Day of Peace in Georgia Observed at a Conference and Historic Site

Tbilisi, Georgia - UPF-Georgia organized two events for the UN International Day of Peace: a conference at the David Aghmashenebeli University of Georgia on September 21 and a celebration at the Rabat fortress in Akhaltsikhe on September 22.

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Conference at the David Aghmashenebeli University of Georgia

UPF-Georgia in collaboration with David Aghmashenebeli University of Georgia organized a conference commemorating the UN International Day of Peace on September 21. Some 30 former and current political leaders, leaders of NGOs, and youth activists gathered to discuss social trends in the South Caucasus region. The conference was timely since the situation in the conflict zones of the South Caucasus remains tense and dangerous.

The conference was chaired by Ambassador for Peace Salome Kapanadze, Professor at Grigol Robakidze University. The program began with the traditional One Minute of Silence for a ceasefire and peace in the world.

Vitaly Maximov, Secretary General of UPF–Georgia, gave an opening speech. He described the history and meaning of the International Day of Peace, stressing the importance of personal efforts in order to build the culture of peace.

Participants listened to the International Day of Peace 2012 message of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and watched a video presentation with peace messages from famous peacemakers.

The main speaker was Vilen Alavidze, a scholar and Member of the Presidium of the Academy of the National and Social Relations of Georgia. He made a presentation on the approaches and prospects in the sphere of interethnic relations in peacebuilding in the South Caucasus based on his numerous professional experiences. He reviewed research and offered practical suggestions for establishing a culture of peace in the region based on his studies of concrete successful experiences of multicultural relations in modern societies. The suggestions were discussed by the participants.

The participants in the conference unanimously appealed to the governments of the South Caucasus countries to use the global network of Ambassadors for Peace and people of good will to support the renewal and strengthening of the family as the most fundamental unit of society; encourage reconciliation and cooperation beyond traditional boundaries of religion, race, and ethnicity, and promote the ethic of "living for the sake of others" as the essential ingredient for building a world community. Such people can be the mediators, committed to the path of promoting reconciliation, overcoming barriers, and building peace.

The participants adopted a resolution to affirm the importance of intercultural dialogue, which will ultimately help to overcome the mutual distrust and promote understanding between nations and peoples, and reaffirmed their commitment to make a contribution to resolve the problems existing in the region.

Celebration at the Rabat fortress in Akhaltsikhe

As a part of the celebration of the UN International Day of Peace, UPF-Georgia in partnership with the NGO "Georgia - Help for Refugees" organized a visit to the recently renovated historic fortress city of Rabat on September 22.

Participants visited the complex, which has been restored and rebuilt on the site of ancient ruins of a Christian church, mosque, and synagogue. Participants became acquainted with the historical heritage of Georgian culture, listened to the peace message prepared by the youth leader Anna Shavadze, and discussed the role of international and interreligious dialogue in the peacebuilding process.

Orthodox priest Father Guram shared his personal experiences about the importance of achieving inner harmony and the value of living for the sake of others as a foundation for peace and reconciliation.

Note: The Rabat castle, which is often called a symbol of tolerance, is multi-religious site includes a Christian church dating from the 9th century, a mosque, minaret, synagogue, the Jakelebi Palace, a historic museum, old baths, and citadel. At the opening ceremony of the restored site a month earlier, Georgia president Mikheil Saakashvili called the castle a "crown of rehabilitation of Georgia." He spoke about the key role of youth and called on young people to continue the development process in Georgia.

For more reports about International Day of Peace 2012 programs click here.

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