Arrival in Tbilisi

CSJMM background information:

The University of South Carolina’s (USC’s) School of Journalism and Mass Communications in Columbia, South Carolina is now partners with the Caucasus School of Journalism and Media Management (CSJMM) at the Georgian Institute of Public Affairs (GIPA) in Tbilisi, Georgia.

Susanna Melo (left) and Natia Metreveli, staff member of CSJMM. Copyright Keith Kenney, 2011.

Due to a $742,000 grant from the U.S. Department of State, the two schools are participating in a three-year partnership program to improve the standard of journalism instruction and to assist in the institutional development of CSJMM. The partnership is designed to assist CSJMM to increase its capacity to deliver programs of the highest international quality for instruction and research in journalism. By training future journalists and media practitioners, CSJMM will play a critical role in setting the standards and providing the necessary skills to develop and maintain independent media in the Caucasus region. Such independent media should then play a critical role in ensuring the free flow of information necessary to maintain democratic systems of government.

My role:

My wife, Susanna Melo, and I arrived September 1, 2011, and we’ll be living in Tbilisi for 11 months. During this time I’ll work with the school’s administrators to either revise or create policies and I’ll work with faculty members to improve their teaching. I’ll also help everyone revise the school’s curriculum.

“We’re a family,” said Natia Metreveli, of CSJMM

The school will celebrate its 10th anniversary during the summer of 2012. Several people at the school have told me that for the first decade, it has functioned as a large family. Indeed, Maia Mikashavidze served as dean from the beginning until April 2011, when she resigned in order to apply to the PhD program in USC’s School of Journalism and Mass Communications. She is now studying in Columbia. Tiko Tsomaia was one of the first graduates (November 2001) and is now a faculty member. But more importantly is the atmosphere that has been created within the school. Co-workers are also friends. People enjoy working at the school. They don’t watch the clock or count the hours they’ve worked; instead, they do what needs to be done. Since the staff, faculty and administrators get along so well, employees seldom leave the school. 

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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.

One Response to Arrival in Tbilisi

  1. Totte Jonsson says:

    Nice to hear that you are all doing well in Georgia. Nice blog – it will be interesting to follow your work there. Right now I am preparing for my jurney to Iowa next week. Looking forward to meat everyone again.Say hello to Susanna and I sure would like to see some of her photos of the goats in Gävle. 🙂
    /Totte.

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