International Summer School

Georgian Institute of Public Affairs (GIPA) 

is pleased to offer a 

Certified Credit Summer Program in Tbilisi, Georgia

Geopolitical Frontiers in the Black Sea-Caspian Region

June-July, 2024



This course is designed to provide graduate and senior undergraduate level students with a broad knowledge and understanding of the South Caucasus and broader Black Sea-Caspian Region. The course will provide with strategic overview of the historic and recent developments, which led to formation of the current security, political and economic environment in the region. 

During the class discussion we will paint strategic map of the Caucasus by looking at multiple internal and external factors of stability, including: interests of major powers and conflicting foreign policy priorities of the regional countries; status of governance, efficiency of the states, and problem of corruption; impact of pandemics on regional economies; past experience of macro growth in some countries due to natural resources; employment as a security issue and key measure of state legitimacy; misallocation of natural, human and economic resources; status of civil society; private sector development, investments and business climate, etc.

The discussions with experts, as well as regional and American practitioners will cover details of the following issues: Military confrontation between Russia and its neighbors – Georgia and Ukraine; recent war over Karabakh and new role of Turkey in the region; Launch of the natural gas pipeline from Azerbaijan via Georgia, Turkey, Greece and Albania to Italy and other European countries on December 31, 2020; Doing business in the region and managing government relations for the private companies in the region, etc.

Course Objectives

By the end of the program, the students will: 

  • Develop a clear understanding of the origin and historic development of the regional states and great power influence in the region
  • Learn about major challenges of the region, dominated by conflicts, as well as challenges like demographic trends, unemployment etc.
  • Explore the opportunities for potential positive political and economic developments in the region.
  • Gain a thorough understanding of significance of the regional energy and transportation infrastructure development, linking Europe and Asia;
  • Learn about business environment, risks and opportunities of doing business in the region, and successful risk mitigation strategies.

Learning Outcomes

Students will be able to:

  • Define political and economic geography and historic origins of the Black Sea-Caspian region
  • Define regional states’ foreign-security policies and domestic political development
  • Critically analyze existing and potential challenges and conflicts of the region
  • Apply IR theory elements learned in other classes to this region
  • Define the basic economic and energy security issues for broader Eurasia; 
  • Critically analyze alternative strategies for energy security;

Program Format: 

This program will combine the lecture format with class discussions.  Students are expected to be ready for the class discussions based on the assigned readings. Students are also expected to follow the current news about the region to be discussed in the class. 

There will be one in-class meeting per day for three hours, at 10 am. We will have several  guest-speakers from diplomatic and academic/research community. 

Cultural and Social Events are not limited to:

  • Welcome Dinner and tour to the Old Capital of Georgia – Mtskheta
  • Visit to the National Museum of Georgia (Tbilisi)
  • Wine Tasting  - Tour to Eastern Georgia – Kakheti
  • Tour to mountainous region of Georgia – Kazbegi 

See program schedule attached.

Course Requirements:

  1. Essay Writing (40%): Essay reflecting on one of the major security challenges for the selected country of the region. Topics may include conflicts, demography, unemployment, energy security, sovereignty etc. (3-5 pages)
  2. Presentation (40%): Students are required to prepare and make 10-12 minute formal presentation on the basis of the analysis of the selected topic, which may include country geopolitical risk analysis, risk analysis for the hypothetical or real project, market entry decision for large company in supply-chain or any other business etc.;   
  3. Class Participation (20%). Students will be expected to attend every class prepared to discuss the assigned issues, current news about the South Caucasus and broader Black Sea-Caspian Region, and actively engage in discussions with guest speakers.

Certificate and credits

The summer program will award 3 credits in the US system and 7.5 ECTS in the European system (though we recommend checking with your institution how much credit will be awarded for the program).

Upon successful completion of the program, students will receive GIPA Certificate of Completion and the letter of Transcript (indicating the number of credits received). 

Pre-departure Reading

Zbiginiew Brzezinski, The Grand Chessboard, Basic Books, 1997


Thomas de Waal, The Caucasus: An Introduction, Oxford University Club, 2010


Fred Starr, Svante Cornell, Mamuka Tsereteli, A Western Strategy for the South Caucasus, 2015


Stephen Jones, Ed., Making of Modern Georgia, 1918-2012, The First Georgian Republic and its successors, Routledge, 2014


Mamuka Tsereteli, Black Sea Connectivity and the South Caucasus, Frontier Europe Initiative Report, Middle East Institute, March, 2021


Mamuka Tsereteli, Can Russia's Quest for the New International Order Succeed?, ORBIS, May 2018


Charles Ellinas, Energy and Geopolitics in the Eastern Mediterranean, Atlantic Council, 2022


Major Economic Development Indexes: Doing Business by World Bank; Global Competitiveness Index by World Economic Forum; Index of Economic Freedom, Heritage Foundation (all available online)

    Program Fee

    The total program cost for American students is 2500 USD $ excluding costs of international travel (to and from Georgia), for European Students – 2000 EURO. The tuition fee includes transfers to and from Tbilisi airport; Student accommodation; full social and cultural program.


    Applications are accepted by Email to Deadline for submission of applications is May 15, 2024. Applicants should provide the following documents:

    • Updated CV with the contact information
    • Statement of Purpose (max. 300 words)
    • Letter of transcript 

    After admission, the students will receive notification via e-mail no later than June 1, 2024. To secure the place for the program, the students will have to make non-refundable 300$ deposit (money order) to the Georgian Institute of Public Affairs no later than June 20, 2024.

    Course Coordinators


    International: Mamuka Tsereteli Senior Fellow at the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute at American Foreign Policy Council, based in Washington DC. His expertise includes international security and economic policy, economic and energy security, political and economic risk analysis and mitigation strategies, and business development in the South Caucasus and Central Asia. Is is a member of the adjunct faculty at American University and Johns Hopkins SAIS.  Dr.  Tsereteli previously served as the Director of the Center for Black Sea-Caspian Studies and Assistant Professor at American University in DC, and as the Founding Director at the America-Georgia Business Council, and the Counselor of the Georgian Embassy in Washington,  DC.

    Local: Bakur Kvashilava Dean of the School of Law and Politics, Professor, GIPA (Georgian Institute of Public Affairs) . 10 years of managerial experience at GIPA and academic expertise of +12 years. Bakur Kvashilava has experience working for the private and public sectors; he served in the Foreign Policy Analysis Department of the President’s Administration in 1999-2001, he represented Exxon Mobil Co. in Georgia in 2004-2005 and served in the OSCE Mission to Georgia. He teaches several courses at GIPA – the Introduction to International Relations, Comparative Politics, and Ideologies, Parties and Electoral Systems. His current work and research is concentrated on Political Risk Analysis, Regime Transformation and Political Parties. Bakur Kvashilava regularly partakes in joint efforts treating these issues with the other key academic and research institutions that engage in the study of international relations and politics. He is one of the founding members of the Association for International Relations. At various times, Bakur Kvashilava offered and offers lectures and training for IDEA, Georgian Foundation for International COORDINATORS and Strategic Studies, Curatio, and others.

    Contact Information:



    Coordinator: Zhana Antia, Head of Training and Consulting Center

    Phone: +995 032 249 75 00

    Mob: +995 595 59 23 01

    Address: Ietim Gurji str. 7B, 0105, Tbilisi, Georgia