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CCU students attend summer school in the country of Georgia

June 9, 2022
Students and faculty members from CCU and ISU in the country of Georgia.CCU students and faculty members in Georgia's Caucasus Mountains.CCU students and faculty members in Kazbegi, Georgia.

Eight Coastal Carolina University students recently participated in Security Perspectives in the Eurasian Region, a weeklong summer school program jointly organized by CCU and Ilia State University (ISU) in the country of Georgia. The program, held May 22-29, was sponsored by a Rustaveli National Science Foundation of Georgia grant obtained by the two institutions. It also received support from a U.S. Department of Education Title VI grant awarded to CCU.

This is the second time CCU has taken part in the summer school program at ISU. Student participants included Tyler Akers, Tessa Bentley, Piper Danzek, Sarah Gabriel, Sierra Mason, Casey Mazzone, Robert Weissbach, and Carlos Westley. The group was led by three Spadoni College of Education and Social Sciences faculty members: Richard Aidoo, Ph.D., and Mariam Dekanozishvili, Ph.D., from the Department of Political Science, and Anna Oldfield, Ph.D., from the Department of Languages and Intercultural Studies.

Dekanozishvili, a native of Georgia, who developed and co-led the program, said: “This is a unique experiential learning opportunity for CCU students. During this trip, our students not only obtained new perspectives regarding Georgia and the wider Eurasian region, but also forged new friendships with their Georgian peers. The summer school program provided opportunity for cultural exchange and joint learning. This constitutes a true global experience. We are looking forward to expanding CCU’s cooperation with Ilia State University.”

The eight CCU students were joined by 17 Georgian students. Together, they participated in various workshops on the topic of Eurasian Security, taught by CCU and ISU professors at the Bazaleti Lake Resort. The students also visited various cultural and historical sights: the 14th century Gergeti Trinity Church, located in the tallest mountains of Europe; the sixth century Jvari Monastery; and the 11th century Svetitskhoveli Cathedral in Mtskheta, the old capital of Georgia.

Students had an opportunity to observe the camps of internally displaced people and visit the Gori region. The program concluded with a visit to Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia. After a briefing on Georgia’s security challenges by a government official at the Ministry of Defense Training Center, CCU students visited the ancient Narikala Fortress, Bridge of Peace, and other places in the old Tbilisi downtown. Considering the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, the students received a lecture from Professor Elena Shevchenko from Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, who carefully and passionately discussed the informational component of the Russian-Ukrainian war. The students were awarded certificates during the closing banquet at ISU.