WiP: Ethno-Cultural Mixed Families as Confidence Building Agents for Reconciliation, 27 November – Nino Lotishvili

American Councils and CRRC present the 13th talk in the Fall 2013 Works-in-Progress Series!

Nino Lotishvili, University of Lugano

“Ethno-Cultural Mixed Families as Confidence Building Agents for Reconciliation”
Wednesday, 27 November, 2013 at 6:15pm

ISET/CRRC Georgia, Zandukeli St. 16, Tbilisi, GEORGIA

In multiethnic societies, people often put up an imaginary boundary line between self and others that helps to develop a number of stereotypes and prejudice about other ethnic groups. Such a superior perception of self can be well exploited by nationalist leaders to abuse the concept of culture as a differentiator from others, which can constitute an obstacle for the civil integration and can therefore contribute to the social distance between different ethnic groups within the same territory. Such stereotypical attitudes can represent a precondition for mistrust, fear, hatred and xenophobia among the peoples which can be used by political purposes and can therefore be related to intrastate conflicts. The present research aims to suggest a new approach for conflict transformation and reconciliation process through the example of ethno-cultural mixed families, asking what we can learn from the strategies of these successful ethno-cultural mixed families, who stay united within these complex geo-political forces. Can these families act as confidence building agents as a starting point for the peaceful relations? Do their strategies have lessons for the reconciliation process? Qualitative research conducted with Georgian-Ossetian ethno-cultural mixed family members living across the four different Administrative Boundary Line villages, in Gori, and two Internally Displaced Persons’ (IDP) settlements tested the proposed hypothesis: Following violent armed conflicts between their two ethnicities, the ethno-cultural mixed families that are still united and connected to each other with strong relationship bonds can represent the most “natural bridge” over “hatred, intolerance”, and therefore they can fill the gap in communication between divided communities and be role models for positive change through the reconciliation process.

Nino Lotishvili holds a Master’s degree in Public Management and Policy from the University of Lugano (USI – Università della Svizzera Italiana) with the specialization in Public Communication/Intercultural Communication. She earned a BA Diploma from the Tbilisi University for Language and Culture (Ilia), Georgia, in Pedagogics of Foreign Languages. From 2009 Nino was involved in various activities related to the humanitarian and international development fields, this is why the findings of the research were also presented at 18th Nordic Conference for Therapists and Care-Givers working with traumatized refugees in the session Dealing with Conflict Aftermath/Reconciliation processes in Bergen, Norway. Her research interests include ethnic conflict, peacebuilding, reconciliation, human rights, and international development in former Soviet Republics.


W-i-P is an ongoing academic discussion series based in Tbilisi, Georgia, that takes place at the International School of Economics (ISET) building (16 Zandukeli Street). It is co-organized by the Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC), the American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS, and the American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC). All of the talks are free and open to the public.The purpose of the W-i-P series is to provide support and productive criticism to those researching and developing academic projects pertaining the Caucasus region.

Would you like to present at one of the W-i-P sessions? Send an e-mail to natia@crrccenters.org.