On April 14, 2016 the conference “Truth in Numbers; Reframing and Understanding Polling in Georgia” was organized by the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies at Tbilisi Marriot Hotel. The event was made possible through the support of US Embassy in Georgia.
The conference aimed to engage representatives of International and local research organizations, political parties, media and civil society in a healthy discussion about the importance and necessity of the sociological research for formulation common approach that would be reflected in the media and on societal attitudes.
The event was opened by the President of the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies., Ekaterine Metreveli and Nicholas Berliner, Charge d’Affaires of the US Embassy, Tbilisi.
A keynote speaker – Ms. Kathy Frankovic, the prominent public opinion expert, discussed the polling methodology in the US and in Georgia, as well as, the importance of polling data for formulation of strategy and platform, the areas for improvement for Georgian stakeholders and the outlook for the future for Georgia’s integration into Europe.
Session one dedicated to the explanation of research methodology was chaired by Nodar Sarjveladze, the Chair of the Foundation for Development of Human Resources and the invited Professor at Tbilisi State University. The speakers of the session included Laura Thornton, the Resident Director of the National Democratic Institute (NDI), Andrea Keerbs, the Resident Country Director of International Republic Institute (IRI), Dr. Rasa Alisauskiene, the General Director of Baltic Surveys/the Gallup Organization, Koba Turmanidze, the President of the Caucasus Research Resource Centre and Rusudan Telia, the Director of “ACT Global”.
During the second session: Searching the Consensus – the Importance of 2016 Elections, the speakers included the Executive Secretary of the political party Georgian Dream, Irakli Kobakhidze, the Secretary for Civil Society Relations of the United National Movement, Zurab Tchiaberashvili and the Chairman of the New Rights Party, Mamuka Katsitadze. The panel was moderated by the Director of the EU Studies at the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies, Kakha Gogolashvili.
The speakers of the last session discussed the issues of the threat of manipulations and thematic media coverage of polling results as an opportunity of political growth of the electorate. The panel was chaired by the Senior Fellow of the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies, Giorgi Targamadze and the speakers included the Full Professor at GIPA Maia Mikashavidze, the Executive Director of the Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics and the Chair of the Georgian Association for Regional Broadcasters, Natia Kuprashvili.
The sessions of the conference were followed by ardent discussion.