Center’s Mission and Goals
The Chavchavadze Center aims to contribute to raising public awareness on political, security, economic, social and educational trends as well as potential challenges taking place on local, regional and international levels; promoting Euro-Atlantic principles and values; advocating centrist/center-right ideology, and supporting policies based on those same values. The Center aims to achieve its goals by nurturing a new generation of active citizens and opinion-makers guided by values and establishing a sustainable platform for effective cooperation; promoting civic responsibility and critical thinking; and supporting capacity building to detect and act against anti-Western propaganda.
The Center aims to foster the development of a rational society, one that is well-informed on the issues of national and international politics and equipped with the skills necessary to influence public opinion and policy-making. Such a society is less likely to become a victim of political manipulation, hostile propaganda and irrational decision-making. The Center is committed to identifying and engaging motivated, ambitious young people to establish a pool of educated, responsible citizens dedicated to shaping the future of Georgian democracy, the accomplishments of which cannot be undone or reversed. It strives to create communities across Georgia that have a profound understanding of the responsibilities of active citizens and are empowered to engage in various policy discussions and choices.
Special attention is paid to engaging young people, who often experience frustration socially as well as in educational institutions when faced with the inability to advance their academic development or find employment due to the lack of basic opportunities.
The focus on young people is also motivated by the understanding that they have a unique potential to become the driving force for the establishment of sustainable democratic processes and institutions. The objective of youth focused projects are to create a network of ambitions, active, motivated young people and empower them with the necessary knowledge and skills to become active citizens ready to engage in shaping public opinion and the future of their communities.
The background for establishing the Center
Prior to 2003, Georgia was a failed state, with some of the highest rates of crime and corruption in the world. Extreme poverty and a total lack of political will to change created an overriding sense of despair and hopelessness.
Following the Rose Revolution, Georgian society went through a radical transformation, leading to the establishment of a functional state and sustainable democratic institutions based on Euro-Atlantic values.
Though Georgia’s post Rose Revolution transformation has been described as “phenomenal”, the sustainability of the achievements has proven shaky. Some of the brightest manifestations of Georgia’s successes now appear to be fragile and seem to be reversible. The reason may be simple: while the reforms were mainly designed and implemented with a top-down approach, maintaining and advancing democratic institutional accomplishments require active participation from the populace. The long-term stability of the system depends on empowered, active citizens and the bottom-up approach to political processes.
Georgia’s current political challenges attest to shortcomings in public engagement, which in turn is due to the lack of sufficient information and skills and makes Georgian society vulnerable to fake news and Russian propaganda. The lack of public awareness on various policy issues and policy processes, as well as the absence of the skills necessary to filter and objectively assess information, are creating fertile ground for populism and manipulation and have become a determinant factor in the political process in Georgia. Thus, to maintain and advance Georgia’s post Rose Revolution achievements, it is necessary to strengthen grassroots civic engagement, stress the importance of democratic institutions, and enhance public demand for democratic practices thus contributing to the bottom-up rather than top-down development processes.
The founders of the Chavchavadze Center believe in the importance of active public engagement as part of the strengthening of the institutionalization process that is necessary for Georgia. They decided to apply their knowledge and experience to the process of grassroots’ empowerment. The team has years of multi-profile expertise in modern state building and a wide network of committed professionals with shared values and principles, all mobilized to contribute to the process of promoting evidence-based policy discussions, rational decision-making and critical thinking among Georgian population. Ultimately, this should lead to the creation of well-informed communities that, in the long run, can influence policy and the political process on local and national levels.