Georgia, Eastern Europe

D-Lab Satellite: Georgia Regional Innovation Outreach Initiative

A Two-Week Training. Building Capacities Around Agricultural And Environmental Sustainability For Rural Farmers In Georgia.

August 2016

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Due the fall of the USSR in 1991, post-Soviet countries, including Georgia, switch dramatically their economies from a state-managed model to an open market-driven economy. A different and new understanding of private ownership and entrepreneurship was also introduced.

Regarding previous structural adaptations, today Georgia is a growing economy, with decreasing levels of social inequality and a healthy environment for business development and international trade. Improving agriculture through education and establishing international linkages have been identified as components of this equation. With this goal in mind, academic institutions such as the Georgian Institute for Public Affairs (GIPA) and NGOs such as the Bediani Regional Educational Center (BREC) connected with the UC Davis D-Lab to identify and build collaborations between the University of California, Davis and Georgia.

Project Description.

This Satellite consisted of a 2-week training for rural farmers in Bediani, Georgia. The goal was to build capacities around local governance and environmental protection. These included practical programs related to the assessment of natural resources, elaboration of local socio-economic development feasibility studies, and introduction of modern sustainable technologies. Planned innovative activities are foreseen to be based on best available practices from developed countries.

UC Davis D-Lab supported this project with curriculum exchange and mentoring sessions.

Leanne Bolano wrote about her experience in these articles:

Learn more about this initiative here:

Final Report Georgia Initiative D-Lab

Our International Partners:

Georgian Institute of Public Affairs (GIPA), School of Government:

Georgian Institute of Public Affairs (GIPA) sees its mission in establishing the highest academic and professional standards in Georgia. The university aims to provide the level of higher and vocational education as well as academic research that will contribute to the strengthening of democratic values and the establishment of professional ethics in the country thereby pushing Georgia forward on its path of European integration.

Learn more at:

Bediani Regional Educational Center (BREC):

The goal of the Center is to support local education practices for rural population through provision of professional knowledge and skills.

UC Davis Partners:


Global Affairs:

Global Affairs provides campus leadership and coordination for UC Davis faculty, students and staff to build international relationships via continuing, distance and lifelong learning and international educational and research activities and programs. Our focus is to coordinate, strengthen and promote the internationalization of the University of California, Davis. Joanna Regulska, Vice Provost and Associate Chancellor, Global Affairs.

Academic Without Borders: AWB-USA is a non-profit organization located in Davis, California. We support initiatives geared at building capacity in institutions of higher education in developing nations throughout the world. Our mission is to mobilize academic communities to assist these institutions in their efforts to improve both the quantity and quality of academic programs required to produce the trained professionals needed to address their societal challenges of the 21st century.


UC Davis Blum Center: The Blum Center seeks to educate students who will develop new technologies that will address the needs of poor communities around the world.


  • Kakhaber Bakhtadze, Project Manager, Humphrey Fellow 2016
  • Leanne Bolano, UC Davis Blum Grant Awardee, Undergraduate Project Researcher
  • Dr. Kurt Kornbluth, UC Davis PIET Director
  • Paula Balbontin, Graduate Student Researcher at UC Davis D-Lab

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Me teaching the first lesson as my project client, Kakhaber Bakhtadze, translates.

Me teaching the first lesson as my project client, Kakhaber Bakhtadze, translates.

View of my students in the newly renovated BREC training room on the first day of class.

View of my students in the newly renovated BREC training room on the first day of class.