Written by: 
Lucie Vachova Saturday, 24 March, 2018 - 23:08

The New Dawn - AGM Costa Brava

It’s been a few days since we said goodbye to the sunny Costa Brava and left it with a heavy heart. Humming the melody of Mahna Mahna and finding Swiss chocolate in every corner of our luggage we are here to tell you the final story of AGM Costa Brava.

These wonderful days have passed faster than we would like to admit, even though we tried our best to make the most out of the time we had together. We started the days with the sun shyly rising above the horizon, then rushed through the calm streets of Platja d’Aro to reach the plenary room to take best seats, and impatiently welcomed the fruitful result of a year long process of planning and preparation.

Hours went by as we discussed various topics, shared our opinions and connected with each other. During breaks we could catch some breath under the early spring sun reuniting with friends from all around Europe and opening ourselves to new friendships. Costa Brava became our home for those four intense days and we immersed ourselves into its culture during the social programme.

The last day of AGM came and with it came the time to vote and decide how the upcoming ESN year is going to look like. Despite the long and detailed discussions which were leading up to this moment, the atmosphere was far from relaxed among the ESN delegates holding a vote. The noise of chunky, old-school voting devices falling on the floor from participants’ laps and chairs lightened the mood and was followed by laughter and jokes. With the phrase “Vote now!” appearing on the screen we anxiously pressed buttons to give our vote and observed the coloured bars move as the votes were counted.

Even though it was decided to postpone the changes and to work on them for another year, we are left wondering who’s going to take over the responsibility to continue the process, and how? We can look forward to the implementation of our newly founded bodies, Arbitration Board and Audit Commission, the proposal all of us were more than happy to see voted for. Our voices were heard and will be processed to shape the future of the network according to our wishes and needs along with the network values.

This AGM was different. We have realised that we need to reinforce the trust we have in each other and reexamine the values behind the phrase "unity in diversity". We took the first step and placed our trust once again in the known International Board. By reelecting them we rewarded their hard work and appreciated their motivation to continue advocating for our Network for yet another year.

This AGM taught us that the change doesn’t come easy. We have already heard many proposals behind which lies a lot of work and we were assured that concrete next steps will be taken by paying full respect to our opinions because we are the core of the network.

The traditional way of tying a bow on these past 3 intense days was the Gala Dinner. Under the city lights we replaced our hoodies with fancy clothes and eagerly waited for STARawards to begin. We were rewarded for our projects and the unceasing work for exchange students, but also for leaving our mark on society.  Delegates from ESN Poland, ESN Spain, ESN Italy and ESN Greece made a lot of noise expressing their happiness over winning an award for most successful ESN countries.

The last dinner consisted of nothing else but traditional dishes from Spain, such as paella, and local wine tasting, courtesy of Pernod Ricard in the name of our joint project, Responsible Party, and the endless care of the Organizing Committee to make our stay memorable.

One year ago, the OC promised us an amazing AGM, and they have delivered it. There are no words to express how grateful each and every participant is for an opportunity to participate in AGM Costa Brava, which is why we have rewarded them with long applause and cheers. We can only hope that the smiles of our volunteers, as they were standing on the stage before 900 people they welcomed in their home for the past 4 days, has inspired someone to try to reach for the same feeling in 2019. And while the event came to its end, all the efforts to make this network better will never die.

"AGM has come to an end but definitely not
the motivation for us to keep going forward."
- João Pinto, President ESN AISBL
The journey to the future of Erasmus Student Network has just begun.



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