Minel Abaz was still a student when he learnt about South Caucasus and Georgia and found many similarities between the two countries: as both are in the transition from socialism, both countries experienced war, and both are in quite similar positions regarding membership in the European Union. 

The WEASA P2P initiative was a great opportunity for Minel to finally visit Georgia and its capital Tbilisi and meet with fellow WEASA alumni whom he met in Warsaw during this year’s summer academy. The aim of his professional trip was to visit research institutions and to learn from the past and the present from two points of view from fellow Georgian alumnus: both as “ordinary” Georgian citizens, and as academic researchers.     

Minel visited the Georgian Institute of Politics (GIP) where WEASA alumnae Nino Samkharadze, Junior Policy Analyst of GIP, discussed about the past and current situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Georgia, mostly related to the social and political status of these countries, the occupied regions of Georgia and the semi-autonomous entity of Republika Srpska in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the influence of Russia and the state of EU integration. The information gathered would later serve as basis for his article he is writing for the Bosnian audience. 

In addition, Minel and another WEASA alumnus Gurami Jajanidze, the Project Coordinator at the Europe-Georgia Institute (EGI), and Rati Kobakhidze, EGI Political Digest Editor organised a workshop about fact checking and disinformation for the Georgian youth in the premises of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation in Tbilisi. A discussion was held about socialist Yugoslavia, Yugoslavia’s relations with the USSR, the influence of Russia and relations of Bosnia and Herzegovina with Russia, media freedoms, and fact-checking platforms in both BiH and Georgia. 

Minel also used the opportunity and met his Balkan peer Jovan who was undertaking his WEASA P2P meeting and socialised with the active WEASA family in Georgia. 

The story of Minel was completed with an interesting and comprehensive article about Georgia. You may access the article via this link. 

As usual, we wish to pass out gratitude to Nino and Gurami who showed their willingness to meet and help organise the meetings for Minel.