Ceremonies were held to mark the anniversary of the opening of the Deutsches Haus in the Georgian capital Tbilisi. DW-AKADEMIE marked the occasion by inaugurating its own office there.
The first year of the Deutsches Haus in the Georgian capital was marked with a reception and a panel discussion on “Diversity in the Southern Caucasus – International Year of Biodiversity 2010”. The guests included the German ambassador to Georgia, Ortwin Hennig, and the Georgian Environment Minister, George Khachidze.
The regional branches of the leading German development cooperation organizations are all based under one roof at the Deutsches Haus in Tbilisi. They include GTZ, the kfw bank for reconstruction, and the Center for International Migration (CIM). DW-AKADEMIE has also had an office at the Deutsches Haus since the beginning of the year.
“It’s important to us to have a permanent base in the Caucasus. Being on location puts us in a much better position to assess the training needs of the media in the region,” says DW-AKADEMIE director, Gerda Meuer, who also attended the reception in Tbilisi.
“It is also important for our work,” says Gerda Meuer, “that we can communicate directly with our partners in development cooperation and react quickly to changing situations.” The bureau in Tbilisi is run by Eberhard Sucker, an experienced journalist and long-standing DW-AKADEMIE media trainer. He has an office in the Deutsches Haus, along with all the facilities he needs to hold workshops and seminars. Sucker has been coordinating DW-AKADEMIE’s work in the Caucasus nations of Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia from the office in Tbilisi since January 2010.
DW-AKADEMIE is providing consulting services and organizing long-term projects with a view to improving not just the professional quality of journalism in the region, but also the ethical standards of reporting there. “Free and independent reporting is difficult in all three countries in the southern Caucasus,” says Eberhard Sucker, adding that journalists are increasingly having to resist political and business-related interference.