Closer look at a Hay Power- AEGEE Yerevan Network Meeting

From 4 th to 7 th of May AEGEE Yerevan hosted the Network Meeting: Hay Power. It consisted of three

days of intense trainings and sessions, where the AEGEE identity, its focus areas, the state and future of

AEGEE, role of the Netcom and many other topics were actively discussed. Participants also found time

to visit some of the sights in Yerevan, such as giant stairway Cascade, tasted shaurma and watched

Armenian tradition dance performed by fellow Armenian AEGEEans during the European night.

Unfortunately, the meeting was not well attended due to several reasons which will be discussed below.

Georgia, Russia, Turkey and Armenia were represented from the network, but AEGEE Yerevan also

welcomed participants from Italy, Romania, Ukraine and the Netherlands. We asked the main organizer

of the event Ani Khachatryan and Network commissioner Kristina Reshetova to share their impressions.

Ani, firstly, can you explain what does the title of the NWM- Hay power stand for?

We all know that a catchy title can attract many participants and AEGEE events always stand out with

their creative, innovative and original titles (just have a look at the SU list). We wanted to add some local

elements to our NWM title and after hours of brainstorming, “HAY Power” was born. “Hay” means

Armenian and we call our country “Hayastan”, a land founded by “Hayk” (founder of the Armenian

nation). Thus, the NMW aimed to share with our participants the Armenian power for their future

engagements in the AEGEE activities.

Is this the first time AEGEE Yerevan organized a Network meeting?

This is the second NWM hosted by AEGEE-Yerevan. AEGEE-YereWonderful NWM took place in 2015 in

Tsakhkadzor, a city famous among winter sports enthusiasts. It was conducted by our Netcom Natalia

Ivlieva and CD responsible, Network Director Holger Schmitt.

Kristina , was this your first time in Yerevan? What is your impression?

Kristina: Yes, it was my first time. I found Yerevan as a very nice city with hospitable and kind people.

Also I felt some kind of connection as people speak Russian there and the architecture sometimes

reminded me of my country. So, It was like I was at home 

What do you think what are the biggest difficulties AEGEE Yerevan faces today? What can be done to

overcome them?

Ani: AEGEE-Yerevan is currently one of the leading youth NGOs in Armenia. It’s a common knowledge

that AEGEE locals operate on a city level. However, we went beyond the Yerevan borders and our

activities cover all the regions of Armenia. One of the main difficulties now is to manage to filter the

numerous partnership offers that we are receiving on daily basis. We are not attracted by the benefits of

partnerships that would put us absolutely on another track and keep us away from fulfilling our mission.

Krtistina: I think there is also geographical problem. They are located in that part of the network, plus

they are the only local in Armenia. That’s why I think AEGEE-Yerevan a bit isolated from everything.

Sometimes it’s difficult for them to travel to many events and people from other locals say it’s expensive

to go to Yerevan. Even though I think it’s possible, for example, through Tbilisi. We can help them if we

try to bring more events there.

Ani, Do you have any plans regarding organizing other European events in near future?

Besides the “Catching up with KardashYans” Summer University to be held in 21 st July – 1 st August, 2017,

AEGEE-Yerevan applied for hosting the European Planning Meeting 2018. We are looking forward to

Agora Enschede to know the selection results. EPM 2018 will not only be the first large-scale European

event hosted by AEGEE-Yerevan, but also the first large-scale youth event in Armenia.

How was the communication with Netcom/the CD responsible?

Ani: While planning the NWM, we were in constant communication Kristina Reshetova, our Netcom via

different social media channels. Her advice and support guided us before and during the NWM. The CD

responsible, Marteen de Groot, who was also engaged in the NWM preparation communication, made

valuable thematic input in the NWM programme.

Kristina: There were thousands of kilometers between us, we couldn’t organize live meetings, so we

only could use Skype and What’sApp calls. However, the communication was good and I had no doubts

about the organization of the event. As for CD responsible, me and Maarten are working together since

August, so we already organized NWM Moskva. I’m really thankful to Maarten for his advice and help. I

can’t even dare to complain. I’m lucky to have such CD couple 🙂

What was the most challenging part while organizing the event/during the event?

Kristina: Hmm…I think that was the moment when we didn’t have enough participants and we were

even discussing possibility to cancel the event. But then we talked with organizers and agreed to have

our NWM anyway.

Another difficulty was making a programme useful for everyone. We had both experienced and very

fresh members so we had to adapt to the needs of both.

Ani: The NWM was a good exercise for our old and new members, as it was the first European event of

AEGEE-Yerevan after a long break. We considered challenges as an opportunity for finding better

alternatives to management, communication, and logistics for our upcoming events.

To what do you attribute the low number of applications?

Kristina: Really? I don’t know. This NWM was an amazing opportunity to see how AEGEE works in this

part of the network. Moreover, a great chance to visit Yerevan and to meet people living there.

I can only guess that the reason could be that in May we had 2 NWMs and Agora and students can’t

afford travelling to both places.

I hope next time AEGEEans will not miss this chance!

Ani: The flight costs are always number one reason for the low number of applications. There are no

low-cost airlines operating in Yerevan and in most cases, this NWM was not an exception, our

participants travel to Tbilisi or Kutaisi, Georgia and take the minivan to Yerevan from there. This option

is budget-friendly, but time-consuming. Anyway, we value quality over quantity and this NWM is a

bright example. 

Are you generally content with the outcome and have any tangible/real results achieved?

Kristina: I can be wrong, but I think or I hope it was a good reminder for AEGEE-Yerevan to remember

that they are a part of European youth organization. Also I hope it was useful for AEGEE-Tbilisi who, in

my opinion is also a bit isolated.

During Open Space we discussed some topics, which I hope will become real projects in the nearest

future.

Do you think that anything could have been done better?

Kristina: It would be more productive to have more participants, but at the same time the smaller group

the closer participants are and the more time they have to discuss different things.

Also I would like to have more trainers, representatives of European Bodies, Working and Interest

Groups.

Ani: We would like to add maybe a day or two to our NWM that we could enjoy the company of

wonderful AEGEEans a bit more. This is something we can fix next time 

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