Taking Responsibility

Good governance, a low rate of corruption, and the free exchange of information are hallmarks of a peaceful society. In many countries, these things are anything but assured. The Carl Friedrich Goerdeler-Kolleg imparts the principles of responsible conduct in public administration, NGOs, and the business sector − and also to Irine Chikhladze from Georgia and Maxim Pijevskii from Moldova.

Lena Schnabl | December 2016
Stephan Röhl

Maxim Pijevskii developed the idea of an online platform through which initiators of sustainable projects can establish networks with each other.

She fights against monopolies in her home country. Irine Chikhladze, 27, is a consultant with Georgia’s independent Competition Agency, founded in 2014. Most recently, the lawyer audited the Georgian oil market over a period of three months – and scarcely got away from her desk the whole time. In the end, ten companies were fined. “If we make mistakes,” she says, “It can all fall apart in court.” Chikhladze represents the country’s new elite. She finished secondary school just a year after the Rose Revolution in 2003, which was driven by a desire to eradicate nepotism and corruption. “We had to rebuild the country,” she says. Thousands of police and civil servants were sacked, and the education system was reformed. Chikhladze studied at one of the best universities in Georgia, gained a master’s degree at Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, and completed internships at the German Bundestag and the Supreme Court of Georgia.

Stephan Röhl

Irine Chikhladze wants to stem corruption in Georgia.

Much more than theoretical knowledge

Now she wants to inform her fellow citizens about how the Georgian Competition Agency works, and how to submit complaints concerning corruption and bribery. She is being supported by the Carl Friedrich Goerdeler-Kolleg for Good Governance, a joint project from the Robert Bosch Stiftung and the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP). She is given a coach for a year, and attends seminars on proper civil service conduct and project management. The special thing about the Kolleg is that participants not only gain theoretical knowledge about political relations and international cooperation, but also get to carry out their own personal projects. Together with Chikhladze, some twenty young leaders from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Russia, Turkey, and Ukraine started the new program in August, just as the previous year’s group were wrapping up the presentation of their projects at a fair in Mittenwalde, near Berlin. Like the other newcomers, Chikhladze visited each stand at the project fair. When she got to Maxim Pijevskii’s, she lingered. Pijevskii, a 35-year-old employee of the Moldovan environmental organization EcoVisio, was an entertaining fellow who quickly gained the attention of the new participants.

Stephan Röhl

When Maxim Pijevskii came to the first meeting of the Goerdeler-Kolleg participants a year ago, he immediately sensed the others’ energy.

"You very quickly find a common language."

Previously, he had coordinated projects for the Society for International Cooperation (GIZ). In his amusing manner, Pijevskii tells how his vague idea to promote the active involvement of civil society turned into a concrete project. He developed the idea of an online platform through which initiators of sustainable projects can establish networks with each other. “Even in an area as small as the Republic of Moldova, not everyone knows what the others are doing.” When he came to the first meeting of the Goerdeler-Kolleg participants a year ago, he immediately sensed the others’ energy. “You very quickly develop a common language.” Through his coach, he learned how to think step by step and set achievable goals. He started a working group, found a programmer, and launched a beta version of his website. Today he is proudly presenting his network platform. Without his mentor, Pijevskii says, he might have lost his focus. For Irine Chikhladze, the journey has just begun. She’s particularly delighted about the contact with other young reformers. “I’m building a network for the future here.”