Speeches & Statements

The President of Georgia talked with top 10 college freshmen  

Georgia is an incredibly beautiful country.

I visited this place a few months ago and decided to develop the very beautiful Kvareli Lake and build a boulevard.

After I first saw this place I bought the vineyard, built a small house, and decided to take care of it in my free time.

The development of the Georgian wine industry is very important. It's not only drinking and receiving pleasure but it is a real passport of our identity, culture and civilization.

By the way, it is directly correlated to what you should achieve in your lives.

Wine production in Chile and California started from a scratch when I was studying in America in the 90s. Back then, nobody knew about Chilean wines and Californian wines were very cheap.

The specialists of California State University (USCLA) wine laboratory sat down and scientifically researched how to make a good wine.

Today this is a multi-billion dollar source of income.

There are 400 breeds of vine in Georgia. Only France has that many wine breeds, not even Italy.

In this regard, we have a country of great traditions, but everything here will need constant improvement. We have a good reason to develop it and that's what will make it easy.

You are a sign of our success - you had the highest scores on national exams, the improved exams beingamong the most important recent reforms in Georgia.

Moreover, five years ago students with high scores chose International Law or International Relations majors. But you chose exactly what we told the youth to focus on in recent years.

We need specialists. We must feed ourselves and build the country by ourselves. I am tired of the fact that we need to run to Germany, China, Ukraine, Armenia and Azerbaijan for some small technological things, because we cannot make them on our own. It is easy and it requires no large industrial base. We simply need the knowledge and the skills.

The fact that the top 10 students chose technical professions means that we are headed in the right direction.

When I was studying in America, everyone wanted to be a lawyer or an economist. Now it appears that the United States is lagging behind in engineering, lacks innovative personnel and medical technologies do not continue to develop at the same rate. They bring experts from Asian countries.

That's why we should have our own specialist in Georgia, so others will approach us and ask about our opinions regarding the technologies.

We should create such technologies in the next years because we are the ones who will benefit from them.

For example, they use sea water to air condition the new Batumi hotels. Pipes are lowered deep into the sea, extract water and take it through air-conditioning pipes resulting in savings of  90% on electricity and gas energy.

 A Georgian scientist invented this technology in the 80s, but he did not copyright it and the Germans took it from him. Now we've had to buy this technology from the Germans. We have also bought the pipes that we are lowering into the sea from Ukrainians. All we have left to say is that we invented it.

By the way, today the youth is creating everything. You know who invented Apple technologies right?

A few years from now (hopefully by the time my vineyard will be in a better shape so you can drink my wine), when we gather at this table one more time,  perhaps you will already show me specific projects you've created.

I think it's a very good plan to study at this college. After graduation some students will stay in Georgia and others will go abroad to study.

At this point we are only giving out scholarships to technical majors.

By the time you graduate from college I hope the many foreigners will come to Georgia to help us with the Master's programs.

The Batumi Technological University has already been created, where there will be an American Campus. This is very important because a high level American University will help us in the process of creating a Technological University. As a result, there will be no need to go abroad because there will be similar professional instructors and technologies in Georgia.

However, based on my experience, I am in favor of going abroad for one or two years of study and learning about and from other cultures. I am not afraid that Georgians will stay there.

During the last 6-7 years, more people returned to Georgia than left, with the exception of 2008. Practically everybody is returning to the home country.

Currently there is unemployment in Georgia but it is caused by contemporary demand, which needs a different qualification.

This is a tragedy for older aged people, however we are doing a lot in order to retrain them and help them get adjusted to the new labor demands.

This is not a problem for the young. On the contrary, every opportunity is arising for you now.

There should be no employment problems for you.

Practically every road was blocked for the youth in the 90s, but now every road is open for you if you have a degree in any profession.

Only Universities are not enough. Every engineer needs 4-5 technicians, and that's why we need technical schools.

Each one of you will need 6-7 highly qualified technical personnel when you become advanced specialists or engineers.

It is true that we have several good programmers and information technology specialists already, but when the critical moment comes Western European and even Belarusian specialists have an advantage.

We need to improve this.

You probably know that we are providing first graders with computers and by the way, this does not happen anywhere - neither in the west nor in America.

We are not spending money on this because we have a lot of it, but because when a child learns to interact with a computer from the first grade he/she will be more successful than anyone in the future.

It is very important to know the English language because it represents the language of information.

For example, outsourcing centers were created in India. It is true that India is a large country but I think that a country like Georgia can also create such centers.

The Free University and several other universities of Georgia are trying to raise the minimal level of education and they are achieving this - they are building a new campus.

The Free University also bought the Agrarian University - How can Georgia not have agricultural experts?

We are not talking about whether Georgia has much land or not.

Israel and Netherlands have less land than us but they are supplying a large part of the world with food.

Technological development is very important.

When you are called a land farmers' country you cannot import technologies from smaller countries while not having anything of your own. On the contrary, we have to export everything.  This is what "Georgika" means in Greek.

By the way, many of you will come to understand what profession you want in the process of learning because it is not always clear at the beginning. First of all, I am glad that you chose technical specialties and didn't follow the fashion because you will have more employment opportunities, more income and most importantly, you will be more useful for your country.

We need to know the most important thing: We need to raise qualifications of instructors in schools and universities constantly. Everything is based on the internet and new sources of obtaining information today.

We need to maximally develop distance learning, which the Free University is implementing right now.

We need to try to send our students to participate in international forums and organize innovational conferences here.

What does free choice really mean?  Out of 10 of you, 8 chose the Free University. This means that it should be an example for other universities.

The most important reality is that nowadays attention is drawn to foreign languages including not only English, but also Chinese, Arabic and Turkish. Knowing these languages is a prerequisite of employment.

My son spent the summer in China, learning Chinese. By the way, he said that Mandarin is not as difficult as he had imagined.

It's not hard at your age, but at my age it would probably be difficult.

My son is already learning a 5th or 6th language and he is not going to stop. Not because he is very talented but because there is such a demand today.

You cannot imagine how useful I have found what I was taught in my childhood. Nothing works in education very often without compulsory teaching. Especially when you are very young and don't always learn voluntarily.

Democracy is a very conditional thing in this regard. Your parents probably forced you to learn at least something.

For example, I am grateful to my parents because they forced me to learn Spanish. When I was visiting the leaders of Latin American countries I couldn't go there with interpreters because they wouldn't think of me as someone close to them. Communication was especially important during a time when a very important thing was being decided about my country.

In the future, Chinese, Mandarin and other Asian languages will acquire the same inportance.

How can we not know Turkish when Turkey is such a large country and has so much potential?

We should all think about this issue.

This is not a discrimination of our language. On the contrary, our language is unique and we should all work to develop it. This is one of our most important priorities.

These students should study here and in case they decide to continue their studies, we can later talk about giving them scholarships. Learning abroad is of course important but when there are computers in Georgia they have huge prospects here as well.

We should work on bringing foreign professors to Georgia. We should maximally assist our children.

My travels abroad are mostly exploratory.  Up to 40% of the time is spent on meetings with leaders and officials and I spend 70% of my free time exploring how new things are done there and how to do the same things in Georgia. I am interested even in little details of what happens in Universities abroad.

I am saying one more time that we need to improve everything.

God help you in making our country a better place.

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