We present the 11th volume in the Georgia-Abkhaz dialogue series that was launched in 1997 by the University of California, Irvine with the funding from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.
This volume includes transcripts of presentations and discussions at a conference held in Moscow in June 2004. This was the first time the bilateral format was expanded to include participants from Russia. Readers of the first 10 volumes will notice that the dialogue participants of the past conferences discussed the Russian factor. Often the role of this factor is exaggerated. For some Russia is regarded the main danger and obstacle to resolving the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict. Others look to Russia as the main hope for a settlement. Even though almost all the meetings in this series were held in Russia and included experts from Russia, the Russian factor was never the focus of the conferences. The June 2004 conference provided the opportunity to discuss the conflict in the context of the interests of the three sides in more detail and more openly than before.
The conference was held in cooperation with the Heinrich Boell Foundation. The foundation’s mission is to foster respect and mutual understanding between people of different nationalities, cultures and opinions. The foundation supports approximately 200 projects in 60 countries. The foundation’s priority is political education that contributes to democratic development, greater citizen involvement in public and political affairs, and increased understanding between people.
The conference was held nearly two years ago, but the presentations and discussions in this volume offer interesting and new ideas that are relevant today.
Arda Inal-Ipa, Centre for Humanitarian Programmes
Paata Zakareishvili, Center for Development and Cooperation
Paula Garb, University of California, Irvine’s Center for Citizen Peacebuilding, International Studies Program, and Department of Anthropology