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Constantin Sidamon-Eristavi – only Georgian vice-mayor of New York City

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Constantin Sidamon-Eristavi (Connie) served as the vice-mayor of the world’s largest city – New York in 1967-1973. Famous politician and environmentalist was born abroad and grew up there but kept up Georgian customs and traditions throughout his life.

Constantine Sidamon-Eristavi was born on June 28, 1930 in New York. He is a descendant of an aristocratic family. His father, Svimon (Siko) Sidamon-Eristavi, was a colonel and served in the army of the Russian Empire. He returned to his homeland in 1918 and continued his military career in the Georgian Army under the same title. After Georgia’s occupation by Russia in 1921, he emigrated to America. There he married Anne Bigelow Tracy, a daughter of the US ambassador to France.

The couple had two children – Constantine and Anna.

He graduated from Columbia and Princeton Universities. He was awarded a bronze star while serving in the Army in Korea. After graduating, he launched his own law firm, providing legal advice to the Georgian emigrants and assisted them in finding jobs.

 

Georgians and Caucasians often gathered at the restaurant “Caucasus Eagle” opened in the best part of New York by Svimon. Svimon, along with Georgian ambassador to Italy Giorgi Machabeli and Georgian community chairman and pianist Irakli Orbeliani, founded a Caucasian holiday home “Alaverdi”, located 100 kilometers away from New York. “Alaverdi” has become the place of not only rest and relaxation, but also for forging of bonds of friendship between Caucasians. After the death of Svimon Sidamon-Eristavi (1964), his son Constantine took over the management of the holiday home and the Alaverdi Society, and his wife became a secretary. Constantine Sidamon-Eristavi attended the Milbrook School. He graduated from Princeton University with a degree in Mining Engineering. He served in the Army, participated in the Korean War, for which he earned a bronze star. After serving in the military, he graduated from Columbia University, Faculty of Law in 1957, then served in a law firm and later, he, together with his sister Anna Sidamon-Eristavi (who was also a lawyer) launched his own law firm. After President Kennedy’s assassination, he became a member of a Republican Party and quickly rose through the political ranks.

 

In 1965, Constantine Sidamon-Eristavi led the campaign of Republican candidate John Lindsay for New York City mayoral elections. After winning the elections, Lindsay appointed him as an assistant in the field of transport. Thus, Constantine Sidamon-Eristavi became a vice-mayor of the world’s largest city New York. He held this post for a long time, under three governments, and played a significant role in governing the city. From 1989 to 1993, he headed the New York Regional Environmental Protection Agency.

 

The former vice-mayor of New York City has visited Georgia several times with his children. Through his initiative and efforts, the American humanitarian organization American Friends of Georgia was founded in 1994. Its board of directors is currently  chaired by Simon Sidamon-Eristavi, Connie’s eldest son. A lot of humanitarian, educational, and medical programs have been funded through American Friends of Georgia. Connie Eristavi was fully involved in all educational, medical or social assistance projects. Constantine Sidamon-Eristavi, who was born and raised abroad, highly respected Georgian customs. When Connie was attending various events of the Georgian community, he always wore traditional Georgian clothing – Chokha. Constantine Sidamon-Eristavi  died in the United States in January of 2012 at the age of 81.

Translation: Tamar Tabatadze

The Hall of Young Scientists & Analysts – “Doctrina”

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GEORGIApolitics

Mr. Mamuka, justify my trust and enter the Parliament, please – Giorgi Mikanadze

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Lecturer, business and success coach and civil society activist Giorgi Mikanadze currently live in the U.S., responded to the country’s ongoing political processes in Georgia. In the letter, published on his Facebook page, Giorgi Mikanadze calls on confident political leaders to enter the Parliament and respect the voters’ trust. Giorgi Mikanadze has been living in New York for the last few years and seldom makes public statements about the country’s ongoing processes. “Doctrina” would like to offer a complete text of

Giorgi Mikanadze’s Facebook post:

I declare publicly and do not hide; I participated in [Georgia’s] 2020 elections from New York City. I voted for Mamuka Khazaradze and his party Lelo Georgia. I know this person personally, we have had a conversation in his office, and despite a lot of criticism, I do not doubt his dignity and aspirations. It was my attitude towards him, which encouraged me to vote for this man. Initially, I was an active supporter of the Georgian Dream after the National Movement deadlocked and there was no other way. Of course, I was a supporter of the National Movement when they came into power, even though I was just a student at the time. Of course, I appreciate the values ​​and gains that Shevardnadze’s government has brought to our people and country. I mean tamping down the political tension and forming the state institutions, determining the international stance. Of course, I realize the dedication of great people Merab Kostava and Zviad Gamsakhurdia and their generation to our country’s statehood.

Although in recent years, during my stay in the country, I used to express my positions actively. I did not shy away from bold assessments of the “Georgian Dream” or other Political Movements Parties in the country. I always expressed my opinion both positively and negatively – any political force has never bought me off. I have never received any privileges or interests in any direction. I had offers to start my political activism in the country. I have my plan, idea and I hope to succeed. Today, absolutely every aspect of my success, education, experience, new contacts, and opportunities I’m connecting to my country, my people, and the environment in which I live now. I guess this is normal for me and probably for any citizen of any country. Considering the facts mentioned above, Mr. Mamuka, I urge you to take up your mandate, received from me, and enter the Parliament, please. I call on you to join the Parliament and end these disgraceful processes in the country and convince other colleagues to do the same. Maybe you can sit down and discuss what would be the most optimal way to use it. I surely know that you are ashamed to be associated with some people, be honest with society, and get results. The events are seen and evaluated entirely differently from the outside. We need political maturity, and I hope you will justify my confidence and contribute to this crucial country’s crucial process. I mean moving from emotions to mind management processes and achieving thoughtful positioning in a global context quickly.

Sincerely,

Giorgi Mikanadze

New York City, USA

03.17.2021

 

Translation: Tamar Tabatadze

The Hall of Young Scientists & Analysts – “Doctrina”

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GEORGIApolitics

Thirty US Congressmen address President Trump with a letter in support of Georgia

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Thirty US Congressmen have addressed President Donald Trump with a letter to celebrate the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Georgia and the US and a strong strategic partnership between the two countries.

 Georgia Caucus Co-Chairman Gerald Connolly (D-VA) and 28 other Members of Congress joined the letter.

“Today dozens of my colleagues joined me in sending a bipartisan letter to President Trump commemorating the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Georgia,” said Congressman Ted Poe. “For the past 25 years, Georgia has been one of our most steadfast partners in an increasingly turbulent region. As co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on Georgia, I have seen firsthand the strides that Georgia has made in developing democratic institutions and strengthening economic growth. Such accomplishments are made even more impressive considering that Georgia has had to maintain the safety and security of its citizens in the face of ongoing Russian aggression. Despite such challenges, Georgia remains a vital U.S. security partner. I proudly stand with Members of the House Georgia Caucus and friends of Georgia to reaffirm this valued partnership.”

In addition, the Congressmen call on the President to start negotiations on free trade agreement with Georgia and to deepen a high level dialogue on trade and investment issues for this purpose. The Congressmen also call on the US President to continue supporting Georgia’s accession to NATO. The letter emphasizes the strong strategic partnership between our countries and the need for the US to further deepen this partnership.

“I am glad to celebrate 25 years of diplomatic relations between the United States and Georgia, and urge the Administration to reaffirm this important partnership,” said Congressman Connolly. “Whether building its own democratic institutions, fostering economic growth through trade with the U.S., or contributing troops to regional security efforts, Georgia has been and continues to be a valued and strategic partner.”

 

 The Hall of Young Scientists & Analysts – “Doctrina”

 

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educationGEORGIApolitics

“Every Dollar Spent by US for Exchange Programs is Successful Expenditure”

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Georgia is hosting various events celebrating the 25th anniversary of strategic partnership between Georgia and the United States of America.

Within the framework of the “Common Past, Common Future”, the US Alumni Leadership Forum was held at Ivane Javaskhishvili Tbilisi State University on April 28. The event was opened by Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili who delivered a welcoming speech. The meeting was also attended by United States Ambassador to Georgia Ian Kelly.

PM Kvirikashvili emphasized American academic communities’ great contribution to Georgia’s development and to the education of the future leaders of Georgia.  US Ambassador also drew attention to Georgian-US long-term successful relationship and noted that a very deep and well-connected relationship was established between the two countries within these 25 years.

The forum was also attended by Giorgi Shervashidze, Rector of Tbilisi State University. He noted that there are more than five thousand students who have received education in the US through these exchange programs. According to him, this fact once again emphasizes the efficiency of the cooperation between the two states.

“In 1987-1988, the first team of Tbilisi State University students has left for the US. All of them are very successful. Every dollar Americans have spent in this direction is a successful expenditure and hopefully, the [the US] will continue providing such large-scale assistance, “– he noted.

A discussion has also taken place within the US Alumni Leadership Forum. The event was attended by Koba Gvenetadze, President of the National Bank of Georgia, Nika Samkharadze, representative of the Georgian Parliament Administration and Eka Metreveli, President of Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies.

 

Author: Tamar Devdariani

Translation: Tamar Tabatadze

 The Hall of Young Scientists & Analysts – “Doctrina”

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GEORGIApolitics

“Doctrina” Discusses Georgian-US Relations at the Meeting with Political Scientist Korneli Kakachia

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Political Scientist Discusses Georgian-US Relations, New US Administration’s Policy

Young Analysts and Scientists Hall “Doctrina” has organized a meeting with academic doctorate of politics Korneli Kakachia. “What we should expect from the new US administration?” – was the key topic of the meeting, held on April 21.

At the meeting the political scientist discussed the history of the Georgian-US relationship. This topic is especially actual one, because the 25th anniversary of the US-Georgia Diplomatic Union is celebrated in recent days.

Korneli Kakachia talked about the initial relations, when the cooperation started during Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze’s time in power and then, the cooperation between the two countries deepened under Mikheil Saakashvili’s presidency. However, he also noted that the strength of relations was triggered by individuals and not by the strength of state institutions and it should be considered as weakness of Georgia.

“The truth of the fact that Georgia is the part of Europe is not questionable for the United States,” – the political scientist said.

It is notable that when Georgia and America started the relationship, Georgia did not have a diplomatic corps and special interest was caused by the repatriation of the transit country.

According to Mr. Kakachia, one of the stages for boosting relations is the Rose Revolution, which has led to great interest not just in the United States but in the whole world.

“We are wrong when we say that the US is our ally, this is wrong, we will be ally in case we join the NATO, now it is our strategic partner.

The Georgian people often ask : why the US did not interfere in the August war. The thin is that the US has its own national interest. However, it has provided, and provides, other types of assistance,” – the political scientist said.

The discussions have also touched upon the current agenda and policy towards Georgia. According to Korneli Kakachia, even if the US-Russian relations become warmer, in fact, there is no danger that it will have a negative impact on Georgia.

The political scientist talks about a lack of diplomacy from the Georgian side and says that the Georgian-US relationship has become colder due to the incorrect strategic moves, such as less engagement of experts and researchers and nonperformance of field work. Also, a main weakness of Georgia is the absence of lobby, for example, our neighboring Armenia, has a very powerful lobby in the United States.

In addition, we should not forget that there are many in the Congress, who are isolationists and say, – “Why should the US help Georgia?” But there are many who know Georgia well, for example, the current Secretary of Defense, who knows our country’s role in the international mission in Afghanistan,” – the expert said.

According to Korneli Kakachia, it is too early to talk about what kind of policy Trump will carry out, because his administration is not fully established.

 

Author: Natalia Jalagonia

Translation: Tamar Tabatadze

 The Hall of Young Scientists & Analysts – “Doctrina”

 

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