Georgia/ 4.2 Specific policy issues and recent debates
4.2.7 Intercultural dialogue: actors, strategies, programmes
The Ministry of Education and Science regards the issue of intercultural dialogue as important for educational policy in Georgia. However, at the present stage, intercultural dialogue in Georgia is not considered as a priority of state cultural policy.
National Goals for Education were adopted in Georgia in October 2004, stating the development of intercultural skills for graduates of secondary education as one of its priorities.
One of the third sector unions engaged in the introduction and promotion of intercultural dialogue in Georgia is the Public Movement "Multinational Georgia".
The Centre for Cultural Relations of Georgia - Caucasian House - is a cultural, educational and peacekeeping institution (it receives state financial support). One of the priorities of the Caucasian House is to protect human rights and establish religious and ethnic tolerance, promote peaceful co-existence of different cultures, support cultural integration of and collaboration with the Caucasian people. In 1999, the Caucasian House, together with other NGOs, created - the Union - Caucasian House, which is situated in the same building and is made up of the following Departments:
- The Caucasian Department: Strives to protect the vanishing, archaic Caucasian languages; cooperates with representatives of national minorities in the cultural life of the country; studies the modern history of the Caucasus, their ethno-psychology, political thinking and the nature of ethnic conflicts; informs the organisations and individuals interested in the issues of the Caucasus;
- European-American Department: Issues the magazine Apra, with Georgian translations of important pieces of western literature, philosophy and theology (since 1997, 11 copies have been published);
- Slavonic Department and the Smirnov Family Museum – The Pushkin Memorial: The Smirnov family collection, granted to Georgia in 1985, includes the furniture of the splendid literary salon of Alexandra Smirnova-Rosset (1809-1882), famed as the author of memoirs, Maid of Honour at the courts of two Empresses. The Slavonic Department collaborates with the Russian community in Georgia, pupils and teachers of Russian schools and arranges literary soirées in the museum; and
- Oriental Department-Centre for studying Islamic culture in the Caucasus: At the Centre for studying Islamic culture in the Caucasus, the Koran is being scientifically translated from Arabian into Georgian, with Shi'ite and Sunni comments. At the Centre, information is provided for scientists, students and individual Muslims living in Georgia who are interested in Islam. Persian and Arabian literature is translated at the Centre as well.
There is a wealth of project supported by foundations to foster intercultural dialogue. Below is an overview of their recent activities:
Current projects supported by the Heinrich Boll Foundation:
- meetings with national and religious minorities and joint cultural activities;
- work of the inter-religious council which also organises seminars and educational work to help prevent religious extremism); and
- Joint Prayer for the Faithful of the Caucasus (once a year, at the same time, people of different ethnic backgrounds and religions of the Caucasus pray for the salvation of the Caucasus).
Current projects supported by the European Foundation HORIZON:
- Sunday school for refugees and socially vulnerable children (since 2001);
- Institute of Caucasiology (since September, 2004);
- Caucasian Peoples' Folklore (multivolume reference tool);
- Books on the people of the Caucasus; and
- The Centre for studying Islamic Culture in the Caucasus (including translations of the Koran with comments).
The Democratic Commission of Small Grants of the USA Embassy provides support for the Georgian - Abkhazian public and political newspaper "Kavkazski Akcent".
The British non-governmental organisation "Conciliation Resources" provides support for the Russian language edition of the "Kavkazski Akcent" newspaper, The Life Histories publication which includes stories about the war narrated by Abkhazians and Georgians.
Database of Good Practice on Intercultural Dialogue
Chapter published: 10-01-2012