An online discussion on 'The Role of Public Diplomacy on the Way Towards the EU' was held at the initiative of the Young Ambassador of Georgia to Italy, Mariam Botchorishvili, and in partnership with Geocase.
Honorary guests and participants of the event: Mr Vladimer Konstantinidi, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, Mr Victor Kipiani, the Chairman of Geocase, Ambassador Mikhail Ukleba, Research Fellow at the Diplomatic Institute, Ms Tamriko Mikadze, the representative of the Policy and Press Department of the EU Delegation to Georgia, Mr Iveri Kekenadze, Georgia's Young Ambassador to Sweden, Ms Nino Tsereteli, Georgia's Young Ambassador to Ireland, Ms Sofio Bakradze and Ms Guli Bekurishvili, the Geocase alumni, spoke about the role and importance of public diplomacy.
The moderator of the event, Ms Mariam Botchorishvili, spoke about the Young Ambassadors program of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgian and noted: ‘The main objective of young ambassadors is to inform Georgian and foreign youth about the economy, education, culture, sports, youth policy and history of Georgia through cultural, educational and sports activities, as well as to expand the network of young foreign friends of Georgia. All the tasks and activities the young ambassador has to carry out are planned according to the existing reality and circumstances of the specific country.’
During his welcoming remarks, Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister Mr Vladimer Konstantinidi spoke about the efforts of young ambassadors and their support activities in conducting public diplomacy. According to him, public diplomacy is one of the valuable levers of foreign relations and it is crucial to use the human resources potential both inside and outside the country. As he noted, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia implements various grant programs in order to support public diplomacy development.
‘The Georgian diaspora is relatively young, it is about 25 years old. Currently, we have more than 200 diaspora organizations worldwide. The role and feedback from the diaspora are important to achieve the common goal set by the foreign policy strategy, first of all, it is de-occupation of the country, restoration of sovereignty, Euro-Atlantic aspirations, cultural diplomacy, and etc.,’ - remarked Mr Vladimer Konstantinidi.
The Chairman of Geocase, Mr Victor Kipiani emphasized the importance of public diplomacy, providing the challenges in the world and the realities of our country.
‘When we talk about public diplomacy, we mean an important Georgian asset - 'soft power': our intellect, our talent, which is an inexhaustible resource. Modern diplomacy is not just an arena for diplomats, unless there is a common national effort in all domains, it will be impossible to strengthen the interests of such a small nation in a dynamic world without the active use of public diplomacy - Georgia's soft power,’ – noted Mr Kipiani.
During the discussion, the EU Delegation representative focused on the EU policy towards Georgia. Ms Tamriko Mikadze spoke about the support activities carried out by the EU Delegation every year.
"Cooperation between Georgia and the European Union is based on common values, as His Excellency, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the European Union, Mr Karl Hartzel, has stated. It is wrong to make a distinction between European and Georgian values because we cannot even talk about differences in this case because Georgian culture is part of European culture. Today we possess the opportunity to rely on a new generation. There are the young EU ambassadors in Georgia who participate in the regional programs every year," said Ms Mikadze.
Ambassador Michael Ukleba, the Research Fellow at the Diplomatic Institute, described the context and important details of diplomatic relations with the EU since 1993. According to him, young ambassadors have a special role to play in promoting Georgia in their host countries.
"Georgia has a rich history and culture, however, it needs proper communication, which is a major challenge for the Foreign Ministry and young ambassadors collaboration," Michael Ukleba stressed.
The young participants unanimously noted that the very process of mental Europeanization is an important part of EU membership, this should be reflected in the well-being of Georgian citizens, values that protect and ensure respect for human rights, and the rule of law are of key importance in this respect.
The event participants also talked about their experiences in raising public awareness about the EU and European values.
Watch the online discussion recording