The director of Clayton State University’s Office of International Programs, John E. Parkerson, Jr., will be traveling to Georgia this summer… Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia that is, to deliver a commencement address.
Parkerson will leave for Tbilisi on July 7 to deliver the commencement address at the Georgian American University (GAU) on July 10. The title of his address is: “Georgia to Georgia: How Education Advances U.S.-Republic of Georgia Ties.”
“My remarks will focus on education and its importance in promoting closer U.S.-Georgia business/economic, political/national defense, and social ties; the significance of the GAU-Clayton State partnership with regard to the foregoing; developments in the European Union as they affect Georgia and the U.S. with regard to education,” says Parkerson.
His commencement address will also include comments on the greater regional eastward integration of the European Union (EU), noting that Hungary currently holds the presidency of the Council of the EU through June 2011, and that Poland will hold the presidency for the next six months; making 2011 the year of Central Europe. Parkerson will also promote a strategy to associate more closely the Republic of Georgia and its neighbors into a broader European front.
While in Georgia, Parkerson will visit Mariam Chubinidze, GAU’s first outbound exchange student, who spent the fall 2010 semester studying business at Clayton State. He will also visit legal and academic colleagues in Tbilisi whom he knows at Ilia State University and the Eristavi Law Group which is affiliated with the Atlanta law firm of Hall, Booth, Smith & Slover, P.C.
In December 2009, Clayton State and GAU signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that promised a cooperative relationship between the two universities. The MOU provides the framework for Clayton State and GAU to engage in international exchanges of faculty to teach at each other’s institutions, attendance of students between the institutions, collaboration in special programs such as research activities or conferences, and exchanges of academic materials.
GAU opened to the public in 2005, and is a small, modern private institution of approximately 800 students that offers much of its curriculum in the English language. Its expanding Business and Law programs provide progressive educational opportunities for Georgian students, with the Business programs in particular representing potential areas for collaboration between GAU and Clayton State. GAU graduated its first class of students in 2009 with undergraduate degrees in Business and in Law, and graduate degrees in Law.