Six members of AEGEE-Delft and hundreds of friends from other AEGEE locals throughout Europe travelled to the Salerno at the end of October. This was the sunny set for the Agora: the semi-annual meeting of AEGEE-Europe. Long days full of discussions, presentations and votings followed by parties until the early morning - but what happens at an Agora exactly?
Autumn Agora Salerno was an amazing experience. They tell you to expect the unexpected during an Agora, and this time too it was a popcorn-worthy event. First we heard the day before arrival that they gym that we would be sleeping in was cancelled. Ultimately we slept in a resort with an own bed and an (empty) swimming pool! We spent many hours in many buses and we spent even more in a queue. But even when the European Night was cancelled our spirits were high, partially because of the spirits in our hands but especially because of the amazing people that we have met.
The Agora started on Wednesday night with an opening ceremony filled with speeches, music and dance, followed by an opening party. AEGEE-Delft had sent three delegates - members that could vote on proposals, candidates etc. for AEGEE-Delft - and three visitors - members who could attend everything but who did not have voting or speaking rights. The delegates had a busy programme: every day began with a plenary, during which all participants gather for presentations, announcements, and for example the election of new members of committees of AEGEE-Europe. The first plenary was extra special, because part of it was the roll call: each of the ~160 locals was called out one by one, after which all the members of that local sang their song out loud. AEGEE-Delft was of course present in suit and tie in the front row!
After the opening plenary there are two parallel slotsevery day. These are sessions of about one and a half hours during which participants divide among various workshops, progress meetings and two or three prytania. The delegates were obliged to be present at a prytaniuma thematic meeting, for example to discuss the new Strategic Plan, the financial report, the plans of the various committees and working groups or the Comité Directeur (the board of AEGEE-Europe). Additionally, there are workshops that the visitors can attend, or you can hang out in the sun with AEGEEans of other locals.
Agora days are chockful. In between the prytania, workshops, discussions and presentations there are breaks that are usually spent standing in line for food or coffee. These are the most social moments - you can mingle with other locals, speak with old friends and get to know new AEGEEans. But even the 'breaks' are filled with activities, like a flag/flash mob or a meeting with your Network Area (a group of locals within the network, like the Pancake Area which we are in together with many other Dutch and some German locals) and its NetCommie . This is a responsible from the Network Commission for the wellness of the locals within the various Network Areas.
Are you still with me? Yes? Great, then we can dive deeper into what was discussed during this Agora!
The new Strategic Plan of AEGEE-Europe of 2020-2023 was presented and discussed. In this plan you can find the Focus Areas : thematic subjects upon which the network should focus in the coming three years. In addition to the aim and the description of each Focus Area, the Strategic Plan also contains a Definition of Successfor each Area: when will we have accomplished our aims? After an interesting discussion, to which we as AEGEE-Delft have contributed significantly, we have voted upon which Focus Areas we want to include in the plan and how many of the seven proposed Areas we would include. Ultimately, Climate Emergency, Mental Health, Social Equity and Political Activism have become the Focus Areas for 2020-2023. Digital Europe, Globalised Europe and Youth Mobility have not made the list. We are already looking forward to the European Planning Meeting (EPM) in Barcelona in February, during which we will connect more concrete goals to the Strategic Plan in the Action Agenda for next year.
During the Agora there were also elections for a few positions: the Chair of the Agora, Summer University Coordination Team (SUCT), Mediation Commission, Secretary General of AEGEE-Europe, European Citizenship Working Group (ECWG), Audit Commission, Data Privacy Commission and Network Commission. There were no candidates for Secretary General, so the Comité Directeur is now looking for an interim Secretary General.
There were also a few exciting announcements: the Autumn Agora 2020 will be held in Moscow and AEGEE-Yerevan presented their plans for Spring Agora Yerevan 2020. These will for sure be interesting and amazing Agorae! We also received news on the European Planning Meeting in Barcelona. Next to that, a few locals signed the Twin Antenna Agreements including AEGEE-Delft with AEGEE-Passau! In addition, the AEGEE Contact in Nicosia upgraded to AEGEE-Lefkosia.
Every day ended with a thematic party. We had an Elegant Party, Strange Party and a 90s Party. The final night of an Agora is usually followed by a European Night, where all participants bring food and drinks from their own country. This time was different though, because of issues with the accommodation the European Night was cancelled! This could not spoil the fun though, because many participants held Dark European Nights spread between the bus station and the two accommodations that the visitors and delegates were staying at.
Agora Salerno was an event to never forget. Will we see you at Agora Yerevan?