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Dialogue through research

Promoting debate amongst Georgian and Abkhaz experts

In 2008, we began working with local Georgian and Abkhaz partners to present research by Georgian and Abkhaz experts on different aspects of the conflict.

There is a lot of analysis and research into the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict. However, much of this is not informed by dialogue and can be full of untested or false assumptions, and simply represent the perspectives and interests of a particular author or institution. Despite the accessibility of news and opinion on the internet, there is therefore still a lot of room for misunderstanding. Only face-to-face dialogue can counter this.

The topics for this research are agreed through a process of joint negotiation in which our partners commission each other to undertake research on a given topic. The findings of the research are then debated and disseminated publicly, with the perspectives published side-by-side. This research can be used to engage in joint analysis and public debate on key issues, and encourage a new way of thinking about the conflicts. It also allows us to promote a better understanding of the conflict among the EU and other international decision-makers.

In Tbilisi, our partner Caucasian House ran a 16-week course that included themes on conflict analysis, nationalism and identity politics, with a specific focus on writing about conflict. We hope to develop these courses into university modules, utilising the experience of our project participants as visiting lecturers and the ‘Dialogue through research’ materials as educational resources.

With the political process making little progress, this project offers the opportunity to look at more creative and alternative ideas about the conflict. This project is funded by the UK Conflict Pool and was previously funded by the EU.