Georgia celebrated United Nations Day with a variety of events this week.
This year’s UN Day observance centered around the Sustainable Development Goals - a global call to action to end poverty, protect the earth’s environment and climate, and ensure that people everywhere can enjoy peace and prosperity in the spirit of Leaving No One Behind.
A special panel discussion “From Economic Growth to Shared Prosperity: Reality Check after the SDG Summit and Vision for the Future” focused onGeorgia’s progress on decent jobs creation and decentralization and discussed forward-looking strategies for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and provision of equal opportunities for all. The panel discussion brought together government officials, think tanks, civil society, academia, the private sector and other stakeholders to facilitate discussion on how to ensure that economic models and policy processes are revamped at scale for SDG acceleration and for transforming Georgia’s economic growth at the macroeconomic level into shared prosperity. The diversity of involved individuals enriched the dialogue and the exchange of perspectives. Speaking at the event, United Nations Resident Coordinator Sabine Machl noted that economic growth is not an end goal in itself, but one of enablers of meaningful improvements in the lives of people, including reducing poverty and achieving other development goals. She highlighted the urgent need for action and collaboration to achieve the SDGs.
The central focus of another panel discussion organized by the United Nations in Georgia in partnership with the Georgian-American University (GAU) and the Kant’s Academy has revolved around SDG 4 – quality education. UN Resident Coordinator Sabine Machl, President of the Georgian-American University (GAU) R. Michael Cowgill, and prominent representatives of the Iv. Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University, Ilia State University, Caucasus University, and the University of Georgia took stock of where we are in terms of progress towards SDG 4, shared knowledge about good practices and suggested ways forward to expedite the SDG achievement. The discussion highlighted that there is so much more that can be done to promote sustainable development through stronger engagement between higher education institutions.
The role of young people in accelerating efforts to achieve Sustainable Development Goals was the primary focus of the discussion between UN Resident Coordinator, Sabine Machl and members of the youth organization ‘Civic Engagement and Activism Center’ held at the UN House in Tbilisi.
In celebration of UN Day, the United Nations in Georgia also unveiled the multifunctional SDG Spaces at the Gori State Teaching University and the Georgian-American University (GAU). The initiative implemented in partnership with the Education and International Development Academy and the Kant’s Academy aims at empowering young people with the skills and opportunities to advance their vision of a sustainable future.
World Press Freedom Day: defending press freedom is a universal mission that knows no borders, says EUFriday, 05 May 2023 15:04
On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day on 3 May, the European Union condemns all forms of threats and violence against journalists, continues to support media workers in danger through local missions and via dedicated programmes, and joins UNESCO in its message: today more than ever, freedom of expression is crucial for all other human rights.
The EU reminds that the protection of freedom of expression remains a key priority for its human rights action, as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 75 years ago:
“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”
In a statement, EU High Representative Josep Borrell said: “While the preservation of free, independent and pluralistic media is vital for resilient and healthy democracies, press freedom is at stake in most parts of the world today. Journalists, media workers and all those who bring independent quality information to the public, shed light on the gross human rights violations and atrocities and hold those in power to account increasingly face discredit, threats and attacks, including through disinformation.”
Borrell also mentioned reporters in Ukraine and journalists from Belarus among media workers around the world who continue to pay a high price for exercising their profession.
The statement focuses particularly on women journalists who are mostly vulnerable to threats and increasing attacks, both offline and online, and are exposed to stigmatisation, sexist hate speech, trolling, sexual and gender-based violence and even murder. According to the EU, 73% of women journalists have experienced online threats, abuse, and harassment in the course of their work.
“Defending and promoting press freedom is a universal mission that knows no borders. The EU will remain committed to engage with governments, the media and civil society, both in international fora as well as at the local level, to take initiative and strengthen press freedom around the world,” the statement concludes.
For World Press Freedom Day, the European External Action Service has produced a video bringing together two journalists from countries impacted by war – Ukraine and Lebanon. Illia Ponomarenko from the Kyiv Independent, and Maya Gebeily from the Reuters Bureau in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan discuss what it means to be a war journalist.
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COTABATO CITY—In celebration of the Bangsamoro Foundation Day, the We Are One Music Peace Festival was held at the Cotabato State University (CSU) Gymnasium on January 26, 2023.
Around 3,000 students from different schools and youth organizations attended the music peace festival to call for the cessation of wars around the world including Ukraine and Russia.
Guest performers including famous YouTuber and singer, Mikey Bustos, hyped up the youth with their performances and stage presence. Korean ‘oppa’ singers Aiden and Jin also surprised the audiences when they sang Tagalog songs.
Bangsamoro youth sang along with Samraida, “Queen of Moro Songs" and Nisha Bedaña of Idol Philippines Season 2 Top 10, and rock ‘n rolled with local bands, The Genremen Band and The Hauz Band.
In attendance also was a peace activist who has advocated peacebuilding in Mindanao, Lee Man-hee, Chairman of Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL).
“I was here before and we walked together with students for peace. Let us all become peace messengers. So, let's achieve peace without war in our time and make it a legacy for future generations," he said.
This event was organized by Kutawato Greenland Initiatives (KGI), a non-partisan civil society organization that is committed to foster a suitable environment for sustainable development with peace, justice and equality by providing services to the vulnerable and marginalized sectors of the community. It is also participated by its peace partners, HWPL, International Women’s Peace Group (IWPG), International Peace Youth Group (IPYG), Volunteer Individuals for Peace (VIP), BARMM Government, City Government of Cotabato and SPIN Media PH.
On the following day, the HWPL-VIP Peace Monument was unveiled at the school grounds of CSU. Dr. Sema Dilna, University President of CSU, and Dr. Ronald L. Adamat, Commissioner of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) both attended the unveiling ceremony and expressed their support for the continuous peace efforts being conducted for the students in the university as symbolized by the peace monument.
Statement on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (25 November)
This joint statement is issued by the United Nations system in Georgia, the Delegation of the European Union to Georgia, the Council of Europe Office in Georgia, the EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia and the Embassies to Georgia of Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.
On the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, we would like to join hands with survivors, activists, decision-makers, and people from every walk of life to take a bold stand against this global scourge.
Stigma and impunity have allowed violence against women to escalate to pandemic proportions. Across the world, as well as in Georgia, violence against women and girls remains one of the most pervasive and latent human rights violations, both a cause and a consequence of gender inequality and discrimination.
A world where violence against women and girls is not just condemned but stopped is possible. It can and must be prevented.
As highlighted in the GREVIO baseline report on Georgia published on 22/11/2022, over the past decade, Georgia has made significant progress towards effectively addressing the shadow pandemic of violence against women and girls by putting in place a comprehensive policy and legislative framework, producing data and strengthening institutions to effectively enforce the laws. Moreover, specialized services for survivors such as shelters, crisis centres and a hotline have been created, and law enforcement has been specialized to handle cases in a more sensitive and qualified manner. Importantly, there have been positive shifts in public perceptions and an increase in survivors’ trust in the justice system and services.
Despite these significant measures taken to tackle gender-based violence in Georgia, women continue to die as a result of these atrocious crimes. Often, femicide represents the continuum of other forms of violence experienced by women and girls. Sexual violence also persists in Georgia, with an extremely low number of reporting and respective cases reaching the courts. The persistent patriarchal norms and deeply entrenched stereotypes in Georgian society tend to blame victims and condone violence against women and girls.
We call for the strengthening of a holistic national framework to prevent all forms of violence against women and girls in Georgia. Efforts should be translated into concrete actions through the necessary legislative measures by, inter alia, amending the definition of rape in the Criminal Code of Georgia to ensure compliance with the Council of Europe’s Istanbul Convention and other international standards, as well as by exercising due diligence to prevent (including through integrating the issue into the general education programmes), investigate, punish, and provide reparation for acts of violence. Building and strengthening an enabling environment for women’s economic, political, and social empowerment is paramount.
Since everyone has a pivotal role to play in tackling violence against women and girls, we remain steadfast in our determination to support the Government of Georgia, civil society, and other partners to ensure that the inalienable right of women and girls to live a life free from violence is observed and enjoyed for the benefit of everyone.
On the 26 of May, the Georgian nation decided once and for all to live in a free, independent country - S. Zourabichvili
First of all, happy Independence Day to those of you who are swearing allegiance to the homeland today. The Georgian military has been characterized by its ability to fight, by its responsibility, its self-sacrifice and loyalty to oath. Today, you are becoming part of this worthy military history. You know and are well aware that defending the independence and freedom of a country is not an easy task and requires dignity and dedication.
On the 26 of May, the Georgian nation decided once and for all to live in a free, independent country. Thus, the Georgian nation once and for all refused to be part of another country, refused slavery.
Today, the 26 of May, is not only a day to revive the past, nor is it an ordinary holiday, it is a day of reflection and understanding. A day when we should think about our country and ask ourselves whether we are doing everything that this country needs, for its future, for the well-being of its people, for its independence and for its freedom.
This question should be asked by everyone, every citizen, every child of this country, living here or abroad. After all, independence means that the future of our children is in our hands and that no one can avoid this responsibility. However, and this thinking is obvious, those of us who stand on this side of the tribune owe more, for we have more responsibility. This responsibility is stronger now, because Georgia is once again standing at a crossroads, not unlike many crucial moments in its history. In front of us has come the time for new opportunities and new challenges and they require certain answers, readiness, foresight, a vision and courage with caution. It requires unity in the first place - and I will say this as many times as it takes.
A historic opportunity arose on the road to Europe. This road to Europe did not arise without bloodshed and without sacrifice. This aspiration was based on the knowledge that common values united us and connected us to the European civilization. And while we defended the Georgian faith, identity and values against a number of conquering empires, we also defended Europe at the same time. These shared values encompassed everything that is the key to our European future today, that is - four core values and principles.
1) A fair court, a principle which dates back many centuries in Georgia and is based on the historical cornerstones of Georgian law: be it the customary law of Antiquity, the 13th-century "Book of All the Mistakes of Men", the 14th-century criminal law of King George the Brilliant, or King Vakhtang VI’s unique repertoire of historical legal writings. The history of Georgian law would have adorned many European countries, and it is a bit of a shame that we cannot continue this legacy properly today.
2) The cornerstone of Georgian culture, which is also the defining value for Europe - tolerance and diversity. Even today, we and Europe owe it to ourselves to continue this tradition.
3) The Christianity of Europe and Georgia instructed us to recognize humanity as the center of the world and therefore to respect and protect all of its rights. On our way to Europe, this also stands on our agenda.
4) And finally, the balance of power to avoid the temptation of authoritarianism that characterizes our history. The division of the Executive and Legislative branches and their balancing dates back to the 12th-century reign of Tamar the King, under the form of the Karavi and the Darbazi, which stand as the foundations of Georgian parliamentarism. Thus, we must understand that the protection of these values is neither the fulfillment of someone else's dictated will, nor the danger of alienation and loss of identity, but on the contrary - taking decisive steps on the path to Europe is tantamount to returning to oneself. That is why, cognitively or intuitively, this path is supported by all of society and this support has not only slowed down but strengthened over the years. Today, for the first time, a real chance has arisen. Neither the civil society united around this goal, nor the souls of our ancestors, nor the future generations will forgive us for missing this chance. Instead, those who will be able to succeed on this path will inherit a unique place and appreciation in Georgian history. The choice is yours! The choice is ours!
With this great historical chance, Georgia is facing no less powerful challenges. The war in Ukraine, in the heart of Europe, reminds us of the tragedies of the war waged on Georgia more than once in the past centuries. Precisely because we know the cost of such devotion to country, do we owe it to ourselves not only to feel the pain of the Ukrainian people, but also to show full solidarity with them. We understand what is the power of solidarity and we see this in the Georgian society expressing that solidarity in all possible ways. We also understand very well that even our accelerated path toward Europe is the merit of the Ukrainian people, achieved with their blood and suffering. Ukraine has gone through incredible battles, its warriors have shown the world an example of courage, devotion and endurance. I would like to pay here tribute to the fallen Ukrainian and Georgian heroes, because what they all fought for is independence and freedom, and the 26 of May is a day for independence and freedom. We know and will never forget that Ukraine today defends not only its own freedom, sovereignty, and independence, but also our freedom and that of other European countries. It protects the future of a united, strong, free Europe.
At this time, the challenges related to our occupied territories are not slowing down, on the contrary. In this tense environment, there is an attempt to convince people that Georgia can "use this time" and try to return territories by force - this is another obvious Russian misinformation. I once again address our citizens in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali, assuring you that Georgia will not act against you through war and force. It is clear to everyone today which country threatens the sovereignty, identity and life of its neighbors. This is not Georgia. I appeal to you and offer that, as in the past we created the Georgian state together, now together we should create an equal future. I offer to you to join us in an European united future. I offer you freedom, and the respect and protection of your language, your identity, your history, your culture. I offer you new accord. At this time, this yet-another provocation by Russia, the threat of referendum and annexation, will not achieve its goal - the escalation of the confrontation between us and our shift from the policy of peace. Russia mustn’t make another grave mistake and wrongdoing, and must not once again try to disregard all the norms and principles of international law. This will not go unanswered and will provoke appropriate reactions from the international community.
Today, on the 26 of May, my request and wish to you, the society and the political elite, is one: Strength is in Unity! When if not today, must we realize that we have no other way! A united nation has a great future ahead: Europe and return to our roots! Once again, I would like to appeal to all of you and remind you that national accord in this should not remain an empty word and should reflect our state and historical consciousness. This chance exists today!
I would like to read one sentence from the declaration created by several groups of young people that will be signed today at the Orbeliani Palace: "Young people living in Georgia stand together to reach out to the international community at this crucial moment in the country and to express our unwavering will and support for the country's European future."
We are tasked with listening to these young people and paving the way for future generations to make their own choices. Success on this path depends on us and only us. And “us” means all of us: the government, the opposition and the society with all its components.
That is why I am ready to be your voice and deliver this message of the nation where the voice of Georgia should be heard today! So they too can understand the unified message of Georgia "We are Europeans"! We must all serve this goal... and this is how I understand the words of the oath uttered today: "I serve Georgia!"
Long live Georgia!
Happy Independence Day, beautiful Land Georgia! Our family wishes all our readers a very Happy 26th of May, we hope you are spending it with family and friends in celebration of this great nation we call home and Land of the Brave! God bless Georgia!
President of the American Friendship Club
Head of the Board of Directors
National English Spelling Competition NESC GE
May 26, 2022 - Tbilisi, Georgia
Republic Day is a significant date in the life of Azerbaijan. On May 28, 1918, the Declaration of Independence of Azerbaijan was proclaimed in the historical Viceroy’s Palace in that time Tiflis. Thus, the centuries-old tradition of statehood of the Azerbaijani people was revived in a new form of secular democratic republic. Becoming the first republic in the Muslim East, Azerbaijan affirmed the equal rights of all its citizens, regardless of gender, religious, ethnic or social affiliation. In the country, earlier than among many leading European nations, women's suffrage was guaranteed. All ethnic groups were represented in the Parliament of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic (ADR).
Noteworthy is such an important circumstance as – ADR closely coordinated its efforts in the foreign policy arena with the Georgian Democratic Republic. So, in 1919, our countries concluded a defensive pact against the common threat posed by Denikin’s troops. The independence of both states was de facto recognized by the Supreme Council of the Allied Powers under a decision of January 11, 1920. It is truly symbolic that the sketch of the ADR coat of arms, taken as the basis of the current coat of arms of the Republic of Azerbaijan, was proposed by Prince Alexander Shervashidze, who was then in Baku.
Alas, that time global political situation did not allow Azerbaijan to maintain its independence. In April 1920, Baku was occupied by the Red Army. And less than a year later, the Georgian Democratic Republic fell under the blows of the Bolsheviks. All this once again demonstrated that the destinies of our countries are intertwined with history. The successes of one lead to the good of the other. And vice versa, the trouble of one is reflected in the next.
Being a part of the USSR, Azerbaijan also strove to develop friendly contacts with Georgia; outstanding representatives of the intelligentsia of both countries were connected by warm and close relations. Our peoples continued to crave for each other. The crown of this cooperation was the friendship between the leaders of the republics – Heydar Aliyev and Eduard Shevardnadze, whose activities laid the foundations for the restoration of the countries’ independence.
Returning to the leadership in Azerbaijan after the collapse of the Soviet Union and taking the country away from the edge of the abyss in 1993, Heydar Aliyev began to systematically strengthen the foundations of statehood. He became a true architect of the today’s Republic of Azerbaijan, identifying key areas and a strategy for its development. It is no coincidence that the main export pipeline Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan, the construction of which through the territory of Georgia became the triumph of Heydar Aliyev’s oil diplomacy, is inextricably linked with his name.
Relying on the strong foundation of modern effective statehood, the Republic of Azerbaijan, under the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev, has developed successes in all areas: reducing poverty from almost 45% in 2003 to less than 5% by now, developing social infrastructure, technological modernization, stimulating the non-oil sector, ensuring dynamic stability within the country and strengthening its prestige in the international arena. In this connection, it’s enough to recall at least such momentous events as the election of Azerbaijan as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council from a group of Eastern European states for 2012-2013 and the country's chairmanship in the Non-Aligned Movement, uniting 120 states, which began in 2019.
Azerbaijan is successfully building up cooperation in all significant vectors: from the European Union to the countries of the Asia-Pacific region, from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to the Council of Europe, from NATO to UNESCO, etc. Of course, the strengthening of strategic partnership with neighboring countries occupies a special place in the system of priorities, and among them Georgia traditionally plays the role of our closest good neighbor, whose brotherhood has passed the test of the long history and the collisions of the present stage.
Our countries, like a hundred years ago, continue to coordinate their activities, invariably provide mutual support to each other's sovereignty and territorial integrity. Like a hundred years ago, we have similar problems, we feel common pain. One fifth of the internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan is under occupation. A fifth of Georgia’s territory has also been occupied.
The people and the state of Azerbaijan are determined to restore international law and justice, to ensure the violated rights of hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons who have been subjected to ethnic cleansing in their own country and forcibly expelled from their homes. Strengthening the Azerbaijani state’s power significantly increased the ability to assert its rights and eliminate the consequences of the illegal use of force against it. And everyone can be sure that the success of Azerbaijan in this direction will create conditions for improving the situation in the region as a whole.
Today, celebrating Republic Day, the Azerbaijani people rely on their own strengths and actively use the potential of international cooperation. We are convinced that only by developing a mutually beneficial partnership it’s possible to confidently continue forwarding on the path of progress and prosperity. In its turn, the progress and prosperity of Azerbaijan will always benefit its good neighbors and Georgia, of course, in the first instance.
Press Service of the Embassy
of the Republic of Azerbaijan in Georgia
On June 3, 2019, in Tbilisi Olympic Sports Center the Embassy of Turkmenistan in Georgia with the assistance of Georgian National bicycle federation held the cycling race dedicated to the World Bicycle Day.
The representatives of Georgian National bicycle federation, athletes and coaches of Georgia took participation in this event, which was covered by the local media.
Before the start of the race, it was noted that the World Bicycle Day was established by the Resolution of the UN General Assembly on the initiative of the President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov. This historical event is another evidence of growing international authority of Turkmenistan and its commitment to the principles of peace-loving, humanity and efficient cooperation.
Speakers noted that Turkmenistan pays a great attention to the development of cycling. The country realizes programme measures for the popularization of cycling and attraction of whole population especially the youth to this environmentally friendly sport. At the same time, the merit of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov - an active promoter of cycling, an initiator of regular cycling races and cycling holidays, in which the head of state participates directly, was particularly emphasized.
The participants of the cycling race noted that this sports event is another step in strengthening friendship and cooperation between our countries, as well as promoting sport and a healthy lifestyle.
Raffles University of Johor Bahru hosted a celebratory event for International Human Solidarity Day on December 29th and 30th at Capital City Mall in Malaysia. The event was co-hosted by international NGOs called Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL) and International Peace Youth Group (IPYG) to raise awareness of solidarity for peace-building. Also, the Capital City joined the event in partnership.
The event included various booths, presentations and exhibitions. The Peace Letter project, one of the most-crowded booths during the event, encouraged the participants to write hand-writing letters in support of the establishment of international law for peace.
According to the volunteer of the IPYG running the booth, the letters written by the youth all over the world have been delivered to the head of each state. He added that the contents of the letters include the voice of youth urging for the legally binding document that prevents any war-like activities based on the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW).
Several schools in Malaysia including Dato Osman Awang, Mohd Khalid are known to implement peace education in their curriculum. With the aim of fostering a culture of peace through peace education, HWPL carried out a survey during the event. The participants partook in the survey that collected the demands of the citizens for implementing peace education throughout the country.
Denise, Education Consultant in Raffles University Iskandar who headed the event, said ‘I hope that this event can be an example for our students like how to organize events in future, and also to bring our students and society to a next level to more concern the world's news. And we believe this will also help our students to be more responsible to the society. ’ in regards to the expected outcome of the event.
Co-hosts IPYG and HWPL also stated ‘ First I want to thanks for all the help in this events and being our partner until the end of the event. And I do hope that we can work together next time.’.
Last weekend, over 3,000 people gathered in the city of Marneuli, in the Kvemo Kartli region of southern Georgia, for the sixth regional Europe Day organised by the EU Delegation to the country.
Festivities in Marneuli closed the Europe Day activities held in the country this year. In 2018, the EU Delegation to Georgia brought Europe Day celebrations to seven locations: the capital of Tbilisi and six regional towns.
Residents of these towns enjoyed a number of information activities, including for children, to learn about the diverse Member States of the EU and EU-Georgia cooperation. Adults had the opportunity to sample delicious food and find out more about how the EU is helping create more opportunities for Georgian citizens.