July 2-3 and 4-5, the Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation invited women representatives from its co-operation organisation United National Movement (UNM) to two conferences in Sighnaghi, Georgia. The purpose of the conferences was to discuss and to encourage the construction and strengthening of a women network in the region of Kakheti. The conferences were co-hosted by the International Republican Institute (IRI).
Georgia is the most successful post-Soviet country in the Caucasus region in regard of democracy and political pluralism, after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation has a longstanding partnership with UNM, where focus mainly has been on promoting and strengthening the role of women and youth in the country. Even though Georgia in many ways serves as a model in the region, the society still struggles against traditional and patriarchal values – particularly on the countryside.
The conferences aimed to build and organise a women network in the region of Kakheti, which is situated in eastern Georgia. Participants were female representatives from local UNM networks in the region. The conferences were visited by several parliamentarians such as Khatuna Gogorishvili, Zurab Tchiaberashvili and Giga Bokeria, who held lectures. The conferences were also visited by Sergo Ratiani, new elected Secretary General of UNM. Topics discussed at the conferences were among others organisation building, strategical messages and national action plans for promoting women’s influence in domestic politics.
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