The kick-off meeting for an Erasmus Plus-funded project coordinated by DCU took place in Tbilisi, Georgia in the first week of November 2015. The planning sessions brought together the four Georgian universities involved, along with three of the four universities from EU countries who will work alongside them to develop the teaching of peace studies in Georgia. DCU was represented by the project coordinator, Dr Walt Kilroy.
The three-year project has been awarded funding of €1 million to develop postgraduate teaching of peace studies at four universities in. It draws on the experience of the DCU’s Institute for International Conflict Resolution and Reconstruction (IICRR) and the School of Law and Government, where a number of modules are taught on conflict resolution, peacekeeping, security, and development. The universities in Georgia involved are Caucasus University, Tbilisi State University, Ilia State University, and Sokhumi State University, along with some civil society or government ministry partners. New modules will be developed for their Masters programmes, and existing courses will be updated. An academic journal and peace research institute will also be established in Georgia.
Besides study visits to EU universities and an exchange of expertise, institutions in Georgia are also being supported for the purchase of books and computer equipment, access to academic journals, and development of online teaching resources.
The other EU institutions involved are Trinity College Dublin (Irish School of Ecumenics), Ulster University (INCORE), and the University of Innsbruck. The project acronym is PESTUGE and is funded by the European Commission’s Erasmus Plus scheme (Grant Agreement number 2015 – 2950, Project Reference Number 561589).