On November 16, 2006 at the Terrace, Business Center Metekhi , United Nations Association of Georgia held an official launch ceremony for the USAID funded National Integration and Tolerance in Georgia (NITG) Program.
The program officially launched on International Tolerance day. This was the first ever significant celebration of Tolerance Day in Georgia. The event took place in the old part of Tbilisi, and included a photographic exhibition on “Diversity & Tolerance,” as well as a program presentation stressing the importance of the initiative and raising awareness.
The ceremony was attended by Ambassador John Tefft; Giorgi Arveladze, Head of the Administration of the President; Robert Wilson, Acting DCM; Nick Higgins, DG Office Director; Keti Bakradze, DG Project Management Specialist; Gocha Lordkipanidze, Prime Minister’s Advisor, Members of Parliament, representatives of the Council of Europe, European Commission Delegation to Georgia, OSCE Mission in Georgia, Eurasia Foundation, representatives of other International Agencies, Civil Integration and Tolerance Council Members, General Director of Georgian Public Broadcasting, NITG partner agencies, representatives of minority groups, Georgian NGOs, and civil society leaders.
The main objective of the NITG program is to promote an increased sense of national unity among the citizens of Georgia through support to the Government of Georgia in the formation of a national integration strategy and action plan. The program will also empower people and organizations to effectively discuss, debate, and resolve a range of issues related to building a cohesive multi-ethnic nation. The NITG Program will work in close cooperation with the principal counterparts in the Government - State Minister on National Integration and President Saakashvili’s Advisor on Integration Issues, as well as international and local partner agencies, including Freedom House, the Georgian Public Broadcasting, Eurasia Foundation and other NGO partners.
In 1996, the General Assembly invited Member States to observe the International Day for Tolerance on 16 November, with activities directed towards both educational establishments and the wider public (resolution 51/95). Looking ahead, NITG plans to celebrate International Tolerance day and update citizens on the work of the program.