Professor Dan HEALEY: "Oxford University is keenly interested in Georgian affairs"

01.06.2023 (Caucasian Journal) While the Britain’s Oxford University is hosting its second Georgia-Oxford Forum “Georgia In A Changing World” tomorrow on June 2, Caucasian Journal has interviewed Professor Dan HEALEY, Georgian Programme Coordinator at the Oxford University’s School of Global and Area Studies, author of many books on social and cultural history of Soviet Union and post-Soviet states. 

We are thankful to Professor Healey for taking time to answer our questions on the very eve of the Georgia-Oxford Forum

Alexander KAFFKA, editor-in-chief of CJ:  Dear Professor Healey, I guess your agenda must be especially busy these days due to the Forum, but that's also one of the reasons why your answers are especially topical. May I start by asking what the Oxford University’s Georgian Programme is about, and how popular is Georgia among the Oxford students?

Dan HEALEY: The Georgian Programme at Oxford University has grown organically over several years. We have a number of different initiatives. They are all housed in the Oxford School of Global and Area Studies – but we collaborate with many other branches of the University. So for example, we have 17 students currently learning the Georgian language, from absolute beginners (I am one of these students - მე ვწავლობ ქართულს) to accomplished literary translators. Our teacher of Georgian is Lia Chokoshvili, and she is amazing, inspiring, and extremely effective. Another part of the language work she does is literary translation and publication of Georgian literature in English. The highest-level students participate in a Translation Seminar run by Lia, and they produce quality translations of Georgian classic and modern literature into English. Right now they are working on Goderdzi Chokheli’s novel Human Sadness. It will be published in English by Dedalus Books, with support from the Georgian Writers’ House. And they’ve just published a bilingual edition of the fables of Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani from his Book of Wisdom and Lies. Future work by the Translation Seminar is generously supported this year by the Ministry of Education of Georgia.

Fady ASLY: "I'm very sad, but this can change quickly" (video)

04.05.2023 (
Caucasian Journal Fady ASLY, Chairman of the International Chamber of Commerce in Georgia (ICC Georgia), gave an extensive video interview to Caucasian Journal. 
The interview was linked to the recent appointment of Mr. Asly as chairman of the ICC Regional Consultative Group. However, besides the ICC's news, the conversation with Mr. Asly covered a broad range of Georgia's economic and political issues - from FDI to corruption, and from the judiciary system to the country's EU accession perspective. Watch the video talk below.

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A historic step: Azerbaijani and Armenian journalists agree on the “Language of Peace”

30.04.2023 (Caucasian Journal). For the first time in 35 years, the Azerbaijani and Armenian journalists gathered at the same table during a workshop in Tbilisi. In a joint statement the journalists agreed to put a ban on “hate speech”.  See full text below.

Workshop on Peace and the Role of the Media in the South Caucasus Banner
In addition to participants  from Azerbaijan and Armenia, the unique workshop was attended by journalists from Turkey and Georgia, as observers.

On 28-29 April 2023 Tbilisi hosted "GJC Workshop on Peace and the Role of the Media in the South Caucasus". The event was organized under the leadership of the Global Journalism Council (GJC/KGK), the Turkey's leading international non-governmental organization in the field of mass media.

Mehmet Ali Dim, KGK Chairman (Turkey) made the opening speech of the workshop, stating that the workshop proposal came first from Azerbaijan. He said: “We have worked on this subject for 3-4 months. It was very difficult, but we succeeded. I would like to thank the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, who supported our efforts”. Mr. Dim stated that the determination of the peoples of the region for permanent peace has increased after the painful events experienced in the region during 35 years, especially after the second Karabakh war in 2020. "We met here today to talk about what we, journalists, can do to end a long and painful conflict. There is an urgent need for the language of peace in the media. I especially thank our colleagues from Azerbaijan and Armenia for their constructive behavior and I believe that at the end of this workshop, we will send a message of hope to the region and the world at a time when the world is experiencing great tensions.” 

Levan DOLIDZE: “Policy that divides public into foreign agents, patriots, and betrayers weakens the country”

Levan Dolidze
 (Caucasian Journal) Caucasian Journal continues our series of interviews with the leading Georgia’s political experts: Our speaker today is Mr. Levan DOLIDZE, the founder of the Georgian Center for Strategy and Development (GCSD). 

Along with many positions Mr. Dolidze held throughout his career, he was Georgia’s ambassador to NATO and the First Deputy Defense Minister of Georgia.

▶ ქართულად:  Read the Georgian version here.

Alexander KAFFKA, editor-in-chief of CJ:  Welcome to the Caucasian Journal,  Mr. Dolidze.  For a start, may I ask you about the recent visit of the German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock to Georgia? How would you assess its political significance and purpose?

Levan DOLIDZE: First of all, thank you for your interest and this opportunity. The visit was significant both in terms of timing and the political messages voiced within it. Germany is among those Western European states whose leaders have always been more cautious in their statements about Georgia's prospects for joining the European Union. Today we see a notable shift in this regard. The statements made by the German Foreign Minister in Tbilisi are a proof of transition of the EU’s policy regarding the dynamics of the three EaP countries' integration, including Georgia. The minister's statement that Germany wants to see Georgia in the European Union shows the historical opportunity given to the country. 

The 8th of March in Tbilisi: The "Laws Story"

8th of March Tbilisi
10.03.2023 (Caucasian Journal) As a result of a violent two-day standoff in downtown Tbilisi, the Georgian ruling party has withdrawn two controversial draft laws “on foreign influence” targeting foreign-funded NGOs and mass media, one of which has already been passed on first reading.    

Today, Caucasian Journal publishes the opinions of some leaders of civil society organizations in Georgia, who were offered the following two questions asked by our journal:

Question 1 (Emotional):  How would you summarize your feeling - after these days of standoff and their result? 

Question 2 (Analytical):  Do you envisage any changes now on the strategic level, or does this "laws story" have a tactical importance only?

Tinatin KHIDASHELI, Chairperson of Civic IDEA (Civic Initiative for Democratic and Euro-Atlantic Choice), former Minister of Defence of Georgia, 
Caucasian Journal's Board Member:

(Question 1) To me, these days were important for a particular reason. The actions of the people during the crisis proved that their devotion to the European cause was clear and resolute. My most important conclusion from the events of the last couple of days is that regardless of all the problems, all the impediments on our way to state-building, when it comes to the most sacred ideals, and most important issues of the final destination of Georgia people absolutely clearly speak: Georgia belongs to Western civilization, and there is no room for Russian alliances. 

Nothing surprising about the government, we've seen it many times, and I believe you will see it again, but the important point is that people did not surrender. We have won the struggle, but the main fight is still ahead of us, the fight for the final victory over everything Russian and the semi-dictatorial ambitions of the shadow leadership of Georgia. 

 The actual goal behind the law is to marginalize civil society and all not aligned with them.

General Ben HODGES: "I expect Ukraine will liberate Crimea by the end of this summer"

21.01.2023 (Caucasian Journal) Our special guest today is Lieutenant General (Retired) Ben HODGES, the former Commanding General of US Army Europe, now Senior Advisor to Human Rights First, a non-profit, nonpartisan international human rights organization.  

Prior to joining Human Rights First, he held the Pershing Chair in Strategic Studies at the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA).  General Hodges serves as NATO Senior Mentor for Logistics, he consults for several companies on Europe, NATO, and the European Union, and he is co-author of the book Future War and the Defence of Europe, published by Oxford University Press.

Alexander KAFFKA, editor-in-chief of CJ:  Dear Ben, it is a pleasure to greet you once again at Caucasian Journal.  A lot of changes have occurred in the world since your first interview for us back in 2020... Obviously, the situation in Ukraine and the related American policy are of central importance. How do you assess the current state of U.S. military assistance to Ukraine? If you consider it insufficient, what kind of arguments, in your view, might serve the best to convince the decision-makers to approve whatever is needed?

Lt. Gen. Ben HODGES: What’s happening in Ukraine is about much more than Ukraine. This is about defense of the international rules-based order from which most of the World has benefitted since the end of WWII... respect for sovereignty as enshrined in the UN Charter, respect for human rights, accountability for war crimes, and respect for international law.   It’s also about deterring China... The CCP [The Chinese Communist Party - CJ] needs to see that the West is prepared to do whatever it takes to protect liberal democratic values and our strategic interests.

Oliver MÜSER: "Humor is a promising approach to countering polarization"

03.01.2023 (Caucasian Journal) Happy New Year, and welcome to our holiday special interview! We hope you enjoy the comedy video (below) and the conversation with  Oliver MÜSER, Berlin-based political scientist and creator of the famous Dolma Diaries comedy series. 

Alexander KAFFKA, editor-in-chief of CJ: Dear Oliver, happy holidays and welcome to Caucasian Journal.  We decided to devote the special New Year’s interview edition to your comedy series – the Dolma Diaries. If someone has not seen the first episode about the Armenian-Azerbaijani-Georgian trio – just click on the video below and have fun. But the central question is – when shall we see the next episodes? What is needed to continue the series? 

Oliver MÜSER: Thank you very much for having me on this special edition! First of all let me say that me and the whole team behind the production are very happy that so many people enjoyed the pilot episode and are constantly asking about more episodes. I wish there was a clear answer to your question, but the boring truth is that it all depends on funding. We officially submitted the proposal for continuation to one donor organization so far and we are in talks with a few more, but I cannot say for sure if it will work out. I really hope we can go forward because we are extremely motivated to show more than just this first small glimpse of the story.

Monsignor José Avelino BETTENCOURT: "We share two millennia of friendship"

26.11.2022 (Caucasian Journal) It is a special honour today for Caucasian Journal to welcome His Excellency the Most Reverend Monsignor José Avelino BETTENCOURT, the Apostolic Nuncio (Ambassador of Vatican) to Armenia and Georgia. 

ქართულად:  Read the Georgian version here.
 Հայերեն. Read the Armenian version here.

Alexander KAFFKA, editor-in-chief of CJ: Your Excellency, welcome to Caucasian Journal, and thank you for this opportunity. You have been working in Tbilisi for quite some time already, and your Embassy covers both Armenia and Georgia. In addition, you are the doyen of diplomatic corps in Georgia. This sounds like a huge amount of responsibilities. My first question is what’s your overall feeling about your work now? Do you have to travel much across the Caucasus, and what’s your impression about our part of the world?

José A. BETTENCOURT:  Thank you for your invitation to this interview.  I came to the South Caucasus in the footsteps of my predecessors with the hope to build upon the good that has been traced out as well as meet today’s realities.

The Holy See was among the first states to recognize the independence of each of the South Caucasus states and to establish diplomatic relations.  This year we celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of diplomatic relations. The Holy See was also the tenth state to open a diplomatic mission in Tbilisi.  I like to keep the perspective that we share two millennia of friendship. 

Dr. Ghassan KHALIL: "Government, private sector and civil society should join efforts to prioritize children"

14.11.2022 (Caucasian Journal) Our today’s guest is Dr. Ghassan KHALIL, the Representative of UNICEF (United Nations Children's Fund) in Georgia.

▶ ქართულად:
  Read the Georgian version here.

Alexander KAFFKA, editor-in-chief of CJ: Dear Dr. Khalil, welcome to Caucasian Journal. You were appointed UNICEF Representative in Georgia in autumn 2018, so it’s exactly four years that you have been working in this country, correct? Let me start with a straightforward question – has the situation in Georgia improved during recent years in the areas that are monitored by UNICEF?

Ghassan KHALIL:  Thank you very much, Mr. Kaffka, for giving me the opportunity of talking about UNICEF’s interventions in Georgia. The four years have been extremely interesting and very challenging especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. I can proudly say that the UNICEF team has contributed a lot during these four years and since the establishment of the UNICEF Office in Georgia in 1993. But worth mentioning is the expansion that UNICEF team implemented in the last couple of years, thematically and geographically in various regions and areas of Georgia. 

AK:  With a doctorate diploma from Sorbonne, and many years in protection of child rights, I believe you are one of top professionals in your field working in this country today. Can you tell little bit about yourself, and how did you get to Georgia?

Study in Sweden: Fully funded scholarship for South Caucasus applicants

27.10.2022 (Caucasian Journal). The call for applications for the Swedish Institute Scholarship for Global Professionals  is open to citizens from 41 eligible countries including Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia.

The SI Scholarship for Global Professionals aims to develop future global leaders that will contribute to the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and to sustainable development. The applicants should have a clear idea of how their education will contribute to the sustainable development of their home countries and regions. In 2023 the Swedish Institute will grant about 350 scholarships for master’s degree studies in Sweden.

The scholarship is intended for full-time, one- or two-year master’s programme, and is funded by the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs. The Swedish Institute open the call for applications once every year for master’s studies beginning in the autumn semester. 

All expenses of the scholarship including tuition fees, tickets, stipend, medical insurance will be covered by the Swedish Government. The complete details and application requirements for the SI Scholarships 2023 are available at official site