First Lauder Intercultural Venture to Georgia Featured in Penn Today

April 1, 2024

Penn Today featured the Lauder Institute’s March 2024 Lauder Intercultural Venture (LIV) to Georgia in Eastern Europe. The venture was the LIV program’s first visit to this location. With an “Edge of Empires” theme, the LIV provided students with a week-long immersive experience from meeting refugees to touring historic sites like the Gergeti Trinity Church near the Russian border.

Faculty Leader for the LIV, Professor Mitchell Orenstein, explains “Georgia is such a unique place, and unusual in a lot of ways. The Caucasus Mountains being one of them; the geography is extraordinary, with dozens of languages spoken in that area of the world. It’s exceptional, and the feature of Georgia being between different civilizations makes its politics really complicated.”

Though modern Georgia sees its future in the West, it has continued to be a target of Russian imperial expansion after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. Russia invaded Georgia in 2008 and still occupies twenty percent of Georgian territory, especially the ethnic enclaves of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. This history, as well as it’s geographic position, made Georgia a meaningful location for students to explore the complex geopolitics of the region.

Read the full story at Penn Today >>>