“In Sweden, term “housewife” doesn't exist anymore”: Niklas LÖFGREN and Tiina BRUNO talk about paid parental leave and gender equality

18.04.2021 (Caucasian Journal). Is it good for the babies to stay at home with fathers? What are the benefits of gender equality? How generous are benefits paid to Swedish parents by the government? How are private companies motivated to contribute?

Within the framework of Caucasian Journal’s Best Nordic and Baltic Practice Program, our guests today are Niklas LÖFGREN, Spokesperson for family economics at Swedish Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan) and Tiina BRUNO, a senior advisor and lecturer in methods for increasing gender equality, social sustainability and inclusion in companies and societies, CEO of the consultancy firm Föräldrasmart Sverige and founder of the concept Parentsmart Employers. 

 ქართულად:  The Georgian text version is here

Alexander KAFFKA, editor-in-chief of Caucasian Journal:  
Sweden was the first country in the world to introduce a parental leave giving both parents the same possibilities of staying at home with their child. I believe this happened in 1974, correct? In a few years you will mark 50th anniversary of this reform, which seems revolutionary even by the today’s standards. How effectively did it perform over the years?

Niklas LOFGREN: The first years after the 1974 reform was introduced men in Sweden were reluctant to use parental benefit even though they could. The right was equal but you could also give away that right to the other parent, and most fathers wanted to do just that. The first year 99,5% of all days were paid out to women and only 0,5% were paid out to men. The development towards an equal usage went slowly, and after 20 years it still was only a 90/10 split. That’s why the government introduced 30 days that you had to use yourself as a parent. It was “use them or lose them” 30 days. This was a small kick in the butt for the reform which increased the speed towards a more equal usage. From one year to another, more children got more fathers staying home with parental benefit, and also for a longer period of time. 

Laura Thornton becomes Director of the Alliance for Securing Democracy at German Marshall Fund

31.04.2021. The German Marshall Fund of the United States announced the appointment of Laura Thornton as director of the Alliance for Securing Democracy. Previously, Laura Thornton worked at leadership positions as the head of  National Democratic Institute in Tbilisi and International IDEA in Stockholm.

We are pleased to congratulate Laura, who is a member of Caucasian Journal's Advisory Board. She has contributed several articles to Caucasian Journal. The latest one, entitled “How does democracy work six feet apart?“, can be found here.

GMF President Karen Donfried said: “GMF’s mission, strengthening transatlantic relations in the spirit of the Marshall Plan, is rooted in the values of democracy. Laura’s wealth of experience promoting democracy will be an asset to our work at a time when threats to democracy are proliferating globally."

ახლა უკვე ქართულად - Now in Georgian: Our interview with Gunda TIRE on Estonia's school reform

28.03.2021 (Caucasian Journal).  ახლა უკვე ქართულად! Our interview with Gunda Tire on Estonia's super-successful school reform 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 once again.  

School education  is basic for achieving progress in other directions. How South Caucasian students compare with peers? How well can they read? We talk not only about the best school reform experience, but also why South Caucasus is lagging behind. 

It is our pleasure to introduce Ms. Gunda TIRE, PISA National Project Manager at Foundation Innove. PISA is the OECD's Programme for International Student Assessment, and Innove is an education competence center in Estonia. The reason why we invited an expert from Estonia is simple: Because Estonian students are the best in Europe
Read the Georgian language version here.

Alexander KAFFKA, editor-in-chief of CJ:  Indeed, according to recent PISA worldwide student assessment results, the Estonian 15-year olds have the Europe’s highest scores in all disciplines. First of all, please accept our sincere congratulations to Estonian friends with this excellent achievement! I know it was not unexpected, since Estonia’s results have been going up for some time, but anyway how was the top achievement perceived - by ordinary people and by professionals?

Gunda TIRE:  Thank you very much for the kind words, and we really appreciate your invitation to share the Estonian PISA experience with your readers!

Tina KHIDASHELI and Kristin Krohn DEVOLD (video): Female Defense Ministers from Georgia and Norway discuss NATO, gender, civil society

08.03.2021 (Caucasian Journal). On the eve of International Women's Day, Caucasian Journal has interviewed two female defense ministers and NGO leaders – Tina KHIDASHELI (Georgia) and Kristin Krohn DEVOLD (Norway), who discuss a wide range of issues - from NATO to gender equality.  You may view the video discussion below. 
The full text of this double interview is also available in English and Georgian:
 ქართულად: The Georgian text version is here
 English text version is here

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


Tina KHIDASHELI and Kristin Krohn DEVOLD: Female Defense Ministers from Georgia and Norway discuss NATO, gender, civil society

07.03.2021 (Caucasian Journal). On the eve of International Women's Day, Caucasian Journal has interviewed two female defense ministers – Tina KHIDASHELI (Georgia) and Kristin Krohn DEVOLD (Norway). They are discussing a wide range of topics from gender issues to NATO.  

Our double interview can be watched or read in two languages. Below Caucasian Journal is pleased to present the full English text version of interview. 

 ქართულად: The Georgian text version is here
▶ For the video version of interview, click here.

Alexander KAFFKA, editor-in-chief of CJ:  Hello, and welcome to Caucasian Journal video interviews. Our guests today are Tina KHIDASHELI - leader of Civic IDEA, Georgian non-governmental organization, and former defense minister of Georgia, and Kristin Krohn DEVOLD - former defense minister of Norway, and currently head of Norwegian Travel Association, who joins us online.

Dear Tina, first thank you very much for giving this interview. Tina, you have many “hats”: an experienced politician and a legal expert, head of a leading Georgian non-governmental organization, and of course former defense minister – the first and actually the only female defense minister in this country.

ICC Secretary General appoints Fady Asly as Special Representative for Caucasus and Central Asia

22.01.2021 (Press release) The Secretary General of the International Chamber of Commerce Mr. John W.H. Denton AO announced the appointment of Mr. Fady Asly of Georgia as his Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia.

Mr. Asly is an international businessman with extensive experience in the Caucasus and Central Asia where he has operated since the 1990’s; Mr. Asly chairs the International Chamber of Commerce in Georgia, Channel Georgia Consulting and advises several multinational groups.

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.