IREX / Georgia Education Programs Division Highlights – Spring 2011 IREX is pleased to present you with an update of our education program activities and news on current participants and program alumni from Georgia. If you have questions about any of the activities discussed in this report, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alumni Activities and Updates Alumni Small Grant Winners Announced In January, IREX announced the winners of the most recent round of Alumni Small Grants (ASG). ASG provides grants of up to $3,000 to alumni of selected ECA-sponsored programs for community and professional development projects and activities. Here are the list and descriptions of the funded projects from Georgia:
Natia Janashia, Muskie 2003-2005, will implement a project that will help build civic responsibility amongst secondary school students through a series of workshops and trainings aimed at strengthening leadership skills in the community.
Matuta Bjalava, Muskie 2007-2009, will implement a project titled “Life Skills for Healthy Life”. This project will include interactive workshops and trainings on building life skills and healthy behavior in high school students.
Project Smile Winners Announced In May, IREX announced the winners of the most recent round of Project Smile. Project Smile provides grants to alumni of selected ECA-sponsored programs to implement community service activities that will benefit an underprivileged group in their local community such as children at an orphanage, the disabled or the elderly. Here are the list and descriptions of the funded projects from Georgia:
Davit Berishvili, UGRAD 2006-2007, will bring together volunteers from the capital Tbilisi and orphans from the remote village to conduct a clean-up of polluted surroundings. Additionally they will play games, discuss ecological issues, and camp out under the stars. This project will bring more ecological awareness on pollution in the rural areas and it will allow the rural orphans to network with youth outside their region.
Khatuna Katamadze, Muskie 2004-2006, will created an art exhibition featuring the work of disabled children and young people involved in a regional civic education project in the city of Batumi. Also, joint culture activities such as songs and dance will be conducted between disabled and non-disabled youth. Children with disabilities still remain isolated from society and often have limited access to participate in community activities. This project will give them the opportunity to participate while at the same time altering perceptions that a disabled person cannot be a vibrant and active participant in society.
Lia Putkaradze, UGRAD 2009-2010, will implement a project to raise awareness about breast cancer and inform women about preventive measures which they can easily take themselves. Specifically, the project will educate women how to detect potentially malignant lumps in their breasts, how to conduct self-examination of the mammary gland, and the importance of regular breast cancer screening. Additionally, this project will encourage young people to organize different types of health care activities in their home communities leading to more progressive development of a healthy society.
Ketevan Vatiashili, UGRAD 2004-2005, will conduct a cleanup event in Martkopi, a popular historical site outside of Tbilisi. In recent years it has become one of the most popular places near Tbilisi to visit and extensive garbage has become a big problem for the area. Together with 15 volunteers the project will not only clean up the area but post signs regarding garbage removal. Posting signs will make visitors more sensitive to the problem and more accountable for their behavior.
UASP Pilot Project Grants Announced With primary support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, IREX has designed the University Administration Support Program (UASP) to contribute to improving administration in a selected number of universities in Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Ghana, Russian Federation, and Ukraine. To this end, IREX implements a grant program designed to provide opportunities for management reforms at selected universities in these countries. UASP fellows are eligible to apply for grants to implement administrative and management reforms in their universities upon their return home. The following are a list and descriptions of the winning grants from Georgia:
Giorgi Ghvedashvili, Head of the Department of Scientific Research & Development of Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University will implement the project titled “Tbilisi State University Research Portal”. The goal of this project will be the creation of the Tbilisi State University Research Portal in order to increase the visibility of research being conducted at TSU as well as to introduce a new culture of evaluating scientific research to the university.
Kakha Karchkhadze, Head of the Department of Innovations & Commercialization of Ilia State University will implement the project “Technology Transfer Reforms at Ilia State University”. The goal of this project is to reorganize and improve technology transfer management at Ilia State University through training staff, adopting new policies, and creating a new facility – the Techno Center. This center will enable staff to implement the new policies and administrative reforms and make the technology transfer process more effective and efficient.
Training in First Aid On December 4th, IREX/Georgia, in association with the Georgian Red Cross Society, organized a one-day training in First Aid. The training was conducted by Theiko Chikviladze, a first aid officer at the Red Cross office in Georgia. The training involved both theoretical knowledge as well as practical knowledge. The first part of the training was dedicated to learning definitions of First Aid, understanding the main goals and objectives in delivering first aid, optimal time responses, stabilization techniques, and proper transportation methods. After learning the principles behind First Aid, alumni were given the opportunity to put into practice what they had learned. Using a life-like practice dummy, participants administered First Aid. This was followed by feedback on their technique and choices. This interactive training not only offered essential skills that many employers now require, but skills that are a necessary when encountering a medical crisis.
Book Drive for Tserovani IDP School In late December, 2010, IREX/Georgia announced a book drive for the Tserovani School as a follow up to discussion held during International Education Week. Tserovani is an IDP settlement on the outskirts of Tbilisi. IREX/Georgia and USG alumni have previously conducted several different events at Tserovani through funds from alumni quarterly plans and Project Smile grants. A school was established there in 2009, but despite its modern infrastructure and abundant space, the schoolâ€™s library is vastly under-resourced. With the encouragement and blessing of the schoolâ€™s director, UGRAD and Muskie alumni collected approximately 70 books of all types - fiction, scientific, and school handbooks- and donated them to the school as a start to building up their library. On February 13, IREX staff and 5 alumni visited the Tserovani IDP settlement school to deliver the books and announce the establishment of a book club to help foster reading among the school children. The children were eager to see all of the books as well as excited to hear the forthcoming book club. Throughout the year, alumni will continue to offer support to the Tserovani school, both in the form of the book club as well as trainings and seminars such as a healthy lifestyles training UGRAD alumna Elene Iordanishvili will conduct.
Leadership Training for Cultural Integration – Setting the Stage After successfully working with Azerbajjani minorities in the region of Kakheti, IREX/GE expanded our outreach to focus on the other minority settlements in the regions of SamtskheJavakheti and Kvemo Kartli. IREX/Georgia brought together 10 ethnic Armenian children from the small town of Ninotsminda to participate in a training on Leadership and Team Building. The training was led by 2009 UGRAD alumnus Armani Gambarian and IREX/Georgia Program Assistant Teona Dalakishvili. Armani is an ethnic Armenian, born and raised in Georgia, and has a great awareness of the problems and obstacles minorities face integrating into Georgian society. Hi background and expertise make him well suited for this training. First, he led ice breaker activities and talked to children about the importance of demonstrating leadership and about the possibilities of exchange programs. Later on Teona conducted sessions on CV writing and developing project ideas. During the course of the training, the ethnic Armenian students were informed about the many trainings and activities that brought ethnic Azerbaijani students from Kakheti together with ethnic Georgian students from the Tbilisi high school of Sarkmeli. After hearing of these activities, the ethnic Armenian students expressed great interest in further events and mutual trainings with Georgian and Azerbaijani youth in order to gain better understanding and cultural integration. The next event was agreed upon and it was also decided that it would incorporate a component of many cultural exchanges by having the ethnic Georgian students’ families provide homestays for the ethnic Armenian students. All of the students eagerly looked forward to May for when the training would occur.
Networking Event – Bowling Night To help strengthen the alumni community and bring together newly returned alumni, UGRAD and Muskie alumni gathered for a networking evening at a local Tbilisi bowling alley. Over 35 alumni attended the event. The evening gave all alumni a chance to network, renew old contacts, discuss upcoming Project Smile and Alumni Small Grants projects, and meet new alumni. Alumni were also able to share their own news and recent successes while IREX/Georgia staff informed them on the latest information on current activities and opportunities available for alumni.
Training for Children With Disabilities IREX/Georgia staff and UGRAD alumna Elene Iordanishvili visited the Telavi School of Children with Disabilities and conducted a seminar on children rights. It was the second visit by Elene to the school and a follow up to previous trainings. During the seminar the children were asked to think about their rights as disabled children. They
thought of these rights from many different points of view. After the training, the children painted their vision of children rights on white T-shirts. All told, 24 students attended the training. The students came away gaining a greater sense of their rights and how to positively project their views to an outside audience.
Leadership Training for Cultural Integration – Coming Together As a continuation to alumni initiatives aiming to build closer relationships among ethnic minorities in Georgia, UGRAD alumnus Armani Gambaryan and IREX/Georgia staff members gave a training to ethnic Armenian students in the town of Ninotsminda. As a follow up to this event, the students were brought to Tbilisi to interact with ethnic Georgian students. Most of these students had never left their region and it was the first time visiting the Georgian capital for many of them. The students were first brought to the ethnic Georgian students’ school Sarkmeli. After visiting and getting acquainted with the ethnic Georgian children, both groups visited Armenian and Georgian cultural and historical sites in and around Tbilisi. Once the day was completed each student from Ninotsminda was hosted in the home of one of the students from Tbilisi. Through these integration focused activities, the ethnic Armenian students became more comfortable in the other’s company. It was a great success and all the students eagerly look forward to this coming summer. Along with UGRAD and Muskie alumni, IREX/Georgia staff will host a summer camp that will bring approximately 30 ethnic Georgian, Armenian, and Azerbaijani students together for a two-day training. The training topics will include multiculturalism and overcoming stereotypes, team building, project idea development, time management, and leadership skill development. This event will be the culmination of over a year of smaller trainings and activities conducted under the auspices of Alumni Quarterly Plan events, Project Smile grants, and Alumni Small Grant projects.
Question & Answer – An Interview on Ethnic Minority Integration Muskie fellow Koba Grdzelishvili encountered many cultures while studying education at the University of Minnesota and working as a camp counselor in Colorado. Since returning to Georgia, Grdzelishvili has participated in several events designed to bring together youth from different cultural backgrounds. Azerbaijanis make up Georgia’s largest minority and comprise over 6% of the country’s total population. Initially, Grdzelishvili and UGRAD alumna Maka Alioghli organized a cultural day for Azerbaijani students living in Georgia to participate in forums with Georgian youth on cultural diversity, tolerance and co-existence. Building on that experience, Alioghli and Grdzelishvili recently worked with IREX to bring Azerbaijani youth to Tbilisi to interact with their Georgian peers. Their project, and follow up Leadership Training for Cultural Integration trainings, combined professional development training with cultural exchange and included a home stay component. Q. How did you get involved in the Leadership Training for Cultural Integration? A. After several small projects with these students, we thought this seminar would give them a
theoretical basis for understanding and appreciating cultural differences among youth in Georgia. UGRAD alumna Maka Aliogli prepared the idea; her Azerbaijani background played an important role in this event. Q. Why do you think it is important for Georgian and Azerbaijani students to interact? A. We wanted to give both groups of youth a chance to share own individual and cultural selves with each other. As the Georgian state education system has recently started a few programs for ethnic minorities…we decided that this informal setting during the seminar, during the fieldtrips and at the Georgian students’ homes would provide both groups of students with a unique multicultural experience. Some of the participants said they were surprised at, yet happy to learn, the differences in speech, customs, and attitudes. Q. Your training focused on cooperation through social interactions. How do social interactions help students to connect across cultures? A. *We wanted+ the students to “explore” each other as peers of the same age but also as fellow citizens, future colleagues, co-workers, neighbors with a different cultural, religious, language, and, possibly, educational backgrounds. That is why we asked the students in Tbilisi to host their Azerbaijani guests in their houses. Q. How did your studies as a Muskie fellow help to prepare you for this type of work? A. My professional and social circle during my study at the University of Minnesota and internship at a youth summer camp near Boulder, Colorado was very diverse. Interaction with my colleagues and friends has been the best teacher for me. Ever since then, building a professional environment of understanding, respect, and appreciation of diversity has been my priority. Q. Do you have plans to continue encouraging student cultural exchange in the future? A. Education for democracy and citizenship has been my professional interest for the last few years. A student exchange between culturally different schools is my next goal. I intend to search for more international resources for both contacts and funds to continue this friendship and cooperation across cultures. Project Smile – National Debate Tournament Through a Project Smile grant, a National debate tournament occurred recently at the British-Georgian Academy, a private high school in Tbilisi where 2004 UGRAD alumna Keti Vatiashvili works as a teacher of English and as coach of the school’s debate club. The project was aimed at students interested in testing their debating skills against their peers from across the country. Interest was already high at her school, but with assistance of the Debate Association of Georgia, Keti spread information about the event to several different target groups throughout Georgia. In total, 57 people participated in the tournament including 13 teams (13x3 participants), 13 coaches (1 for per team) and 5 volunteer judges. In addition to participants from Tbilisi, students came from the regional towns of Marneuli, Akhaltsikhe, Rustavi, and Bolnisi. Overall, the debates were a great success. During the closing ceremony, Nino Berishvili, Coordinator of the Debate Association of
Georgia said, “Keti managed to do what we as an association hadn’t for some time. Gathering so many people from all over Georgia for debates is just cause for celebration.” At the instance of a debate coach from the regional town of Akhaltsikhe, all participants eagerly agreed to organize and support a follow up debate camp this summer.
Question & Answer – UASP alumnus Kakha Karchkhadze on Technology Transfer Q. Where did you attend your UASP Fellowship and what area did you focus on? A. I was at the University of North Texas the focus of my research was on Technology Transfer. Q. What are several areas in your specialization which the fellowship helped raise your knowledge on? A. Technology transfer is very important process which involves both scientific and legal aspects, as well as intellectual property rights and patenting. At my host university, UNT, I was able to work on all these components. It was especially important to learn about the legal procedures ensuring Intellectual Property rights. The experience and regulations of UNT, and generally all US universities, in this field was very useful and relevant towards carrying out relevant reforms back at my home university in Georgia. Q. How has this knowledge been transferred to your work institution and what has been the impact? A. Ilia State University, as a leading research university, needs well thought out technology transfer policy and regulations. After returning to my home university, I have used my UASP experience and changed the internal policy of working with scientists and inventors and created a solid data base in this field. My department has adopted new regulations and created an evaluation system for the commercialization and transfer of innovative ideas into products and/or services needed for Georgia industry and worldwide. Q. What are you currently working on? A. Alongside the everyday work of my department, I am working on the following technology transfer reform projects at Ilia State University: the development of biodiesel as alternative, clean, renewable fuel in Georgia; the development of a new type of vertical axis wind generator (innovation to be patented); the development of Solar Power Energy – Clean electricity for ILIAUNI, and the development of alternative forms of irrigation for the Kakheti region of Eastern Georgia Q. What are some upcoming projects that you are working on? A. I have been awarded a Project Pilot Grant and with the help of this grant I plan to carry out reforms in the Technology Transfer field and to launch a Technology Center. The main goal of the current project is to reorganize and improve Technology Transfer management at Ilia State University trough training the selected, interdisciplinary staff of Ilia State University, adopting new policies and regulations, and creating a new facility and organizational unit – the Techno Center, which will enable the staff to implement in practice the new policies and administrative reforms and make the technology transfer process more effective and efficient. Under the proposed project a selected team from Ilia State will be trained and consulted in order to effectively carry out all the activities connected to Technology Transfer. These activities include checking and evaluating the innovations and inventions, facilitating commercialization of innovative ideas and research, providing space and labs for newly emerging companies engaged in technology
development, facilitating technology transfer procedure for scientists and the researchers, providing academic and scientific assistance in legal services, assistance in securing patents intellectual properties, and providing a work space and scientific and technological help to newly emerging technological companies. Q. What is the greatest success that is directly related to your participation in the program? A. Technology Transfer is an extremely important process. It needs to be very well regulated, well designed, and adapted to a country’s needs and priorities. At the same time it should be in compliance with international standards. The UASP fellowship gave me the possibility to learn the best practice of US universities, bring this knowledge and experience back to my home university, and started relevant reforms in the field of Technology Transfer.
Muskie Alumnus Creates Youth Mentoring Program (the following was written by Giorgi Lomsadze, 2004 Muskie alumnus, and can be found at http://www.eurasianet.org/node/63244) “Georgia: Tbilisi Using Friendship, Not Prison, to Fight Juvenile Crime” With its prisons packed, Georgia is trying to keep troubled youngsters out of jail with a program that makes mentoring a key part of the country’s juvenile justice system. Georgia’s “zero-tolerance” policy toward crime has been successful in slashing crime rates, but it has also produced a near 100-percent occupancy rate in Georgian prisons. From 2004-10, the prison population almost quadrupled to 23,800, according to statistics compiled by King’s College London’s International Centre for Prison Studies. While only a small percentage of registered crimes – 1.5 percent, or 768 crimes, in 2009 -- involve perpetrators under 18, a Ministry of Justice official is betting that a non-incarceration strategy can keep the juvenile crime rate in check. Andro Gigauri, a high-ranking ministry official, developed a pilot program called My Older Friend, which pairs 13 youngsters with criminal records with career professionals. The initiative draws on the experience of such US-based mentoring programs as Partners Mentoring Youth and the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. Studies of juveniles who have participated in such programs in the United States have shown that they are less likely to use drugs and alcohol, more likely to attend school consistently and less prone to engage in acts of violence. “My probation officer said it is going to be good for me,” said one of the pilot program’s participants, 15-year-old Giorgi (not his real name), who is on probation for theft. Giorgi’s mentor is the program’s founder, Gigauri. He will meeting with Giorgi at least once a week for a year -- perhaps longer, if both parties agree. “I hope to help him with school, do all kinds of things together,” said Gigauri, a 28-year-old graduate of George Mason University in Virginia. Gigauri casts the pilot program as a natural outgrowth of Georgian cultural traditions, in particular the importance that Georgians place on networks of friends and family to provide support during times of stress. Despite Gigauri’s optimism, his first meeting with Giorgi and his mother (along with a few case workers) in a room at the United Nations Association of Georgia, one of the program’s sponsors, started with a certain awkwardness. Gigauri’s recollection of meeting Zaza Pachulia, aTbilisi-born professional basketball player for the Atlanta Hawks, proved the icebreaker. The sudden appearance
of Georgian television news teams, however, later hampered the pair’s effort to bond. In standard fashion for Georgian television news, a producer gave stage directions to Gigauri and Giorgi about what they should be doing while the cameras were rolling. Uncomfortable with the intrusion, Giorgi and his mother called an end to the meeting, but agreed to continue at a later date. The extent of interest among the Georgian public for mentoring juvenile delinquents is uncertain. About a third of the program’s current 13 mentors have, like Gigauri (and this reporter), studied at US universities or are alumni of the US-financed Edmund S. Muskie Graduate Fellowship Program. They thus represent a relatively limited slice of Georgia’s overall population. The program itself was financed via a $10,000 grant from the US embassy for mentor training, website development, expert consultations and other support. The United Nations Association of Georgia also provides a caseworker for each mentor-juvenile pair. Other attempts to liberalize the juvenile justice system are also underway. One existing umbrella program includes initiatives for community service and reconciliation between victims of violence. A rethink of the country’s juvenile justice strategy is also in the works. In this context, one human rights advocate sees considerable potential for the My Older Friend program in other areas of concern for Georgian youth. To make a systematic difference, other government agencies dealing with at-risk young people should also get involved, said Ana Arganashvili, head of the Children and Women’s Rights Center at the Georgian Ombudsman’s Office. Agencies dealing with anti-trafficking and domestic violence have already started referrals. To evaluate the program, the Center will monitor the repeat delinquency rate as “one gauge of success,” as well as examine the experiences of program participants, Arganashvili added. “Georgia may not have the resources to conduct such programs on a large scale, but if the government makes it a priority in the juvenile [justice] system, international donors can step in to underwrite such initiatives,” she added. While noting that such programs will require time to demonstrate their effectiveness, Arganashvili welcomes the attempt to shift from aggressive punishment to restorative justice. “It is a very modern approach to justice,” she said.
Program Activities and News 2010-2011 Edmund S. Muskie Graduate Fellowship Program From January, 24th through January, 28th IREX conducted interviews for Muskie program semifinalists. The selection committee consisted of Karen Bysiewicz, Director of Graduate and International Programs for the Pennsylvania State University, Dickinson School of Law, George Griffin, a Fulbright scholar teaching Business at Ilia State University, Muskie alumna Maya Mateshvili, a program manager at the international NGO Every Child, and Saul Hernandez, the Cultural Attaché for the Public Affairs Section of the US Embassy to Georgia. As a result of the competitive selection, followed by testing for the TOEFL, GRE, and GMAT tests,
finalists and alternates were chosen. There are 12 finalists this year, with two finalists deferred until next year because of budget cuts. One finalist is from the regional town of Gori with the remaining finalists coming from Tbilisi. Most all fields are represented and the pre-departure orientation will be held on June 4th.
2011-2012Global Undergraduate Exchange Program (Global UGRAD) in Eurasia and Central Asia The 2011-2012 Global Undergraduate Exchange Program (Global UGRAD) in Eurasia and Central Asia was announced in mid-December. IREX/Georgia started recruitment and in February, 2011 the selection committee read all applications before selected semi-finalist were chosen for interviews. The interview committee consisted of Catrilia Young, Assistant Director of International Student Services at the State University of New York at Plattsburgh, Kirsten Moffett, Office of Development and Foreign Relations at Ilia State University and The New School International School of Georgia, UGRAD alumna Thea Kokhreidze, Senior Analyst for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Thomas Cumbow a Political and Economic Assistant at the US Embassy to Georgia. Following the interviews, TOEFL testing took place in the beginning of March, and 9 finalists have been chosen this year. The pre-departure orientation will be held June 10th.
2011-2012 University Administration Support Program (UASP) IREX started recruitment for the new cohort of the University Administration Support Program. This year seven universities from Georgia participated in the program: Batumi Shota Rustaveli State University, Akaki Tsereteli State University, Gori University, Iakob Gogebashvili State University, Sokhumi State University, Tbilisi State University, and Ilia State University. As a result 5 eligible senior level university administrators were identified, with Ia Kupatadze being granted the fellowship. Ia currently serves as the coordinator of the newly established College of Engineering at Ilia State University. Ia was placed at the Kent State University where she will conduct research in corporate relations over an 8 week period. A new round of selection will take place in the summer.
Current Fellow Updates Speaking out for Women Gvantsa Khizanishvili, 2009 Muskie fellow, attended the Women Deliver 2010 conference in Washington, D.C. Women Deliver is a global advocacy organization bringing together voices from around the world to call for action against maternal death. As a part of its 2010 conference, Women Deliver selected 100 Young Leaders from 6,000 scholarship applicants, with a focus on the 68 priority countries with the highest rates of maternal mortality, to attend a Youth Pre-conference. Gvantsa was one of the scholarship winners. Invited to speak at a session, Gvantsa talked about the sexual reproductive health rights of underserved populations as part of a panel titled â€œ'Mum' is not the word: Young Women's Pregnancy or Childbirth Related Morbidity and Mortality.â€? She gave an overview of the sexual reproductive health rights situation in the Republic of Georgia and provided some significant statistical trends in young IDPs and their high risk of HIV and hepatitis. She provided suggestions for how
to address the special needs of underserved youth. When Gvantsa returns home to Georgia, she will continue to address these issues in her work.
Outstanding Delegate Archil Sumbadze is one step closer to his goal of becoming a diplomat for his country, Georgia. A fellow of the Global UGRAD program, he was honored as an Outstanding Delegate at the oldest, largest, and most prestigious of Model UN conferences, the Harvard National Model United Nations (HNMUN). “For a developing country like Georgia, it is essential to understand the tools, processes and issues of international diplomacy in order to advance its national goals and to regain its original place in the Western civilization,” Sumbadze said. Sumbadze, who studies International Relations at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA, represented Amnesty International on the Legal Committee of the UN General Assembly at the model conference. He negotiated and lobbied on issues related to Universal Jurisdiction and Climate Change and International Environment Law. Leading up to the HNMUN, Sumbadze researched relevant historical problems, current challenges, positions, interests, the roles of different actors, and, Amnesty International’s approach to these issues. At the conference, Sumbadze delivered an introductory presentation of Amnesty International and its position, fielded questions, debated with his colleagues, and took part in negotiations. After raising and lobbying for solutions that he, as Amnesty International, wanted countries to adopt, many political blocs considered Sumbadze’s recommendations. At the end of the conference, jurors from the NGO and Legal committees honored Sumbadze as an Outstanding Delegate as an NGO representative. The criteria for the award included the quality of his position paper and presentation, as well as success in debating, negotiating, and lobbying. Sumbadze called the event a “once-in-a-lifetime experience,” where he collaborated with colleagues from Peru, Canada, UK, India, Japan, Venezuela, Brazil, Czech Republic and many more. “One of my dreams came true,” he said. Sumbadze plans to share his experience with his Georgian peers upon returning home this summer. “It is my dream to hold an International Model UN in Georgia, and my HNMUN experience will be very helpful for this goal.”
Peace Jam Global UGRAD Fellow Tamta Amiranashvili attended a PeaceJam conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota in May, where she met former Costa Rican President and Nobel Peace Prize winner Oscar Arias Sanchez. PeaceJam and Global Call to Action is a foundation that brings together youth and Nobel Peace Laureates to generate ideas on how to solve some of the world's toughest issues. During the conference's
public forum, Tamta asked President Arias about how Russia and Georgia could work together to resolve their conflict. He replied that the best solution was to resolve the conflict through peaceful actions. After her question, many conference participants introduced themselves to Tamta to learn more about her home country. Tamta reports that it was a great way to talk to Americans about Georgia and the issues her country faces. She said she was very proud to be able to share her country with Americans and learned a lot about the problems America faces as well. (Please note, this post originally appeared from the US Embassy to Georgiaâ€™s Facebook page)
Upcoming Events June 4 June 10 June/July June/July June/July June/July Ongoing Ongoing
2011 Muskie PDO 2011 Global UGRAD PDO Training in Public Policy Analysis & Development American Movie Night Advancing Healthy Lifestyles among IDP Children Leadership Training on Cultural Integration â€“ bringing together ethnic Armenian, Azerbaijani, and Georgian youth. EPS Scholar Leslie Hough researching civic engagement STG Scholar Asbed Kotchikian researching civil society activism