Happy New Year!

Caucasian Journal is whishing the best of success, good health, prosperity to our readers in 2021! 

Do you want us to cover any specific theme you consider important for our region? You are welcome to tell us - in a comment or in our social network channels.

Greetings, 
CJ

ახლა უკვე ქართულად - Now in Georgian: Bjorn BRANDTZAEG: "As Georgia develops, it needs more domestically generated electricity"

25.12.2020 (Caucasian Journal). ახლა უკვე ქართულად! Our interview with Bjorn Brandtzaeg of Clean Energy Group is now available in Georgian language. If you speak Georgian, you are welcome to visit Caucasian Journal's Georgian version here.
 
For readers who have missed the original English publication, we republish it below.  It focuses on renewable energy - in particular hydropower in GeorgiaThis interview continues our program of interviews with high-level practitioners from Western Europe who share knowledge in areas most relevant to our region. 

Bjørn BRANDTZÆG (or Bjorn Brandtzaeg on devices without Norwegian characters) is founder and CEO at Clean Energy Group, the biggest Norwegian investor in Georgia. He has been involved in Georgia’s hydropower projects since the early 2000s.  

Alexander KAFFKA, editor-in-chief of CJ:  You have a rare experience as a Westerner who has started a successful large-scale business in Georgia “from zero”, and worked under several different governments. Do you sometimes feel that your experience is a very valuable asset, sharing which may be beneficial to many people, and to the country in general? 
           
Read also:
A Study Opportunity for Georgian Citizens in Norway

Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE), through the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, offers scholarships to Georgians who want to study hydropower development at the master’s level at Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim, Norway. Scholarships are tenable for two-year master programs starting in 2021 and 2022. Read more here.

Paul RODZIANKO: "Fight against Fake Cement and Unfair Competition Continues"

14.12.2020 (Caucasian Journal)   The quality of cement… Is it a socially important topic? In Georgia, yes, it is. How safe are the homes built with fake cement? How many buildings may be at risk? Is the regulation of construction sector adequate? What can be done to protect ourselves?

That’s the kind of questions Caucasian Journal will be asking our today’s guest – Mr. Paul RODZIANKO, President of the Georgian Cement Association (GCA) and Chairman & CEO of Kavkaz Cement and of Georgian Building Group (GBG).
Read the Georgian language version here.

Alexander KAFFKA, editor-in-chief of Caucasian Journal: At Caucasian Journal, we do our best to cover issues that matter to people – that is, they have a clear social importance. Today we have a rare opportunity to talk professionally about the construction industry – and the risks that it creates for people. In the developed countries, the quality of cement is a routine technical parameter, which deserves as little media attention as, say, standard rails width. Why in Georgia does it gain so much importance? 
 
Paul RODZIANKO: I trust that your readers will understand that cement worldwide is a commodity product i.e., a standard item with specific technical parameters as you put it so aptly. SO: when is a commodity not a commodity? The answer: when the labeling on the packaging does not conform to the product inside. It is this cheating – and there really is no other word for it – that has brought this matter to prominence.

ახლა უკვე ქართულად - Now in Georgian: Anita LINDAHL TROSDAHL: "Citizens can raise any question at "speed dates" with Oslo government including Mayor"

03.12.2020 (Caucasian Journal). ახლა უკვე ქართულად! Our interview with chief advisor to the Mayor of Oslo is now available in Georgian language. If you speak Georgian, you are welcome to visit Caucasian Journal's Georgian version here.
 
For our readers who have missed the original English publication, we republish it below.  It focuses on big city problems. This interview continues our program of interviews with high-level practitioners from Western Europe who share knowledge in areas most relevant to our region. 

How quickly an industrial city can transform into a leader in environment protection and clean hi-tech? Which secret city management mechanisms are needed? How do citizens participate?
 
Raymond JOHANSEN, Governing Mayor of Oslo - European Green Capital 2019, kindly agreed to give interview to us, but due to COVID crisis it was postponed. We are thankful to Anita LINDAHL TROSDAHL, Project Manager of Oslo European Green Capital 2019 at the Mayor's Office, who proposed to answer most of our questions.
 
Read the Georgian language version here.

Alexander KAFFKA, editor-in-chief of CJ: In 2019 your city - Oslo - was awarded the title of Europe's Green Capital. Congratulations! Do you think that greening of Oslo is your most important achievement?

ANITA LINDAHL TROSDAHL: I am very proud of Oslo’s European Green Capital title. This is a result of a long-term effort from citizens, companies and public sector. I believe that politicians in Oslo have made many good decisions over two-three decades. Recently we continue to see good environmental results. The buses run more frequently, the car traffic is going down and the air is cleaner. Greenhouse gas emissions are going down, and investment are made to ensure that they continue to go down. In addition to green policies, I am very proud that Oslo is home to every fourth new green job created in Norway. A true sustainable city must be green, socially inclusive and economically viable.
 

General Ben HODGES: "No way the US will pull out of NATO"

02.11.2020 (Caucasian Journal On the eve of U.S. presidential election, Caucasian Journal discusses the risk of America's withdrawing from NATO, verbalized recently by President Trump's former national security adviser. Though in Georgia it is also the election time, the NATO aspiration is not questioned by any party. But is NATO ready to accept new member?  
Our guest today is Lieutenant General (Retired) Ben HODGES, Pershing Chair in Strategic Studies at the Center for European Policy Analysis, Commander of United States Army Europe from 2014 to 2017.

Alexander KAFFKA, editor-in-chief of Caucasian Journal: Dear Ben, welcome to Caucasian Journal, many thanks for attention to our international readership. Obviously, one of our central discussion themes will be NATO-Georgia relationship. But let me start with something else, and even more fundamental: The NATO-USA relationship. President Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton has more than once expressed his concern over a “very real risk” of the U.S. withdrawing from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, if Donald Trump wins a second term. Can you comment on what seemed unthinkable? After all, 2020 had proved already that unthinkable things happen.

Lt. Gen. Ben HODGES:
No way the US will pull out of NATO, even if President Trump is re-elected. The Congress will oppose it, and I think that even the President realizes that the US needs allies, even if he doesn’t always say it or act like it. American prosperity as well as American security depends on a strong, stable, and prosperous Europe... That’s why we’ll remain committed to NATO, even if the President often says things about NATO that are unproductive. Of course it would also be helpful if other allies, particularly in Western Europe, would also demonstrate as much commitment to NATO as even the Trump administration has demonstrated. Despite the tweets, American boots on the ground in Europe have actually increased during this administration. I’d say that US commitment is far more tangible than some European allies. 
 

Yiftah CURIEL: "Potential of digital diplomacy is immense"; Ran GIDOR: "Women belong in all places where decisions are made"


global focus
voices of Israeli Foreign Ministry
27.10.2020.
Caucasian Journal from time to time presents to our readers articles which focus on issues of a wider international importance. Today under our "GLOBAL FOCUS" Caucasian Journal gives floor to the Israeli diplomats.
 
The subjects they cover reflect important aspects of Israeli foreign policy: Use of latest "cutting edge" technologies, and adherence to decades-proven "classic" achievements accumulated by humanity. While Yiftah CURIEL of Israeli Foreign Ministry talks about digital diplomacy in the COVID era, Ran GIDOR – Israeli Ambassador to Georgia – remembers the anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution urging to increase women's decision-making in the sphere of peace and security.
  
Yiftah CURIEL: "The potential of digital diplomacy is immense"

Mr. Yiftah CURIEL is Director of Department for Digital Diplomacy at Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel.

Alexander KAFFKA, editor-in-chief of Caucasian Journal: Dear Yiftah, welcome to Caucasian Journal! As you are the head of Israel’s digital diplomacy, do you agree that wider digitalization is one of main ways to survive, especially in the era of COVID?

Yiftah CURIEL: Hello, and thank you for this interview, providing this opportunity to speak with your audience. Absolutely, I think that although digitalization, and specifically digital diplomacy, has been rapidly expanding over the last few years, COVID and the need to connect from afar, has accelerated this process. We have seen on our digital platforms a significant rise in the number of followers, people that want to connect with Israel, from tourists to businesspeople to religious pilgrims, and we've tried to accommodate them by providing content, a way to interact with us that would alleviate some of the difficulties of not being able to connect face to face. 
 

Opportunity for Georgians to study in Norway: Attend a Zoom meeting to learn more

Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE), through the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, offers scholarships to Georgians who want to study hydropower development at the master’s level at Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim/Norway.

Scholarships are tenable for two-year master programmes starting in 2021 and 2022.

All interested are welcome to attend online information meeting about scholarships for master programme in hydropower development on Wednesday 21 October 19:00 (Tbilisi time). The meeting will be conducted in English.  Click link to join the meeting: https://zoom.us/j/93493314861 

Georgia and Norway – two hydropower countries

About 80 percent of Georgia’s electricity demand is covered by local hydropower plants. The construction of hydro power plants in Georgia has a long tradition, which has been reactivated in recent years. Both large power plants with reservoirs and small hydropower plants are under construction or being planned. Read more: Bjorn BRANDTZAEG: "As Georgia develops, it needs more domestically generated electricity".

Professor Hüseyin BAĞCI: Turkey considers Azerbaijan as "one nation, two states"

14.10.2020 (Caucasian Journal) How is the political situation in South Caucasus - in particular, the Azerbaijani-Armenian conflict - seen from Turkey's perspective? What are current political priorities of the powerful neigbour? 
Caucasian Journal’s guest today is Professor Dr. Hüseyin BAĞCI - President of Turkey’s Foreign Policy Institute and professor at Middle East Technical University in Ankara. Professor Bağci is also Caucasian Journal's Board member.

Alexander KAFFKA, editor-in-chief of Caucasian Journal: Dear Professor Bağci, thank you for this opportunity to talk about foreign policies in our region, and the position of Turkey, which is of great importance to our countries. First of all, my sincere congratulations you with recent appointment as the head of Foreign Policy Institute (FPI) – Turkey’s oldest and most prestigious think tanks! It a great honour for us to have you in Caucasian Journal’s Board. So, how does it feel to become a leader of this think tank, after many years of university teaching?

Hüseyin BAĞCI: Thank you very much. Indeed, it is a very good feeling, but also an intellectual responsibility to lead such an institute. I have been involved in the activities of FPI since late 1980’s and was deputy director. But now, of course, it is a new field of responsibility. We contribute to main stream debates on Turkish foreign and security nationally and internationally.
 

Sascha TERNES (video): "This moment gives a lot of opportunity for import substitution"

25.09.2020 (Caucasian Journal) How is the investment situation in Georgia assessed from a German business perspective? What types of investment projects seem most promising? What is German Business Association in Georgia, and how can it help?

Today our video discussion is with Mr. Sascha TERNES, Chairman of the German Business Association in Georgia (DWV), who agreed to answer Caucasian Journal's questions. 
 
This video interview was done in the framework of  our new EURICA project.

Watch video interview with Sasha TERNES below.

To be first to view all our exclusive video interviews, please subscribe here to our YouTube Channel.



Nordic Ministers: Human rights and democracy key to leaving no one behind in global fight against COVID-19


17.09.2020 (Caucasian Journal In the framework of our journal's  "BEST NORDIC AND BALTIC PRACTICE" Program we are glad to publish the following statement of the ministers of the Nordic countries:

The COVID-19 pandemic threatens to accelerate the global trends of democratic backsliding and weakening respect for human rights. It is intensifying existing inequalities, hitting those who are already marginalised, subjected to discrimination and living in poverty the hardest.