04 Jul 2022
By: Anna Kakushadze

We Choose Tolerance – We Have More in Common 

Launched by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Georgia, the "We Choose Tolerance - We Have More in Common" diversity campaign aims to promote migrants’ rights and diversity in the country. The campaign highlights the benefits of migration and the role of migrants in Georgian society to  counter xenophobia. 
“We are all witnessing the fact that, often migration relates to crisis and incidents but the positive aspects and benefits, which  are brought about by migrants to Georgian society remain uncaptured or taken for granted. This campaign takes a fresh look at and focuses on positive aspects of migration,” says IOM Georgia’s Chief of Mission Sanja Celebic Lukovac. 
IOM partnered with Georgian public figures by inviting them to  

share their experiences in three talks. Georgian writer, and TV presenter, Dato Gorgiladze, hosted the three conversations with Bryan Idowu, a football coach and actor who has been living in Georgia for 17 years, Mariam Sanogo, a TV presenter and model who has been living in Georgia for 20 years, and Keti Shubashvili, Head of the Equality Department at the Public Defender's Office of Georgia.  

“The Office of the Public Defender of Georgia is happy to cooperate with IOM under this campaign. Such initiatives matter – they do have a positive impact on social attitudes and behavior. Usually, discrimination is a result of prejudices, subjective circumstances, and abstract fears. Therefore, though it takes time, engagement of people in such activities does bring positive results in the end,” states Shubashvili.  

Under the campaign, IOM showcases the stories of Belgian, Irish, Indian, Japanese, Nigerian, and Iranian migrants, who have been living in Georgia for multiple years in hopes to smash stereotypes by illustrating the value of diversity and the role of migrants in the country’s development. 

Watch the video and listen to what Joseph, Kanji, Maitry, Timothy, and others have to say.  

IOM ran a short quiz (in Georgian), consisting of  7 questions with the audience to evaluate one's attitudes to diversity and tolerance.  

Georgian write, and TV presenter, Dato Gorgiladze, hosted Mariam Sanogo during the second Diversity Talks in Tbilisi. Mariam Sanogo was born in France and raised in Georgia.

“Migrants, who are facing challenges on their route to integration, I would advise to try and learn Georgian, understand the culture and perhaps you will then understand the (possibly) rational fear of many Georgians that diversity is a threat to national identity and culture. On the other hand, I would like to remind Georgian people that many Georgians are emigrants, so do to others what you would have them do to you,” said Mariam Sanogo, one of the faces of the campaign.” 

The campaign was implemented with the support of the Foreign Affairs Ministry of Norway, in cooperation with the Public Defender's Office of Georgia. To promote the campaign, IOM has placed posters around the cities of Tbilisi, Rustavi, Kutaisi, and Batumi, which host most migrant communities. More activities aimed at promoting of diversity and migrants’ rights in Georgia are planned with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway.

Bus stops and billboard in Tbilisi, Rustavi, Kutaisi and Batumi carry posters with main messages of the campaign to reach wider public with a message that we have more in common than divides us.
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