What do people eat in Georgia? I did not have any idea – until the intercultural evening. There the participants of the project Changing Perspectives of Media Education and Political Dialogue presented their national cuisines.
The intercultural evening took place at Ararat, an Armenian restaurant next to the Armenian community centre and church – with sea view! The participants brought food, drinks, snacks and sweets from their home countries. The people helped each other preparing the food for the table and explained their specialities. After half an hour the table was full! There were Ukrainian Vareniki, Armenian Ararat Cognac, Georgian Khinkali, German chocolate and much more.
Before starting to eat the responsible persons of the delegations held little speeches to present their national cuisine but especially to express their appreciation for an event and a project like this which create a great opportunity for an international encounter and dialogue. “The network built with this project is very important and we even want to get more organizations into this network because, firstly, organizations and people participating in this network can use what they learn in the media work they do in their home countries and, secondly, a network like this provides a sustainable structure for an international learning process”, said Wolfgang Ressmann, the leader of the German delegation. This learning process can contribute, concerning media, to make people trust more in media and fighting fake news. And, concerning politics, it can help supporting a democratic culture and fight nationalism and racism.
There was no special program for the evening except of presenting the national cuisines but there was also no need for a specific program. People talked with each other about various topics – about studying in Georgia, TV in Ukraine, poetry in Armenia and publishing books in Germany.
The owner of the Armenian restaurant invited the people to see his garden with fruit trees like figs, grenades and cornelian cherry. He also talked about his farm in Odessa. He grew up in Armenia, was as a Soviet soldier in Germany and then he came to live in Odessa. So he live in three of the countries of our project.
Some vodkas and cognac later there was also a bit music and singing at the intercultural evening.
Besides the fun the participant could broaden their horizons and maybe went a step further in developing an understanding on how to approach other cultures with respect and tolerance. And for sure they have eaten well and they learned about culture.
Like me for example, I now have a Georgian favourite food. It is bread with melted cheese and it is called: Khachapuri.