OneEurope 1/93 East-West Magazine HOW TO BUILD THE ...

OneEurope 1/93 East-West Magazine HOW TO BUILD THE ...

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Sheep and wolves - AEGEE in danger?

A rainy day in Bonn, (still) the capital of Germany, in November 1990. Inside the town hall the

Agora is rght in the middle of the action. After a fiery discussion a far reaching decision was taken:

Contacts in the (still) communistic countries can become full antenna, with all rights and duties.

Since that day we are witnessing an astonishing growth of AEGEE: Dozens of antennae were

founded all over eastern Europe from the GDR to the Ural, from the Baltic states to Bulgaria. After

so many years of separation students from the east and the west could, for the first time in history,

come together and build up their own independent students association.

This building up process is still continuing and hundreds of people are working with passion and

much fun on it.

Unfortunately in some cities in the east, but not only in the east, the idea of AEGEE was

misunderstood. Certain people used the facilities, given by the association, to make business and

money. Most of the members and even the representatives of AEGEE Europe didn't realize what

was going on, and they only woke up, when the situation proved to be disastrous. As you can

imagine, the facilities of the AEGEE-network can be used not only for making money, but also for

the goals of political organisations, which are acting, for example, under the name of some liberal

youth movement. This can happen at a local, regional or even at the European level. In any case

this would be a catastrophe and in the worst case the whole organisation could degenerate to a

just a mere tool in the somebody's hands.

You don't believe that ? An exaggeration, just? So read our examples:

In spring 1991, a letter, coming from Russia, from the firm INTERSERVICE, reached the Comité

Directeur of AEGEE Europe. The letter read:

"Dear..., ... we began to organize AEGEE in Ekaterinenburg. We ask you to help us in

registration of our antenna in E. We can organize any travelling in the USSR. Thanks...., yours

sincerely. A. Bogolmov." Now a presentation of the firm followed:" You have dealt with

INTERSERVICE and know us well? Our firm was founded by the Ural ... Institute and the Union

of Youth organisation. Our activities include: Inter work gangs organisation, ... to help you ... in

working at the plants. Teams of specialists ..., jewellers, programmers... . Setting up tours in the

USSR ... . 15-20% from the earning of the teams make up the income of our firm and their foreign


After half a year, two gentlemen, aged about 30, turned up at the Agora in Budapest. Without any

objections, apparently even without any questions their firm was accepted immediately as

Contact Antenna, the convention d'adhésion was signed, and they promised to organize a

Summer University in August 1992.

One of the participants of this SU, Carlo G. from Milano, was so kind to send us a report about

this event. He wrote:

"About AEGEE Ekaterinburg: It is quite difficult for a western European to give a reliable opinion

about Russia. ... The board: ..., they didn't look like being to interested about the guests, except

when there was some problem concerning money. ... They started to be terribly interested in us,

as soon as they understood, that some of the western guests weren't willing to pay the fee,

because they said ... it was too much. ... Apart from this, the only impression everybody had from

the board was that of a group of people, sitting apart, ..., and giving orders to the other people of

their antenna. ... It is quite possible, that most of the members moved altogether from the former

COMSOMOL to AEGEE. ... The antenna gave the impression not to be self sufficient, but rather

to rely upon unknown people hidden behind the board. ...

The university staff, ..., has been very badly paid ... . Anyway the level of the lessons, in the class

of architecture, ..., was quite good. ..., in fact my Russian experience was absolutely fantastic, ...,

and I think to go back to Russia as soon as possible. I simply think that Russian reality is very

different from ours. ... If I could give a suggestion, I would say that it can be safer to arrange the

contact through university staff, rather than through normal students, because there is the risk to

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