On October 23 – through 26 Adjara (Kvariati) was hosting the First International Conference “Georgia in the XX Century: In the Files of the Georgian Security Archive”.
Topics such as:openness of the archives, archives of the Soviet period, archival document stored there and more importantly, scientific research studies conducted based on these documents, Georgian history of the 20th century, and history of the Soviet Union - were among the key issues discussed at the conference.
Organizers of the Conference were the National Security Archive (George Washington University), the Archive Administration of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia and the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information.
The invited guests of the conference were historians, archive researchers and specialists, representatives of various prominent educational and academic institutions, NGO representatives working in the field of freedom of information and other specialists employed in the non-governmental sector were invited to the conference.A number of acclaimed specialists, researchers and professional historians from the United States, Russian Federation, Great Britain, Bulgaria, Azerbaijan and Georgia took participation in the conference.
The Conference was opened by the photo exhibition organized by the Archive Administration of the MIA, at which photos stored in the former Security and Party archives were displayed.
At the conference particular attention was given to the material stored in the Archives of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (former Archive of the Central Committee and former Archive of KGB) and to the research publications and studies conducted using these documents. In addition, working practices of archives and the level of archive openness in represented countries was discussed. The issue of freedom of information is fundamental for facilitating openness and improved access to archives. Therefore representatives of NGOs working in the field of freedom of information placed a strong emphasis on this particularissue and spoke from their personal experience about existing problems and achievements.
All speakers have acknowledged the achievements of the Archives of the Ministry of Interior Affairs of Georgia. In respect to openness, accessibility and provided working conditions for researchers, the Archives of the 20th century Georgia is indeed estimable and exemplary for Archives of not only post-Soviet space but for many Western states as well.
The importance of the Georgian Archives in studying Soviet history is especially significant. It was together with the Archive Administration of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia, (and by using documents stored at these archives) that future research and educational projects were planned by the participants of the conference. In addition, using archival records a number of joint publications are being issued.
Organizers and participants of the conference have agreed that the International Conference dedicated to the development of the Archives and Archive studies will be held annually.
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