GV Board Elections 2017: Annie Zaman

Hi, I am Qurratulain Zaman known to many as Annie, and to a few as Mimi’s mother (Um-e-Umaima). I am really honoured to be nominated to represent this lovely, diverse and colorful community that I call family. Thanks again, I am truly humbled.! * I am based in London, but right now in Myanmar where the Internet is still relatively expensive and slow, hence the delay in putting my statement on the community blog.

I am a volunteer with GV since the summer of 2011 when I moved back to Pakistan from Germany after working with Deutsche Welle, Radio, the University of Bonn (Indology Department) and GIZ.  I was first introduced to it by one of my teachers at the Deutsche Welle Academy. She presented it as a case study that brings alternative news from far-flung areas and a venture which is not commercial. Not commercial and bringing news from global south —I was in for it!!!

At that particular time when I was struggling to find ways to settle back home in Asia and was distressed and depressed to see how news is always ‘breaking’ and not informative…, GV was a portal that kept me going, kept me passionate about people, communities, and news around them.

GV South Asia Volunteers meet up selfie. Photo courtesySubhashish Panigrahi

Since then GV has always been a source of knowledge, information and a platform that kept my journalistic abilities growing. For me, and for many others, with whom I have interacted over the years, GV is a dream come true to give voice to the voiceless. Communities and areas especially in the south. There are many regions and people who don’t make headlines or get even a single line in media.



Happiness at times has no shape or colors– it could only be felt. Photo courtesy: Jeremy Clarke


Apart from my journalistic growth and well-being, GV family has always been there for me. In 2014, when I had Mimi, my first born, I went through postpartum and trust me all of you kept me going … through your emails that many might think in their busy schedules are spams or “too many emails/threads in my inbox”—for me, it kept me connected with the outside world and kept me sane. I am sure it kept many of us sane and happy and humane in many ways that words can’t describe.  During that time I was involved with GV as an author for South Asia and as a volunteer translator and co-editor for Lingua-Urdu. I also got an opportunity to attend GV-summit 2015 in the Philippines with our 10-month old child. I reconnected with those I met in GV-summit 2012 in Nairobi, and made many new friends. Meeting with everyone in person really made a difference and I got back home with positive energy and love.

Suddenly I have so many friends to play with :) Photo courtesy Arzu Geybullayeva

Why represent Volunteers:

Why? I questioned myself many times, why would I want your vote to be elected as a Volunteer rep.? There are so many other amazing volunteers running for this post—why me?  After a long internal dialogue I have come up with the following:

  1. I believe that I connect with the volunteers who join GV to learn and also to unlearn the art of story-telling. I understand how hard and fun it could be to collect information, upload it online and send it to the editor and then collaborate with the editorial team.
  2. I am currently working with the Rory Peck Trust that supports freelance journalists and their families around the world. I take care of their Asia programme. As most of the volunteers are freelancers in this community, my day job brings that experience and resources to help the community in a more constructive way.
  3. I have time and energy to give back to this amazing community.
  4. I am a good listener and have experience in dealing sensitively with people in distress. As a volunteer rep. I could hear your concerns and take them to the board to motivate improvement. I understand that volunteers at GV also need more support, assistance, and encouragement for bringing amazing stories from around the world

I bring to GV-Board my passion for working with communities, in particular with the GV- community with whom I have a special connection.  I have lived and worked in two continents and have worked on grass root level and also in the newsrooms in Asia and Europe. Being a former journalist, I know a little bit that what happens in the newsroom and in the field *ouch! it hurts calling myself a former journo. I have seen and managed stress at the desk and also understand that the backbone of any newspaper is the reporter, the storyteller …no matter how bad he or she could communicate in some international languages such as English. I speak 5 languages and love singing and dancing if I am not found cooking and traveling.

Global Voices group shot by non-drone! (Photo credits: Jeremy Clark)

I want to represent all of you who give their time and energy to this beautiful place. You keep us going and we have to find more interactive and innovative ways together with the management to keep us motivated and keep this platform a happening place for all of us, be it a staff member or a volunteer.

Thanks for your support and love! You could reach me at my contact page. I will try to respond as quickly as possible.


  • Lots of warmth in your words and presentation. Driving 5 languages One of your strengths with added value.

    Good luck dear Annie!!

    P.D.: (I remember your beautiful baby)

  • Hi Annie – here is a question that I’m posing to all of the candidates, as a way to encourage discussion during the last couple of days of campaigning:

    1.) If you are elected board member, what would be the most critical challenge facing Global Voices that you would make your top priority to help address over the next three years? And why do you feel like addressing this challenge is especially important for our community?

    • Hi Eddie,
      Thanks for your question! it’s such a good exercise to think about critical challenges faced by GV.

      As I am running for Volunteer rep., if elected, one of my top priorities would be to keep the community intact and going by engaging with them and not letting even one of them leave us and to keep empowering our volunteers. A few most critical challenges we are facing as a community are a: how to motivate and engage the volunteers, b: how to bring new volunteers and c: how to bridge the gap between the board, staff and volunteers and d: continue to get more quality posts/articles coming from misrepresented and marginalised communities.
      I have noticed that now we have less enthusiastic volunteers in South Asia. *rezwan pls correct me if I am wrong* The long email discussions and political conversations plus fighting for news stories is kind of missing. * I miss them, seriously!* I miss these conversations even on GV-community emails. Those challenging, intriguing debates …sharing ideas and insightful information. Some of us do talk on our exclusive whatsapp group but it’s not open to all as in not everyone has a smart phone or the fast internet to engage with community 24/7.
      It is important to address this challenge and to keep making noise among ourselves because otherwise we would turn into a fund-focused, project-based, non-profit-development-institute instead of a news portal that’s mission is to find stories from most marginalised and misrepresented communities. Our goal is to empower people who value justice, equality, and empathy.

      Side note: We have had long discussion during Nairobi summit about how to get “alternative” news out, how to give voice and power to voiceless while staying away from clickbait journalism… and how to keep our community decide the news agenda ? And we did come up with some solutions– I would like to look back and bring those discussions back on the table.

      Hope I am making sense to you, dear Eddie :)

  • Hi Annie,

    Thanks so much for this sweet post! I know you’re in Myanmar, but I thought I’d try my luck, and inspired by Eddie, ask you a question too.

    Do you have any thoughts on how Global Voices can scale the trust we’ve built internally in our community to larger audiences outside of our community, so we can make more of the world look like GV?

    I don’t think there are any right or wrong answers to this question. In fact, I’m not sure I have answers myself (!), but would love to hear any thoughts that it inspires.

    Good luck in the election! I’m so inspired by all the candidates. We are so fortunate to have talented, giving and passionate community members like you.


    • Hi Sahar,

      Thanks for your comment and question. Traveling to far flung, less connected areas do change our perspective and every time it makes me understand my ‘privilege’ of living in a post-Brexit UK. I am sure life of an editor in Trump’s America must be equally exciting!

      My thoughts on how GV can scale the trust to larger audiences are a bit random and I need some sleep to have clear thoughts (as you do!)

      Well…I think trust is a very abstract mental process that is difficult to measure and hard to build. To begin with we could share our experience and expertise to others by reaching out initially to like minded networks and communities in the regions through our editors and volunteers. I think we are already doing it on some extent through GV- Lingua. We should reach out to more newsrooms and networks. We could influence larger audiences by influencing newsrooms.

      As a managing editor of GV, you are in a position to share our ‘trust story’ with ‘larger audiences’. Let more media organisations, unions, networks, policy makers know how we are managing and struggling to keep GV going — let’s make our every day newsroom struggle known to others!
      GV volunteers do talk and represent GV on different platforms and we could use these platforms to have a more focused discussion about how we are contributing to the media eco system.

      In today’s media landscape it’s hard to survive as a community/based news portal that is not ready to follow a corporate, funded agenda. We indeed live in interesting times –we are fighting propaganda, fake news and big revenues. Our GV story is sweet and powerful– it needs to be shared!

      P.s Let’s talk more about it in detail! It would be good to start a conversation/discussion around it

      Best wishes, Annie

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