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10TH International Silk Road Conference: “EU Association Agreement: Perspectives and Challenges“

On May 22-23, 2015 International Black Sea University organized the 10th anniversary International Silk Road Conference

 “EU Association Agreement: Perspectives and Challenges”. The conference was held in cooperation with Georgian Institute of Public Affairs (GIPA), Information Center of EU and NATO and Young Diplomats’ Club of Georgia.

The Opening Ceremony took place on May 22 at the Radisson Blu Iveria Hotel. Honorable speech was presented by Mr. Janos Herman, the Ambassador of the European Union, who provided his insight about development of the Association Agreement. According to Mr. Herman, “Association Agreement is not the agreement designed only for Georgia. As in case of every single country, reforms should be introduced in social sector, democratic institutions strengthened etc.” As Mr. Herman argues, EU is currently in the process of negotiations over visa liberalization for Georgia. Moreover, the country fulfills all the conditions. Still it is important to emphasize support of majority of the Georgian population in this regard.

Mr. Ilyas Ciloglu, Rector of IBSU; Giorgi Abashishvili, Adviser of the President in Economic Issues, the Rector of GIPA; Maka Ioseliani, Director of Information center about EU and NATO; Elene Gotsadze and vice president of Young Diplomats’ Club of Georgia, Mariam Kheladze also addressed the audience. Mr. Ciloglu noted that educational institutions have huge role in providing the population with right understanding of the Associate Agreement. Among the honorary guests there were experts from Poland, USA and Great Britain who discussed the economic, cultural and other aspects of the agreement.

10th International Silk Road Conference had been running for two days and aimed to create common forum from the politicians, decision makers and representatives from academic spheres, supporting the intensive dialogue about the euro integration process. Adviser of the President in Economic Issues, Giorgi Abashishvili stated that there is going deep discussion about the Association Agreement and DCFTA issues.

After the opening session the working process continued in sessions divided according to the different fields and issues. The sessions were moderated by IBSU lecturers: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ivanna Machitidze, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nick Chitadze and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Azer Dilanchiev.

The conference hosted the honorary guests, students and lecturers from Ukraine, Poland, Hungary, Azerbaijan, Turkey and Iraq as well as from different universities, NGOs and public institutions from Georgia. For the first time, this year the working language of the conference were Georgian and English, participants could present their reports on both languages.

One more goal of the conference was to introduce to the foreign guests Georgian culture and landmarks, for this reason the event traditionally ended with the excursion at Open Air Ethnographic Museum and in Mtskheta(ancient capital of Georgia), where guests got excited with Georgian architecture, historical monuments, Georgian traditional cuisine and hospitality.