Results and Perspectives of European Legal Studies at Batumi State University
Malkhaz Nakashidze – September 22, 2023
The Jean Monnet Program is one of the important initiatives that the European Union implements within the framework of the “Erasmus+” program worldwide, in order to promote the values of the European Union, to promote the development of research and teaching about the European Union. Let me give you a little summary of the activities. As you know, Georgia has been involved in the “Erasmus +” program for years and various universities have been implementing Jean Monnet programs. As you know today, when Georgia is at the most important stage of European integration, how important is the development of European studies in our country. My goal was to strengthen European studies at BSU, especially in the field of law, and for this purpose I presented the Jean Monnet Chair project to the European Commission in 2019. The Jean Monnet Chair is an academic position specializing in EU studies for university lecturers and professors. The position of the head of the department can be occupied by only one professor who will carry out at least 90 hours of training during the academic year. I am glad that in 2020 we won the international competition, where several thousand applicants from all over the world participated, and we were given the opportunity to implement the Jean Monet project at BSU for 2020-2023. I would like to tell you that for this period, only 5 professors and universities in Georgia were granted the status of Jean Monnet chair, professor and implemented the program in Georgia.
It was the first Jean Monnet chair at BSU, and it is also important that it is specialized in the constitutional law of the European Union, which was not implemented in any other university in Georgia before. This is the first project that has already carried out important activities in this direction of law. In particular, during three years, BSU held 3 summer schools with the participation of students from different universities of Georgia, 3 student conferences, 8 public lectures and discussions with the participation of students, public school students and teachers, as well as 2 round tables on European integration issues, 30 “European conversations” were held. with television and radio. Under my leadership, 10 master’s, bachelor’s and conference theses on EU issues were prepared, we presented a report at 6 international conferences, 4 articles were published in an international refereed journal, as well as about 20 blogs on EU issues, 3 new training courses on the EU were introduced and reflected in educational programs, an electronic library was created.
In September 2023, the Jean Monnet International Conference will be held, in which there is a kind of summary of the activities of 3 years. About 100 Georgian and foreign professors specializing in European Union issues are participating in the conference. Finally, within the framework of the chair, BSU will publish a collection of conference papers that will be publicly available to all interested people. Finally, it can be said that several hundreds of students, pupils, teachers, representatives of non-governmental organizations and citizens participated in the activities of the Jean Monnet Chair.
In this way, I think we have achieved a certain goal in terms of spreading knowledge about the European Union. Most importantly, the materials created within the project are available on our website http://jeanmonnetchair.edu.ge and will be useful for interested persons in the future. I am also glad that with our determination and the support of the BSU administration, the Jean Monnet Chair was created at the Faculty of Law and Social Sciences, a space where a truly European working environment is created and any interested person can take advantage of this opportunity.
We have a new project starting in 2023, which should be implemented within three years. The new project is a continuation of our activities at the Jean Monnet Chair in the direction of European studies. In 2022, on behalf of BSU, I presented another new project at the international competition of the European Union – Jean Monet’s module “Political criteria for joining the European Union and the Europeanization of Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine”. I am glad that the European Commission has supported us for the second time and this new project will be implemented in BSU in the next 3 years. Within the framework of the Jean Monet module project, a new course will be prepared on the political criteria for joining the European Union, winter school, summer school, round table, public lectures will be held every year, research will be carried out, and international publications will be published on the issues of joining the European Union of Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova.
Professor of Constitutional Law of the National University of Law of Ukraine, Vice Rector Yury Barabash will be involved in the implementation of the Jean Monnet module as the main academic staff. It was very important for us that students and our colleagues from Ukraine and Moldova were involved in the implementation of this project, because today we are facing common challenges. Thus, this project will be an opportunity to share experience and an important step towards the internationalization of BSU. Involvement in such projects is very important.
First of all, this is important in the context of the spread of knowledge about the EU, as well as particularly strong Russian propaganda and a lot of misinformation, various myths. Our goal at the university is not only teaching and research, but we should also promote the dissemination of correct and objective information about the European Union in the society, dispel myths and the European integration of Georgia. This is the third mission of the university, which I think we are implementing. The main beneficiaries of the project are students, professors of Batumi Shota Rustaveli State University, other partner universities of Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, as well as civil servants, representatives of civil society, media and other interested persons. It is important for us that as many citizens of Georgia as possible benefit from this project.
The implementation of the new project will start in October 2023, after the agreement between the European Commission and BSU is signed. We will be announcing admissions to seasonal schools, as well as invitations to all our activities, which will be public, and we invite all interested parties to participate. First of all, this project is designed for students. A new training course on EU membership criteria will be implemented at the Law Master’s Program of the Faculty of Law and Social Sciences of BSU, as well as a summer and winter school will be held twice a year. Seasonal schools allow not only BSU students, but also students from other universities to participate in the project, which is very important for us. I would like to thank the European Union for its support, which is very important for our university, for me as a professor, and for the country that is in the process of European integration.
Batumi Shota Rustaveli State University
September 22, 2023 – Batumi, Georgia