Dear friends, members of this extremely valuable and diverse community of GVers!
I am writing this post to introduce myself as I too have been nominated for Volunteers’ Representative. Although I must say, I feel very unusually unprepared. It is most likely the result of me being from Azerbaijan and not really knowing (or having experienced for that matter) elections. So being nominated, in elections- the whole idea is not just new but as I said, unusual and very exiting at the same time.
Having said this, I am beyond honoured to be nominated together with so many amazing and talented GVers.
So, first things first. I am Arzu Geybulla(yeva) from Azerbaijan, based for the past few years in Istanbul. I am a journalist by background and have been reporting about Azerbaijan since 2009. But I have also been engaged in advocacy campaigns on behalf of political prisoners in Azerbaijan and have spoken at a number of international events, delivering speeches about poor human rights and freedoms record back home.
My main passion however is writing and telling stories. This is how I was introduced to journalism in the first place. I started up a blog  back in 2008 and slowly what started as more of a hobby developed into me writing for outlets  and covering developments  in Azerbaijan. In 2014, my work was recognised by the BBC and was named on the list of 100 Women .
Today, I am continuing my work as a journalist in self imposed exile covering Azerbaijan.
I was introduced to GV community back in 2009. With a break of few years in between, I was thrilled to reconnect again in 2013. For me the most fascinating feature of GV community is the pace of volunteer translators and a chance these amazing folks create for authors to see their writing republished in so many other languages. That in itself, to me is magic. Because as a journalist when you write a story, you are writing it with the hope it is read as widely as possible and reaches many corners of the world. GV has created this opportunity and for this, I am forever grateful.
And then of course, you have this extremely diverse community of contributors who are passionate in telling stories and it makes me feel at ease knowing there is a community I fully trust and if anything happens to any of us, we have each other's back. Having dealt with assisting political prisoners, their families, organising advocacy campaigns, I have always found GV a place people can rely on for exposing the cases, and calling for an international support.
This is why, it is a great honour to be nominated to represent this community. I often think of GV as a Christmas tree, except the one that you never take apart to put back in a box. It always stands, straight, colourful, and ready to wow people with its presence.
I wish all the luck to everyone on the list of nominees. And I am honoured beyond words to be among them once again. Good luck to everyone.