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The Third Mission of Universities – Meeting at the Tbilisi City Assembly

The members of the consortium of the Third Mission of Universities project, which unites eight Georgian universities, the National Center for Educational Quality Enhancement, the Ministry of Education and four European partners, met with the leadership of the Tbilisi City Assembly. Representatives of Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University, European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD, Brussels, Belgium), University of Turku (Turku, Finland) met with Deputy Mayor of Tbilisi Andria Basilaia, Chairman of Education and Culture Commission of Tbilisi City Municipal Assembly, Kakha Labuchidze, member of the City Assembly, Nino Rukhadze, as well as members of the Tbilisi City Hall and self-government.

The purpose of the meeting was to search the ways of cooperation between the local municipality and universities for the development of civil society, in which European partners with multiyear experience will be involved.

Rector of Tbilisi State University George Sharvashidze spoke about the importance and value of the meeting: “Eight Georgian universities participate in this project together with foreign partners from Finland, Portugal, France and Belgium. The project involves cooperation with local municipalities both in terms of economic development and environmental protection and many other directions. It is important to strengthen the third mission of the university. The positive examples of our foreign colleagues will help us and our partners in the City Hall and City Assembly. It is important to establish close cooperation and ensure maximum use of both intellectual and financial resources. This will help us make Tbilisi a better city.”

During the project presentation, Irma Grdzelidze, head of TSU Quality Assurance Service, brought international examples and focused on the possibilities and results of cooperation.

Christophe Terrasse, director of international projects at EFMD, spoke about the possibilities of cooperation between the mission and the local government, saying that the key goal is to participate in the strengthening and development of the third mission.

Nino Rukhadze, a member of Tbilisi City Assembly and professor at Tbilisi State University, stressed the importance of cooperation planned within the framework of the project: “The prospects of cooperation between Tbilisi Municipality and Tbilisi State University were outlined at the meeting. This is very important. We hope that this meeting will lay the foundation for systematic cooperation. We have a huge interest in identifying as many areas as possible where this cooperation can be mutually fruitful.”

TSU obtained funding for Erasmus + Institutional Cooperation Project – Capacity Building in the field of Higher Education (CBHE) “Strengthening the Quality and Relevance of the Third Mission in Georgian Universities”. The project is successfully coordinated by TSU. The third mission of the university refers to the activities of the university that contribute to the social, economic and cultural development of society. As a result of the project, both the project participants and other higher educational institutions of Georgia will strengthen the third mission of universities, which, in turn, will contribute to the sustainable social, economic and cultural development of Georgia. The project consortium unites eight Georgian universities, the National Center for Educational Quality Enhancement, the Ministry of Education and four European partners. Universities are in the process of writing a third mission strategy, and meeting with stakeholders is part of that process.