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Georgian student wins EBRD “Born in ‘89” -essay competition

Friday, September 10
Ana Dabrundashvili, a university student from Tbilisi, Georgia, has won the “Born in ‘89” - essay competition, organised by the EBRD in co-operation with UniCredit and the Financial Times newspaper. Ms Dabrundashvili’s essay was chosen from almost 600 entries by an international jury chaired by the Ukrainian novelist Andrei Kurkov.

Announcing the decision, Mr Kurkov said: “We had extremely strong contenders in this competition and although this made our work as judges quite difficult it also provides me with a lot of confidence for the future of Eastern Europe and beyond. In this strong field the judges unanimously chose Ana as the winner and this shows how highly we all rated her contribution. She deserved to be the winner.”

As a prize Ms Dabrundashvili was awarded a one week-internship at the Financial Times. Quentin Peel, who was Moscow bureau chief of the newspaper and represented it in the “Born in ‘89”-jury, added: “Ana’s essay is serious and witty, tragic and funny, moving and wry – in essence, it is a stunning reflection of life in Georgia over the past 20 years. It reminds us that transition is a period of upheaval and hardship, but also of new chances and opportunities. More than anything, Ana’s essay is a tribute to the resilience and indefatigability of the Georgian people of all generations.”

The judges also singled out essays by Nikita Bolgov (Rostov, Russia), Ulyana Yasna (Zapitiv, Ukraine), Irina Fedorenko (Vladivostok, Russia), Sonja Kasipovic (Rijeka, Croatia) and Daria Orlova (Izhevsk, Russia).

All six winners were awarded cash-prizes by UniCredit. Antonella Massari, UniCredit Head of Group Identity & Communications, said: “The strong participation in the competition has provided us with unique insights how the younger generation in formerly communist countries see the events of 1989 and the world today. As a Group deeply rooted in the region and close to its people, UniCredit is proud to have contributed to an initiative that gives voice to their thoughts and feelings and which also fosters the development of young talent.”

Olivier Descamps, EBRD Managing Director for Turkey, Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia, added: “I would like to thank the participants, our partners and our judges for the hard work and tremendous effort that has gone into this competition. It has presented us with a unique opportunity to hear the voices of a new generation – something which has given us fascinating perspectives on the value and purpose of our own work in this region.”

The “Born in ‘89” essay competition was organised by the EBRD to commemorate 20 years of the fall of communism in Eastern Europe in 1989 and was held last year throughout the EBRD region. Almost 600 essays were submitted and assessed by an international jury chaired by Andrei Kurkov and including Sladana Bukovac (journalist and writer, Zagreb), Kevin Klose (Dean of Journalism, University of Maryland), Quentin Peel (Financial Times), Nenad Popovic, (founder and editor, Durieux Publishers, Zagreb), Velislav Radev (BBC World Service) and Danuta Walewska (Rzeczpospolita).

Since the establishment of the Caucasus Regional Office in Tbilisi on September 2006, EBRD has invested in Georgia over ˆ878 million into 101 projects in the financial, corporate, infrastructure and energy sectors. EBRD provides project financing for banks, industries and businesses, both new ventures and investments in existing companies, as well as publicly owned companies.