Elena is a founder and director of a ‘Premium Group’ company in Kyrgyzstan, a member of the Eurasian Creative Guild, a recent chairman of the Expert Council in the category of “Translation”. Hobbies: literature (writing articles, children’s stories, poems, dubbing texts), foreign languages (individual teaching, drawing up progressive training programs, consulting), painting, travel.
OCA: Please tell us about yourself and your creative work.
EBG: Over the past 18 years I got to work in many organisations. My career started in the international French organization ACTED which I joined as an intern during my second year of university studies. And this was the place where I acquired my first experience and practical skills while studying at the Faculty of translation. This was a very busy period of my life. I traveled a lot and participated in joint projects with SDC, OBSE, UNDP, UNICEF, Red Cross, Red Crescent and so forth. In 2005, I received a diploma with honours and two days later went to Jalal-Abad (in the south of Kyrgyzstan), where I found out what it was like to work with refugees (from Uzbekistan). And it wasn’t a movie! The mission was accomplished, and I came back to Bishkek. After I got married and gave birth to my son, I completed a mini-version of MBA course and started working at the University of Central Asia. This was the next stage of my professional development: from a director assistant in the School of Professional and Continuing Education to a publication specialist.
For this relatively short period of time I was working with artisans in various projects, was an OXUS accountant in Bishkek, a French, English and Russian teacher for foreigners, was editing tutorials for the Youth Development Institute under the GIZ project, was creating work programs, guides and tests for various educational projects, was the director of “Alliance Française” in Bishkek, was editing the materials of the Walker story project, correcting publications in the “Neformat” photo school, working closely with the Polish magazine “Polonus” in Kyrgyzstan, and correcting it for the 50th anniversary of the founding of the first Catholic parish in Kyrgyzstan “Memoirs of the Prelate Mikhail Koehler” (the first rector of the Roman Catholic community in Bishkek), translated from German language.
OCA: Do you have any particular personal project that you want to tell us about?
EBG: Currently I have my own company. Together with my husband, we develop touristic destinations by offering exclusive tours to Central Asia, and trade with a number of international companies. As tea lovers, I actively develop this market. Tea in an integral part of the cultures and people’s lives in our region. Within the “Ethno tea” project we work with the best tea producers around the world and in particular, import tea from highland plantations of Rwanda.
My long-term love for the French language and France resulted in a cooperation with one of the world’s manufacturers of a natural French soap. Two times a year I personally take part in fairs where I really enjoy wrapping gifts and seeing happy customers.
I still keep working on charity projects. I guess, my first experience makes itself felt. I’ve been thinking about creating a ‘Children village’ which will include a kindergarten and a school. This is going to be a massive project.
OCA: What does “Eurasianism” mean to you?
EBG: For me it’s a “planet” of unique people.
OCA: Have you participated in any of the Eurasian Creative Guild (London) events? Which projects have you already joined and which projects do you plan to join?
EBG: In 2008, I met Anastasiya Li and Marat Akhmejanov for the first time and wrote my first article on a koumiss for Discovery Central Asia. Then, I wrote a lot of other different articles for DCA, “Horizons”, travel guides. There were also different interesting projects in the Eurasian Creative Guild and the first Literature Festival in Bishkek. And this is where I acquired editing skills, enhanced my translation skills and got the experience of socialising with creative people, which was quite useful for my translation and editorial skills workshop for interns at the Guild in Bishkek. I’ve been an active member of the Guild since it’s foundation till today.
One of the most important joint projects for me was Megan Verner’s book “This depends on me: 7 ways to make your life better”. Apart from translating the book of this ambitious girl, I also learnt to see life differently.
In 2018 I wrote a short story called “An unusual message from the peaks of the Tien Shan” for the literary collection “Thread 2”. This story is about 2 leopard cub brothers who addressed their message to people living in cities. I was inspired by one of my students – Suraya who at that time worked on a project about protection of leopards in Kyrgyzstan. And the mom of those two little leopard cubs – Heroine – a female leopard, who really lives in Tien-Shan mountains. Why a ‘Heroine’? Because she brought two lovely cubs in an already big leopard family. This year I plan to continue writing this story.
OCA: What does Eurasian Creative Guild mean to you and how did it influence your creative work?
EBG: It’s like a big family for me. We all are so different (translators, proofreaders, writers, artists, musicians, directors, artists …), but this is what makes it special. We all, the members of the Guild, are like glasses in a kaleidoscope, creating a single and unique image that changes every time but never ceases to amaze and delight us with its versatility. We often complement each other. Some write, others edit and translate, another group composes music, others play it on stage, and others embed all these into canvas for centuries.
OCA: What would you wish for those members of the Guild who just have just started their creative journey?
EBG: It’s never too late to become the one you want to be. Every person is unique in his or her own way. And everyone can find their own favourite activity. Don’t bury your talents but develop them. Some people consider art as a hobby. But I don’t really agree with that. If you take it seriously, you can transform your favourite activity into your lifetime work which will bring benefits to other people and society in general and will become a good source of revenue. Don’t neglect the opportunities!