Tbilisi, 23 September 2015 (Meeting 9)

The project’s ninth working meeting was held at Europe House Georgia (Tbilisi) on 23 September 2015 and covered the following topics:

– The essence of identity
– Problems of intercultural dialogue
– Conditions of/for artists, including issues of mobility
– The importance of culture for social cohesion
– Increased media diversity to protect and promote the multiplicity of cultural expressions

Nino Gunia-Kuznetsova presented the project and the 2005 Paris Convention to the participants, who were undergraduate and graduate students in Sociology and from the Academy of Arts, as well as activists in the non-governmental sector. The presentation was followed by a discussion.

The students believed that one of the most important issues in the context of cultural expression is a lack of tolerance, especially in schools. The Church was also identified as one of the factors that reflect intolerant attitudes, particularly against the LGBT community.

The participants discussed the role of the media. They pointed out that the Georgian media does not sufficiently cover issues of cultural diversity and that there is a lack of qualified journalists in the sphere of culture. The discussions that followed revealed there is a low level of professionalism in general (in various spheres, including journalism) and that professional qualifications should be increased.

The participants made the following recommendations:

– Informal education that starts in primary school is needed to develop tolerance;
– Increased professionalization will ensure that problems and issues are covered objectively in all sectors, especially in the media. An ongoing exchange of communication with the public is essential for generating tolerance;
– Intercultural camps for children and teenagers could be a tool for cultivating tolerance, and could take place–with the help of volunteers–even with limited resources;
– Cultural activities and products need to be accessible in all of Georgia’s regions.

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