In June I had the chance to spend a week in Tbilisi Georgia teaching a course “small states and the changing world order”. The course took place within the framework of Tallinn Summer School and was part of Estonia’s 100 anniversary celebration. It was my first time in Georgia and was an experience I won’t forget.
The highlight of the experience was the students. Interest was high and we had to be selective in determining who could attend. In the end there were students from many different universities with many different backgrounds, although most had a background in International Relations or international law. At Tallinn University some of our best students come from Georgia, so I was excited to have an entire class of Georgians. The course took place during their exam session, despite this they were highly engaged and interested in the course. Many of the students look up to Estonia and see Estonia as a small state that has made the most of its opportunities. In the course, students had to submit a paper picking a small state and outlining a strategy of how the small state could better overcome challenges that it faces due to its size. After spending a week with them I’m confident that many of them will go on to be very successful and help Georgia take advantage of opportunities that it will have in the future as well.
Georgia as a country is lovely and I would recommend it to everybody. It was interesting to feel the culture that they have there. Georgia is essentially surrounded by mountains and Georgians have been there for thousands of years. They have their own alphabet and their culture and traditions was on display everywhere. They love their food and anyone who has tasted it would agree as well. Another thing that stands out is their hospitality. I was able to meet family members of students who study at Tallinn University and I have offers to come visit the next time I am in Georgia. Their kindness is certainly appreciated. I don’t yet have plans to visit Georgia soon, but hopefully I will get the opportunity sooner rather than later. In the mean time I plan on eating at some of the Georgian restaurants here in Tallinn.
PS! See the public lecture on video here.