Turning Goals Into Reality- Annual Report 2012

25 Apr, 2013

The Open Society Georgia Foundation published the Annual Report 2012.

The Report puts together major activities of the Foundation, its grantees and partners during 2012. While reading the publication, you will clearly see the Foundation’s impact over time. The report includes three parts: Themes in Focus, Stories of Beneficiaries, Blogs by the Foundation’s Staff and Grantees.

Introduction by Keti Khutsishvili, Executive Director of the Foundation.

“I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.” Thomas Jefferson, Dec. 23, 1791.

I was first struck by this quote when I read it in the early 1980s, when I was still living in the USSR. It became wonderfully real for the people of Georgia in 2012, a year of turbulence, big expectations and striving for greater liberty.

The year was marked by tumultuous political campaigns, a significant standoff between two political forces, and an emotional and sometimes bitter divide between their supporters. But it was also marked by dynamic civil campaigns which mobilized citizens to demand fairness, transparency, and greater respect for human rights.
And it ended with the first peaceful transfer of power since Georgia regained its independence two decades ago.

The Open Society Georgia Foundation is proud that we were able to assist with this flowering of freedom, while maintaining our own independence from any political faction. Our goals were ambitious, because so much was at stake: to improve the election environment, to ensure citizen access to diverse media, to help voters make informed decisions and believe that their votes counted. These goals would have never been achieved without our dedicated partners, including established non-governmental organizations and newly formed groups of activists; professional journalists; passionate young people; election experts and volunteer observers.

Developing the Foundation’s strategies and goals is hard work, but turning them into reality requires even more human energy and dedication. Our goals would have remained on paper only without the help of so many dedicated people, who were ready to work the extra hours necessary to achieve them. Where we found such people, we gave them the best support we could, and this annual report details what they did with that support, and why.

In the Foundation’s 2012 report you will also find stories of large-scale advocacy campaigns for gaining equal rights for disabled people, as well as the individual stories of passionate people who became significant actors in the process of change: a parent launching a center for autistic children and demanding increased support for them; psychologists running the country’s first center for the rehabilitation of drug addicts; a young Roma woman convincing her teenage neighbors to go back to school. We could not cover all the stories and all the achievements, small or big, but we tried to show how much can be done when society has the will and people cooperate.

We know the struggle is far from over, as we still face a polarized society, confrontation between political forces, exclusion of certain groups from decision-making and large groups of vulnerable citizens in critical need of support. For the Foundation this means setting new goals, continuing hard work and finding even more dedication in partners.
But while the last two decades have been challenging for Georgia, significant progress has been made.

While Georgians have experienced the excitement of gaining national independence, they have endured the tragedies of the civil wars and the drama of occupation, as well as a peaceful revolution and not-so-peaceful changes of power. Through all of these turbulent years, the issues of independence and individual liberties sometimes led to serious confrontation, sometimes to peaceful change and public consensus.

And throughout, Georgians mostly chose the “inconveniences of liberty.”

Read the publication.