AEGEE (Association des Etats Généraux des Etudiants de l’Europe / European Students’ Forum) is a student organisation that promotes cooperation, communication and integration amongst young people in Europe. As a non-governmental, politically independent, and non-profit organisation AEGEE is open to students and young people from all faculties and disciplines – today it counts 13 000 members, active in close to 200 university cities in 40 European countries, making it the biggest interdisciplinary student association in Europe.AEGEE, which was founded in 1985 in Paris, puts the idea of a unified Europe into practice. A widely spread student network provides the ideal platform where young volunteers from 40 European countries can work together on cross border activities such as conferences, seminars, exchanges, training courses, Summer Universities, Case Study trips and Working Group meetings.By encouraging travelling and mobility, stimulating discussion and organising common projects, AEGEE attempts to overcome national, cultural and ethnic divisions and to create a vision of young people’s Europe. AEGEE operates without any national level of organisation. The structure is based on a European Level (a European Board of Directors working in Brussels, Commissions, Committees, Working Groups, and multinational Project Teams), and on a Local Level (close to 200 Antennae or local groups, forming the Network).The association’s main aims are:
- promoting a unified Europe without prejudices,
- striving to create an open and tolerant society of today and tomorrow,
- fostering democracy, human rights, tolerance, cross border cooperation, mobility and European dimension in education.
The events and projects run by the organisation focus on AEGEE’s four main Fields of Action (Cultural Exchange, Active Citizenship, Higher Education, Peace & Stability) and three Focus Areas (Youth Participation, Bridging Europe and Inclusion of Minorities).One of AEGEE’s most well-known achievements is the effective lobbying for the creation of the Erasmus programme in the 1980s. In 2001, AEGEE worked together with ESN (Erasmus Student Network) and ESIB (The National Unions of Students in Europe, now European Students’ Union) on the “Socrates on the Move” project, with the aim of promoting all Socrates initiatives. As a result, one million Erasmus students had been reached, and the scope of the Erasmus programme was broadened to include countries such as Turkey.AEGEE is also known for its longest running project, the Summer University that gathers thousands of volunteers each summer, providing courses on a wide range of topics from language courses to seminars about political, cultural or environmental issues.AEGEE has participatory status in the activities of the Council of Europe, consultative status at the United Nations, operational status at UNESCO and is at the same time a member of the European Youth Forum. The organisation has had also a number of illustrious personalities amongst its general partners: Mikhail Gorbachev, the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize; Vaclav Havel, former President of the Czech Republic; Eric Froment, former President of the European University Association, Wolfgang Thierse, former President of the Bundestag and Romano Prodi, former Prime Minister of Italy and former President of the European Commission.
- Miguel Gallardo