On 14 April 2010 the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studieshosted a roundtable meeting for Samtskhe-Javakheti residents and Tbilisi-based international and non-governmental organizations representing the civil society sector. The meeting was held within the scope of the Enhancement of Public-Policy Decision-Making Process in Samtskhe-Javakheti Region project while the participants’ completed a Study Tour in Tbilisi. Giorgi Tugushi, the Public Defender (Ombudsman), served as the keynote speaker of the meeting. Other guests included: Ms. Keti Bebiashvili from the Georgian Young Lawyers Association (GYLA), Zaur Khalilov from the Civil Integration Society, Agit Mirozev from Multi-Ethnic Georgia, Sabina Alieva from Civil Action, Giorgi Amariani from the United Nations Association (UNA), Elene Pileeva from Article 42 of Constitution, and Keti Bakradze from USAID.
The meeting was opened by the Ombudsman with a brief overview of the human rights situation in Georgia, the State Ombudsman’s responsibilities, a description of accomplishments and areas in need of further improvement, as well as how minorities from this region can receive relevant information and assistance and get involved in policy-decision making at the local and national level. The roundtable was mediated by a project mentor, Dr. Archil Gegeshidze, and was primarily conducted in a Q&A format. The civil society representatives and project participants ardently raised a number of issues pertinent to Samtskhe-Javakheti regional development and mentioned problem areas in education, limited media coverage and access to information, unemployment, customers’ rights, etc.
The Enhancement of Public-Policy Decision-Making Process in Samtskhe-Javakheti Region project led by The Rondeli Foundation is administered by Eurasia Partnership Foundation and implemented with the USAID financial support.