During the next FYEG General Assembly in Prague the delegates will also decide who are going to be the next spokespersons. As there there are always two spokes there need to be at least two candidates of different genders. This year we have two candidates: Teo Comet and Marie Pochon.
Marie Pochon. Photo: courtesy of the candidate.
Teo Comet. Photo: courtesy of the candidate.
The Ecosprinter would like to provide you with more information about them than you can read in their official CVs and motivation letters. By doing so we hope to make the decision who to vote for during upcoming GA easier and give the candidates more space for introduction.
We asked the candidates the same set of questions, so that you can compare them better. Here are the answers:
What was your first experience related to the Green movement and why have you decided to get involved?
Marie: I first got involved when I applied for FYEG’s “Rio+20” seminar that was taking place in Brussels in June 2012. This intense week was enough to ‘hook’ me in the green family, for how much I was amazed by meeting young activists not only standing firmly – as I was then – for progressive and radical change, but also actively taking part in shaping the society, the Europe they wanted to live in. Intense discussions, late night debates, between utopias and concrete action plans: I had sincerely no idea that this was existing and found a place where I could engage, experiment, be listened to, doubt and learn more than in any other context.
Teo: My first experience with the Greens was a course on Green politics organised by ViNO (Finnish Young Greens) in 2005-2006. I was interested in politics already before, from my time in the students’ movement in high school. I decided to get involved in the Greens because of my interest in ecological issues and because of the international dimension of Green activism and politics.
Why did you decide to apply for the Spokesperson position and not others like Secretary General or Executive Committee member?
Marie: After two years as an EC member, I feel like I have accumulated quite an amount of experience and knowledge about FYEG and pan-European work that I really am determined to pass on in the coordination of the next years’ activities, and processes. At a personal level, I feel finally confident to guide and support, experiment, network and represent the young greens. At a more political level, the challenges are huge, but the opportunities for us to stand for our alternatives are endless. Being a co-spokesperson is the right place to be for me on this final year in FYEG, for my determination to strengthen our voice and our narrative, on refugees’ rights, on climate action, on solidarity over austerity; but also internally, for supporting the on-going structural changes going through the organisation for the future.
Teo: I have been an Executive Committee member of both FYEG and CDN, which taught me a lot. I have worked as Office Coordinator of CDN for 3 years, also an amazing experience. Right now I feel like the role of FYEG Spokesperson is one that is challenging and rewarding for me, and one that I am good at.
Could you choose one feature of your character that makes you a perfect candidate for a Spokesperson? Why this one?
Marie: My “entirety”? If that word even exist? Well, I really do think that despite of my many flaws, I am a honest, sincere and “entire” person, dedicated to what has to be done, caring about the well-being of all, constructive discussions, and the diversity of opinions. I doubt, I listen, I support, and I am quite easy-going; and although this doesn’t make me a strategist that is also needed at this level of decision-making, I do believe that these are also qualities that can strengthen a team and individual efforts.
Teo: One characteristic that I have found useful during the past year has been patience. In European politics and in the Greens, there are a lot of urgent issues that require some kind of immediate reactions. I think it is important to react when necessary. But I also think it is crucial to step back from time to time, to try to see the bigger picture, to accept that certain processes take time, and to keep an open mind about one’s own perspective. We are going through very interesting times in Europe and it’s important we don’t get stuck in certain ways of thinking. When we act, we should know why and how.
What was your biggest challenge as an activist and how did you manage to overcome it (if you ever did)?
Marie: That’s not a surprise to anyone, but my lack of self-confidence is clearly annoying me at this stage 🙂 It has been one of my biggest challenge these last years, although being aware that this is mainly constructed by our societies. To be honest, I didn’t overcome it yet totally, despite of my many speeches, events organisation, meetings and conferences, and I guess many of those attending the coming GA will witness me trembling while giving my speech. However, interestingly, today this is something that pushes me forward for being one of these strong women I always admired, standing for my values, standing for change, for youth, and for women to take up the space and stand for what they believe in.
Teo: To tell people in non-offensive ways that I disagree with them or that I think their reasoning has flaws. I learned by observing how people around me do it.
What was your biggest success as an activist and what was the reason why you managed to achieve it?
Marie: I am personally really proud of what we achieved to do in Paris for the COP21, in which preparatives and organisation I was deeply involved for almost a year. We managed to bring young activists from most of our member organisations to the civil-society demonstrations there, in a very difficult context of state of emergency, attacks mourning and logistical nightmare. Determination is the main word that comes to my mind, if I have to explain how we achieved it. Everything was telling us to give up but we managed with an amazing team of dedicated activists, to make it possible for all, not only to stand for climate action, but also for democracy. These were truly beautiful moments.
Teo: When I helped someone to overcome hirself, achieving something they didn’t imagine being capable of. This happens when people are open to learning and to change. A good mix of curiosity, self-criticism and ambition.
How will you manage your multiple tasks as a Spokesperson and other responsibilities you have in your life?
Marie: The question is how did I managed so far – well, I didn’t get a life in the last 2 years 🙂 Seriously, I had the chance these last years to manage a great work-volunteering-social life balance thanks to a very flexible job, and the luxe of a family farm where I can come back to when I am poor and homeless. I obviously consider opportunities in the light of the responsibilities I am trusted for, and more especially for the year to come. This will be my last year in FYEG and I am willing to fully engage with the position, of course with some kind of necessary balance.
Teo: I organise my life according to my FYEG responsibilities. This is sometimes challenging for me personally, but I think I have shown being capable and willing to do it.
How do you imagine working with the other spokesperson? Do you even like each other? 😉
Marie: Well to be honest I truly admire Teo, that I learned to know this year. He is smart, fun, creative, strategic-minded, structured and immensely dedicated, in addition to spreadsheets being his favourite hang out place 🙂. I do believe, and hope, that we can guide the renewed EC and office in the upcoming tasks in a good team spirit, and that can we can also support together really cool and new activities and projects, that proved their success last year and are immensely needed in the black hole taking place instead of the European political debate. However the EC-office is a team first and foremost, and I stand for a horizontal structure at this level. Communication and maintained dialogue is the key. I am really looking forward to listen, work and implement the renewed EC members and office’s new ideas and inputs, for this year to be another step forward for the little revolution emerging in Europe.
Teo: Well, we are not elected yet so I will not take my candidacy nor Marie’s candidacy for granted. But supposing that Marie and I will work together this year, I very much look forward to it. She and I have quite different backgrounds and personalities, and we have had the opportunity to know each other better this year during numerous trips, meetings, events and beers together. I have my way of doing things, as does Marie and everyone else. We are candidating for the position of Co-Spokesperson, which is a system that has its challenges and perks. If elected, I think Marie and I will form a nice Spokesperson duo, colorful and resolute 🙂
To find out more go to http://fyeg.org/GA16
Ecosprinter Editorial Board