The Center for European Studies (CES) on the New Brunswick campus has a long-standing involvement with the former Soviet republics, including Georgia.
Rutgers has hosted a number of Georgian scholars in recent years in cooperation with the Soros Foundation’s Open Society Institute (OSI). As part of an OSI Academic Fellowship Program and exchange program for faculty in institutions of higher education in the former Soviet Republics, Rutgers has hosted scholars from Georgia to further the modernization of university curricula, administration, and research. Rutgers’ relationship with Georgia dates back to 2001 when the first AFP Professor Iago Kachkachishvili from Tiblisi State University (TSU) arrived in the spring of 2001. Since then, ten TSU faculty members in the social sciences and humanities have visited Rutgers as AFP Fellows, Fulbright scholars, and IREX Fellows. OSI scholars from Georgia at Rutgers include Iago Kachkachishvili (Sociology, 2001-2003), Tamar Kiknadze (Political Science, 2003), Medea Badashvili (Gender and Geography, 2005-2007), Lela Kiria (Gender Studies, 2010), Giorgi Gogsdze (Political and Social Geography, 2010-2012), and George Khelashvili (2011) from the Center for Social Sciences. In cooperation with the US Department of State’s Junior Faculty Development (JFDP) Program, the School of Social Work (SSW) hosted Psychiatrist and Professor Eka Chkonia (2010) to study and research adult mental health.
Rutgers faculty and staff members Monica Devanas, Michael Rockland, Jan Kubik, Ira Cohen, Karen Zurlo, and Joanna Regulska have visited TSU several times to work with faculty on the development of curriculum, degree programs and collaborative research in institutional research, American studies, and gender studies. In the spring of 2010, Rutgers University signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Tbilisi State University. In 2011, Rector Alexander Kvitashvili visited Rutgers to explore possible collaborations with faculty in social sciences, sciences, and various professional schools. In 2011, TSU awarded Joanna Regulska a Doctor Honoris Causa for her outstanding contribution to the development of gender studies through teaching and research. Currently, Fran Mascia-Lees serves as an International non-Residential Fellow and is assisting the Center for Social Sciences in the further expansion and development of the Gender Studies program.
Joanna Regulska and colleagues from the University of Arizona continue to return to Georgia to conduct National Science Foundation (NSF) sponsored research on every day practices and livelihood strategies of internally displaced persons (IDPs) who were displaced as a result of continuing conflicts between Russia and Georgia.