On Thursday, February 15, ISET hosted Dr. Vytautas Kuokštis, an Associate Professor at Vilnius University and the Institute of International Relations and Political Science. Dr. Kuokštis gave a presentation entitled “The Political Economy of Internal Adjustment in the Baltics in 2008-10 in the Light of Models of Currency Crises”.

This presentation was focused on the Baltic countries' experience during the Global Recession in 2008-10, and how the nations reacted. The global financial crisis hit the Baltic States much harder than other countries in the EU: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania all faced a very deep economic downturn, with many outside observers predicting they would devalue and/or default; in other words, they these countries would fail to implement the strategy of internal devaluation/adjustment.

Yasya Babych of the MPRC was a guest speaker at an annual think-tank conference in Kyiv, Ukraine organized by the International Renaissance Foundation and the Embassy of Sweden. She shared the experience of ISET-PI as the first university-based economic policy think tank in the South Caucasus. The model of university-based analytical policy centers is relatively new in her native Ukraine, and the majority of the participants were eager to find out how this model works in Georgia, and about the advantages and the unique challenges it faces.

The workshops and group discussions also focused on the future of think-tanks as non-political research and advocacy centers in a country undergoing institutional transformation; on the fine lines between politics and policy (although these two concepts are described by the same word in the Ukrainian language); and on the state-of-the-art digital tools that can help broadcast policy research messages effectively.

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