From 6th to 8th of May, the Erasmus Student Network had its second physical General Assembly in its history, after changing to the new format from the Annual General Meeting in 2020. ESN Croatia and their local association ESN Zagreb welcomed more than 120 representatives from all across the Network to the capital of Croatia - Zagreb.
As the main statutory and decision-making body of ESN, the General Assembly consists of 41 member organisations’ representatives who meet physically for three days twice per year and bring decisions on the future of the network.
The Assembly was officially opened by the speech of the current President, Juan Rayón González, highlighting the importance of physical meetings, especially when it comes to bringing important decisions to the table:
“What made ESN stay together was the work of all the people here, the people who constantly support others. This is what makes ESN strong.”
The General Assembly was honoured to hear a video message from the Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth - Mariya Gabriel:
“This year we wish to do even more. Mobility should be a reality for all. All that can be done hand in hand with you, the Erasmus Student Network.”
To wrap up Friday morning, the representative of the Croatian National Agency for Mobility and EU Programmes, Ivan Alić, wished all the participants a warm welcome and a lot of luck in the organisation's future development.
Those three days in Zagreb were filled with discussions, presentations, candidacies and many more moments that will remain engraved in the organisation's history. Sunday, being the last day of the Assembly, was the moment of truth - the voting results were announced. ESN AISBL, for the first time ever, has six positions in the Board and all of them are now filled. The International Board 2022/2023 will start its mandate on the 1st of August and is as follows:
President - Juan Rayón González (Spain)
Vice President for Network - Paula Pop (Romania)
Vice President for Training and Development - Adéla Smejkalová (Czech Republic)
Treasurer - Ayberk Yavuz (Turkey)
Communication Manager - Nikolina Đurić (Serbia)
Web Project Administrator - Bianca Stefan (Romania)
Other than some more elected candidates for the statutory bodies, three organisations from Kazakhstan, Montenegro and North Macedonia presented their applications for membership in ESN leading to the results of having three new candidate sections and potentially three new member countries in the Network:
International Student Network of Almaty from Almaty, Kazakhstan
Buddy Network of the University of Montenegro from Podgorica, Montenegro
International Balkan University Erasmus+ Student Club from Skopje, North Macedonia
The participants had a chance to see their own organisation growing, making the family bigger by each day and by each student helping another student. They could also feel the power of unity in diversity when it comes to taking the lead and carving the direction of where they all want to go together, as a Network.
After 2 rough years in the pandemic, the return of physical events and the number of students going on mobility slowly rising again, the meeting finished with a hopeful note and it seems that the leaders of the Erasmus Generation have a fruitful year ahead of them. Congratulations to everyone and see you at the next General Assembly in Sakarya, Turkey!