Congratulations to Leyla Aslanova ’07 and Samir Khalilov ’06, who were recently elected to the US-educated Azerbaijan Alumni Association (AAA) Board. Here are their comments about their priorities and plans as board members.

Leyla writes:  In this new position I hope to carry out youth activities focused on the topics of sustainable development, trainings on professional development,  organize cinema festivals for alumni, increase the cooperation between the Ministry of Youth and Sports, involve AAA in the Global Youth Service Day initiative and organize big project in 2012, organize trainings on professional development. Of course, among all these comes representing FLEX alumni views and ideas. At the first board member meeting I was also selected to the Executive Committee as a Secretary of AAA. So now I am also among the three Executive Officers who are (Chairperson, Deputy Chair and Secretary).

From Samir: I’m glad to be elected as the AAA Board member and the representative of FLEX Alumni. AAA stands for the US Educated Azerbaijan Alumni Association, founded 9 years ago and uniting alumni of various US programs such as FLEX, UGRAD, MUSKIE, Fullbright, TEA/PIE, Community Connections, Humphrey and etc. AAA’s main goal is to create a platform for alumni to network. By networking, alumni are able to create synergies and start all types of projects including business or social. Another goal of AAA is to work for the development of Azerbaijan and give something back to the country, share with experiences, teach certain skills that each of us has. As the famous Chinese proverb says  “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” Previously AAA organized events such Business Case Competition with biggest companies as sponsors, various trainings and seminars, business trips, projects in the regions, clean up activities, working with Down syndrome association, blood donation campaigns, clothes donations, working with charities, translation of books from English into Azerbaijani, reunions, picnics, career fairs and so on. AAA was recently internationally recognized as one of the most successful alumni associations in the world. It has a huge capacity of resources since it unites more than 5,000 alumni who studied in US through different programs or on their own. It became a think tank and many companies and organizations work directly with AAA, recruit from AAA and generously support our projects. AAA Board is chosen by voting of alumni whose programs they represent. FLEX is given 2 out of 13 available spots on the board. Board gets reelected every 2 years and voting is administered by the US Embassy and Election committee.

My goals while an  AAA Board member include:

1) Fairly Representing FLEX Alumni Views and concerns – everybody doesn’t need to be an AAA Board member to be heard or have an influence on the organization;
2) Creating Stronger Connections between the AAA, Alumni and businesses in Azerbaijan;
3) Starting AAA Career Services, through which a special database with the alumni searching for jobs and internships will be created. Alumni will be directly linked to the biggest HR agencies and the companies according to their professional profile;
4) Starting the tradition of organizing an Annual Alumni Ball – a great networking and fun event;
5) Supporting and Expanding projects like the Business Case competition;
6) Increasing the fundraising efforts – developing Corporate Social Responsibility framework in Azerbaijan;
7) Increasing the number of Projects in the Regions, increasing Networking between the alumni in the regions and Baku;
8)Increasing Efficiency in the Allocation of Resources – the best projects and the best ideas will be selected;
9) Increasing the Role of FLEX – since FLEX alumni represent the majority by the number of participants.