CEP launched its Caucasus Program in Georgia in January 1998, with three Visiting
Lecturers (now called Visiting
Faculty Fellows - VFFs) in Tbilisi. In September 1998, CEP supported four Visiting
Fellows and two Local Faculty Fellows
(LFFs - formerly Eastern Scholars) in Tbilisi, and began operations in Armenia with three
Visiting and one Local Fellow, all based in Yerevan. The Caucasus program expanded further
in 1999-2000. Thanks to a grant from the Bureau of
Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State, five Visiting and
four Local Fellows taught in Armenia, and four Visiting and three Local Fellows were based
In 2000-01, CEP expanded its contacts with universities outside the capital cities in
both Armenia and Georgia. It also for the first time hosted both Visiting and Local
Fellows in Azerbaijan - at Baku State University, Azerbaijan University, Khazar University
and Western University.
Despite its modest beginnings, the program has been enlarged in size and content. In
three short years, it has gained the recognition and respect of partner universities,
their faculties and students, as well as various NGO's working in the region, and is now
firmly established in the academic life of the region.
"It was so difficult to get used to the idea that questioning the lecturer is
something not only allowed but also encouraged. It helped me personally to overcome the
psychological barrier between myself and the instructor, which was always an obstacle for
my personal development and learning."
A CEP student from Gyumri
Outreach Activities: National and Regional CEP projects
The Third Regional Student Conference
On 23-26 November 2000, the Third Regional Student
Conference, "Issues and Approaches for the Caucasus," was held in Tbilisi,
Georgia. Thirty-nine students from Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan presented papers in
eight panels: Regional Integration in the Caucasus; Gender/Social Issues; Economic Issues
in the Caucasus; Contemporary Issues for the Caucasus in Transition; Culture through
Images; Conflict Resolution in the Caucasus; Media/Environment in the Caucasus; Social and
Political Issues in the Caucasus; and, Human Rights in the Caucasus. CEP Fellows chaired
the panels and representatives of local NGOs and international experts were invited as
discussants. CEP Fellows Talin Der Grigorian-Kotchikian and Jack Miller
organized two separate workshops: "Culture Through Images" and "Oil
Pricing: a Negotiation Simulation".
The First CEP Caucasus Debate Forum
The Caucasus Debate Forum was organized and held in Tbilisi,
Georgia in March 2001, as a means to assemble students from the Caucasus region in an
atmosphere of openness and intellectual challenge, and to provide an international
academic setting for students to research and address recurrent arguments associated with
the Caucasus region. The first of its kind, the Forum had as its goal the elimination of
some of the many prevalent prejudices and stereotypes, thus helping to prevent further
conflicts in the region. Thirty students attended - ten each from Armenia, Azerbaijan and
"Armenians and Azeris, who had been understandably distant with one another on the
first day, were hugging and kissing goodbye, and exchanging e-mail addresses. When we left
by mini-bus Azeris and Georgians were all standing by the hotel waving goodbye, and they
didn't stop waving until we were out of sight."
Daniel Moses, VFF in Armenia, on the First
CEP Caucasus Debate Forum
Youth Forum of the Caucasus: Building A Healthy Region
CEP Fellows organized a "Youth Forum of the
Caucasus", May 3-6, 2001, as part of the effort to encourage democracy through
education and to help build a civil society. Earlier in the year, students in the Caucasus
Region had several opportunities to present controversial views and to debate issues.
While these events were valuable, this event introduced students to another approach:
collaboration and community building.
Nineteen students from Georgia and twenty-nine from
Armenia convened at a popular Armenian mountain retreat - the "Gorge of Flowers"
- where they had an opportunity to strengthen relationships through work, as well as
through social and recreational activities.
International Student Conference
Thirteen students were selected from the Caucasus to present
papers at the annual International
Student Conference in Budapest. From the Caucasus team, Vugar Fataliyev (Baku State
University), won a Best Paper Award for his paper on Integration between the South
Caucasus and Russia.
First Georgian Conference: "Georgia Past,
Conducted in the mountain resort of Gudauri on May 11-13,
the conference was held in the Georgian language, with fourteen students selected from
Tbilisi State University, Telavi State University, and Caucasus Business School. Two CEP
students from Georgian Technical University assisted in the event, giving a presentation
on "being a CEP student and attending CEP events", as well as organizing two
workshops dealing with culture difference and tolerance "The Bafa-Bafa Game" and
"Culture through Images". Georgian LFFs hope to continue organizing such events
in the local languages for those students who don't speak English and cannot participate
in international or regional CEP events.
Fellows' Outreach Activities
A number of public lectures were given by CEP Fellows during
the 2000-01 academic year. On April 21, 2001, the Area Studies Student Conference was
organized by Visiting Fellow Daniel Moses (Yerevan State Brusov Institute of
Foreign Languages) and CEP alumnus John Mason. It was held at the newly
renamed Yerevan State Linguistic University.
"Beginning to end, the conference was filled with thoughtful papers, lively
discussions and a wonderful esprit de corps. The Area Studies Conference was the perfect
training ground for students who later participated in other CEP events. Two of the
participants rushed off the next day for the Budapest conference; many others attended the
Youth Forum of the Caucasus the following week."
Nino Dzotsenidze, CEP Caucasus Country
A series of guest lectures and workshops was held at the Yerevan State Institute of
Economy in Gyumri. CEP Fellows lectured in groups of two - one lecturer-one translator -
on various topics. Barbara Coe talked on the role of the US Government in providing
the framework and support for capitalism. Visiting Fellow Talin Der
Gregorian-Kotchikian (Yerevan State University) lectured on "Transnational
Corporations and Global Economy". Visiting Fellow Asbed Kotchikyan (Yerevan
State) talked about the Czech privatization experience. Together with Asbed, Talin
organized a workshop for students in Gyumri on Western Higher Education and Interview
techniques for scholarships. Asbed also delivered a Guest lecture in Oshakan.
Local Fellow Armine Asryan (Armenian Open University)
participated in an Institutional Assessment Instrument Training Program organized by the
World Learning Armenian NGO Strengthening Program, during which she conducted an
assessment of the Armenian NGO Maternity Fund. She participated in a research project on
local government in Armenia, organized by the Civil Society Development Union, and wrote a
report on "Corruption and Human Rights" within the framework of Catholic Relief
Society. She participated in the diploma defense of the 4th year student she had
supervised and conducted a workshop at the Open University on "Studying Abroad."
Visiting Fellow Margaret Pierce (Yerevan State
University) edited English language summaries for the Sociology Department. She also
participated in the Open Society Institute - Assistance Foundation, conducting interviews
of physicians applying for training conferences in Vienna and Salzburg, and assisted in
the selection of Fulbright scholars at the US Embassy.
Shushan Kurkchiyan (Yerevan State University)
worked on research devoted to Health Care in Armenia, and wrote an article in Armenian for
a handbook on civil society. She also translated several articles on social issues, such
as suicides in Gyumri, housing for the elderly in Armenia, and youth opinion on genocide.
Barbara Coe organized a workshop at the School of
Public Administration entitled "Flourishing Armenia: The Role of the Young Generation
in Governance", which was attended by roughly thirty students. The workshop began
with an address on "human development" by Nune Yeghiazarian of the United
Nations Development Program office in Armenia. Barbara also facilitated a strategy session
on individual visioning.
Lilit Davoyan (Armenian Open University) organized
a student conference at the Institute of Socioeconomic Development in Armenia and
supervised four students participating in the conference. A Muskie Fellowship alumna, she
took an active role in all CEP Caucasus events, including the conference of Small and
Medium Enterprise development in Armenia, where she was one of the key speakers. At
preset, Lilit is working on her dissertation.
With Daniel Moses and John Mason, Talin
Der Gregorian-Kotchikyan helped set up the English Speaking Student Center, where she
held discussions for the students. She donated about 500 books to different departments
and universities, including Yerevan State University's Art History Department, English
Department, and Brusov Area Study Room, and to Gyumri School of Economics.
Daniel Moses helped organize a movie series at
Brusov and donated ten movies that he brought with him from the US.
Asbed Kotchikyan worked with several NGO's to
provide free access to the Internet for university students. He also participated in the
CEP pilot program in the Baltics, where he lectured at Riga University for two weeks.
In November 2000 at Western University, Visiting Fellow Francois
Depelteau organized a public debate on feminism. The main goal was to structure a
rational discussion on the utility of Western feminist theories in Azerbaijan. Visiting
Fellow Michael Maurer (Khazar University, Baku) served as a moderator and Jack
Miller (Azerbaijan University) coached the student participants.
In March 2001, Depelteau gave three lectures to students
of Visiting Fellow Donnacha O'Beachain in Tbilisi on the topic, "The
Relationships Between Democracy and Nationalism through a General Overview of the
Nationalist Movement in Quebec."
At Khazar University in Baku, Mike Maurer
conducted CV writing workshops and lectured on "How to Write a Better Proposal for
Applying for Conferences and Grants."
Jack Miller conducted a brief training session on
small group teaching methods for local Medical Psychology professors.
CEP Local Fellow and Executive Editor of the journal
"Social Bilgiler" ("Social Knowledge"), Etibar Najafov
published his book "The Correlation Between Culture and Civilization in Social
Development", which was partially funded by CEP. He also submitted an article,
"Comparative Analysis of the two Historical Models of Modernization", for
publication in the United Kingdom.
Visiting Fellow Daye Thurbin and Local Fellow Giorgi
Zedginidze, both of Tbilisi State University, traveled to Telavi State University, in
the Kakheti region, where Daye gave a lecture on human rights and a workshop on CV
writing. Giorgi translated the lecture and workshop into Georgian. In the spring semester,
Daye gave a series of lectures at the Robakidze University in Tbilisi.
Donnacha O'Beachain traveled to Akhaltsikhe
University in the south of Georgia and presented a lecture on the topic "The European
Union: Myth and the Reality." One of his students accompanied him and translated the
lecture into Georgian. Donnacha also gave a lecture at International House on
"Ireland: History and Society". Donnacha gave a talk on "Democracy,
Justice, and Equality" at the Civics and Debate Teaching Center at Robakidze
University and also traveled to Abkhazia (a region of Georgia currently experiencing
conflict) to observe and meet with university and NGO representatives. He is
planning to have guest lectures there in fall 2001.
In November, Donnacha, Local Fellow Keti Vashakidze
and CEP alumnus Hans Gutbrod organized a workshop on active learning methods at a
Teacher Training Seminar for Georgian university teachers.
Maya Gogoladze, Local Fellow at Tbilisi State
University, was involved in Democracy Education Seminars for young people. This program,
with its focus on four topics (democracy and democratization, the role of local
self-governance, citizenship, citizen's rights and responsibilities and international
conventions on women rights), was designed for high school and university students in
several regions of Georgia.
In the spring semester, Visiting Fellow Joe Bensen
(Tbilisi State University) initiated an experimental documentary class/project in which
students took photos representing elements of change in post-Soviet Georgian society.
Tamara Zurabishvili (Telvai State University)
organized a round-table discussion entitled "Sociology in Georgia: Modern State and
Perspectives." It was held in June at Telavi State University in conjunction with the
Open Society Georgia Foundation Social Sciences Support Program. On hand were invited
professors from different faculties at Tbilisi State University. Eduard Kodua, Dean of the
Sociology Department at Tbilisi State University, delivered a speech on the history of
Georgian sociology, its current condition and problems. Participants also discussed
sociology developments in Georgia.
Giorgi Zedginidze wrote an article for a special
anniversary edition of the Alumni News magazine (CEU), which was published in August 2001.
Participation in Outside Projects
With Vugar Abdusalimov (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees), Francois
Depelteau and Etibar Najafov visited two refugee camps in Azerbaijan (Beylagan
and Saatli). Afterwards, Francois wrote an article that was published in the Canadian
Francois and Etibar worked on the creation of the Center
of Research-Action on Democracy and Post-communism (CRADEP), now associated with CEP,
which employs more than twenty researchers in eight countries (Western and Eastern), about
half of whom are CEP Fellows. CRADEP is also associated with a research center in
Montreal, Canada. One of the main goals of this project is to create new opportunities of
autonomous academic activities for eastern researchers.
Francois also found time to return to Minsk, Belarus, in November 2000, to complete the
setup of a student association that he initiated the previous year. The main goals of the
association are to give authority to students to defend their interests at the university,
to create contacts with students outside Belarus, and to organize social and cultural
Maya Gogoladze, with Francois, Etibar, and Hayk
Gyuzalyan (Yerevan State) worked on a joint project, "High Income Strata in
Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia: the Role in Development of Civic Society". The
project was established to investigate the values, lifestyle and culture of the new middle
strata of the population in these three countries and to define their role in building
democratic and civil societies.
As part of a team organized by OSI, Michael Maurer,
under the auspices of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe
(OSCE)/Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), was an observer of the
November Azerbaijan Parliamentary Elections in the city of Mingachevir in western
Jack Miller and Mike Maurer participated in
a National Peace Foundation conflict resolution workshop outside Baku in which about a
dozen students from Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia engaged in simulations for the purpose
of learning negotiation, mediation, and conflict-resolution skills.