On October 13, at “Tbilisi Sheraton Metechi Palace Hotel” Diaspora Economic Forum arranged by the Office of the State Minister of Georgia for Diaspora Issues was opened. The Forum takes place in the framework of “Global Diaspora Week” in co-operation with International diaspora Engagement Alliance (IdEA), founded by the US State Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton and Georgian State Minister’s Office became its full-fledged member from August 1, 2014.
Top high ranking officials participated in the Forum: Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, Vice Prime Minister, Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia Giorgi Kvirikshvili, State Minister on European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Alex Petriashvili, Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs Levan Kipiani, the representatives of Georgian Government executive and legislative branches/authorities, Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassadors of The United States of America, Federal Republic of Germany, Republic of Turkey, representatives of accredited diplomatic missions and international organizations to Georgia attended the meeting.
Gela Dumbadze, the State Minister of Georgia for Diaspora issues thanked the Prime Minister for participating in the Diaspora Economic Forum and pointed out that the Prime Minister\’s attitude towards the Georgian Diaspora, his initiatives aiming to support Georgian diaspora by Georgian Government and engaging our compatriots closely to the processes taking place in Georgia now-days, gives hope that the State Minister’s Office will be able to adequately cope with the challenges in the Georgian Diaspora-related issues.
The participants were addressed by Irakli Garibashvili, Prime Minister, underlining Diaspora\’s growing role in the world and in development of their countries of origin. The Prime Minister welcomed the initiative of the State Minister’s Office on arranging the Diaspora Economic Forum and stressed the importance of our compatriots’ involvement in the processes taking place in the country.
Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Vice-Prime Minister, Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, in his speech expressed support and willingness to cooperate with the State Minister’s Office on Diaspora economic projects.
Romi Bhatia, Senior Advisor for Diaspora Partnerships, US Global Development Lab at USAID, spoke about International Diaspora Engagement Alliance, its aims and objectives and the Diaspora\’s role in the global world.
The forum was addressed by the United States Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Georgia, H.E. Mr. Richard Norland. He stressed the role of Georgian Diaspora in American history, Alexander Kartveli, John M. Shalikashvili, George Balanchine and others merit. Ambassador thanked the State Minister for holding the forum and pledged continued cooperation and support.
Angela Prigozhina, The World Bank\’s private and financial sector coordinator for the South Caucasus countries in her speech remarked about the growing role of Georgian Diaspora in the development of their country; the importance of skills, knowledge and experience.
At the end of the Forum opening part a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Office of the State Minister of Georgia for Diaspora Isues and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), on support of diaspora entrepreneurship, REAP program for the restoration of agricultural production efficiency and cooperation within the framework.