On June 19, 2008 the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies, in cooperation with the Atlantic Council of the United States and the Harriman Institute at Columbia University, hosted a Frozen Conflicts Forum on Abkhazia. Formerly the Russia Institute at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, the Harriman Institute is a leading center for the advancement of knowledge in the field of Russian and Eurasian Studies.
The day-long event, held at the Foundation’s premises and featured four panels of presentations: Humanitarian Issues and IDP Returns, Security and Peacekeeping, Confidence-Building Measures and Recent Proposals and Russia’s Role in the Abkhaz Conflict.
Forum participants David L. Phillips (Director, Abkhazia Initiative, Atlantic Council of the United States, and Co-director of the Harriman Institute Study Group on US-Russia and Georgia Relations), Catharine Nepomnyashchy (Director, Harriman Institute, Columbia University), Alexander Cooley (Associate Professor of Political Science, Barnard College) and Lincoln A. Mitchell (Co-director of the Harriman Institute Study Group on US-Russia and Georgia Relations) took part in a fact-finding mission to Georgia from 14-20 June. They visited Sokhumi, Zugdidi and Tbilisi and met with members of the Government of Georgia and the civil society, academic and media communities.
Following the mission, the Atlantic Council of the United States will issue a public report on Abkhazia (in September 2008). The Harriman Institute’s Study Group on US-Russia and Georgia Relations will also prepare a private note for the transition team of the incoming US president as concerns Abkhazia.
The Atlantic Council of the United States promotes constructive US leadership and engagement in international affairs based upon the central role of the Atlantic community in meeting the international challenges of the twenty-first century.