Between April 16 and 20, the Danish ESN Delegation initiated a journey to one of the most fascinating experiences you can live in ESN: the Annual General Meeting (AGM), which was held in Ankara.
The AGM is the most important meeting of our international organization, as around 650 ESNers meet to take decisions that are vital for the development of the network. The International Board, the secretariat and representatives from all the sections, national boards and committees in ESN come together in one city to exchange opinions, experiences, knowledge and conceiving new projects.
Eight brave Danish ESNers headed by our National Representative Piero Gentilini (ESN Odense) were representing our country. We were one delegate per each of our 5 sections: Alicja (ESN Aarhus) Radu (ESN CPH), Ulrik (ESN DTU), Marie (ESN Haderslev) and Jesper (ESN Odense). We also had our Communication Manager as National Board Delegate (Carlos - ESN DTU) and our new National Representative as National Delegate (Isabel - ESN Odense).
The AGM is the perfect opportunity to get to know our international network, the functions of the different bodies (International Board, CNR, Committees, ESN projects…) and what they can offer to the sections. It is also a good occasion to discover the international ESN projects (SocialErasmus, ExchangeAbility, Movin’ Europe, Responsible party…) and the different partners that can be beneficial for the sections.
But the AGM is more than this. It is a place to network with your fellow ESNers from all over Europe, share knowledge with each other and even starting cooperation between sections. In the AGM, you get to know people from different cultures, different personalities and different working styles… but with the same open mindset and the same goal: to build a better Europe.
The AGM started on Thursday with the arrival of participants to the Green Park Hotel, a brand-new 5-star hotel with amazing facilities, such Conference Center, Spa or swimming pool. In the afternoon, the Organising Commitee (OC) organised guided tours around Ankara and later the Flag Parade. All the ESNers, face-painted, carrying hundreds of flags, balloons and wearing colourful clothes, skyrocked the central streets of Ankara while cheering, dancing, and singing non-stop. Turkish people and foreigners stared astonished at the show. At the beginning, some people could not understand what was happening, but everyone ended up smiling, taking pictures and joining the festive atmosphere. It is worth to mention the big impact that the Danish delegation caused during the parade, showing the real Viking spirit with our flags, beards and helmets. Everybody was fighting to have videos and pictures with us, including the Turkish television.
After the parade, we had a Turkish Dinner at the hotel and the night ended in a party in a fancy club in Ankara.
Friday was the first day of plenaries, which where held at the conference center of the hotel. Despite the long and intense parties that AGM offers every night, it is vital to get up early not to miss any second. The plenaries are full of interesting presentations and, furthermore, the sections need to vote constantly on important decisions for the network. On Friday morning, the international board presented the annual report and some partners gave interesting presentations.
In the afternoon, it was time for the Infomarket, a big fair where each participant had the chance to present and promote its country and university to other ESNers, Turkish students and different stakeholders and institutions. The day continued with two hours of workshops about many different topics.
The day ended with the Turkish Night. All participants had dinner in a typical Turkish restaurant, with the best Turkish atmosphere and the show of several impressive Turkish dances (including the famous belly dance). The night finished in a club in the center of Ankara, which was placed on top of a mall.
Saturday turned to be the busiest day. Plenaries started early in the morning with the presentation of the budget. During the rest of the day, it was the turn for all the International Board candidates.
Late in the afternoon, all countries celebrated their National Platforms, where all discuss about the experiences in AGM and share opinions about the different candidates. In our case, ESN Denmark used also the occasion to approve new changes in the statutes and standing orders and completing the election of our National Board. Michael Truelsen, Karin Kragh Jensen and Bianka Barkanyi were elected as our new president, vice-president and communication manager. Together with Evelina Petrova (Treasurer) and Isabel Friis (National Representative), they will be the new Danish National Board 2015-2016, until the new AGM.
At night, it was time for the famous Eurodinner, where all the countries bring typical national foods and drinks and share them in a festive atmosphere.
Sunday is the most fruitful day for the sections. It started with the proposal and voting of changes in the statutes and standing orders, followed by the candidacy to host the new AGM. But the rest of the day was full of interesting presentations, such as the committee reports, partnership updates and all the projects carried out in ESN. It is the moment for the delegates to get to know all the tools and projects developed at an international level that can be used for the sections.
At the end of the day, it was the moment for the votings and elections. Warsaw was chosen to host AGM 2016 and the Financial Report 2014 & Budget 2015 were approved. Regarding the international Board, Safi Sabuni (SWE) was elected as president, Matt Clemo (UK) as Vice-president, Jovana Stankovic (SER) as treasurer, Gaffar Rampage (NED) as Communication Manager and Thomas Pappas (GRE) as Web Project Administrator. At the end of the day, the AGM was closed with the Gala Dinner. After 4 days of intense activity, all ESNers suited up with their best galas and enjoyed delicious Turkish delights, followed by another party.
Unfortunately AGM came to its end, but the work is not finished yet. Now it is time for the delegates to explain their experiences and share the new knowledge with their sections.
“Which are the new Partners of ESN? Did you have the chance to meet the delegate of our neighbor section in Germany? It could be really nice to make an event together! When is the next SocialErasmus week? What is MapAbility? Do you know that NEC has made a section guide? And that ComCom can help you create a new logo for your section?”
Now you can find the answer to all these questions. And don’t forget that all presentations of AGM are available in the ESN Wiki!
Finally, ESN Denmark would like to congratulate the new International Board. See you next year in Warsaw!
Communication Manager ESN Denmark