Students during a video conference.
On April 4, university students from New Jersey and the country of Georgia, separated by thousands of miles, met for the first time via video conference to talk about active citizenship and the importance of participating in democratic processes.
Partnering with Rutgers University and Seton Hall University, IFES organized a two-hour video conference that included U.S. students engaged in civics studies and Georgian students who recently completed IFES’ civics course, demokratia da mokalakeoba (democracy and citizenship), which was implemented in four Georgian universities during the fall semester of 2011.
During the conference, IFES civics course alumni, and current students and professors in both countries discussed issues related to the meaning of citizenship in a democracy. Over 50 students from Georgia and the U.S. participated, in addition to 10 civics professors and representatives from IFES, participating universities and the United States Agency for International Development.
Opening remarks were delivered by Tiblisi State University Rector Alexander Kvitashvili, USAID Deputy Mission Director Joakim Parker, IFES Chief of Party Nermin Nisic and Dr. Greer Burroughs, IFES' international civic education advisor. Students from Tbilisi and New Jersey were engaged in discussions on rights and responsibilities of citizens in a democracy; voting and participating in elections; and general characteristics of government and society in the U.S. and Georgia.