Programs / Current Programs & Activities / Open Door GrantmakingChange Agents' Forum

About the Forum

During February 13-14, 2014, Europe Foundation (formerly, Eurasia Partnership Foundation) hosted the Change Agents’ Forum (CAF), which brought together representatives of civil society organizations, the media, public authorities, and the business community, whose actions have brought changes in Georgia’s social, cultural, and business environment. The Forum created a platform for public authorities, the media, civil society, and business community to discuss perspectives on Georgia’s cultural, social, political, and economic development – a common interest and shared responsibility for all sectors.  The Forum brought together likeminded individuals, who engaged in plenary and thematic discussion on means and methods of cooperation among various sectors, so as to speed up the reforms toward social wellbeing and democratic governance. The goal of the Forum was to foster:

  • Knowledge sharing through conducting practical master classes and highlighting real life success stories;
  • Linkages among potential partners through plenary and thematic sessions, as well as networking breaks and events;
  • Positive changes through sessions devoted to group work and development of common advocacy strategies.

CAF 2014 Program


 

Working Together toward Common Goals: Perspectives from the Government, Civil Society, and Business Community 

The plenary session opened discussions on the common responsibility that the government, civil society, and business community share to bring about positive change in Georgia’s cultural, social, and economic life. The panelists  reviewed the changes that have taken place in “how the business is conducted” in their relevant sectors and explore opportunities for further developments through cross-sectoral partnerships designed to effect mutually-beneficial societal changes. The panelists responded to the following questions: What are the major break-throughs that benefited Georgian society with their direct participation in the recent years? Are there any examples of collaborative efforts directed toward positive social changes?  What are the shared values of business, civil society, and the government that could be utilized to promote further socio-economic and cultural change? Do Georgia’s policy and legal environment promote collaborative approach to positive change?


Moderator: Tamar Chikovani, Journalist, Radio Maestro      Panelists:

  • David Lortkipanidze, Executive Director, Georgian National Museum
  • Soso Phakadze,   Chairman of the Board of Directors, Wissol Group
  • Ketevan Vashakidze, President, Eurasia Partnership Foundation      

Voices of Regional Civil Society Organizations in both the Regional and National Policy Making

Many regional CSOs have been successful in effecting positive change on the local level through participatory monitoring and advocacy efforts. However, they have had less success in putting issues of concern on the national development agenda. The session discussed how best to contribute to improved influence of regional civil society organizations and their advocacy efforts on national level decision making. The session participants brainstormed about and come up with specific recommendations on how to mobilize the leading regional CSO to achieve tangible policy results. Summary of the session (available in Georgian only)


Panel Moderator: Genadi Geladze, Democracy Institute, Batumi

Media as a Commercially Viable Enterprise: Challenges and Opportunities 

The session explored the impact of the latest changes in the local political environment, current state of Georgian economy, the recently introduced amendments to the Law on Broadcasting, including the changes regarding the broadcast ownership and financial transparency, GNCC regulation of the industry, available audience research and its quality, and potential of broadcast industry to self-organize, on the volume and distribution of advertising resources and structure of Georgian media market. Summary of the session (available in Georgian only)


Panel Chair: Lia Chakhunashvili, Deputy Chief of Party, Georgian Media Enhance Democracy, Informed Citizenry and Accountability Program (G-MEDIA) of IREX   Panelists:

  • Mathias Huter, Senior Analyst, Transparency International Georgia
  • Nana Morbedadze, Director, Market Intelligence Caucasus, licensee of TNS
  •  Ina Pirstskalaishvili, Marketing Manager, TV MR GE

Civic Initiative for an Independent Judiciary: Next Steps toward Improved Rule of Law in Georgia

The goal of the session was to bring together the representatives of non-governmental organizations, professional and business association, media, business and government, to discuss the ways in which the three sectors (public, private, and non-governmental) can work together to promote the rule of law and equal access to justice in Georgia.  The panelists focused on the fact that the rule of law requires more than an exclusive focus on the existing legislation and/or formal justice institutions.  Rather, the rule of law is an interdependent system of several components involving state entities, legal education institutions, business community, non-governmental organizations, and the public.  The session offered a unique opportunity to the stakeholders to sit down around the same table and discuss where Georgia stands on the rule of law matters and brainstorm how to solve the most pressing issues. Summary of the session (available in Georgian only)


Panel Chair: Nino Khurtsidze, Vice-President of Eurasia Partnership Foundation     Panelists:

  • Aleksandre Baramidze,  First Deputy Minister of Justice
  • Tamar Gabisonia, Executive Director of Article 42 of the Constitution
  • Nick Gvinadze, Managing Partner of Gvinadze & Partners
  • Archil Bakuradze, Chairman of the Business and Economic Center

Organizational Development Strategy Planning: Principles and Tools 

The workshop offered  master-class on strengthening the organizational capacity of civil society organizations for their longer-term sustainability. Steady organizational development requires realistic, tailored, and consistent strategy, as well as modernized and optimized management and administrative processes. The workshop helped the participants to gain a better understanding of what constitutes organizational development strategy and what are some of the useful approaches to developing it.  During the workshop, the participants have a chance to assess their organizations’ capacities, formulate relevant goals, and draft organizational development outline.

 


  Workshop facilitators:

  • Irina Khantadze, Executive Director of the Center for Training and Consultancy (CTC)
  • Tamar Tsirekidze, Head of Service Department of the Center for Training and Consultancy (CTC)        

Reform of Consumer Protection Legislation: Cooperation Between the Government, Civil Society and Business

The Government of Georgia is committed to undertake reforms in order to ensure the improved protection of consumer rights.  To achieve the declared results, the GoG must be ready for significant overhaul of both policy and legislative framework, which, in turn, requires collaboration between the stakeholders. While the Parliamentary Committee on European Integration and the National Food Agency (NFA) have made significant strides to engage with civil society and the business community, the cooperation between stakeholders must be deepened to effect positive and sustainable change. The session outlined the challenges and opportunities of this cooperation and responded to the following questions: How do different stakeholder groups view this cooperation? What are the major challenges that need to be addressed?  What can the different stakeholders do to ensure effective cooperation?  Summary of the session (available in Georgian only)


Panel Chair: Vakhtang Kobaladze, Senior Program Manager, Eurasia Partnership Foundation   Panelists:

  • Zurab Chekurashvili, Head of the National Food Agency
  • Eka Kardava, Advisor of the Division on Relationship with Parliament and President, Legal Department of the Georgian Government Chancellery
  • Lia Todua, Coordinator of the Consumer Rights Protection Program, the Center for Strategic Research and Development of Georgia (CSRDG)
  • Erekle Gamkrelidze, Deputy General Director, Sante GMT Products
  • Nana Biganishvili, Founder and Board Member of Studio Monitor

Social Enterprise: A Catalyst of Social Change

The session aimed at highlighting the potential of social enterprises to effect social change and push forward social innovation.  The session focused on defining a common notion of social enterprise in Georgia and discuss the various forms of partnership between public, private, and non-governmental sectors that could utilize the concept for addressing societal needs. The panelists offered review of different forms of social enterprise worldwide. Specifically, the panelists responded to the following question: What are the benefits of social enterprise for socially vulnerable groups? How can the cross-sectoral cooperation accelerate social cohesion? How can public authorities support local social enterprises?

Summary of the session (available in Georgian only)


Panel Chair:  Viktor Baramia, Program Manager of Eurasia Partnership Foundation   Panelists:

  • Mr. Nir Tsuk, Managing Director, Ashoka Israel
  • Ms. Eka Datuashvili, Program Manager, the Center for Strategic Research and Development of Georgia (CSRDG)
  • Zviad Archuadze, Head of Economic Affairs Office, Tbilisi City Hall
  • Irakli Zhorzholiani, Director, Children and Youth Fund, Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs of Georgia
  • Kakha Kokhreidze, Georgian Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Tapping the Resources of Youth: Mobilization and Social Activism

The session highlighted the importance of tri-partite partnerships in encouraging youth participation in social processes. Using specific examples from the Georgian reality, the panelists informed the audience about the potency of local youth as agents of positive social change.  The panelists  also explored how community service in youth is linked to increased civic participation in adulthood, which, according to survey research is particularly low in Georgia.  The session answered the following questions: What is needed to nurture youth activism? How can the partnerships among the different stakeholders foster youth activism?

Summary of the session (available in Georgian only)


Panel Chair: Mariam Kobalia, Program Manager of Eurasia Partnership Foundation   Panelists:

  • Ketevan Vashakidze, President, Eurasia Partnership Foundation
  • Rati Bregadze, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs of Georgia
  • Tornike Guruli, Director, Bank of Georgia Future Foundation   
  • Mariam Devidze, Youth Bank Alumnae                                   

New Media as a Tool to Accelerate Social and Economic Transformations: Advocacy, Transparency and Marketing  

The workshop offered practical tools to advance the new media skills of CSO, government, and business entities, for enabling them to improve their advocacy skills, ensure transparency, and deepen their relationships with constituents and communities. The purpose of the workshop was to show how the new media can be utilized for improved advocacy and strategic communications, with specific focus on using the media to target specific audiences.  The facilitators debunked some key misunderstandings about advocacy media (i.e. “viral” videos, using hit counts as a metric, the limits of social media, etc.) and demonstrated how media advocacy products can be used for promoting social change organizations.

Presentation


  Workshop Facilitators:

  • Elizabeth Summers, Project Manager, N-MAP and 
  • Eric Barrett, Executive Director, Jumpstart Georgia
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