On November 16, on the International Tolerance Day, the United Nations Association of Georgia (UNAG), in collaboration with the Public Defender and the Tolerance Center under the auspices of the Public Defender’s Office came together to celebrate the Guardians of Tolerance 2023.
The event was held within the framework of the USAID program Unity Through Diversity, which is implemented by the United Nations Association of Georgia, with the financial support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). UNAG is a parent organization of Civil.ge.
On this occasion, three champions of tolerance were bestowed with the prestigious Tolerance Award. Archil Metreveli, an accomplished associate professor and Director of the Institute for Religious Freedom, received recognition from the Council of Religions. The Council of Ethnic Minorities similarly acknowledged the remarkable efforts of the EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia. Meanwhile, the Tolerance Center honored the Tbilisi Mural Fest, applauding their outstanding commitment to cultivating a spirit of tolerance.
According to the United Nations Association of Georgia, the Tolerance Award serves as a motivating force, acknowledging the exceptional contributions of individuals in promoting these values.
“The International Day of Tolerance was declared by UNESCO in 1996. There is an excellent Declaration of [Principles on] Tolerance, which says that tolerance is the possibility of ending the culture of war with a culture of peace…” Beka Mindiashvili, Head of the Tolerance Center under the auspices of the Public Defender’s Office of Georgia told Civil.ge, adding that “every year, the Councils of Religions and the Ethnic Minorities as well as the Tolerance Center select people or an organization who have made contributions in the fields of religious and ethnic diversity.”
During the event, Public Defender of Georgia Levan Ioseliani provided an overview of the main trends, challenges, and achievements in securing religious freedom and civic integration in Georgia. Additionally, Mindiashvili, the Head of the Tolerance Center, presented an analytical report titled “Freedom of Religion in Georgia – 30 Years.” The event also featured addresses from Tamar Sirbiladze of the Office of Democracy, Rights, and Governance at USAID Georgia, and Rezo Bakhtadze, Divisional Commander of the Salvation Army Georgia, an organization dedicated to supporting vulnerable people in need.
The audience also had a chance to watch a short film about the activities of the Salvation Army in Georgia.