The Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy South Caucasus office has started publishing a series of books “Politics and Democracy – Essential Readings”. It will be a compilation of articles by some of the most influential political scientists translated into Georgian Language. The first book out of the series was presented on July 7 of 2015 at the National Parliamentary Library of Georgia. Essential Readings book 1 is, produced in cooperation with the Foreign Affairs Magazine. The book combines a number of influential analytical essays that are still determining contemporary policy and academic debates and exert lasting influence over the modern political thought.
While hosting the presentation event, Mr. Levan Tsutskiridze, NIMD Representative in the South Caucasus mentioned that the book was initially conceived as a volunteer initiative to translate several interesting articles for NIMD Democracy School participants. Later it grew into a more ambitious project to publish the books annually. The coauthor of the foreword to the book, NIMD political advisor Mr. Jan Marinus Wiersma, talked about the themes echoed in the publication and added that the political narratives developed in the texts of the past century are still relevant within modern political debates, especially in the context of European security. Each of the articles collected in the book 1 was presented by the group of high level experts such as Bakur Kvashilava, Tornike Sharashenidze, Davit Aphrasidze, Nino Zhvania, Ghia Nodia and Giga Zedania. Speakers presented their perspective, talked of what are the ideas the given essays remind us today and why they still merit a thoughtful consideration in understanding modern challenges.
Up until now, majority of the materials presented in the book, were not available in Georgian and many non-English speaking Georgians had no opportunity to read these insightful analyses. Due to the lack of availability of texts on democracy and modern politics in Georgian, NIMD decided to translate the seminal essays and make them available to broader society.
The articles and interviews in the book describe the era already far behind us. Moreover, the world has changed as did the views of the authors. However the content is still relevant vis-à-vis contemporary debates, especially in Europe. For this reason, NIMD aimed to publish the materials which could be helpful to understand the geopolitical shifts on the continent of Europe and within the South Caucasus region, to provide explanations of the current crisis in Europe and to find a new direction.
The presentation event was attended by the members of major political parties of Georgia, representatives from the ministries of Foreign Affairs, European Integration and Defense, as well as from International and local NGOs, together with lecturers and students. This is the actual, target group the book is made for with the hope that academics, political commentators and non-profit activists will find it equally useful in the process of teaching, advocacy and outreach.