Project Modeled on TEDx Launched in Abkhazia

Georgia’s breakaway region Abkhazia launched a local analogue of the highly touted TEDx educational conferences with the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP.

According to local Abkhaz news agencyApsnypress, a series of interactive presentations for students kicked off at Abkhazia State University on March 29 with the goal of introducing students to modern communication methods.

Gaspar Bergman, the UNDP program manager told local media that the style of the conferences are modeled on the internationally known TEDx talks, which actively encourage interaction between the presenter and audience.

Bergman said the Abkhaz variant had been dubbed the “ASU talks” in reference to the university being used as the venue.

A deputy rector of ASU, Medea Chegiya, was quick to point out that this is not the first collaboration between the university and the UNDP, saying that the UNDP had organized a number of activities to support the educational process at ASU in 2013-2015.

As part of the project, the UNDP is creating an electronic library for the university where all of ASU’s books will eventually be available.

Abkhazia was devastated by a secessionist war fought against the Georgian government in the early 1990's, immediately after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Georgian government forces fought three wars against Russian-backed separatist forces in Abkhazia and South Ossetia between 1991-2008. The wars left thousands dead and led to the ethnic cleansing of a quarter million ethnic Georgians.

Once known as a prime holiday destination for the Soviet elite, Abkhazia remains a frozen conflict zone that is not internationally recognized as a state.

Following a brief war with Georgia in 2008. Russia recognized the independence of both Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

The international community and the United Nations continue to state that the regions remain integral parts of Georgia.

Tamar Svanidze

11 April 2016 17:17