With their new peace initiative, ‘A Step to a Better Future’, Georgia’s government hopes to tempt students from Abkhazia and South Ossetia to enrol in Georgian universities by letting them sit entrance exams in their ‘native language’. But for Abkhazia’s ethnic Georgians in Gali, banned from studying in Georgian there and whose Abkhaz language skills are far from native, the initiative does little to help.
Ketevan Tsikhelashvili has served as Georgia’s State Minister for Reconciliation and Civic Equality, responsible for coordinating the country’s conflict resolution policy, since 2016. Tsikhelashvili sat down with OC Media to discuss the ministry’s successes and failures, her new peace initiative, and the barriers to and prospects for peace.
Jobs are hard to come by in Abkhazia’s eastern Gali District, according to the ethnic Georgians who predominantly make up the district’s population. They say that nepotism and discrimination, both direct and indirect, have made unemployment rife. Some go to Sukhumi to the city’s highly unsafe construction sites, while others are leaving for greener pastures.