By Enrico Lai, Marcello Floris and Nicola Filippi
Paolo… our friend…
Many of you know AEGEE-Cagliari, many of you have met in the past different people coming from the sunny Sardinia, but most of you don’t have a clue how it has all begun back in 1995. So let’s start!
In 1993 Marcello Floris had founded ELSA in Cagliari, another great idea but limited to law students. After finding an article in a magazine named Campus, he came to the idea to create an antenna of AEGEE in Sardinia. He needed to find people willing and able to create interest and consensus around him. It is worth to know that Marcello called the writer of that article, Luchino Lepore, AEGEE-Milano member. Luchino, Balyno and Bali became from that moment main supporters of AEGEE-Cagliari, sending all the material, the statute and more from Milan – everything needed to start up…
The project to have an association for all the students was a great initiative, but he felt the need to find other people younger than him to come into action. Among his friends he asked a young man, Paolo, to involve his friends in this new project and also Enrico, with whom he was already in ELSA.
Marcello met Paolo by coincidence in 1994, in the law faculty. Despite different political opinions they became immediately friends, maybe because of the common Mid-Sardinian origins. In his words: “I spoke with Paolo, I remember the lighting smile when I told him that he was the right person to begin this dream… he simply said: well we can try!”
Paolo did more… all the preliminary meetings he arranged, all his friends involved, and more… Finally the first board was elected, and Paolo became the first President of AEGEE-Cagliari. Not only a President, he was the main column of something which was still not clear, but with a great future ahead. In fact, AEGEE-Cagliari became really important in a very short time.
Paolo and Nicola Filippi were very active in the student life in Cagliari. They had been previously elected student representative in Law and Economics schools and had previously founded a student organization, because they wanted to offer to their colleagues and friends the opportunity to make new experiences, to share a more active student life than what you could actually find at that time in Cagliari. They first published a student magazine called “Ateneo” and planned other activities until Paolo, who was in charge of networking, met Marcello.
Nicola still remembers the phonecall with Paolo, when they discussed whether they should accept Marcello’s proposal. Nicola discouraged him to start a new organization at first. Nicola agreed after a long discussion on the phone, but believed that it would become too much work for them. They still had other activities as student representatives at the university. To be honest, Nicola was wrong. 17 years later you can recognise the vision of a leader.
They held the first meeting in the student hall in Cagliari, where nearly 40 people participated – Nicola Cadelano, Antonio Mereu, Michele Meloni, Daniele Carboni and many more. A few weeks later Enrico, Marcello, Michele Pisano, Christian Ortu, Michela Deiana and Nicola signed their contract with AEGEE. During the summer they drew up the future of AEGEE-Cagliari and at the end of September 1995, Paolo, Nicola and Vanna Testoni flew to the Presidents Meeting in Barcelona to sign the Convention d’Adhesion.
Their English was very bad at that time and they had a lot of problems to understand their colleagues in AEGEE. Then they participated in a Human Rights Working Group meeting and met people like Antonio, Mario and also Giacomo Marini from AEGEE-Gorizia. Paolo and the others were lodged in the student hostel, the lodging place of the Presidents’s Meeting, when they experienced their first European Night. At their return from the party, they realised that the hostel was locked at night, so they had to jump across the wall to get inside.
Then the first Summer University came and in October AEGEE-Cagliari went together to their first Agora as an AEGEE Antenna, Athina 1996… After this Agora AEGEE-Cagliari began to grow in numbers until the antenna was to organise a Statutory Event, the Presidents’ Meeting in 1998. This was a big step for a three-year old antenna.
Many other events followed, and Paolo kept his natural calmness and wisdom, also when AEGEE-Cagliari became so important in the association. He led the association until its first important anniversary in 2000 where he was named Honorary President of AEGEE-Cagliari.
During these years and also after he succeeded in using his political skills to help the association, for example when receptions in the city hall were organised, he arranged often free bus tickets for event participants and gave his precious help to raise funds from institutions. Especially after 2000 he was so helpful in solving difficult situations among the new generations of AEGEE-Cagliari members. His words were followed.
Also until recently he was called sometimes from the new AEGEE members who needed his help for a special fund or something similar. A delegation of the current board was present during the funeral, really astonished as the others by his early death.
Paolo, thank you for being our friend, thank you for being the founder and president for five years of a dream named AEGEE, thank you for giving us the pride of being your friends.Print