Ambassador Kirsti NARINEN: "Finland is a constructive and flexible partner, a peace-contributing international actor"

25.11.2021 (
Caucasian Journal). The majority of Georgians are aspiring to fully join the European family of nations, but how is this process viewed from the Europe’s side? We discuss this and other questions with Her Excellency Kirsti NARINEN, the new Roving Ambassador of Finland for the South Caucasus. We are delighted to add that today Caucasian Journal is launching our Armenian language version,  and this interview is the first one translated to two South Caucasian languages - Georgian and Armenian. 

▶ ქართულად: Read the Georgian version here.

▶ Հայերեն: 
Read the Armenian version here.

Alexander KAFFKA, editor-in-chief of CJ:  Dear Kirsti, welcome to the Caucasus and to Caucasian Journal! Though just several weeks ago you had a chance to officially present your credentials in Georgia, you were involved in South Caucasian affairs as a Roving Ambassador for a long time; and now you are back from Rustavi where you observed the elections. So, we have a lot to discuss. But let’s start with explaining your position to our readers. What does it mean to be a Roving Ambassador?

Kirsti NARINEN: I would like to start with warm thanks to Caucasian Journal and you, Alexander, for keeping Nordic-Baltic themes high on your agenda! Nordic-Baltic countries have strong societies, even stronger civil societies and share many societal processes - which you have reported on. Those themes could act as well-working examples to other small European countries, within and outside the European Union. I feel honored to be able to continue your sequence and have this conversation with you.

Opportunity for Georgians to study in Norway: Scholarship Program for Master of Science in hydropower development

Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate, through the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, offers four 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 the two-year master programme starting in 2022.

▶ ქართულად: The Georgian text version is here.

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".

Norway has a long tradition in developing hydropower. Hydropower is the mainstay of the Norwegian electricity system. Norway has 1660 hydropower plants, which accounts for 31 837 or 96 % of total installed capacity. Norway and NTNU has developed competence at the highest international level within environmentally friendly development and operation of hydropower plants. 

Caucasian Journal to host first Georgian-Norwegian Nordic Talk on hydropower education

09.11.2021 (Caucasian Journal).  If you are interested in clean energy, hydropower, SDG, or international student exchange programs, we have the pleasure to invite you to the first Georgian-Norwegian Nordic Talk. You are welcome to attend our two Zoom sessions on November 15-16 (details are below). 

Our discussion focusing on clean energy education is entitled "How to make maximum of Nordic clean energy knowledge? Case of Norway and Georgia – two “hydropower nations”.

What is a Nordic Talk? Nordic Talks is a series of live talks and podcasts addressing the biggest global challenges. "Through conversations with some of the brightest minds in the Nordics and their counterparts from around the world we want to inspire each other to act – for a better, more sustainable future", - reads the official description. 

The  first Georgian-Norwegian Nordic Talk, organized by Caucasian Journal,  will consist of two Zoom sessions with open attendance. The agenda and speakers are as follows:

How to make maximum of Nordic clean energy knowledge? Case of Norway and Georgia – two “hydropower nations”

Talk 1  –  November 15, 14:00 Oslo time / 17:00 Tbilisi time.
Clean Energy: A fundamental UN SDG, and its importance for economies and sustainable development of Norway and Georgia – two “hydropower nations”. 
How to attend: Zoom linkFacebook event linkMeeting ID: 920 2531 3281.

Petter SVAETICHIN: “Georgians are traditionally strong in the main AI subjects of mathematics and physics”


30.07.2021 (Caucasian Journal). Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one of the most advanced fields of IT, the core of many innovations that are changing our everyday lives. Can Georgia be a significant player in hi-tech? “Yes, it can”, - says our today’s guest Petter SVAETICHIN, CEO at Tbilisi-based artificial intelligence company Neiron. The Swedish business executive with a huge professional experience in Georgia is sharing some valuable insights with our readers.

▶ ქართულად: 
Read the Georgian version here.

Alexander KAFFKA, editor-in-chief of CJ:  Dear Petter, welcome to Caucasian Journal!  You are one of the most prominent Swedish businesspeople working in Georgia for quite a while - since early 2000-s, if I’m correct. So, for our series of interviews with Nordic and Baltic experts you are a priceless speaker, with your vast experience of life and work in South Caucasus – from traditional industry such as wine-making to absolute “cutting edge” such as artificial intelligence.  But first of all, how a Swede with a diploma from a prestigious American private school finds oneself in Georgia?

Petter SVAETICHIN: Thank you. Yes, you and I have crossed paths over the years and it seems that our interests often coincide. My being in Georgia was from the beginning a stroke of luck and coincidence but later a matter of appreciation and love for the country as well as an interest in the various possibilities and opportunities present. After graduating from ESSEC University in Paris and Cornell University in New York, I started working on projects for a private Swedish investor and one of his challenges was the revival of Chateau Mukhrani vineyards, and to restore this  Royal heritage to its former glory and make it a “must go and must taste” destination for visitors. When I started it was just a ruin with a few hundred visitors a year. In 2019 Chateau Mukhrani received in excess of 60,000 guests. After having been a member of the board since 2005, I moved here in late 2010 and was running the development. GWS vineyards in Telavi and Marussia Georgia later formed a group with Chateau Mukhrani. Some years ago I completely changed direction when my cousin, who is another Swede living in Georgia, asked me to assume the leadership of his Artificial Intelligence company Neiron. Since 2019 I am therefore working on developing AI in Georgia and from Georgia.   

Jānis IKSTENS: “Interest from Georgian students in studying in Riga is very high”


25.07.2021 (Caucasian Journal). Caucasian Journal’s guest today is Dr. Jānis IKSTENS, Acting Rector and Chairman of the Board at Riga Graduate School of Law.

▶ ქართულად: 
Read the Georgian version here.

Alexander KAFFKA, editor-in-chief of CJ:  Welcome to Caucasian Journal – we are pleased to greet you as our first speaker from Latvia; it is even more symbolic that you are the first representative of higher education sphere.  You have been the head of Riga Graduate School of Law since 2017, if I’m correct. Would you like to introduce RGSL, by highlighting what you consider most important?

Jānis IKSTENS: Riga Graduate School of Law (RGSL) was founded in 1998 in cooperation between Latvia and Sweden in order to assist Latvia in preparing for work in the European institutions. RGSL was inaugurated in 2001 by President of Latvia Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga and Crown Princess of Sweden Victoria, who also awarded diplomas to the very first graduates. 

At the beginning, RGSL offered only Masters degrees, two Bachelor programmes – “Law and Business” and “Law and Diplomacy” were introduced in 2014. Since then, they have gained popularity among young people in Latvia and also abroad – we have students and faculty from more than 30 countries studying and teaching in Riga. 

Ambassador Gert ANTSU: ”At times reforms sound like a tired buzzword that has lost its luster”

18.07.2021 (Caucasian Journal).  The today’s guest of Caucasian Journal is Mr. Gert ANTSU,  Director of the Estonian Center of Eastern Partnership and Special Representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the Eastern Partnership. 

The Eastern Partnership (EaP) is a joint policy initiative which aims to deepen and strengthen relations between the European Union and its six Eastern neighbours: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. EaP was inaugurated in 2009.

▶ ქართულად: 
Read the Georgian version here.

Alexander KAFFKA, editor-in-chief of CJ:  Welcome to Caucasian Journal, thank you for attention to our readers. We often talk about successful European reform experiences and best practices, and whether they can be used in our region. But our today’s theme is a special case: We discuss the Eastern Partnership, which is in fact all about applying the EU approaches in our neighborhood. Let me start with a conceptual question: Who is the main driving force in this process – in theory it must be the Eastern side, not EU? Or, is it different for each EaP country, which are so dissimilar? 

Gert ANTSU: It is a conceptually interesting question. If we talk about partnership, then by definition it needs a strong interest from both sides to work. At the same time we can see that there is more urgency on the side of the EaP countries, especially those who have declared their European ambitions – people want better livelihoods, better governance in their countries and they understand that closer relations with the EU are a key to reach those ends. Then again, these countries do not stress as much the multilateral Eastern Partnership as their own bilateral relationship and integration with the EU. However, viewed from the EU’s side, everything one does with EaP countries, bilaterally or all together, is Eastern Partnership, so there is no contradiction here.

Inka HOPSU, Member of Finnish Parliament: “I'm happy I was able to participate in politics as a woman with small babies”

Photo: Hanne Salonen / Finnish Parliament
14.07.2021 (Caucasian Journal). Caucasian Journal’s guest today is Ms. Inka HOPSU – Finnish politician, member of Parliament for the Green League.

▶ ქართულად: 
Read the Georgian version here.

Alexander KAFFKA, editor-in-chief of CJ:  Welcome to Caucasian Journal! Your career is remarkable in so many ways.  Being a mother of four, you managed to become a parliamentarian. You were a teacher and now you are a “green” politician. You seem like a role model for everyone, who wants to make life better in his or her city or community.  We are delighted to get such as a guest as you for an interview, and have prepared many essential questions. Let me start with this: Have you ever thought about yourself as a role model? Maybe your teaching experience has prepared you for such a role long time ago?

Inka HOPSU: Even before teaching, I was a scout leader for many years, first responsible of smaller groups, then working in the board of national organization and in international tasks. I think these prepared me to take responsibility and to be an example of a good and motivating leader for many young people. I think the role of civil society in preparing for leadership tasks in politics is very essential.

Video: Kristina KALLAS and Arnold STEPANIAN discuss national minority policies in Estonia and Georgia

11.07.2021 (Caucasian Journal). Today at Caucasian Journal we are talking about the national minorities policies in Georgia and Estonia. Our guests are Arnold STEPANIAN, Chairman of Public Movement “Multinational Georgia”, and Kristina KALLAS, Research Fellow at Tartu University Narva College, and leader of political party “Estonia 200”.
The interview is available in video format with Georgian subtitles, and as text version - in two languages.  You may view the video discussion below. 

The full text of this 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.


Kristina KALLAS and Arnold STEPANIAN discuss national minority policies in Estonia and Georgia

11.07.2021 (Caucasian Journal). Today at Caucasian Journal we talk about the national minorities policies in Georgia and Estonia. Our guests are Arnold STEPANIAN, Chairman of Public Movement “Multinational Georgia” (PMMG), and Kristina KALLAS, Research Fellow at Tartu University Narva College, leader of political party “Estonia 200”.
Our  interview can be watched or read in two languages. Below we present the full English text version of interview. 

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

Alexander KAFFKA, editor-in-chief of CJ: Hello and welcome to Caucasian Journal’s video interviews! Our guests today are well-known experts in national minorities issues from Estonia and Georgia: Arnold STEPANIAN, Chairman of Public Movement “Multinational Georgia”, and Kristina KALLAS, Research Fellow at Tartu University Narva College, and leader of political party “Estonia 200”, who joins us online from Estonia. Dear Arnold, is it true that “Multinational Georgia” is one of the oldest NGOs in Georgia?

Arnold STEPANIAN: Hello first of all, yes we are one of the oldest NGOs - we were established in 1999. If I remember correctly, there were not more than 20-25 NGOs at that time.

Anne LIDGARD: “We are interested in attracting talent and can offer a very vivid startup scene”

30.06.2021 (Caucasian Journal). Caucasian Journal’s guest today is Anne LIDGARD, Director, Ecosystems for Innovative Companies at Vinnova – the Sweden’s innovation agency.

ქართულად: 
Read the Georgian version here.

Alexander KAFFKA, editor-in-chief of CJ:  Welcome to Caucasian Journal! Let me explain first, that one of our aims is to spread some of the world’s most advanced reforms experiences in our region, and to assist in using those best practices here. As Sweden is often called the Silicon Valley of Europe, it is no wonder we’ve got interested in your country’s achievements in the field of startups and other innovations. Is it true, that it all started with Stockholm City Government’s decision to subsidize people’s home computers in the 1980s? Quite a far-sighted and exceptional decision, wasn’t it?  

Anne LIDGARD: Yes, indeed, that was one of the key contributors, but I also want to mention the very early mobile adoption thanks to Ericsson – the world leader in the field then – and its collaboration with state-owned Telia. Also the early and wide-reaching broadband deployment, another important policy decision, has played a huge role. Thanks to our proficiency in English, people started interacting very early on the web, not least the younger generation of gamers that later turned innovators.

Senator Rob PORTMAN on NATO membership for Georgia: "It is time to fulfill promise made in 2008"

U.S. Senator Rob PORTMAN: 
I strongly support full NATO membership for Georgia... and it is time to fulfill the promise made in the 2008 Bucharest Agreement

23.06.2021 (Caucasian Journal). Caucasian Journal has asked U.S. Senator Rob PORTMAN to share his comments on the recent visit of American Congressional Delegation to Georgia. The Senator's press secretary provided the following statement by Rob Portman:

"I strongly support full NATO membership for Georgia – their commitment to free and democratic values are in line with NATO’s and it is time to fulfill the promise made in the 2008 Bucharest Agreement.”

The NATO's "promise made  in the 2008 Bucharest Agreement", to which Senator Portman was referring, is the decision adopted at NATO Summit in Bucharest, Romania. 

It reads: "NATO welcomes Ukraine’s and Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations for membership in NATO.  We agreed today that these countries will become members of NATO... Therefore we will now begin a period of intensive engagement with both at a high political level to address the questions still outstanding pertaining to their MAP [Membership Action Plan] applications" (Bucharest Summit Declaration issued by the heads of state and government participating in the meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Bucharest on 3 April 2008, paragraph 23)

Ambassador Helene SAND ANDRESEN: “No doubt that Georgia is part of the European family”

18.06.2021 (Caucasian Journal). We are honoured to interview Her Excellency Helene SAND ANDRESEN, Ambassador of Norway to Georgia and Ambassador-Designate of Norway to Armenia.

ქართულად: 
Read the Georgian version here.

Alexander KAFFKA, editor-in-chief of CJ:  Your Excellency, welcome to Caucasian Journal, I wish to thank you for attention to our readers. Let me start with something basic. You are the first head of the first Royal Norwegian Embassy in Tbilisi. Before you arrived here, Norway did not have an embassy in this country. How does it feel to find oneself in such a situation, when you did not have even an embassy building and had literally to create everything from scratch?

Helene SAND ANDRESEN: To be in such a situation is a wonderful challenge – sometimes a little daunting. The opportunity to create a new embassy from scratch is rare, so it is an honour to be entrusted with such a task.  Building a whole new team is a great privilege. Setting up a new mission, you need vision, drive, and not least flexibility and a good dose of patience. It’s a great learning process. Perhaps the hardest thing has been striking the right balance between practical tasks and administrative issues on the one hand, and building our network on the other. It’s tempting to meet as many people as possible and make the right contacts, but at times, administration and logistics have had to take priority. And of course, we have had a lot of support along the way from Oslo, as well as from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, for which I am most grateful.  

Video: Afton Halloran, Elene Shatberashvili, Dmitry Kostarov discuss sustainable food systems transition

27.05.2021 (Caucasian Journal). Today at Caucasian Journal we are talking about sustainable food systems: The Nordic experience and its applicability for Georgia. Our guests are Dr. Afton HALLORAN, a Denmark-based expert in sustainable food systems transition, Elene SHATBERASHVILI from Elkana Biological Farming Association, and Dr.  Dmitry KOSTAROV, head of agricultural television channel Saperavi TV and independent winemaker. 

The interview is available in video format with Georgian subtitles, and as text. You may view the video discussion below. 

The full text of this 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.


Afton Halloran, Elene Shatberashvili, Dmitry Kostarov discuss sustainable food systems transition

26.05.2021 (Caucasian Journal). Today at Caucasian Journal we are talking about sustainable food systems: The Nordic experience and its applicability for Georgia. Our guests are Dr. Afton HALLORAN, a Denmark-based expert in sustainable food systems transition, Elene SHATBERASHVILI from Elkana Biological Farming Association, and Dr.  Dmitry KOSTAROV, head of agricultural television channel Saperavi TV and independent winemaker.

Our  interview can be watched or read in two languages. Below we present the full English text version of interview.  ქართულად: The Georgian text version is here
▶ For video version, click here.

Alexander KAFFKA, editor-in-chief of CJ:  I would like to thank Afton Halloran for making this interview for us, and my first question is: We know that Nordic countries are among the leaders in sustainable food systems transition. Why is it so, and if you share a little bit of your knowledge and approaches to this problem we would be very grateful.

Afton HALLORAN: Hi, my name is Afton Halloran, and I’m an independent consultant in sustainable food systems transitions. I work with different organizations and agencies to understand how they can transform the food system. So when we talk about the food system we need to talk about the different dimensions of the food system. For example, the human dimension, societal dimension, but also the economic dimension, the ecological or environmental dimension, even the political dimension. So when we consider all of these dimensions as a whole and how they influence food, and what we produce and what we consume, and everything in between, we see this as a system, as a whole.

So why is it so important to talk about the food system in the 21st century?

Laura Thornton: "Democratic backsliding is like the pandemic. It is contagious"

21.05.2021 (Caucasian Journal) Caucasian Journal’s guest today is Ms. Laura THORNTON, Director of the Alliance for Securing Democracy at German Marshall Fund. We are proud to add that Laura is our journal’s good friend and member of our Board

Alexander KAFFKA, editor-in-chief of Caucasian Journal: Dear Laura, it is always a pleasure to meet you – virtually for the time being, but maybe also in person before long:  I know that you are planning to be back to Georgia soon. You have worked in Tbilisi for a long period as the head of National Democratic Institute, so you are one of the most competent international experts when it comes to Georgia’s politics and sociology. What’s your attitude to Georgia now, and will you be visiting us this time as an expert? 
 
Laura THORNTONWell, I am not sure I am an expert, just an interested observer! My attitude toward Georgia is always one of hopeful optimism and desire for the country’s success. I believe Georgia faces similar challenges to many other places, including my own country. There is an alarming rise of authoritarian threats – both external and internal – which is impacting the quality of our democratic function. Deep polarization is paralyzing governance and thwarting democracy’s ability to deliver, which drives people into the arms of illiberal forces. Information integrity is the subtext of much of this, with disinformation efforts sowing discontent and exacerbating divisions. As I’ve said before, democracy is Georgia’s greatest asset and I believe in Georgian democrats to overcome these challenges by supporting pluralism, checks and balances, a robust civil society, and rule of law.

Ambassador Riina KALJURAND (video): "Estonians want to see the result, so we just do it"

18.05.2021 (Caucasian Journal). Today Caucasian Journal is honored to greet Her Excellency Riina KALJURAND, the Ambassador of Estonia to Georgia and Armenia. The interview is available in video format with Georgian subtitles, and as text. You may view the video discussion below. 

The full text of this 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.


Ambassador Riina KALJURAND: "Estonians want to see the result, so we just do it"

18.05.2021 (Caucasian Journal). Today Caucasian Journal is honored to greet Her Excellency Riina KALJURAND, the Ambassador of Estonia to Georgia and Armenia. The interview is available in video format with Georgian subtitles, and as text - both in English and Georgian. Below we present the full English text version of interview. 

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

Alexander KAFFKA, editor-in-chief of CJ:  Hello and welcome to Caucasian Journal video interviews.  You are comparatively new head of the embassy in Tbilisi. How can you summarize your impressions so far?

Riina KALJURAND: Thank you very much for inviting me to this interview. Indeed I’m relatively new although I cannot say that that I arrived recently - it was already nine months ago, and I arrived in a quite unfortunate time - in the sense that it is or it was in the middle of pandemic. So the normal social life and communication with other diplomats has been very limited and restricted, and the traveling within the country has been very limited. Maybe I haven't done as much as I would have liked to have done by this time, and I haven't traveled as much as I would have liked to have traveled, but I still hope that the society and the country will open up, and I can catch up with this a little bit later. 

“The main pillar in our vision is the ethical aspect”: Guro RANES and Jan JOHANSEN explain why Norway’s roads are the world’s safest

04.05.2021 (Caucasian Journal). Today we want to present to our readers’ attention some literally vital statistics. In Georgia, the number of COVID-19 related fatalities in 2020 was 2,528. But during same year, 6,640 were injured in road accidents, and 450 people’s lives were lost – and that’s despite the curfew and other restrictions on mobility. 

Regrettably, the road safety gets modest media attention in contrast to tremendous coverage of COVID-related risks, while 6500 individuals have been killed in road accidents in Georgia over the past ten years. This death toll places Georgia on the very top of Europe’s most dangerous roads – see graphs below, based on two independent data sources: WHO and OECD. 

Norway has the Europe’s lowest road mortality level, according to the same graphs. That’s why we interviewed Guro RANES, Director of Road Traffic Safety at Norwegian Public Roads Administration (“Vegvesen”), and Jan JOHANSEN, General Director of Norwegian Council for Road Safety (“Trygg Trafikk”). 

▶ ქართულად:  The Georgian text version is here.

Alexander KAFFKA, editor-in-chief of Caucasian Journal:  Welcome to Caucasian Journal.  We are especially interested in the interview with you, because road safety is a particularly serious problem in our region. And you can see why, if you look at the graphs…

“The main pillar in our vision is the ethical aspect”: Guro RANES and Jan JOHANSEN explain why Norway’s roads are the world’s safest

04.05.2021 (Caucasian Journal).Today we want to present to our readers’ attention some literally vital statistics. In Georgia, the number of COVID-19 related fatalities in 2020 was 2,528. But during same year, 6,640 were injured in road accidents, and 450 people’s lives were lost – and that’s despite the curfew and other restrictions on mobility. 

Regrettably, the road safety gets modest media attention in contrast to tremendous coverage of COVID-related risks, while 6500 individuals have been killed in road accidents in Georgia over the past ten years. This death toll places Georgia on the very top of Europe’s most dangerous roads – see graphs below, based on two independent data sources: WHO and OECD. 

Norway has the Europe’s lowest road mortality level, according to the same graphs. That’s why we interviewed Guro RANES, Director of Road Traffic Safety at Norwegian Public Roads Administration (“Vegvesen”), and Jan JOHANSEN, General Director of Norwegian Council for Road Safety (“Trygg Trafikk”).

 ქართულად:  The Georgian text version is here

Alexander KAFFKA, editor-in-chief of Caucasian Journal:  Welcome to Caucasian Journal.  We are especially interested in the interview with you, because road safety is a particularly serious problem in our region. And you can see why, if you look at the graphs…

U.S. Fulbright Graduate Student Program opens for Georgian citizens

02.05.2021. The United States Embassy in Georgia has just announced the competition for the 2022-23 Fulbright Graduate Student Program. This program supports study in a master’s degree program at a U.S. university in all disciplines, including business administration.

The Fulbright Scholarship is one of the most prestigious scholarships offered by the U.S. Government. The recruitment of candidates for the Fulbright Graduate Student Program is based on an open competition held by the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy Tbilisi.

The program opening date for receiving applications is May 1, 2021.
 

“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

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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