Students in Tbilisi discussed Georgian presence, past and future

Kabineti Chavchavadze, implemented by Georgian NGO International Center for Peace and Integration within the framework of Cabinet Chavchavadze, discussion model set by the Czech NGO Be International, took place in Georgia on April 18th 2012 at Tbilisi State University.

Around 25 people participated in the Cabinet, mainly students and youngsters. The discussions were moderated by Lasha Bakradze, president of Literature Museum and Shorena Lortkipanidze, project coordinator of International Center on Conflict and Negotiation. Different topics were discussed within an interesting method of World Café which enables participants to get involved into discussion very interactively and openly.

Here you can see the short version of the topics for discussion:

Georgian past

  • Georgian heroes and heroines: how they inspire us nowadays?
  • Traditions vs. modernity in Georgia: clash or meeting point?
  • Georgian experience: how was it on the way to democracy?

Georgian presence

  • Georgians abroad and foreigners in Georgia: Are Georgians multicultural?
  • Georgian current political culture: a respect to democracy?
  • Georgian society and the roles of NGOs – what about Georgian civic society?

Georgian future

  • Georgian youth: Georgian youth as the future of Georgia?
  • Georgia in the world: where is the place for Georgia in current world?

Cabinet itself turned into very long discussion about Georgian society and we focused on lots of changes we need to go through in Georgia. The most problematic issue for most of the students appeared to be the silent majority at the university. Students claimed that many of them do not like the system and the university self government, but when the time comes to express their ideas publicly and openly they are afraid and do not want to speak or act.

Furthermore we talked about the NGO sector which does not work properly. Most of the NGOs represent the idea of government and not the will and needs of society. In Georgian reality there are few NGOs who really reflect the civil society and its needs.

The problem of media was also underlined. It is not possible to find an objective TV station in Georgia and we found it really bad and misleading for our society, people are getting more and more confused and further from the reality every day.

Moreover it was said that we are the country lacking the democratic experience. There was a kingdom in Georgia before we got under Russian control and the civic society was not strong at all. During soviet times we lost many talented and educated people who could not lead the democratic state after the fall of Soviet Union.

To sum it up, we find ourselves in the middle of the democratic process and we believe that education and youth are the hope for Georgian better future.

Ana Pilauri

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Tbilisi welcomes Mikuláš Bek

Perfectly prepared program, interesting meetings, beautiful places, music and delicious Georgian cuisine….that was the visit of Masaryk University delegation in Tbilisi.

In the middle of April 2012 the rector of Masaryk University Mikuláš Bek and the director of International Office Dana Petrová with two students – Voice of Georgia project initiators Lela Bernátová and Hana Krhovská visited Tbilisi. We met the rector of TSU Aleksandre Kvitashvili and the rectors signed the official memorandum of cooperation which sets the possibilities and rules for student exchange between MU and TSU.

We gladly changed cold, rainy weather for warm Georgian air. For the whole visit, there were well prepared program including official as well as unofficial meetings and visits of the interesting places in and around Tbilisi. The memorandum was signed by both rectors accompanied also by directors of MU and TSU International Offices and Czech Ambassador to Georgia with the presence of local media.

In the evening we arrived to the Czech Embassy in Tbilisi, where an unofficial cocktail party was prepared. We had the pleasure to meet the Czechs working on developing projects, teaching and living in Georgia. This refreshing meeting continued with the dinner of both rectors and presence of the deputy of the minister of education in Georgia.

Having the real interest in Georgian students studying at Masaryk University, the presentation of the study possibilities was the first part of the student conference at TSU with the presentation of the Czech Republic, Czech language and Czech involvement in Georgia. We hope that we motivated them to use this opportunity and we will welcome first TSU students next semester.

The National Museum of Georgia and the trip to the historical town of Mtskheta, theatre performance of Georgian dances were other pleasures that TSU and the Czech Embassy prepared for us. There was no other way how to close the wonderful day than delicious Georgian dinner, this time on kind invitation of the Czech Ambassador Mr. Jestřáb.

To see, but mainly to hear more, the Czech delegation was warmly welcomed in the Music Academy, which presented itself by the two amazing polyphonic orchestra groups. With promises made by the Czech rector about the future cooperation with Brno Music Academy, the Czech delegation left the academy in a very good mood and just hanged around the old part of Tbilisi and enjoyed the beauty of this growing city.

With the best feelings left after this successful trip to sunny Tbilisi. Now it is up to the students of both universities to fulfil the goals of the Voice of Georgia project – to use the exchange programme opportunities, to learn from each other, to share experience and knowledge…

We are happy that we could bring the first application of the student of the Masaryk University student. We hope to receive many from TSU as well.

Hanka Krhovská
Lela Bernátová

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Voice of Georgia: The Final Countdown

Great Caucasus, Kazbegi. Photo: Lenka Blahová

The republic of Georgia has been attracting one’s attention more and more over the last decade. Gaining the status of model transitional democracy within the Caucasian region Georgia went under academics‘ and experts‘ examinations. Aspiring after the status of an open, liberal and tourist-friendly country Georgia became a famous destination for adventurous tourists. Being a post-soviet country of a rich ethnic variety and in the middle of Russian geopolitical interest, Georgian has been both watched and helped by many national and international humanitarian, development and transformational organisations and agencies.

There are many Czech non-governmental organisations focusing on the region of Caucasus and implementing many important programmes and projects of great quality. Nesehnutí, People in Need, Caritas, Agora Central Europe, Help for Hand and many others have already contributed to further transformational process and powerful civic society building.

How we started

The Czech civic association Be International, inspired by many international meetings with Caucasian representatives and motivated by many Caucasian stories is happy for its contribution towards Czech-Georgian dialogue as well. In November 2009 we focused on raising the public awareness regarding the Russian aggression in Georgia and organised an informational campaign in Brno. In spring 2010 we successfully implemented 10 days long international youth exchange Human is the reason, human is the answer with Georgian, Armenian and Kurdish participants. The conference on current Georgian political situation was opened at Masaryk university. Furthermore the president of Be International Klára Bažantová spend her summer in the capital of Georgia – Tbilisi where she gained a deep insight into Georgian affairs through the European Volunteer Service programme.

Celebration of twenty years of Georgian independence in Brno

In May 2011 the representatives of Czech NGO sector together with Georgian community Samshoblo and Georgian Ambassador to the Czech Republic gathered in Brno in order to strengthen Czech-Georgian dialogue and celebrate the 20th anniversary of Georgian independence. The idea of Voice of Georgia project was born that day.

Voice of Georgia was established as a project spreading the dialogue in everyday life of Georgians. It is an apolitical project which opens a platform for dialogue within the civic sector, universities, medias, art groups, cafes. Voice of Georgia, implemented in cooperation with Czech and Georgian partners of a rich diversity, carries the idea of responsible independent civic society. Series of public meetings, cultural events, training courses and international youth exchanges were about to be realised.

What happened in Tbilisi

Supported by Masaryk University and the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Tbilisi two representatives of Be International travelled to Georgia in August 2011 for two months long period. Under the honourable patronage of recently deceased philosopher Václav Havel we started to fulfil the aims and reflect the values of the projects. Establishing the partnership with Academy for Peace and Development, International Centre for Peace and Integration and Cafe Discovery we managed to implement series of activities.

In September 2011 we built the first pillar of Cafe Bridge and started the cooperation between Cafe Falk in Brno and Cafe Discovery in Tbilisi. In Cafe Discovery we opened the Contemporary Living Brno Photo Exhibition, where pictures from interesting cultural events in Brno were shown. In addition we screened the experimental documentary movies Black Shorts, telling the stories of the most usual moments from Georgian every day reality while shooting them in an unusual way. In December 2011 the second pillar was built while holding a discussion on independent culture in Cafe Falk in Brno.

In November 2011 the international youth exchange called Volunteering for Peaceful Future took place in Bakuriani, Georgia. It brought together for 7 days 40 young people from 8 post-socialistic countries: Latvia, Georgia, Poland, Azerbaijan, Czech Republic, Moldova, Lithuania and Russia. In cooperation with Georgian NGO International Centre for Peace and Integration (ICPI) we went through the series of workshops and seminars focusing on conflict management and peace building. EU Monitoring Mission kindly accepted our invitation and shared their interesting experiences with participants while attending our project.

On November 17th Voice of Georgia launched the series of Pecha Kucha Nights in Tbilisi in cooperation with cafe and music club Cafe Gallery and our friend Hayk Asriyants. PechaKucha Night was devised in Tokyo in February 2003 as an event for young designers to meet, network, and show their work in public. It has turned into a massive celebration, with events happening in hundreds of cities around the world, inspiring creative worldwide. The first Pecha Kucha Night in Tbilisi introduced many brave, creative and inspiring civic initiatives.

In April 2012 ICPI opened the series of discussions within the framework of Cabinet Chavchavadze. The first round gathered motivated students, respected writers and press. The method of discussion World Café enabled speakers to hold a fruitful informal discussion and go deeper under the skin of the topics from Georgian past, presence and future. Students were asked to send their opinions in the form of essays which are about to be published.

Study in Georgia, study in the Czech Republic!

The rector of MU and the rector of TSU signing the Memorandum

Voice of Georgia project played an important role in the partnership building process, while encouraging both Masaryk University (MU) and Tbilisi State University (TSU) to negotiate an agreement and sign the official memorandum of cooperation. In the middle of April 2012 the rector of Masaryk University Mikuláš Bek visited Tbilisi, met the rector of TSU Aleksandre Kvitashvili and signed the memorandum which sets the possibilities and rules for student exchange between MU and TSU (You can read the memorandum at the end of this post).

What’s next?

Voice of Georgia project reached its peak in the middle of April 2012 when the memorandum between TSU and MU was signed. We believe that the student exchange will become a life-changing experience for many students and our Georgian partners will ensure that Café Bridge and Cabinet Chavchavadze will continue. Moreover one of the project coordinators Lela Bernátová is just applying for Youth in Action grant in order to realise her European Volunteer Service in Tbilisi.

Thank you all who supported us and helped us to organise and implement our activities and thanks to our amazing Georgian and International friends in Georgia who made our stay in Caucasus unforgettable.


Klára Bažantová
Lenka Bernátová
Hana Krhovská

Be International


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Study in Georgia!

The Office for International Studies at Masaryk University has recently published an awesome news on its webpage. Right now the students of Masaryk University can apply and study at Tbilisi State University (TSU), beginning from the next semester!

Voice of Georgia project played an important role in the partnership building process, while encouraging both MU and TSU to negotiate an agreement and sign the official memorandum of cooperation. In the middle of April 2012 the rector of Masaryk University Mikuláš Bek is going to visit Tbilisi for couple of days. There are series of meetings and public discussions on schedule: the rector will meet the rector of TSU Aleksandre Kvitashvili, the official memorandum which enables the student exchanges and deepens the Czech-Georgian cooperation will be signed, press conference will take place and other activities of educational and cultural character will happen. The cooperation creates a platform for further networking, as far as the MU and TSU cooperation is the first contact making activity of its kind in the region of Caucasus.

We strongly believe both universitites can enhance their capacities and fields of interests and study from each other. We would like to see lots of Czech students in Georgia and as many Georgian students as possible in Brno very soon.


Useful links:
Information at the Office for International Studies (CZ)
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic about Georgia (CZ)

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PechaKucha Night Tbilisi Vol. 1!



Voice of Georgia is kicking Pecha Kucha night off! In cooperation with Café Gallery and our friend Hayk Asriyants we are going to launch the first volume on Thursday 17th at 20:20 at Rustaveli Avenue 48 in Café Gallery.

PechaKucha Night was devised in Tokyo in February 2003 as an event for young designers to meet, network, and show their work in public. It has turned into a massive celebration, with events happening in hundreds of cities around the world, inspiring creative worldwide. Drawing its name from the Japanese term for the sound of “chit chat”, it rests on a presentation format that is based on a simple idea: 20 images x 20 seconds. It’s a format that makes presentations concise, and keeps things moving at a rapid pace.

We are happy to be participating on this fabulous event within the framework of Voice of Georgia project especially on November 17th. November 17th is a significant date in the Czech Republic, commemorating student demonstrations against totalitarianism in 1989 and International Student Date as well. Great to celebrate with such an event! We are looking forward to meeting you again.

You can see the invitation on facebook here and PechaKucha Night official website here.

PechaKucha Night – devised and shared by Klein Dytham architecture.

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Café Bridge is about to be constructed!

The official opening of Café Bridge and the first Voice of Georgia event is about to start in Tbilisi!

Let us kindly invite you to Café Discovery, at Chavchavadze st. 40. On Friday, 9th of September, we will open the Café Bridge with experimental documentary movies called Black Shorts. Czech beer provided :)

These movies were shot by creative people from across the Europe, both from Czech Republic and from Georgia. They have met for the first time in Garikula, Georgia. They created the films which show the daily reality of Georgian life from the extraordinary points of view. They were observing the most usual moments and shot them in unusual way. They spend days with Tbilisi hairdressers, musicians in the underpass and drivers of the old lifts and they listened to their stories. Now, they will present them to the audience. The Worldwide Premiere of Black Shorts took place in Budapest on June 9th 2011. Now you can watch them in Café Discovery.

Black Shorts is generously funded by the European Cultural Foundation and The Open Society Institute was realized in the cooperation with Sakdoc film and Plotki project.

Together with contemporary Georgian reality, we want to present also today’s Brno, the second part of the Café Bridge. We will open the Contemporary Living Brno Exhibition, where pictures from interesting cultural event in Brno will be shown. We hope that these pictures taken by young photographer David Konečný will be great inspiration and motivation for everybody here in Tbilisi and they will encourage creative minds to organize such events in Georgia as well.

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Café Discovery, Tbilisi – the second pillar of Café Bridge

We found the place! We found our café home here in Tbilisi. So nice to feel coffee-secured again, phew.

Café Discovery steers away from group of posh Tbilisi semicafé-semirestaurant places. Friendly management creates a background for ultimate coffee freedom, symbolized by ideas and reflected by events happening in the café. Cafe Discovery is the perfect place in Tbilisi to relax and recharge any time of the day or night. Café Discovery is open to creative ideas, exhibitions, movie screenings and the other art momentary aberration.

Café Bridge will establish cooperation between Czech and Georgian cafés which is going to be supported by many events. We work on a conceptual framework of long term festival which involves movie screening, evening soireés, exhibitions, concerts, workshops, round tables, etc.

Czech partner, Café Falk in Brno, is now accompanied by Café Discovery. Nice couple, ain’t it?

The first episode of Café Bridge is coming soon. Follow us.

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Rector of Masaryk University in Brno supports Voice of Georgia!

Added value brought by Czech-Georgian university partnership MU+TSU was supported by the rector of Masaryk University in Brno!

Masaryk University rector doc. Mikuláš Bek accepted the patronage over Voice of Georgia. Friendly supportive environment inspires MU Office for International Studies for further cooperation with Tbilisi State University and we believe it will lead to meeting of the rectors here in Tbilisi. While implementing Cabinet Chavchavadze we will focus on confidence building between MU and TSU and ensuring high-quality communication of PR departements.


Czech-Georgian University Partnership: MU+TSUCzech

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Václav Havel supports Voice of Georgia

Václav Havel. Creative Commons-licensed content

“Without free, self-respecting, and autonomous citizens there can be no free and independent nations.”
— Václav Havel, An Anatomy of Reticence

We would like to proudly inform you that Václav Havel, writer and dramatist, one of the first Spokesmen for Charter 77, leading figure of the Velvet Revolution of 1989, the last president of Czechoslovakia and the first president of the Czech Republic accepted the patronage of Voice of Georgia.
Václav Havel is a respected figure of public life who highly contributed into democratic development of the Czech Republic and supports human rights and democracy all his life. Václav Havel’s patronage brings an added value and deeper impact to implemented activities within the project and among the partners. Voice of Georgia feels delighted and highly committed to fulfill the goals of the project and believes in moral inspiration brought by the patronage of Václav Havel.

Thank you very much.

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Voice of Georgia. Connecting generations.

During Cabinet Chavchavadze we would like to organise a touring exhibition “Connected generation”, accompanying each round of debates. Public meetings and discussions implemented within Cabinet Chavchavadze will bring generations to the united round table. After series of innovative presentation methods used in the dialogue among youth, youngsters will reflect their opinions with respected figures of Georgian society. Multigenerational background gives an opportunity for youngsters to share their opinions with adults and elderly generation.

We are searching for young volunteers who would be able to take portraits of an intergenerational bridge: photos of grandsons and grandpas, granddaughters and grandmas among his or her family and friends. Furthermore we would like to motivate youngsters to chat with their relatives and find out what they think about discussed topics in Cabinet Chavchavadze. The portraits of grandsons and grandpas and granddaughters and grandmas will be exhibited in pairs and a brief text reflecting opinions of elder generation will be added next to each pair of photos.

Exhibition will become a part of every round table, underlining the mission of Voice of Georgia.

We are looking forward to hearing from you on

Your Voice of Georgia team

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