Gunay sits indoors on a teal couch with windows behind her. She gestures with a hand as she speaks to a colleague, who we see from the back.
Gunay Hasanova (2022, Azerbaijan) has 15 years of experience at governmental institutions in field water management, forecast of weather and surface water, and production of energy from water resources. (TJ Ushing/UC Davis)

Meet Gunay Hasanova, 2022-23 Hubert H. Humphrey Fellow

To get to know the 2022-23 Humphrey fellows, we asked them about their lives, work and hopes for the future. Here are Gunay Hasanova’s answers in her own words.

Gunay Hasanova

What motivates you?

About Gunay Hasanova

Pronouns: she/her

Country: Azerbaijan

Occupation: Hydrologist

Field: Natrual resources, environmental policy, climate change

Learn more about Gunay

"The high level of professionalism of the team, as well as the high spirits in the team, and achieving the goals set with them helps me to approach work more motivated. In addition to working with professionals, it is very important for young people to be on the team.

"Motivated young colleagues + Experience of professionals = Together we can build a very dynamic and interesting work environment."

What drew you to your professional field?

"I have always been interested in how the environment, the whole living world—plants, animals, even small microorganisms that we cannot see, etc.—work perfectly on their own. As I studied and became more active, searching the natural and anthropogenic impacts on this perfect-functioning system, and after seeing the problems of natural resource management, I began to feel how part of the ecosystem and people were suffering as a result of water scarcity. I realized my desire to work on this issue. I began to think, what can I do for the mother world, as part of the ecosystem and the environment?

"Before we think about protecting the environment, we have to think seriously about not polluting and destroying it, and I want to be a part of a profession that is so important to the world."

Why did you apply for the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program?

"First, I would like to note that the Humphrey Fellowship is a great opportunity for my personal and professional development. I want to say that for the last ten years, Azerbaijan has been facing a decreasing trend in real water resources. However, it is not the right approach for me to explain all the water shortages, soil erosion, and landslides with climate change. I think that there is a great need to analyze the water intake at neighboring countries of Transboundary Rivers, behavior with nature, and management of natural resources. In our country, politicians and government bodies in high management need specialists who are well-versed in the field of water resources and the role of these specialists in the management is irreplaceable in modern times. I think that through the Humphrey Fellowship, I can get better results in my own country by gaining experience in dealing with water organizations in America, and their experience in water resources management and environmental protection."

What do you hope to take away from this fellowship and apply to your work or at home?

"After finishing the Humphrey Fellows program for professional and academic development program I plan to come back to my motherland. I will expand my knowledge and skills, such as organizational behavior, database management, natural resource management, remote sensing, etc. 

"In the coming years, I intend to work in public administration (especially areas related to natural resource management) and train innovative, enterprising and courageous young people. I think I can do this because I have experience as a teacher. It would even be better if we expand these ties and cooperate with universities, motivate specialties that are a priority for the state, and direct the training of specialists suitable for the state. In the next period, I want to give an impetus to change the systems here with a highly motivated and well-targeted team."

What is something from your country that you would like to share with the UC Davis community?

"Despite its small territory, Azerbaijan is a very interesting and colorful country with its relief, natural regions, natural resources and ethnic minority peoples living here. Here you can meet both mountainous and plain terrain, as well as feel the cool northern and warm southern winds of the Caspian Sea. In the humid zone, you can see rice and oranges, on land are pomegranates and grapes, and in the mountains nuts and medicinal plants. A country rich in oil, gas, gold, molybdenum, and mountain areas rich with healing waters. Half of the world's mud volcanoes are located in Azerbaijan.

"Although the number of ethnic minorities is large, all of them live in peace and tranquility in this country. The state does not create any obstacles to the implementation of their traditions and they are free to choose their religion."

How would you like to engage with UC Davis and the community here?

"I hope to enjoy the UC Davis campus with a strong sense of community. They offer a place to connect, learn and find academic and social support. I am looking for lifelong friends in organizations that contribute to society around the world. I think we can find them there and share our experiences and discuss our challenges, which are very motivating activities when we are abroad and away from home."


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