By Natia Mzhavanadze and Nino Chinchaladze
Those of us fortunate enough to have studied at Teachers College would unhesitatingly confirm how heart-warming it is to rejoin the big family again. This time, the Georgian TC alumni were happy to reunite and meet Dr. Peter Moock in Tbilisi, Georgia, on January 28, 2012. Peter Moock (Economics and Education/PhD/1973) worked for many years at the World Bank after having served on the faculty of TC. He is now a member of the TC Alumni Council. There was a record attendance at the meeting in January: ten of the twelve alumni who studied at TC were able to attend the Alumni Reunion in Tblisi. The cosy atmosphere and retro environment in a historical part of the city made the friendly and professional conversations even more enjoyable and unforgettable.
The Georgian Program for Education Professionals started in 2006 as a joint initiative of the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia and the Open Society Foundations with the administration of the Center for International education (Tbilisi) providing 24 educators with the opportunity to pursue M.A. programs at Teachers College Columbia University and at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. The purpose of the program was to provide Georgian education system with qualified professionals able to contribute to the wide-scale reforms being implemented.
Twelve Georgians were awarded M.A. degrees by TC. Most pursued their studies in the program of International Education Development, with one completing the course in Economics and Education. As anticipated, all of the alumni remain active in the education field trying to make positive changes in various educational sub-domains. Several alumni serve in one of the state universities, some hold managerial positions in international NGOs and others work in new entities founded by the ministry serving either in international relations divisions or managing international educational studies (PISA, TIMSS, PIRLS) or programs of teacher professional development. One even serves as the Minister of Education of Abkhazia (autonomous entity of Georgia).
Whatever their current occupations, their most significant common feature has remained the same over the years. All are enthusiastically dedicated to the value of education – an attribute that has been strengthened, nurtured and supported by TC. The reunion is over, but our getting together in January enhanced the spirit of belonging to our Alma Mater, and we all look forward to more frequent and rewarding reunions in the future. On behalf of the Georgian alumni of TC, we wish to express our gratitude to Dr. Moock and to the Office of Alumni Relations and Drs. Gita Steiner-Khamsi and Marion Boultbee, who encouraged and facilitated this event.