The Living Tradition of Music in Georgia

One thing that has always struck me about Georgian culture is that it is a culture of song.  It is often said that one out of every two Georgians are musical, either singing or playing an instrument (such as the traditional banjo-esque “panduri”).  Musical talent is highly respected, as it is integral for unlocking a … Continue reading The Living Tradition of Music in Georgia

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Language Matters for Development Work

Last week my internship with the National Democratic Institute in Georgia took me to the beautiful resort town of Borjomi, where I had the unique opportunity to observe trainings for local government officials.  The topic of the training was election campaign management, and NDI flew in an American expert for the occasion – a distinguished … Continue reading Language Matters for Development Work

Women’s Political Participation in Georgia

In my orientations preparing for Georgia, gender was a major topic of discussion. I learned that while society is progressing, there are still traditional biases about women and women’s' roles in Georgia. I prepared to be treated differently as a woman in the country. Some of my expectations were met consistently: men, for example, do … Continue reading Women’s Political Participation in Georgia

From Tbilisi to Mestia and Back Again

Friday night a few friends and I boarded a train at Tbilisi Station bound for the western village of Zugdidi. The train was quite comfortable. Having been in countries where trains have six bunks to a cabin, I found the four-bunk cabin to be spacious, the cushions soft, and the quiet and darkness sufficient for … Continue reading From Tbilisi to Mestia and Back Again

Georgia’s Path to Full Democracy

Georgia went from having no democratic institutions and no clear path to freedom to having a relatively stable and well respected system of democratic institutions in the span of 25 years since independence. The path to democracy started at independence, but one could argue that legitimate democracy began with the 2003 rose revolution. Obviously there … Continue reading Georgia’s Path to Full Democracy

Communism in 21st Century Georgia

In the hills that surround and define Tbilisi, a solitary villa overlooks the city, a testament to the power of capitalism and the free market. It is an obscene display of wealth, complete with security, a giraffe, and a shark tank. The villas owner has a personal fortune of several billion, equal to 50% of … Continue reading Communism in 21st Century Georgia

An Armenian-American in Georgia

I arrived in Tbilisi calm, without expectations. Maybe because it was almost 4 am when I finally stepped into my cab, or maybe because of my exhausting two-day layover in Munich, which included a missed flight and an unexpected friendship with a stoic Romanian stranger. In any case, my excitement quota had already been fulfilled … Continue reading An Armenian-American in Georgia

Cross at Your Own Risk

I consider myself very lucky to be in Georgia and to have lived here for the past year. Sakartvelo, as the country is known in its native tongue, is a beautiful and geographically diverse state which offers a number of exciting opportunities for students and travelers alike. The cuisine, culture, and especially the Georgian people … Continue reading Cross at Your Own Risk

Georgia On My Mind

As a participant in American Councils' Peace and Security in the South Caucasus program, I am thoroughly impressed with the opportunities this program affords. Even after nearly eleven months in the country, this experience has allowed me to gain a better understanding of the courses' subject material and introduced me to a number interesting people. … Continue reading Georgia On My Mind