December 28, 2016
A group of eight first year MAPSIR students, alongside Professors Alexei Trochev and Hélène Thibault, has just returned from their educational trip to Tbilisi, Georgia. The trip was dedicated to observing the Georgian parliamentary elections that took place on 8 October. On that day, the students visited several polling stations in Tbilisi and observed the process, paying particular attention to pre-election campaigns. Students have discussed the outcomes of elections and a broader political history with Professor Malkhaz Saldadze and Timothy Blauvelt (both from the Ilia State University).
Apart from scrutinizing the elections, MAPSIR students had a very busy schedule (including sampling some of that heavenly good Georgian food!). Throughout their weeklong stay in Tbilisi they met with prominent Georgian political scientists and discussed the pressing issues about political and social life in the country. Among the academics were Professor David Matsaberidze from Tbilisi State University (TSU) who spoke about his research on ethnic conflicts, nationalism, and security in the Caucasus. Another lecture was given by Professor Khatuna Maisashvili, also from TSU, who shared her expertise in journalism and politics. Students particularly enjoyed this lecture about Georgian mass media and their effect on political life in the country. “It was fascinating to learn that media in Georgia enjoy such a low level of regulation and a high degree of free speech,” said the students. Besides that, the students visited Caucasus International University and met with the Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences Irine Ghvineria, Professor Aleksandr Rusetsky and the staff of the CIU’s Innovations and Strategic Development Department.