied as Financial Director. Filip, Arshadturan and Elisa got all voted into the Comité Directeur and will lead our association in the upcoming year!
Next, we have the candidates for commissions. One position was open in the Audit Commission, three in the Juridical Commission, four in the Mediation Commission, and ten in the Network Commission. The Audit position was filled as well as two of the Juridical positions. One of the Mediation Commission positions was filled as Kirsten Broekema, one of our members and president and FR-Responsible ‘20/’21, was elected. For the Network Commission, seven candidates applied, among which was Aleksandra Rachwalska, our ‘20/’21 European Affairs Director who got elected.
The working group coordinator positions all got filled thanks to a reopening of candidatures proposed by one of our members, Juan Carlos Leunissen. Juan also got elected as Political Activism Working Group Coordinator. We were delighted to see so many of our members elected and made sure to congratulate them. We wish them good luck and a great time in their positions.
Something unique about this Agora was the absence of Ukrainian locals due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine last February. Instead, a video was shown of an AEGEE-Kyiv member, calling for a ban of European AEGEE events in Russia until the end of the war. As the end-term of this motion was not concrete enough according to the Agora, the motion was amended to a ban on these events until the next Agora. In this way, the future Agorae can decide whether the ban is necessary depending on the situation at that time. As travelling to Russia is currently not possible, the ban can, in a way, be seen as a symbolic statement.
The Content Format Guidelines proposal did not have a good start. Unfortunately, the person presenting it had been late and did not have time to present his ideas. After his explanation, it appeared his proposal was declined before and nothing new was added or changed. His presentation was different from his idea in the submitted proposal, which caused a bit of confusion. As a consequence, he amended his own proposal. After the voting round the proposal was rejected.
The Levels of Protection of Data proposal was presented by the same person as mentioned above. Not much time was left to present this proposal, unfortunately. A CD member pointed out how the formulation of the proposal would leave out locals that are not antennae. After a debate, the proposer amended it by changing the wording of the proposal. After the voting round, this proposal was also rejected.
Of course, we cannot forget about all the nights we spend in Novi Sad. There was a party for every evening of the Agora, each with its own theme. The week started with a suit-up party which was perfect as we were all in formal attire for the Opening Ceremony. The other themes were: masquerade, glitter and 80s-90s-00s trash, respectively. We closed off the week with a European Night where participants brought food and drinks from their countries to share. As expected there was an abundance of stroopwafels from all the Dutchies. The European night also featured a live stream of the Eurovision finale which made for an unforgettable atmosphere as we all cheered for our countries.