Skip to main content

United in Diversity: Georgia's European Journey Celebrated by ESN

Written by
Reading time: 3 minutes
The article highlights the celebration of Europe Day 2024 through the eyes of ESN Georgia, emphasising their strong connection to the European identity and commitment to international education and collaboration.
A group of people talking at a stand.
ESN Georgia's stand at the Europe Day 2024 celebration

“I’m Georgian, and therefore, I’m European. - These words, spoken by the late Georgian Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania in front of the Council of Europe in 1999, are (almost) as old as the average age of volunteers in ESN Georgia. However, most of us were either not born yet or too young to remember it clearly. Yet, you can see Georgian youth finishing the sentence “I’m Georgian” with “therefore, I’m European”, as if it’s as common as answering “Hello” with “Hi”. What else could it indicate other than the fact that the representatives of youth in this tiny country, located at the intersection of Europe and Asia, which has gone through many historical ups and downs, have managed to keep this inherited European identity along with their own unique culture and traditions?

To celebrate the strong connections that link us to European values and show appreciation for the years of friendship and important contributions made by the EU, ESN Georgia was invited again by the EU delegation to join the Europe Day 2024 celebration. Since 2011, ESN Georgia has been representing the large and influential Erasmus Student Network community through its single section - ESN Tbilisi. This year's event marked Georgia's inaugural year as an EU membership candidate country, bringing together more than 15,000 visitors, EU-funded project representatives and special guests such as ambassadors of European Union member states, as well as Pawel Herczynski, Ambassador of the European Union in Georgia.

A picture of a person in front of banners.
Picture of the Author at the Europe Day 2024 celebration

Knowing the impact of Erasmus+ mobility opportunities on the development of Georgian students’ education and their families' huge pride, hearing the word “Erasmus” was enough to ring a bell for people of all ages to approach a wonderful corner, adorned with ESN ideology in the background: “United with one message - ‘Students Helping Students’ for a better tomorrow because YOUth Can.”

 

Besides powerful visuals with a clear message highlighting the role of youth, especially proud members of the Erasmus Generation, our booth became a gaming hub - because who can say no to Kahoot? Together we promoted ESN and its international role through impactful activities, connecting more than 40 countries, beyond European borders and any barriers, with shared goals and motivations.

A picture of people at a stand looking at stickers and other materials.
ESN Georgia's volunteers at the stand

Among many other activities, a highlight of the day was a series of panel discussions, “EU Talks”, featuring important figures discussing EU values. ESN Georgia, for the very first time, was allowed to be one of the keynote speakers and courageously initiated the discussion. Representatives from ESN Georgia, including former Presidents and current Board Advisors Salome Keshelashvili and Mariam Dangadze, along with the Head of the National Erasmus+ Office in Georgia and the Head of the International Relations Department at the Business and Technology University, presented the educational opportunities of Erasmus+ mobility, raising awareness and motivating the public to participate in the Erasmus+ programme. During the session, the discussion revolved around the core values of the Erasmus+ programme and how studying abroad can influence one's views on democracy and diversity.

A person giving a speech on a Europe Day in Georgia.
Pawel Herczynski, Ambassador of the European Union to Georgia, giving a speech

As an ESN member or a Georgian student who has travelled abroad multiple times and been active in non-formal education, this day was another reminder to never stop chasing the shared European dream – a dream of studying abroad, turning new pages, taking new steps, making friendship bracelets, taking those moments and tasting every one of them! THIS is exactly what the Erasmus experience (Taylor's version) is all about for me!

 

And, after spending about ten hours of this day in a space filled with shared laughter, good vibes and a common mission, we Georgian ESNers have come to realise once again that this is not merely a distant dream, but the reality we’ve always been destined for because “We’re Georgian, and therefore, we’re European”.

A picture of three people from behing hugging.
ESN Georgia's volunteers at the Europe Day 2024 celebration
6