Photograph courtesy Bart Woord
After spending several months working with youth activists and civil society in the South Caucasus, International Federation of Liberal Youth (IFLRY) Secretary General Bart Woord took time out from a hectic schedule to speak to Global Voices Online about the role new media can play in the region.
With youth activists in both Armenia and Azerbaijan facing increasing intimidation from the authorities, Woord specifically comments on the case of Adnan Hajizade and Emin Milli, two video bloggers recently detained in Baku on what many consider to be politically motivated charges.
The prospects of the two activists avoiding a lengthy jail sentence, he says, look slim.
Bart is 25 years old and lives in Brussels, while rounding up his MA programme in International Relations and International Organizations at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands. He has been involved in political work for several years, mostly as International Officer and Vice President of the Jonge Democraten, one of the two Dutch liberal youth organizations. Before, he took up numerous positions and responsibilities in different political and non-political organizations.
As deputy president of the organization, Bart is involved in every facet of the day-to-day work of IFLRY. He is also in charge of the Membership and Communications departments, and is the IFLRY representative for Western Europe as well as Russia, Belarus and Ukraine which he coordinates together with IFLRY VP Jelena Spasovic.
The interview makes specific reference not only to the more recent detention of activists in Armenia and Azerbaijan, but also to the 10 May dispersal of youth protesting a flower festival held a little over a week after the 30 April massacre of students in a Baku university.
Himself a blogger, Woord was responsible for reporting on the situation of dozens of activists detained via Twitter and refers to the role new media can play in bringing youth activists in the region together. Background information can also be found in similar interviews held with Arzu Geybullayeva and Micael Bogar.
The full interview with Bart Woord can be heard below.