Georgian Institute of Public Affairs (GIPA) was founded in 1994 and since then it has stood as one of the first innovative Western-oriented projects, started with one Master’s program in Public Administration. This event was preceded by the agreement between the United States Information Agency (later the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the United States Department of State), the Government of Georgia, and the United States National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) on the implementation of a joint project in Georgia under the name of the Georgian Institute of Public Affairs.
Since its establishment, the main goal of GIPA has been to support the development of a new field of Public Administration and Policy in Georgia, through the education of a cadre of public servants in Georgia. Consequently, for the initial stage, the key objective of the project was to award a Master’s degree in Public Administration to 30 graduates annually.
Funding for the project was provided by the United States Information Agency, the Georgian Government, Budapest Public Service and Eurasia foundation in Washington DC. A representative of the Fulbright Program undertook the responsibility of the deputy head.
In 2000, After seven years of cooperation, with NAPA’s recommendation and support, GIPA started negotiations with the National Association of Schools of Public Administration (NASPAA), which served as a basis for a long-term successful cooperation in the future.
At the initial stage, the academic personnel was staffed with professors from leading American Universities. Within the framework of NAPA cooperation, they led the Master’s program and provided textbooks, trainings and workshops to Georgian professors to share their knowledge and experience, by participating in the program management. Gradually, the American academic personnel were replaced with highly qualified Georgian professors, who were equipped with western knowledge and modern teaching methods and skills.
Since then, through interactive education programs, trainings and consultations, the university has been playing an important role in developing the field of Public Administration and good governance at the central, municipal and local levels for more than two decades. Herewith, by contributing to the development of independent and viable media in Georgia, GIPA continues to bring together successful leaders from various areas such as: public sector, business, law, civil society and media, who constantly share their knowledge and experience to students.
Currently GIPA administers four schools and offers Bachelor’s, Master’s, vocational education programs, training courses, consultations and PhD program in Social Sciences to interested individuals. The curricula of university programs are developed based on the values of democracy and freedom of expression. It provides students with theoretical knowledge as well as practical skills through the integration of research and interactive teaching principles. The university continuous its successful cooperation with American and European Universities.
Nowadays GIPA remains as one of the most important institutions in regard to spreading education, knowledge and experience, it counts up to 3000 graduates, and 90% of them are successfully employed in public and business sectors, also at private, non-governmental and international organizations.
Apart from the graduate degree programs and certified training courses, GIPA successfully implements different kinds of research and training projects and manages the first English-language and student-run Radio GIPA. It periodically hosts public lectures and debates in the club “Frontline Georgia".
GIPA in the best example of how a small organization could be transformed into a sustainable and successful institution with the help of international grant, which boasts a high reputation both at the national and international level.
As an U.S. Ambassador to Georgia Ian C. Kelly mentioned, “GIPA is the best US investment in Georgia.”