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  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/sciencelibadmin/public_html/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
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Syndicate content Civil.ge
news. nuance. context.
Updated: 1 year 7 weeks ago

Kobakhidze Says ‘Radical Opposition’ Behind Tbilisi Pride

Mon, 07/05/2021 - 16:07

Ruling Georgian Dream party chairperson Irakli Kobakhidze said amid ongoing mass homophobic disturbances in downtown Tbilisi that Tbilisi Pride’s “real objective” was advancing political interests, not that of defending “rights of anyone.”

“Whatever is happening in the streets of Tbilisi is in the interests of the radical opposition – the United National Movement and its partner parties, [that are forces] behind [Tbilisi] Pride,” claimed MP Irakli Kobakhidze, adding that they warned the pride organizers their march had potential of causing opponents’ aggression.

He said “social confrontation, escalation of the situation, stirring anti-western feelings, is what these political forces did strive for all these years.”

The governing party chairperson also condemned the facts of violence, also “highlighting that violence, in particular against journalists have no justification.”

Tbilisi Pride organizers have repeatedly denied UNM-link allegations by the Georgian Dream officials.

Police Vow to Investigate Attacks Against Tbilisi Pride, Shame Movement Offices

Mon, 07/05/2021 - 15:38

The Ministry of Interior of Georgia said has launched investigation into today’s attacks against Tbilisi Pride and Shame Movement offices in downtown Tbilisi.

The offices of Tbilisi Pride and youth-led Shame Movement, both organizers of the now-cancelled LGBTQ+ March for Dignity, were attacked by far-right counterprotesters.

Police said probe has been launched under Article 187 of the Criminal Code of Georgia, involving damage or destruction of property.

Police also confirmed that in Shame Movement’s office, located right behind the Parliament building, homphobic mob damaged the media equipment, while attempting to rush into the office.

Tbilisi Pride March Cancelled

Mon, 07/05/2021 - 14:56

Tbilisi Pride said it is canceling LGBTQ+ March for Dignity, citing a lack of safety guarantees by the Georgian Dream Government.

“We cannot come out to the streets full of oppressors supported by the government, patriarchate and pro-Russian forces, and risk the lives of people,” stated the Tbilisi Pride statement.

Rather than taking “effective measures” to protect the fundamental rights of the people, we have seen the government representatives “encourage the violent groups,” Tbilisi Pride said.

“Instead of ensuring the security of the queer community and our allies, the government actively hampered us from enjoying the right to assembly,” the statement added.

Tbilisi Pride argued that during today’s incidents the law enforcement officers “did not respond to violent acts committed in front of their eyes.”

This article was updated.

Also Read:

Police Call on Pride Activists Not to Hold Public March

Mon, 07/05/2021 - 13:58

The Interior Ministry has called on Tbilisi Pride activists not to hold today’s March “in a public space,” amid the ongoing violent counter-rally.

The statement elaborated that holding the concluding event for Pride Week on Rustaveli Avenue, Tbilisi’s main thoroughfare, poses risks to those participating.

The Ministry said its representatives have warned Tbilisi Pride organizers about the said risks “repeatedly.”

Also Read:

Far-Right Groups Massively Attack Journalists

Mon, 07/05/2021 - 13:02

At least twenty journalists have been attacked by hate groups gathered in a counter-rally against today’s Tbilisi Pride March, according to the latest media reports.

Those attacked include journalists and cameramen from television channels TV Pirveli, Formula TV, Rustavi 2, Imedi TV, Georgian Public Broadcaster, Mtavari Arkhi and online media outlets On.ge, Netgazeti and Tabula, reports say.

TV Pirveli said counterprotesters smashed its equipment, while Tabula Magazine noted its journalist Mako Jabua was hit with a stick. Several journalists reportedly sustained various degrees of injuries.

The Interior Ministry said it has launched investigations into cases of interference with journalist’s professional activities (Article 154, Criminal Code) and violence (Article 126). The statement did not specify how many incidents have taken place.

The statement also called on Tbilisi Pride activists not to hold the March “in an open public space” because of the “scale” of the ongoing counter-rally.

Parliament Speaker Kakha Kuchava said “violence is inadmissible and I particularly condemn violence against journalists and in general, media representatives.”

“The situation poses a real threat to the life and health of representatives of the media and hampers their journalistic activities,” stated the Public Defender of Georgia following the attacks.

Ombudsperson Nino Lomjaria called on the law enforcement agencies to “use legal mechanisms” to remove alleged offenders from public spaces, and reminded the state authorities of their constitutional obligation to protect freedom of peaceful expression and assembly “including by responding to counter-demonstrators’ violent actions.”

This article was updated.

Anti-Gay Crowds Destroy Anti-Government Tents Outside Parliament

Mon, 07/05/2021 - 12:16

Far-right crowds that gathered on Tbilisi’s main Rustaveli Avenue to prevent Tbilisi Pride March set for later today, have violently dismantled this morning antigovernmental tents outside the Parliament building. Police were largely absent from the area while radical groups tore apart the government opponents’ protest tents.

Opposition and civic activists erected tents outside the Parliament some months ago, as post-October-2020 election crisis deepened in February with the detention of Nika Melia, opposition United National Movement leader.

Along with the tents belonging the United National Movement, the Georgian Dream goverment’s arch-rival, and other opposition parties, Malkhaz Machalikashvili, father of Temirlan Machalikashvili, who was shot dead during an anti-terror operation in north-eastern Pankisi gorge by special police forces in December 2017, as well as brother of Archpriest Giorgi Mamaladze, convicted for murder plot, have been protesting with tents outside the legislature demanding fair investigation.

Various far-right as well as Kremlin-friendly groups have been mobilizing in central Tbilisi at least since yesterday to disrupt Tbilisi Pride March, with Guram Palavandishvili, founder of the Society for Children’s Rights and one of the leaders of hate groups acting against Pride, erecting tents against “LGBT propaganda” overnight near Rustaveli Metro Station, a kilometer away from the Parliament.

Bishop Jakob of Bodbe, who was spotted rallying on Tbilisi’s main thoroughfare, told journalists today that he sees holding LGBTQ+ pride as “worse” than the Russian occupation of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region, arguing that Georgia will regain control over those regions anyway, while Pride will irreparably affect our people’s “morality, spirituality and traditions,” he claimed.

The Georgian Orthodox Church also announced on July 3 prayers in Kashveti Church, opposite to the Parliament building and called for “peaceful protest” against the propagation of “perverted lifestyle.”

PM Says Pride March ‘Unreasonable,’ Organized by ‘Radical Opposition’

Mon, 07/05/2021 - 11:40

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili said holding the March for Dignity today on Rustaveli Avenue is “unreasonable” as it contains risks of “civil confrontation,” and the majority of the populace finds it “unacceptable.” The PM also claimed the event is organized by “radical opposition” headed by Ex-President Saakashvili.

PM Garibashvili noted the Interior Ministry explained the said risks to the Tbilisi Pride organizers and offered alternative locations for the demonstration. He called on the activists to take up the authorities’ suggestion.

But, the Georgian PM claimed that “radical opposition headed by [United National Movement’s leader-in-exile] Saakashvili” is behind the organizing of the Pride March, aiming to sow “unrest” in the society. “I say this with full responsibility,” the PM asserted.

“We will not let this [unrest] happen, everything will be in our country as our people want,” PM Garibashvili declared.

The statement comes as scores of citizens have already gathered on Tbilisi’s main thoroughfare in a counter-rally called by Georgian Orthodox Church, as well as far-right and ultra-conservative groups.

Giorgi Tabagari, Tbilisi Pride Director, dubbed PM Garibashvili’s accusation that Saakashvili is pulling the strings “unbelievable.” “Shameful statement and highly irresponsible of PM, it only worsens the already tense situation,” tweeted the LGBTQ activist leader.

Ministers Reflect | Ketevan Bochorishvili (MESD 2012-2017)

Mon, 07/05/2021 - 10:35

Ministers Reflect is a new interview series on “how to be effective in government”, following a model developed by the Institute for Government in London. The series seeks to capture – in former ministers’ own words – what it takes to be an effective government minister, what challenges they face, and what broader lessons their experiences may hold. The interview was conducted on 22 March 2020, by Hans Gutbrod, Guga Chomakhidze, and Nikoloz Dzneladze, all at Ilia State University. Nino Gabelashvili and Irakli Asanishvili contributed to preparation and editing.

Today’s Guest: Ketevan Bochorishvili was a Deputy Minister of Economy from 2012 to 2017. Prior to assuming this role, she led Invest in Georgia/National Investment Agency (2010-2012), now known as Enterprise Georgia, and also worked for the Millenium Challenge Corporation Georgia. Ms Bochorishvili holds a Master’s Degree in International Public Management from SDA Bocconi (Milan, Italy), previously studied at the Georgian Technical University, and is on LinkedIn.

Thinking back to when you first started, how did you find your way into government? And what was the experience like? 

Ketevan Bochorishvili: My way into becoming a Deputy Minister was through working on investment promotion. I had done my master’s degree in Italy, at Bocconi University, and had started my first internship at a management consulting firm in Rome. As a recent graduate, I had gone through the challenge of finding an internship that would lead to a job and had settled in Rome, which was a great place to be, it was beautiful. Then the opportunity arose to work at the Millennium Challenge Corporation [an American development donor], and it was hard to leave my Italian life. That said, returning was also tempting. All this was in 2008 when all the reforms were happening in Georgia, and the country was growing enormously. I think that was when we had double-digit growth — just before the conflict started with Russia. 

The Millennium Challenge Corporation was one of the best workplaces, a big fund that was developing infrastructure and supporting enterprises. I joined the team, for which the supervisory board was the Government of Georgia. Through my work at Millennium Challenge, I met government officials at the commencement of the construction of a road, at different signing ceremonies, or working meetings. At that point, we also had financed several projects through the enterprise part of our fund, such as hotels or food processing. We worked closely with government officials. Many processes were challenging because the country was young, and to manage around 400m USD was not an easy task by that time at all. 

At one point, I received a direct message from the Minister of Economy, at that time Vera Kobalia. She asked me to share my CV, and then asked me to come to meet. I had met her previously maybe one or two times. I came to her office, and then she told me that I have been observing you, I have a job opening as the head of the investment agency at the Ministry of Economy, I want you to take this position. 

For me, it was totally unexpected. I liked her approach. She was so fast, direct, and sure about her decision that I realized that I would not have two weeks to consider. Either I take this job, or this opportunity will be gone. I thought, let me try working in the public sector, I wanted to try myself in new things, new directions. I joined even though I also had another opportunity coming up in Italy, at an international organization. But Italy never came to my mind after the first day of work at my new job at Georgian National Investment Agency. From then, it was mainly long hours at the office, with time flying past. Once, while in the office, I suddenly realized it is New Year’s, because there were fireworks outside. The job was very intense but very interesting. 

I realized that I would not have two weeks to consider. Either I take this job, or this opportunity will be gone. I thought, let me try working in the public sector, I wanted to try myself in new things, new directions.

We had to dig down deep to understand the structure, strategy, and what we should be doing to attract foreign direct investment (FDI). The substance of this you don’t learn in the university, or anywhere I had been. It needed much more creativity and thinking out of the box. I joined the agency at the beginning of December 2010, and by mid-January 2011, together with my staff — I didn’t bring new staff at the beginning, it was all the same people — we had ourselves created a strategy, a detailed action plan with a timeline and key performance indicators (KPIs), and were set to make it work. 

What was the transition from running the Investment Agency to becoming a Deputy Minister? How did that work?

KB: The story of how I became a Deputy Minister connects directly to the biggest challenge of Georgia. When we thought about attracting FDI, we realized we needed to illustrate what Georgia can already do and what products we have that can be exported. The market is too small for investors to come only to supply Georgia. In that context, I was tasked to organize a big ‘Made in Georgia’ exhibition. 

I approached GIZ [the German Technical Cooperation Agency, also known by its older abbreviation, GTZ]. I asked them to support me with consultants to create the concept because I wanted to do a sustainable event, with impact, exact targets, KPIs, and results, not just a one-off. The GIZ consultants came back after a month and told me “Keti, there is no way you can do this ‘Made in Georgia’ exhibition.” I was very disappointed. I felt there is no way I could go to my leadership and tell them that I cannot organize this exhibition. But they were right.

I remember my colleagues telling me “Keti, let’s go to the supermarket.” We went to the supermarket to check the products, but unfortunately, there was a very limited selection of Georgian products on the shelves. What were we going to exhibit if there are no products? Most people did not realize that the reason we did not have export is that there are no products to sell. We understood that we needed to support the production in Georgia, too. 

Most people did not realize that the reason we did not have export is that there are no products to sell.

Together with my colleagues, we did a lot of benchmarking analyses on how different countries became successful. We analyzed the Estonian model, as well Singapore, Ireland, and many others. We identified countries that are similar in size to Georgia, roughly, and that didn’t have resources like oil and gas. We analyzed what tools they had used, how they increased exports, what they had done in order to attract the FDI, and much more. Based on these studies, we created the concept of Enterprise Georgia, which included several directions: FDI attraction, export development and promotion, and overall support for the Georgian businesses on all levels. With all this, the task had grown beyond attracting FDI and my increased portfolio led me to being nominated as a Deputy Minister of Economy. 

Once you became Deputy Minister, what were some of the practical steps? How did you approach your work, perhaps going back to what happened with the “Made in Georgia” event?

KB: The key was to identify a good focus, and the ‘Made in Georgia’ event illustrates this, too. After we decided that a general ‘Made in Georgia’ will not work, the GIZ consultant advised us to concentrate on beverages because we already had products available in this sector in Georgia. We divided this sector into two parts: alcohol and non-alcohol, so wine, beer, hard liquor on the one hand, and then juices, mineral water, and still water on the other. That concept was approved. To make it more functional, we decided to bring buyers and for the alcohol industry to concentrate on entering the Chinese market. By that time, we had zero exports to China. During the year we worked on this strategy, and the most important was to participate in the International Hong Kong Spirits and Wines Competition, and that was the first time when Georgia won the Grand Prix in red wines. 

That main prize was exactly what we needed: one year of free marketing in Hong Kong, in different wine and beverages journals. Buyers and experts became very interested in Georgian wines. We managed to bring up to 80 buyers to Georgia where we organized the first beverage exhibition under the concept ‘Made in Georgia’. After the exhibition, a first $1 million contract was signed, and that was the first shipment that we did, from Georgia to China. Within several years, China became one of the top five export destinations for Georgian wine.

More broadly, once you were Deputy Minister, what would you say were your big priorities, also beyond wine? 

KB: To bring investments, or to export, the country needs to have a positive image. We needed to create a story so that people will start looking at Georgia. We had to be creative for that. Selling the wine, for example, was not just for the revenue, but it also promoted the country, including for tourism. 

While we were working on the export of wines, we needed a good story. We started doing research and my colleagues came across the lady at the National Museum of Georgia who said that they had old grape seeds which suggest that people in Georgia were making wine 8000 years ago. But we couldn’t rely on that story unless we could prove it scientifically. I communicated with the leadership and funds were allocated to the museum to support this initiative. 

For some people, our culture is primarily about heritage. For me, it is also one of the best ways of marketing the country. It helps everywhere, even with investors. With the story of inventing wine you also got attention on all the reforms, and then I would talk about fashion, it’s a creative country, with a National Opera, great ballet, a very vibrant, active theatre. 

For some people, our culture is primarily about heritage. For me, it is also one of the best ways of marketing the country.

It’s this combination that attracts people, the story of an ancient country with cultural traditions, which is diverse and unique. In a decade or two you can develop the economy, we see that some places have done that well, but you cannot create such a culture in a few decades, so that is very valuable and something we need to capitalize on and build a story around. We can bring some of that value to the world.  

You mentioned that on New Year’s you found yourself in the office. What was the day-to-day of your work as a deputy minister? What is that reality? And what are maybe things that people don’t entirely understand, when they look at it from the outside?

KB: Everybody believes it is beautiful and nice. I would go promote fashion and everybody would think that I just like to dress well. Yes, I like to dress well, but promoting fashion is primarily a lot of work. If I was promoting ‘Film in Georgia’, many might think that I want to meet Brad Pitt. It would have been wonderful to meet him as I always wanted to bring him to Georgia to promote our country. But it’s really a lot of hard work for each project. 

During the day I would have around 10 to 15 meetings. These meetings were sometimes until 10 PM or even later. Then I forced myself to answer all the emails I had received during the day because if I wait two or three days, my mailbox would have been overloaded. I also needed to read reports on which team members needed feedback. Doing that work, you end up sitting at the office until maybe 2- 3 AM, and the next morning you are back at 9 AM sharp, because there is no other way.

My most peaceful place was the airplane because that was the only time when my phone was not ringing. I would have all emails downloaded and would respond calmly. I remember, I was flying from Singapore to Turkey. I set an alarm because I had to work and was afraid to fall asleep. A guy sitting next to me was very surprised. He said he had never seen anyone set an alarm to wake up on a long distance flight, it’s already hard enough to fell asleep. 

My most peaceful place was the airplane because that was the only time when my phone was not ringing.

‘Film in Georgia’, talking with producers and location managers was one of the toughest jobs. Some people think it is glamour, you go to Hollywood, you get to see LA. I remember I went to Hollywood to attract filmmakers. We had a lot of meetings during the week. I only had Friday late evening free and was looking forward to exploring the city, but I was so tired that I collapsed and woke up on Saturday morning just before I had to leave for the airport. That was my reality. 

But to tell the truth, we were so excited and not only me, the whole team, we were so involved that we often just slept four hours, and it was enough to get our energy back. That lasted almost seven years, not just for the first five months. 

That is a very long stretch in government, especially in Georgia. What would you consider the biggest achievement of your time in office? 

KB: There were many projects where we made great progress, but perhaps rather than a single project, the main achievement was our overall approach. The team at the Enterprise Agency and the Ministry of Economy was motivated to create something sustainable. We understood that we were spending our citizens’ money, and to us, it was very important to spend it carefully and responsibly. 

Being detail-oriented helped us to run all these projects. We would go through all the processes, when do we tell who about our plans, and how, what are the next steps to make sure that everything is ready when we roll out a project. We were also setting up selection processes so there is minimal intervention from the government side. 

Controlling costs was crucial for me. Going through all the details helped to make our projects sustainable. I would always check the administrative cost against the money that we were spending on projects. Our overhead cost was very low because we would find alternative ways to implement. Most of the money went directly to projects and programs, to create impact. With promotion, marketing and supporting instruments, you can spend quite a bit of money, and especially at the beginning you get a lot of negative comments, and a lot of skepticism. 

Our approach with personnel was also to focus on targets and efficiency. To add one new person in the agency, we had to justify it, and justify what the current 20 employees are doing already. You can easily believe that you need all these people, but more staff can quickly create additional bureaucracy and inefficiency. We wanted to make sure that we spend state money efficiently.

I should say that in terms of achievements, I was lucky because I was in the government for seven years. It gave me the opportunity to see the results while I was there. Usually, even vice ministers and ministers are out in a short time, sometimes not even a year, and don’t get to see the results. 

But if I go back to successes: I do think creating and implementing the programs such as ‘Produce in Georgia’, ‘Host in Georgia’, ‘Film in Georgia’, supporting the small enterprises with micro grants, diversifying export, development of tourism and attracting the FDI (which reached a particular high during 2011-2018), promoting Georgian fashion designers and also overall positive awareness of the country, those were the areas I have been contributing to, across these years. 

The Ministry of Economy is the main policy counterpart for the private sector, as you just described. How did you interact with the private sector and with companies?

KB: I had the policy to meet everyone, literally everyone, because you cannot isolate yourself sitting in the office. If you do not solve issues, the business sector is in trouble. If you want to gain trust and if you want to help, you must listen to each company. I would say that Enterprise Georgia and my role at the Ministry of Economy was personalized services for businesspeople. The big companies, they could call the Prime Minister or Ministers directly, but then there are many small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that do not have such access, and we wanted to be there for them. 

It was not just solving problems. For our strategy, it was important to talk extensively to the private sector. I asked my colleagues to visit each factory in Georgia, and I would remind them that we don’t know what the private sector needs are unless they share their challenges, what things should be done, their potential, and partnership opportunities. 

Every colleague had a portfolio of sectors. Our main question to the businesses was “how can we help you to increase your revenues by at least 30% in next two years?” If two or more companies would share a similar problem, that means that there may be a policy issue. We would study the issue and prepare the case to change this regulation to make sure that we will solve the issue not individually, but for everyone. 

Our main question to the businesses was “how can we help you to increase your revenues by at least 30% in the next two years?” If two or more companies would share a similar problem, that means that there may be a policy issue.

Before we created Enterprise Georgia and the ‘Produce in Georgia’ project, we probably interviewed 400 businesses. In each sector, we would meet at least ten players because we did not want any strategy to be to be driven by any single company, it has to be driven by the sector. 

Local companies can also help to bring international investment, especially if these local companies have done the initial work. Once local companies are established, you can attract companies from abroad to partner with them. One example is the apparel sector, at the initial stage we encouraged international brands to outsource some of their work to Georgian companies. That was a quick win as the local production factories were able to do that work, and if you check the data now you will see a huge increase in export over the recent years. This was only possible because there were local companies as partners, in the first place. 

There are multiple angles of working with the private sector. It is important to have the different tools ready to support the sectors in the right way, and you can only develop the right instruments if you constantly talk to the private sector. 

A lot of the work in the Ministry of Economy is cross-cutting. How did you interact with other government agencies?

KB: You must work with all your counterparts to make sure that they understand what you are doing. That is one of the main success factors. Everywhere, you make sure that everyone alongside you understands the process and feels part of it. Otherwise, it’s easy to stop a project, or not to finance or not implement the project. That means you spend a lot of time communicating with other ministries, members of the parliament, other stakeholders, to make sure that they are aware and feel ownership of the project. 

You spend a lot of time communicating with other ministries, members of the parliament, other stakeholders, to make sure that they are aware and feel ownership of the project.

Starting from the idea, I would start communicating the project and details to everyone and would take into consideration all feedback before I would present finally. The initial communication with all the stakeholders, receiving their feedback and addressing their concerns, helped me to implement those projects at the later stage. That was time consuming, of course, but it was very important. One indicator that this was the right approach is that all the projects that the agency or me presented were approved — and immediately implemented.

With regards to the economy, Georgia collaborates with many countries and many institutions. How did you interact with the international partners? And how are they support? Or can also they be a distraction? 

KB: If you are strategic at working with them, they are a huge support. The reality is that our resources were limited, both human and financial, but as a team, we had amazing ideas. For that reason, we would work with all the international organizations. With GIZ, it sometimes felt like they were literally sitting in our office. We also worked very closely with EBRD, ADB, USAID, the World Bank, and several other agencies. It often felt like we were one team. From one embassy, the head of their economic team once came to me and joked “Keti, I’m forgetting – are you my boss, or is it the ambassador?” [laughs]

I knew that these international partners can take their time, and sometimes you need results quickly. We could do the quick wins with our own budget, but at the same time I started building the relationship and putting the seeds of some ideas with donors, which came back to us a bit later. With ‘Produce in Georgia’, for example, we presented the idea and it turned out that EBRD has an amazing facility for SME sector development, which could provide technical assistance. The idea was to integrate, and to have a multiplier effect, to join the efforts. 

Bringing donors on board can also have an internal function. If EBRD or ADB supports a project, or a GIZ consultant gives a positive review, that gives you more strength to convince everyone that this project is good. 

We were often trying to leverage our own funding. If I had some money from the government, I was trying to use this money and bring international donors into this project. Donors have all these resources, and they need a partner for them. If you do not let them know what your priorities are, they will come up with their own priorities, which might not be aligned with what you want to do. It is not only money, they bring international experience, know-how, and corporate governance. Working together you can really have projects on a much larger scale and bring bigger value. I looked at them as my main partners and was working very closely with donors or international organizations. 

In 2019, parts of the blockbuster Fast and Furious franchise were filmed in Tbilisi and Rustavi, an extraordinary spectacle with helicopters flying over Freedom Square. What were some of the origins of bringing Hollywood productions to Georgia? 

KB: One factor for success was having the right partner from the beginning. The US Embassy in Tbilisi helped to make put this project on track. They brought the Vice President of Disney [Mary Ann Hughes], which was a huge contribution to the success of this project. ‘Film in Georgia’ got off the ground because she told us how the industry works, and then helped to organize our roadshow. It saved us probably three to five years because the first time we arrived in Hollywood, she introduced us to everyone, people from Disney, all the companies that are under Disney, and companies like Universal, HBO, and so on. 

Once I presented what ‘Film in Georgia’ was, what instruments we are providing, everybody understood that we knew what they need. Again, that was because this amazing lady, the Vice President from Disney, had reviewed our project and given detailed constructive feedback. That gave us the confidence, and people were respectful, it was “Look, you guys, you know what you’re talking about.” Without this cooperation, ‘Film in Georgia’ might well have taken another six years to bring Hollywood into our country. Instead, after it was properly launched, it took us less than two years to bring Fast and Furious filming to our country. The right partnership was essential for having that impact. 

That partially covers something we were about to ask. What might be your advice to incoming ministers and deputy ministers? 

KB: You don’t have time! Governments change, people change. You must drive projects ahead quickly. You should try to utilize this time at a maximum level and deliver results. There is another part to this: there was a lot of change with the ministers, and I would go to them and lay down all existing projects, new projects coming in, and all the potential projects. I didn’t know any of the new ministers well before they came in. It was the project and ideas that helped to keep me in the ministry. 

Governments change, people change. You must drive projects ahead quickly. You should try to utilize this time at a maximum level and deliver results.

What would be one of your insights from working with so many different ministers? What helped you to stay on? Is the idea to just focus on your portfolio and drive that forward, or is there anything else that comes to mind?

KB: Staying in your position on the one hand depends on the skills, experience, or results that you have achieved, and the ongoing projects. On the other hand, staying in your position also depends on luck. I was lucky that I was hired based on my skills at the initial stage. And secondly, I was very lucky when the government changed, and the new minister [Giorgi Kvirikashvili] kept me in my position because of the projects and ideas that we had. While it is very important to be proactive and to create successful programs, you can only have an impact if you have supportive leadership that also objectively evaluates your skills. 

While it is very important to be proactive and to create successful programs, you can only have an impact if you have supportive leadership that also objectively evaluates your skills.

I always considered myself a technocrat, not a politician. There were many other excellent vice ministers, heads of departments even, that could have stayed in the government as they were doing a great job. That could have been a key success story of that changeover in 2012/2013 to keep those bright people in the government, and that was a missed opportunity. 

You said that one of the things that kept you running with little sleep was energy and enthusiasm. After that marathon of seven years, how do things look in retrospect, when looking back? 

KB: Looking back, of course, I am grateful for my experience. I see the success stories and I am super happy when I discover their impact. Last year I did horse trips, village to village, in Georgia, and I would end up being in small guesthouses, run by locals. I found that most started their guesthouses because of the Micro-Enterprise project, which we created back in 2015. They did not know who I was, I was with a group of friends. The people running the guesthouse would say, “there was this ‘Produce in Georgia Micro Grants Program’, they were giving these grants and education, and so we started.” 

My friends were proud, I was proud, I literally wanted to cry. As with everything, there are minuses and pluses, but with this, you see a huge impact for that family in that region. When we proposed the project, we were criticized — what could you do with 5000 GEL? — but it turns out that you can do a lot of things in the regions, and it’s not just about money. It’s about giving them the skills, how to start and run the business, that’s the most valuable part, but if you don’t add the grant money, it’s hard to mobilize and get them engaged. 

While you are inside, it is important to keep a balance. A lot of things are very time-consuming, on a micro level. But you also must zoom out and try to do a major reform. You want to have created something that drives huge changes in the country, a few years down the line. With the daily routine, we are pulled so much into details that one can forget what’s the vision, what’s the big picture of the country? What is a major thing you can do? I always tell that to people coming into government, “look, you’re not going be there too long. Do something that will be associated with your name. People will remember you for that.” 

With the daily routine, we are pulled so much into details that one can forget what’s the vision, what’s the big picture of the country?

We miss that type of reform. We miss those kinds of big projects in Georgia now. Of course, the details matter for success, but we need to bring upside-down our country, in a good way — the education sector comes to my mind. We are trying to change small issues, but they do not address the big picture. Fixing small holes does not give you the solution even in the short term. You must have the courage to do reforms that drive change in Georgia. Unfortunately, we lack this, at this point. I just wish everyone would think and use their time efficiently for big, big, big ideas.

Investing into developing transformative ideas — that’s a great note to end on. Thank you very much. 

KB: Thank you, thank you very much.

Church Lambasts Tbilisi Pride, Ambassadors, Announces Counter Rally

Sat, 07/03/2021 - 23:05

The Georgian Orthodox Church lambasted today Tbilisi Pride organizers and foreign diplomats over “supporting LGBTQ+ propaganda activities” and announced counter demonstration against the forthcoming March for Dignity on July 5.

Noting that the propagation of “perverted lifestyle” stirs tensions in the society, the Patriarchate called for “peaceful protest,” and asked its supporters “not to follow deliberate provocations.”

The Orthodox Church patriarchate accused the pride organizers and pride-supportive ambassadors of “putting pressure” against the country and “neglecting the choice of the vast majority” of the Georgian population.

“The drastic interference of certain embassies and some of the members of the European Parliament in our public and spiritual life is a matter of severe concern and unacceptable for our Church and our citizens, and we believe that it is an abuse of their authority,” asserted the Orthodox Church Patriarchate.

Editorial note: The World Health Organization voted to remove homosexuality from the list of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases (ICD) on May 17, 1990.

EU Unveils EUR 20 Bln Recovery, Reform Plan for Eastern Partners

Sat, 07/03/2021 - 13:44

The European Commission and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy outlined on July 2 a renewed agenda for recovery, resilience, and reform for the Eastern Partnership, that will be underpinned by a EUR 2.3 billion Economic and Investment plan in grants with a potential to mobilize up to EUR 17 million in public and private investments.

According to the EU, the agenda aims at increasing trade, growth, and jobs, investing in connectivity, strengthening democratic institutions and the rule of law, supporting the green and digital transitions, and promoting fair, gender-equal, and inclusive societies.

EU High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell said “at the heart of our work will be promoting democracy, good governance and the rule of law, which are so crucial to unlock positive, concrete results in our cooperation.”

Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi, who is set to visit Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan on July 6-9, noted that the new agenda “will support socioeconomic recovery after COVID-19 pandemic, strengthen economic relations and build trade routes between the EU and partner countries.” He said the plan will include country flagships tailored to specific country needs.

The new agenda also proposes a revision of the Eastern Partnership’s multilateral architecture to adjust the framework to the new priorities and make it fully fit for purpose, the EU statement stressed.

These proposals will be discussed with eastern partners, EU Member states, civil society and other key stakeholders in view of the 6th Eastern Partnership Summit in December 2021, it added.

The Eastern Partnership was launched in 2009 as a joint policy initiative to promote political association and economic integration between the European Union, its Member States and its six Eastern neighbors: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.

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NATO’s Appathurai Meets Georgian Leaders

Sat, 07/03/2021 - 13:14

James Appathurai paid a final visit to Georgia as NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia. In Tbilisi, Appathurai met with Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili, PM Irakli Garibashvili, Speaker Kakha Kuchava, and opposition representatives, with the Georgia-NATO Black Sea security cooperation being one of the major issues of discussion. 

On July 2, President Salome Zurabishvili awarded Appathurai the Order of the Golden Fleece, reserved for Georgia’s international friends. She said Appathurai’s “work over the years helping us see a clear path on Euro-Atlantic integration means that James truly deserves this award.”

At the award receiving ceremony, Appathurai said over his decade-long service in this role, he witnessed that “Georgia has moved concretely, substantially towards NATO and NATO membership.” “I believe that Georgia’s home is with us, that you are part of our NATO family and we are part of yours.”

pic.twitter.com/QzUIAzgwVF

— Orbeliani Presidential Palace (@OrbelianiPalace) July 2, 2021

At the July 2 meeting with Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, parties discussed the updated Substantial NATO-Georgia Package, NATO Military Committee’s upcoming visit to Georgia in September, and the Black Sea security cooperation, among others.

In the Georgian Parliament Appathurai met with Speaker Kakha Kuchava and both Georgian Dream and opposition lawmakers. Ahead of the meeting, NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative told the Georgian press that the international community will be following closely political processes in Georgia and stressed the need for reduced political polarization, reforms envisaged by the April 19 EU-brokered deal, and well-functioning parliament and the government.

The Dispatch – July 2/3: Unity That Wasn’t

Sat, 07/03/2021 - 07:56

Pride Week Starts with Violence – Rioni Activists Disappoint – Many Colors of National Unity – Call for Applications for Vacant CEC Head Position – Vaccines Arrive, but Are They the Ones?

In a country full of divisions, “national unity” is sometimes the most aspired thing. However, diverse as these groups are, the understanding of the “unity” varies too, and so the attempts at bringing them together are doomed for disappointments. Here is Nini with updates from Georgia.

The Dispatch is our regular newsletter. Subscribe and find us on Twitter: @DispatchCivil

DIVIDING UNITY

Sad days for Georgian social activism: the launch of Tbilisi Pride was met with violence from hate groups: on the first day of the queer event, a mob gatecrashed a closed movie screening which was attended, among others, by representatives of diplomatic missions. Guests were pelted by eggs and plastic bottles, with U.S. Embassy staffer was reportedly hit by an egg. Police made 23 arrests, but more incidents are expected throughout the week, with major mobilization anticipated during the July 5 march.

Sad and angering as the violence was, the organizers expected it. But on July 2, a more unexpected disappointment hit part of the Georgian public: leaders of the Rioni Valley movement, uniting local activists who oppose the construction of Namakhvani HPP, made a statement decrying the Pride as an event striking a blow to “national unity,” adding that the LGBTQ+ issue has become a tool of “political blackmail,” including towards their cause. „In our view, the idea of Tbilisi Pride week, aside from clearly being a propaganda for non-traditional lifestyle, goes against the public opinion, expresses narrow interests of merely a certain group, and is directed against the civic unity,” the controversial statement reads.

FEELING BETRAYED

The statement upset many for a reason: the cause has united diverse groups ranging from ultra-conservatives to progressives, and queer groups actively backed the Namakhvani HPP protests. The locals who were sperheading the event, coming mostly from Imereti and Lechkhumi regions, mainly identifying themselves with the Christian Orthodox community, have been pushed to the wall numerous times by the media to present their views on LGBTQ+ issues, but somehow managed to limit their statements to their cause and keep people from different backgrounds and views together.

This sowed the hopes of social activism that overcame social division and revolved around a single cause. Now it’s over: some activists with liberal or progressive views have distanced themselves from the Namakhvani HPP movement, arguing that while the HPP cause is important, so are the rights of any individual, fearing that the statement would help further incite the violence. Others, confused, do not want all progress to be lost and are still considering their options. The Rioni Valley cause, often regarded as unique in its nature, has largely benefited from and was amplified by expertise, advocacy, and activism of progressive elites, which is now likely to come to an end. From the pragmatic perspective, it is always a matter of speculations how much they’ve lost through the statement and how many hearts they won. One is clear: things won’t be the same again.

MANY COLORS OF UNITY

Still, the Pride statement of Rioni Valley activists did not differ much from the approach taken by some of the leading Georgian politicians (see their positions in our previous issue). However, President Salome Zurabishvili – probably the most misunderstood of all at the top – was the clearest this time in defending the freedom of expression for the minority. The President went further to stress that Pride activists benefitting from such rights is important for the country’s unity, and tolerance is part of the Georgian identity. Well, everyone has apparently their own understanding of what “unity” stands for.

CALL FOR APPLICATIONS

Georgian President, as per Georgian legislation, has called an open competition to select a new Chair and two members of the Central Election Commission (CEC), after the resignation of former CEC Head Tamar Zhvania days ago. The presidential order also established a selection committee, consisting of NGO representatives and academics. The 11-member group now must select the best candidates for the open positions and present them to President Zurabishvili. We hold our breath.

HERE THEY ARE

After a long delay, Georgian authorities announced the country has received a million doses of China-made vaccines, Sinovac and Sinopharm. The government came under fire as many believed they failed to deliver on their “mass-vaccination” promises: for some weeks now, only those awaiting their second shots could register on the booking portal. Another widely-articulated promise on delivering million Pfizer/BioNTech shots remains unfulfilled.

Chinese vaccines first enjoyed far bigger popularity among Georgians than mRNA shots, but preferences appear to change due to efficacy questions towards Chinese jabs against Delta variant, as well as pickiness by some European countries to allow entry based on the vaccination status with only Western-approved shots. For these reasons, when asked about their vaccination status, you can often hear in Georgia answers like “waiting for Pfizer” – just like Waiting for Godot.

!!! The Dispatch goes on a summer break and will be back with hot updates in August. Have a nice July!

Deputy Interior Minister Resigns

Sat, 07/03/2021 - 00:26

Deputy Minister of Interior Vladimer Bortsvadze resigned, Georgian media reported late on July 2. The media cited the Ministry of Interior as saying that Bortsvadze had filed his resignation.

Lieutenant Colonel Vladimer Bortsvadze was appointed as a Deputy Minister of Interior in February 2019, when Giorgi Gakharia, former Prime Minister, served as Interior Minister. Previously Bortsvadze served on various positions in the prosecutor’s office in 2006-2018 and has moved to the Ministry of Interior in April 2018, to head the Central Criminal Police Department.

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Georgia in U.S. Human Trafficking Report 2021

Fri, 07/02/2021 - 18:52

The Georgian Government “continued to demonstrate serious and sustained efforts” for the elimination of trafficking, says the U.S. State Department’s Trafficking in Persons (TIP) 2021 report published today.

Georgia remains a tier 1 country in terms of combatting trafficking, a process for which the Georgian Government “fully meets the minimum standards,” according to the document.

The authorities’ efforts, throughout the year marred by the COVID-19 pandemic, included convicting more traffickers and providing comprehensive victim assistance, including robust pandemic mitigation efforts at government-run shelters, the TIP report notes.

Also, the document says the Georgian Government adopted a 2021-2022 national action plan and guidelines for mobile victim identification units on identifying child victims, and established a Labor Inspection Service (LPS), which has a special unit dedicated for forced labor.

The report notes that the Georgian Government maintained law enforcement efforts, several specialized traffickings units, and protection efforts of trafficking victims, all the while increasing prevention efforts.

But the State Department report highlights some key shortcomings, including lack of staff, training and resources at the LPS. It says Georgian authorities investigated and prosecuted fewer suspects and identified fewer victims. Also, the Government did not establish a work permit system for migrants, and did not license and monitor recruitment agencies, the report highlights.

Police conducted some ad hoc raids on commercial sex establishments without a clear strategy or victim identifications, the State Department highlights.

The document says women from Azerbaijan and Central Asia are exploited in the Georgian cities of Tbilisi and Batumi, in saunas, brothels, bars, strip clubs, casinos, and hotels. Also, it adds that Georgia serves as a transit country for women from Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan exploited in Turkey.

As for the Russian-occupied regions, the State Department says although there was no information available about Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia, anecdotal evidence points to migrants being subjected to forced labor, including North Koreans working in Abkhazia that “may have been forced to work by the North Korean government.”

See the full report here.

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Georgia Receives Million Doses of Sinopharm, Sinovac Vaccines

Fri, 07/02/2021 - 17:11

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili announced on July 2 that one million doses of China-made Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines against COVID-19 arrived in Georgia.

“We are ready to begin the mass vaccination process from Monday,” said the Prime Minister.

PM Garibashvili also said Georgian authorities expect additional half-million doses of Sinopharm and half-million doses of Sinovac in the coming weeks. He added that Pfizer will begin supplying step-by-step one million doses of its vaccine starting in July.

Georgia began COVID vaccination on March 15. As of July 2,  266 161 citizens received at least one dose of vaccine, while 104,196 of them received full vaccination. Georgian authorities plan to immunize approximately 60% of the population over 18  — 1.7 million citizens — by the end of 2021.

President Zurabishvili Concludes Paris Visit

Fri, 07/02/2021 - 14:31

Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili visited Paris on June 30 – July 1, where she met French President Emmanuel Macron, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, and participated in Generation Equality Forum.

At the July 1 meeting with her French counterpart, President Zurabishvili discussed Black Sea security, EU involvement in the region, and furthering bilateral relations, Georgia’s Presidential Administration reported. The two officials also discussed continuing with the Franco-Georgian “Amilakhvari Dialogue,” launched in 2019.

The Georgian President also talked with President Macron about the “grave humanitarian situation” in Russian-occupied Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia, as well as arbitrary detentions along the occupation line.

Detentions of Georgian citizens by the Kremlin-backed forces were also discussed at President Zurabishvili’s June 30 meeting with the UN Secretary-General, namely the case of Zaza Gakheladze, a Georgian citizen illegally sentenced to more than 12 years in Tskhinvali prison.

“I fully hope the international community will get involved in helping with his speedy release,” tweeted the Georgian President afterward.

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Annual Inflation Spikes at 9.9% in June

Fri, 07/02/2021 - 12:49

Georgia’s annual inflation rate in June spiked at 9.9%, at a ten-year high, while on a monthly basis consumer prices increased by 0.7%, the National Statistics Office (Geostat) reported on July 2.

The annual inflation rate was primarily driven by price changes in transport (22% increase), housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels (10.5% increase) and food and non-alcoholic beverages (8.8% increase), according to Geostat.

Meanwhile, the monthly inflation rate was mostly influenced by price changes in housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels (2.7% increase), recreation and culture (1.6% increase), restaurants and hotels (1% increase), transport (0.4% increase), food and non-alcoholic beverages (0.2% increase).

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Tbilisi Pride Forges Ahead, 23 Counterprotesters Detained

Fri, 07/02/2021 - 12:05

Tbilisi Pride Week began on July 1 with a screening of the “March for Dignity” documentary about the LGBTQ rights struggle in Georgia, with activists, LGBTQ allies, and foreign diplomats, including British, French, German, and Israeli in attendance.

The event moved ahead as far-right and ultraconservative groups, including businessman-turned-politician Levan Vasadze affiliated counterprotesters, descended upon the opening with a disruption attempt, leading to 23 arrests as they threw eggs, plastic bottles and clashed with the police.

As the guests were arriving, some of the counterprotesters attempted to break through a police cordon. Shame Movement, which co-organizes the Week,  said its activist Sopio Kuchava was assaulted and hit in the abdomen, and the attacker was then arrested, while Tbilisi Pride reported that a U.S. Embassy representative was egged. The hate groups again attempted to break through the police lines near the conclusion of the event. No reports of major injuries or hospitalizations emerged throughout the evening, however.

The Interior Ministry confirmed to Civil.ge that overall 23 arrests were made over the course of the counter-rally, under Articles 166 and 173 of the Code of Administrative Offenses, involving police disobedience and petty hooliganism. Three remain in detention, while 20 have been released on parole.

After the movie screening concluded, law enforcers escorted the guests from the premises to transport, including buses, the subway, or taxis. Tbilisi Pride organizer, Tamaz Sozashvili positively assessed the police measures, saying they were in continuous communication, and despite some minor challenges the event took place without significant incidents.

“What the [police] did was unprecedented. Most important is that the event concluded successfully,” Sozashvili told RFE/RL’s Georgian service.

The counter-rally was called by Alt-Info, a Russia-friendly online media outlet affiliated with ultraconservative movement leader Levan Vasadze. “We are gathering starting 17:00. All of you should come and bring other people. Pride will not be [allowed] to be held,” said the Alt-Info’s Telegram page.

The group has also announced plans to demonstrate against the upcoming PrideMarch for Dignity, slated for July 5.

Earlier on July 1, the Interior Ministry vowed it would take “appropriate measures” to ensure safety, order and that people would be able to enjoy their right to freedom of expression and assembly during the Pride Week launch.

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Defense Forces Chief Visits Romania

Thu, 07/01/2021 - 18:28

Chief of the Georgian Defense Forces, Major General Giorgi Matiashvili, concluded his June 27-29 visit to Romania, where he met with Romanian Defense Minister Nicolae-Ionel Ciucă and his counterpart Lieutenant General Daniel Petrescu.

The key issues addressed in the meetings included bilateral defense cooperation, implementation of Substantial NATO-Georgia Package (SNGP), and security in the Black Sea region.

Major General Matiashvili underscored active Romanian engagement in SNGP Core Team activities, while Minister Ciucă congratulated Georgia on the progress in implementing the package, expressing openness to better cooperation to increase security in the Black Sea region.

Lieutenant General Petrescu, on his part, stressed a common interest of Georgia and Romania as the Black Sea states “in ensuring security and stability” in the region. “Bilateral cooperation within NATO-Georgia also remains a constant and solid landmark for strengthening the partnership between the two armies, as well as for improving the regional security climate,” he added.

The Chiefs of Staff also discussed improved and continued cooperation in the field of defense, including through military education, by participating in annual exercises in two countries, and sharing experience in the military industry.

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U.S. Lawmakers Back Tbilisi Pride

Thu, 07/01/2021 - 17:04

Members of the U.S. Congress took to Twitter in support of Georgian LGBTQ activists ahead of the hotly-contested Pride celebrations planned for July 1-5 in Tbilisi.

“We stand in solidarity with all those fighting for equality in Tbilisi, Georgia,” Democrat Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-MN) tweeted on June 30.

Similarly, in her July 1 tweet, Rep. Sara Jacobs (D-CA) said she applauds queer activists’ courage “as they fight for a safe, inclusive Pride celebration and an equitable future for the LGBTQ+ community in Georgia.”

Congressman Andy Levin (D-MI) said “facing threats of violence and little help from local police, LGBTQ+ folks in Georgia are fighting on for [Tbilisi Pride 2021]. I’m awed by these activists who are organizing not just for themselves but for a more just world.”

“Despite the lack of local support, LGBTQ+ activists in Georgia will continue Tbilisi Pride without security measures to protect them,” tweeted Congressional LGBTQ+ Caucus, adding that “LGBTQ+ people in Tbilisi won’t give up and neither should we. We applaud your courage.”

A supportive tweet also came from Samantha Power, Head of United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. Sharing a picture of Equality Georgia, Georgian CSO working on LGBTQ issues, Power said the “USAID is proud to be a global ally in advancing human rights for all people.”

As #Pride2021 comes to an end, wanted to share this glorious photo of @EqualityGeorgia, a Georgian civil society organization working to combat workplace discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community. @USAID is proud to be a global ally in advancing human rights for all people. pic.twitter.com/qoxC3sPKA8

— Samantha Power (@PowerUSAID) June 30, 2021

The Pride event and “March of Dignity” organized by local CSO Tbilisi Pride have attracted international attention as counter-rallies planned by hate groups raised concerns about the safety of LGBTQ activists.

Earlier, a joint letter signed by 28 Members of the European Parliament called on Georgian authorities to protect the activists and ensure their freedom of expression. A similar statement was released on June 30 by a group of some 20 diplomatic missions in Georgia.

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