US ambassador to Georgia speaks to GIPA

Ambassador Richard NorlandUS Ambassador Richard Norland talked about international affairs affecting Georgians and addressed questions from GIPA students and faculty members on Monday, July 17, 2013. He began his talk by expressing his sympathy for the 7 Georgian soldiers who had recently been killed in Afghanistan and he discouraged any thoughts of Georgia withdrawing troops from Afghanistan. Ambassador Norland then carefully discussed Georgia’s desire to become a member of NATO. Although Georgia’s participation with NATO troops has been greatly appreciated, and although it gives Georgian troops valuable experience, there is no quid pro quo; in other words, just because Georgian sends the largest contingent of troops of any country outside NATO does not mean that it will be able to join NATO. Georgia must continue to meet all of the technical requirements and then the NATO countries will vote on admission.Ambassador Norland also addressed the controversial videotape, seemingly produced by Taliban fighters, who declare  jihad on Georgia. Do not take such videos on face value, warned Norland. Moreover, it appears that the tape was uploaded in Georgia, so it may not have been produced by Al Qaeda. In terms of recent US press coverage of Georgia, Norland condemned the New York Times story about poorly behaving Georgian troops in Afghanistan; it was a one-sided story and sloppy reporting, he said. Norland also condemned a Washington Post editorial that democracy is at risk in Georgia.

I asked one question: What is the state of journalism in Georgia? Ambassador Norland seemed reluctant to answer the question, although he vaguely said either that it is less partisan or that there are more points-of-view in the market.

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About keithrkenney
Keith Kenney is a professor of visual communication at the University of South Carolina. He is living in Tbilisi, Georgia, for a year. This blog is about several topics. "CSJMM-Journalism" is about the students, faculty and staff members of the Caucasus School of Journalism and Media Management in Tbilisi, Georgia. "USC-Journalism" is about the students, faculty and staff members of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications (SJMC) at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC. CSJMM and SJMC are recipients of a "Journalism School Partnership" program grant from the US Department of State. The purpose of this $750,000 grant is to improve CSJMM and ensure its sustainability. "Tbilisi, Georgia" is about Susanna Melo and my experiences in Tbilisi. "Columbia, SC" will be about our experiences in our home town--Columbia--when we return home. "Georgia" is about Susanna and my experiences when we travel in Georgia outside of Tbilisi. "United States" is about our experiences traveling in the US. "Films and Photography" is about two documentary films I'm working on in Georgia. One story follows how Adishi handles the rapid tourism that is being developed in Svaneti. The other story follows Tamaz Jalagania, who is a craftsman of swords and guns, an opera singer, and an extraordinary storyteller. "Scholarship" is about my current books, articles, reviews, and grants.

2 Responses to US ambassador to Georgia speaks to GIPA

  1. sallinda says:

    Dear Keith are you in Georgia? Oh I would love to see you again in GIPA

    Sent from my iPod

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