On the 29-30th of September Europe-Georgia Institute, Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom South Caucasus and Strategic Dialogue Center organized the Future of the Black Sea Region Conference (FLEECE). The conference lasted for two days. On the first day international experts and their colleagues from Georgia discussed the challenges and perspectives of Black Sea Region. On the second day the junior fellows of FLEECE, who participated in the mentorship program presented the Opinion Papers written by them. Additionally to this, the second day and the conference was finalized with the online interview with the former Ambassador of the US in Georgia – Ian C. Kelly.

Mr. Kelly discussed different topics during the interview. He overviewed the current reality in the world, where the US and other democratic countries are facing threats from authoritarian regimes and are trying to hold the line. He highlighted the role of Georgia in relation with NATO. Ian Kelly stated, that after ISAF and Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan are over, Georgia, which was one of the biggest contributors of those missions have to find another way to continue operating alongside with NATO. In this regard he stated, that Georgia should try to intensify cooperation with the allies in Black Sea region. He also discussed the issues following Second Karabakh war. The West, both the US and Europe was marginalized from the process of resolution of those conflicts and the key actor in this process was Russia, as a result the only format which remains in the region with the participation of West is Minsk group. Mr. Kelly finds this reality really concerning. Ian Kelly briefly commented on Putin’s regime as well – stating that it is going to use all the means in order to maintain the power. Mr. Kelly talked about the perspectives of cooperation in the Black Sea region and discussed the role of Georgia in this regard. In the end he addressed the participants of conference – future leaders and advised them to specialise on particular region during their studies and learn as many languages as possible to become professional diplomats and work on behalf of Georgia. Also he highlighted the ability of Listening as a cornerstone for diplomat, that makes him or her able to become familiar with the context and not only give away signals, but receive as well.

Watch full interview on the link: https://fb.watch/8rVUSD_u0p/

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