DU Conflict Resolution student Kate Zimmerly visited the Republic of Georgia last summer to conduct field research and intern with CRI's partner program at Tbilisi State University. As part of a grant-funded research project, CRI is working with TSU's Conflictology Institute to establish a public mediation clinic as part of its MA program. During her internship, Zimmerly worked with TSU students and staff, researching grant opportunities for the Institute and organizing mediation role play sessions with students.
In addition to working in the capital city, Tbilisi, Zimmerly traveled around the country conducting research on Georgia's sizable population of Internally Displaced Persons. (During the war that followed this region's attempt to secede from Georgia in the early 1990s, 200,000-300,000 ethnic Georgians were displaced from their homes in the separatist region of Abkhazia.) Kate interviewed IDPs in Tbilisi and other cities about their experiences with integration and displacement, their opinions on the conflict with Abkhazia and their thoughts on track two peace-building efforts.
Zimmerly visited with various NGO's that organize and promote conciliation efforts and work with the IDP population. "NGO's there are doing everything from advocacy training within IDP communities to establishing Abkhaz-Georgian youth camps," she noted. One of the most creative initiatives she learned of was a call-in radio show about the conflict and peace-building issues. The show is broadcast from a town near the Abkhaz-Georgia border, so people can listen and call in from both sides of the cease-fire line. Kate said, "Overall I was struck by all the ways that I saw conflict resolution being practiced; there seems to be a real enthusiasm for it."