TBILISI, Republic of Georgia - The Marshall Center's Alumni Programs, in conjunction with the Georgia Alumni Association, and the U.S. Embassy and German Embassy in Tbilisi, conducted an Outreach Networking Event on "Challenges to Democratic Institutions" held here March 20.
"The event is part of a continuing program to encourage Georgia alumni to enhance their participation in Marshall Center programs, to discuss important security issues and to encourage the alumni security community network to grow and flourish," said Chris Burelli, director of Marshall Center's Alumni Programs.
Sixty Marshall Center alumni from multiple ministries in Georgia took part in the conference, with opening remarks by Ambassador Hubert Knirsch, from the German Embassy in Tbilisi, and Ambassador Ross L. Wilson, from the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi.
Knirsch said that the main threats to democratic institutions occur internally to nations. Wilson stressed the importance of the chosen topic of the conference.
"Too many liberated countries from the former Soviet Union have forgotten the democratic values for which World War II and the Cold War were fought," Wilson said.
Dr. Nika Chitadze, director of the Black Sea Regional Geopolitical Research Center, presented on "Main Threats and Challenges to Democratic Institutions, and Ways to Resolve Them."
Chitadze speaking on behalf of the Georgia Alumni Association, stressed the importance of continuing communication and building networks both within the country and transnationally.
"In the modern world, only democracy enlargement in the different regions of the world can play the key role for the establishment peace and security," Chitadze said. For the democracy enlargement, it is necessary to provide security in the different regions of the world."
Dr. Pâl Dunay, Marshall Center's professor of NATO and European security issues, presented on "Current Changes in the International System with an Emphasis on Wider Europe."
Levan Chikvaidze, from the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Georgia, presented on "Strategy of Raising Law Enforcement Capabilities against Transnational Crime."
Burelli said that this event helped to increase awareness and understanding of how the U.S., Europe and Georgia can cooperate to counter threats to democratic institutions.
"The ONE events are a way for us to show our continued support and helps to strengthen the alumni network as an integral part of the alumni program and mission of the Marshall Center," Burelli said. "During these events, we are also able to update our alumni on new initiatives at the Marshall Center and future opportunities for alumni to participate in our programs."