Arzu Geybulla is from Baku, Azerbaijan but has been based in Istanbul, Turkey since 2010. She describes herself as “a part-time journalist/writer/consultant and a full-time human being.” She has reported on Azerbaijan for most of her professional life on a range of issues, but the topic that excites her most these days is exposing traces of authoritarian technology and surveillance. Much of that work can be seen at Azerbaijan Internet Watch. Arzu has contributed to GV since May 2010.
All candidates in the 2020 board elections have been asked to answer the set of questions listed below. Feel free to ask Arzu additional questions in the comments area below this post!
What appeals to you most about the prospect of serving on the GV board?
In my previous experience, I have seen how board members can often help organizations and communities they represent grow, gain recognition and access to a whole range of opportunities. While I realize, this is not always the case, I nevertheless hope, and most excited about being part of the process of making our community even more resilient, stable and sustainable.
What talents, skills, connections, and expertise can you offer Global Voices in your role as board representative?
I very much doubt, there is anything new I can offer as a board representative considering the breadth of knowledge our community offers or its previous board members brought with them. I can most certainly cook some really good Azerbaijani traditional food or accommodate for the members of our community who have other food allergies. Jokes aside, our community is unique, for the knowledge each and every member adds to the table (cooking skills including :). My strengths and skills are the work I have been doing over the years both as a community member but also outside of our community – journalism, fundraising, networking, advocacy.
As you look ahead to the next three years, what, in your opinion, should be GV’s overarching priorities as an organization?
Funding and sustainability.
What aspect of GV’s work interests you the most?
The opportunities the platform offers to aspiring writers, artists, journalists from across the world. The difference and impact many of the stories make. Sometimes, it's just a good story, that would make you smile. Other times, its something far more profound, that would make you want to help or raise awareness and join a campaign. Its the range and diversity of stories and voices that make this community so unique and what keeps fascinating me about GV.
What would you like to get out of this board service experience, both professionally and personally?
A closer look at how GV works internally and whether my personal understanding and knowledge can help the community grow. Explore opportunities for GV to become a mentoring partner in some of the regional initiatives and serve as a source of knowledge for other initiatives whose focus is to tell stories, grow a community of powerful writers and make even if small but a difference in the world.
How will you fit board service into your personal and other professional work commitments?
I have been a freelancer for pretty much most of professional career. During this time, I believe, I have gained at least some minor skills when it comes to planning, time management and fulfilling my responsibilities regardless of what is that I am doing. I am not going to lie – I may be the last person to respond to a deadline (ehm, like this campaign text) but I still do it on the specified date :)
What methods would you use to engage and listen to the community in order to represent them effectively at board level?
Being the messenger – perhaps, pick one channel that works for everyone and that everyone feels comfortable and secure using – establish this channel and main communication source and listen to all that is being said – after all, GV is GV for all of its community members, and its opinions, suggestions, ideas of each member of the community that I intend to make a note of and reiterate to the rest of the board members and community leaders.