Two years of Covid in South Caucasus at a glance

18.12.2021 (Caucasian Journal). As the world is approaching 2 years of Covid pandemics, Caucasian Journal is posting a comparison of Covid-19 situations across the South Caucasus region. 
The graphs are per capita, so they give an objective picture of success/failure in fighting the pandemics. We will also seek for expert opinions to comment on the trends, so this post is to be updated. 

University of Zürich offers paid fellowship opportunities for research on South Caucasus

17.12.2021 (Caucasian Journal). For the spring semester of 2022, the Center for Eastern European Studies (CEES) at the University of Zurich offers up to five residential fellowships to highly talented and innovative young or mid-career scholars from the field of social sciences or humanities. 

Applicants with research focused on South Caucasus are particularly encouraged.  "While we welcome research proposals on all topics related to the study of Eastern Europe and post-Soviet Eurasia, for the fall spring 2022 Fellowship Program, we are particularly interested in applications from scholars with an interest in geopolitical trends, economic connectivity and/or transnational social and/or cultural issues related to South Caucasus region", - reads the call for applications. 

Funding includes accommodation, health insurance, visa support, and a stipend for living expenses during the period of stay of up to four months.  The deadline of application is January 15, 2022.  Application details are here.

Nick BERESFORD: "We need to keep up momentum to achieve prosperity underpinned by democratic institutions and the rule of law"

13.12.2021 (Caucasian Journal) “This is a critical moment for the world, and for development”, - according to the head of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). 
What is happening to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) now? What is happening to the development of Georgia, and what place does the country occupy in the bigger picture of global development? 
Today Caucasian Journal is discussing these issues with Mr. Nick BERESFORD, recently appointed Resident Representative of UNDP in Georgia.  Previously he has served for the UN in Bangladesh, Somalia, East Timor, and at headquarters in New York.

Alexander KAFFKA, editor-in-chief of CJ:  Dear Mr. Beresford, welcome to Georgia.  The SDG themes have been always in the focus of Caucasian Journal, as they were essentially our priority topics since launch. So I believe we are now ripe enough for a conversation with UNDP’s country representative, and let me thank you for attention to our readers. Before Georgia, you worked in some of the world’s poorest countries – it must have been a big challenge, but also a great experience for a development professional?

Nick BERESFORD: I have been very lucky to have worked in some amazing countries and with some wonderful people. In Bangladesh for example UNDP has a programme with women led community groups in one of the world’s largest slums. These women activists led their communities in proving a living, putting kids through school, and making political alliances with Mayors and local councilors to get services their families need. In Somalia I worked with coastal communities as they recovered from piracy, setting up local government and creating small businesses. You learn a lot as a development professional in these partnerships and even if progress is often slow or marginal, it’s wonderful to see some positive change where it’s most needed.

Caroline von POST: “Why do we dress babies in brand new clothes that are full of chemicals?”

06.12.2021 (Caucasian Journal). Does a “100% cotton” label always mean that the garments (or linens, towels, etc) are safe to use?  Are second-hand clothes better for a baby? How a business can use waste to manufacture top quality product and generate profit? Why is this relevant to hotels? What is ethical about recycling?

These are some questions which we have for our new guest - Caroline von POST (Sweden), a biologist, circular economy consultant, and head of an aptly-named company, Stormie Poodle.

▶ ქართულად: Read the Georgian version here.

▶ Հայերեն: Read the Armenian version here.

Alexander KAFFKA, editor-in-chief of CJ:  Dear Caroline, welcome to Caucasian Journal, and greetings from South Caucasus. This region is known for natural beauty, rich history and hospitality, and it is small wonder that tourism is one of our main backbones. As you can guess, I’m about to ask about the hotels. Is it true that you know a “magic” way for hotels to become more environmentally friendly, reduce waste, and make profit?

Caroline von POST: Haha, of course, they could let me help them! No seriously, it’s a complicated thing, running a hotel. Positioning your brand, employing the right staff who can represent the hotel in a positive manner, cooking great food, decorating the rooms etc… so many things to think about. While I have helped hotels become more environmentally friendly prior to launching Stormie Poodle, my business now focuses on the textiles that are used by the hotel and “upcycling” those textiles to – as you say – reduce waste, become more environmentally friendly, and increase profits.

Your country seems like a very beautiful place with so much biodiversity and amazing mountains.  I hope I get the chance to visit it one day.