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  • Writer's pictureMaria Cahill

Sevim's Reflections on Involvement in a Professional Association

What is the best thing about being involved?

The best thing about the organization I volunteer for is its inclusivity, collegiality, and strong democratic values. The organization is characterized as a 'nomadic university' and most of the volunteers come from prestigious academic institutions. Even though the volunteers are usually high-ranking academics, chairs of departments, and sometimes globally famous, the organization is non-hierarchical. Everything is jointly discussed and decided in the general assembly meetings that are part of the tradition. From day one, you are actively motivated to join every discussion and you feel like you really matter as a person. Even though participants have different opinions, they highly respect diverse voices and actively take actions to find a middle ground.

What is the biggest challenge?

The biggest challenge is to keep the tradition of direct democracy alive. The general assembly meetings are very successful in creating an atmosphere of inclusivity, democracy, and friendship without compromising the academic content. However, it is based on highly procedural processes which can be also challenging for the new members.

What is the legacy in your life?

The legacy of my organization in my life is to feel the sense of belonging to an interdisciplinary academic community and strong solidarity among friends who share the same academic passion. You experience the true meaning of interdisciplinarity, and collaboration. This motivates me both academically and personally.


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