Sunday is always the most nerve-wracking, most emotional and definitely most exciting day of the Annual General Meeting. This is the day when the real decisions are made and when the sections and countries get their voices heard, affecting the direction in which the network should go in the next year.
The day started with updates from the international committees. While the chairing teams leading the committees gave their presentations about what their committees are up to, the members joined them next to the stage. It was wonderful to see the faces of the people who normally work behind the scenes and perhaps seem rather distant to ESNers on the local level.
Another inspiring group of people hit the stage after the coffee break: international project teams. We heard from SocialErasmus, ExchangeAbility, ESNsurvey, Mov’in Europe, ErasmusIntern, Responsible Party and Eduk8. These projects that are implemented all over the network have big teams working on developing and coordinating them on the international level. They dedicate countless hours and sleepless nights to make sure that ESN is known for what we want to be known for: inclusion, mobility, diversity, and let’s face it: making the world a better place.
As for the votes that took place on Sunday, there were many great moments: the financial report of 2015 and budget for 2016 were approved, as was the ESN International Action Plan for 2016. As time went on, the votes got more and more exciting.
Next it was time to vote for the next Flagship Project of our network - a project that the whole network will focus on over the next year. And the winner is... ExchangeAbility! Congratulations to the team for a great proposal and good luck with taking the project to the masses. The other proposal, Buddy System, also received a considerable amount of votes, so fingers crossed that they’ll apply again next year and get accepted then.
The organising committee for the next AGM was also selected. In 2017, we will all gather in Berlin, Germany for another surely unforgettable AGM. Wir fahren nach Berlin!
And of course, the International Board elections. During the voting and while waiting for results, we were treated to some entertainment: there was Abba, there were the Beatles, Gaffar and Thomas singing karaoke and Piero Gentilini from ESN Denmark singing along to the voting music. Moments like these remind us of what a fun and young organisation we are. But back to the votes: the results represented the trust and faith the network has in our current board and thus, the whole board was re-elected. We are hereby happy to present to you the Board of ESN International 2016/2017:
President - Safi Sabuni (ESN Sweden)
Vice-President - Matthew Clemo (ESN UK)
Treasurer - Jovana Stankovic (ESN Serbia)
Communication Manager - Gaffar Rampage (ESN the Netherlands)
Web Project Administrator - Thomas Pappas (ESN Greece)
Thomas Pappas even went so far as to collect 98.7% of the votes, which is the highest result an international board member has ever received.
The sincere celebration of each and every one of the board members was absolutely heart-warming to witness. And as Safi put it in the board’s thank you speech:
After the emotional elections, everyone needed a short break to catch a breath, congratulate the elected board and get ready for the STARawards. Applications for these awards are evaluated by Committees, International Project Teams and the Alumni. During this 2-hour ceremony, sections and countries were celebrated, praised and awarded for the work they have been doing this past year. Portugal was the absolute star of the night, winning 8 awards and taking home both the STARlight award for ESN Lisbon as the section of the year and STARland as the ESN country of the year. Portugal really has been an amazing example to the whole network.
Once the STARawards had been handed out, we all gathered at the beautiful Palace of Culture and Science just across the street from Novotel for the Gala Dinner. Everyone got dressed up, had dinner, took beautiful pictures, socialised and enjoyed each other’s company until early morning when it was time for the first people to catch their flights.
Thank you to the wonderfully accommodating OC who organised an amazing event that we’ll remember for a long time, to the Chairing Team for running the event so smoothly and more than anything, to the participants for making this event what it was: legendary.
We loved writing these little updates for you and hope you enjoyed reading them.