Tourism direction of the Agrarian Faculty at Akaki Tsereteli State University has been involved in the educational grant project (funded by the government of Norway) “Sustainable Tourism: Rural Entrepreneurship and Heritage. Educational Cooperation between Kyrgyzstan, Georgia and Norway” of the University of South-Eastern Norway. The project was implemented by seven partner universities – the USN, three universities from Georgia and three from Kyrgyzstan.
The project has reached its final stage and on September 22-28 closure seminars for representatives of all partner universities were held at USN (Norway). At this week-long event ATSU was represented by Associate Professor Izolda Khasaia, young researcher and teacher Maia Diakonidze, PhD student Davit Kiladze and undergraduate student Igor Koridze. Assoc. Prof. Izolda Khasia made a presentation on the importance of the project for ATSU, existing challenges and the prospects of future cooperation. Young researchers and students gave very interesting presentations of their research findings (they had had a special training on effective presentation techniques based on Pecha Kucha method).
It was emphasized that the seminar was a conclusion of very productive four years. Student and staff mobility, summer schools, seminars, conducted research and other activities have helped partner universities including ATSU to improve the quality of teaching, develop research skills, establish international contacts, strengthen links with small businesses/private sector and promote cooperation at the regional level.
ATSU tourism students and staff gained experience of working in an international environment, enriched their knowledge of sustainable tourism, developed skills required for conducting research in rural tourism.
Overall, 14 students visited Norway and Kyrgyzstan: long-term mobility - three students to USN, short-term mobility (one month for research in Norway and Kyrgyzstan) – 4 master’s students and one PhD student, interdisciplinary summer schools (Norway, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan) – six students.
5 staff members of tourism direction (assoc. prof. Izolda Khasaia and Eliso Gvelesiani – summer school lecturer, Nana Sharabidze and Maia Diakonidze – participant of North Atlantic Forum, Guram Kopaliani, the department specialist – participant of e-learning seminar) had short-term mobility visits to Norway and Kyrgyzstan.
Representatives of small businesses were also involved in summer schools and this offered us a chance to identify new sites for student practice.
The project also included an online course in “English Academic Writing and Publishing”. Nine members of ATSU staff and six students participated and two of them, Associate Professor Nino Nijaradze and PhD student Diana Nemsitsveridze were invited to the closure seminar at the USN in Norway.
Within the framework of the project tourist equipment, computers and books were purchased for ATSU all of which will be used for tourism lab to be established with the help of the University administration.
We would like to thank the USN, the project team and partner Universities for their productive work and cooperation. We are also grateful to ATSU administration for their support in organizing project-related activities.