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Forum celebrating Diaspora Day held in Tbilisi

By Nika Gamtsemlidze
Tuesday, May 28
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia hosts the annual forum dedicated to Diaspora Day – Strong Diaspora for United Georgia on May 27-28. The forum aims to deepen the relations between the country and Georgians living abroad, to ensure their connection with their native land and their active involvement in the process of developing the country and finding ways to solve the problems diaspora is facing.

The forum was attended by the President of Georgia, the Prime Minister, the Chairman of the Parliament of Georgia, Catholicos-Patriarch of Georgia, and the Chairman of the Diaspora and Caucasus Issues Committee of the Parliament of Georgia.

The event was opened by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, David Zalkaliani. According to him, during the forum, the integration in EU and visa liberalization will be discussed in thematic groups. David Zalkaliani also talked about the importance of coordinated work with diaspora representatives.

"During today's event, we will talk about many topics in the thematic groups. One of the main subjects is the integration into the EU and visa liberalization. It is very important that we have a coordinated relationship with the representatives of diaspora because they are the people who have the first-hand information on what the procedures are, and what could result in case of violating them. Therefore, in the context of accurate communication, and in the campaign that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has begun, the involvement of the diaspora is of particular importance,” said Zalkaliani during his speech.

During her speech, the President of Georgia, Salome Zourabichvili, said that the close connection to the diaspora is crucial for the development of the country. As she said, with the efforts of the Georgian Diaspora, the country is known for its culture, sports, and economy around the world. “Our diaspora is Georgia’s strength and one of its most important resources. A strong diaspora is necessary for a united Georgia,” noted the President.

“Today the state and diaspora are united, our future is one,” said Zourabichvili during her speech. She also talked about the Georgian students who are studying abroad, as she said they are "Georgia's largest capital and human resources."

The Prime Minister of Georgia, Mamuka Bakhtadze talked about the unique role and importance of the diaspora and wished its representatives a happy Independence Day. As he said, for him “Georgian diaspora is an inseparable part of the Georgian spirit, of our uniqueness and our past, and the foundation of Georgia's promising future.”

The Head of the Government discussed the programs designed to ensure the diaspora's active involvement within the process of building and strengthening the state, “we have many talented and successful young people abroad, so it is our task and desire to make sure that they, too, are engaged in the process of building and strengthening the Georgian state. I must admit that I am not happy with the current number and content of programs. Consequently, when we meet again next year, I want all of you to feel that our relations with diaspora organizations are at a new level,” noted the PM.

The Patriarch of Georgia also addressed the Forum participants, as he said, the diaspora has a significant influence on Georgia’s development. He also noted that the Government should make sure that they are doing everything to allow emigrants to return to their homeland.

The Diaspora Forum is an annual event, attended by representatives of the Georgian Government, diplomatic corps, international and non-governmental organizations, private sector and academic community.