Artists and educationalists met at the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin on 6 May 2015 for a first meeting in preparation for the German-Georgian Friendship Year 2017. Maja Avramovska, senior desk officer for the Caucasus region at DVV International, was invited to attend the meeting as a civil society representative.
2017 is an important year for German-Georgian relations. Firstly, it commemorates the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries 25 years ago. Germany was the first country in the European Community to recognise Georgia after it became independent in March 1992 and to enter into diplomatic relations. Secondly, 2017 marks the 200th anniversary of the arrival of the first Swabian immigrants in Georgia. Driven out by famine, more than 1,000 families set off in 1817 on the long journey east to start a new life in the Caucasus.
The first ideas and initiatives for the programme in the framework of the Friendship Year 2017 were presented and discussed during the meeting. The results were then submitted to the German Minister for Foreign Affairs Frank-Walter Steinmeier and the Georgian Foreign Minister Tamar Beruchashvili. Further meetings to prepare the activities are to take place in the months to come.
Since 2002, DVV International has been working with civil society and governmental organisations in Georgia in the field of adult education, as well as in addressing historical events and reconciliation. The Institute advises the Georgian Education Ministry, and has helped establish nine Georgian adult education centres so far. Together with the Goethe Institute, DVV International’s Regional Office in Tbilisi has been awarding the first German-Georgian Prize for Culture, the “Giwi Margwelaschwili Prize” for special services to German-Georgian cultural relations, since 2011.