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Cross-border project comes to a close

By Messenger Staff
Monday, October 6
On October 4, 2014, the closing conference of the project “Crossing the Border: Networking Armenian and Georgian Experts” took place at Ilia State University.

The project was implemented by the non-governmental organizations BTKK – Policy Research Group (Tbilisi, Georgia) and the Armenian Center for Transatlantic Initiatives (Yerevan, Armenia) with the financial support of the the Black Sea Trust for Regional Cooperation, a Project by the German Marshall Fund of the United States.

The project lasted for seven months in 2014 and its goals were to establish a new network of Georgian and Armenian experts working in different fields; conducting research and preparing analytical papers about major political, economic or other developments across the border, and thus, encouraging future cooperation between Georgian and Armenian NGOs.

“BTKK - Policy Research Group (Georgia) and the Armenian Center for Transatlantic Initiatives (Armenia) have a great deal of expertise in conducting comprehensive research on public policy and regional policy issues of the South Caucasus. The project partially addressed the lack of information and more specifically the lack of high standard expertise as one of the causes of uniformed and stereotyped analysis of developments across the border widespread in both countries. The result of the project was the establishment of a network of experts and NGOs, which can help media and other societal actors in getting access to reliable information about public policy issues in Armenia and Georgia. The project has also contributed to raising awareness about the political developments in both countries,” Tornike Turmanidze, the director of the project told The Messenger.

In the course of the project, four Armenian and four Georgian experts travelled to Tbilisi and Yerevan, gathered research data, conducted interviews with representatives of government, opposition, business, NGOs, think tanks and academia, and together prepared eight research papers on issues related to the neighboring country’s foreign policy, media, economy, public policy and civil society.

“The exchange and networking of experts is a tool for creating a platform for future cooperation between the civil societies of the two countries. Through this project, researchers in Armenia and Georgia had an opportunity to learn more about relevant policy issues in their neighboring country and, hence, were able to engage in a more fact-based and less stereotyped dialogue. The network of experts established by this project serves as a solid basis for future cooperation, developing new ideas and initiatives between Armenian and Georgian NGOs,” Turmanidze told the paper.

The collection of works by project participants was published under the title View across the Border: Policy and Society in Armenia and Georgia. It includes the following research papers (in Russian, with their executive summaries in English): “Armenia’s Path towards Eurasian Union: Causes and Prospects” by David Batashvili, “Turkish Policy in Georgia: Social and Economic Implications of Integration Projects” by Vahram Ter-Matevosyan, “Media Ethics in Armenia: Practice and Challenges” by Tamar Khorbaladze, “Online Media in Georgia: Challenges and Development Perspectives” by Anna Barseghyan, “E-governance in Armenia: Achievements and Challenges” by Tamaz Akhobadze, “Civic Activism in Georgia: Achievements and Challenges” by Narine Daneghyan, “Pension Reform in Armenia: Opportunities and Challenges” by Irina Guruli and “Georgia: Why And How to Reform the Pension System?” by Susanna Karapetyan.