On 27 March, the Georgian First Deputy Foreign Minister David Dondua together with Ms. Keti Chumbadze (Counsellor, Political Department) met Berghof Foundation´s Programme Director for Caucasus, Oliver Wolleh.
Oliver Wolleh was accompanied by leading members of our Georgian team: Ms. Mariam Naneishvili (Georgian Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs), Mr. Shota Shvelidze and Ms. Rusudan Marshania. In the past Ms. Naneishvili, Mr. Shvelidze as well as Ms. Chumbadze participated in the Berghof Foundation´s Insider Facilitators programme.
During the 1,5 hours meeting the group discussed the Berghof Foundation´s approach to reconciliation between Georgian, Abkhaz and South Ossetian people. Oliver Wolleh expressed the view that a meaningful approach to peace building and reconciliation must address the violent past of the conflicts. The events of the wars in the 1990s as well as the Georgian-South Ossetian war of 2008 must be openly reflected and addressed in Georgian society if there shall be hope to connect to the wider Abkhaz and South Ossetian societies. Dealing with the past in a self-reflective way will be a tremendous emotional challenge to all people involved. For the Berghof team however it is seen as the only way to create the basis for a meaningful process of normalisation.
Oliver Wolleh expressed further his view that in today´s Georgian society there are many people who have an unrealistic perception about the pain that was caused by the war of the past. However, there is also a significant number of Georgians that have critical and self-critical reflections about the past and that can become real discussion partners in a reconciling discourse with South Ossetian and Abkhaz people.