McCain Institute and Georgia’s Economic Policy Research Center co-host consequential summit – “World in 2018: Upside Down?”

(Washington, September 10, 2018) – On September 11-12, 2018, the McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University and the Economic Policy Research Center (EPRC) will co-host an international conference in Tbilisi, Georgia: “World in 2018: Upside Down?” Now in its fourth year, the two-day conference will take place at the Rooms Hotel Tbilisi.

The Tbilisi International Conference has forged a reputation as a can’t-miss event for leaders across Georgia, the United States and Europe. Each September, the conference brings together regional experts on security issues, along with Georgian policymakers, civil society activists, and the business community – with a view toward keeping Georgia high on the transatlantic agenda, and keeping Georgia on track in its democratic progress and transatlantic aspirations.

“As 2018 marks 10 years since the Russo-Georgia War – with continued Russian military presence in Georgia, it is important that Western leaders remain committed to our partners in Georgia and to a way forward,” said Ambassador Kurt Volker, executive director of the McCain Institute. “It is particularly important to the McCain Institute, created to advance the legacy of Senator John McCain and the McCain family, to engage in Georgia as a convener of the brightest leaders fighting for a democratic future. This conference will once again gather key thought-leaders and decision-makers to discuss the most significant issues influencing the region.”

“We are proud that the Tbilisi International Conference has become a such a significant gathering amongst our key democratic allies,” said Nino Evgenidze, executive director of the Economic Policy Research Center. “With no shortages of security challenges facing the world and elections on the verge of taking place in Georgia, the conversations at the conference will no doubt inform action in the months that follow.”

The conference will address the threats facing democracy today, the future of European security, the trans-Caucasus East-West corridor, hybrid warfare and disinformation, an encroaching Russia, U.S. foreign policy under the Trump Administration and the state of Georgia ahead of its October presidential elections.

Panel topics include:

  • Whither Georgia?
  • The Future of European Security, the EU and NATO
  • Democracy Faces a Triple Threat: Authoritarianism, Globalization & Nationalism
  • The East-West Corridor
  • Weaponizing Information
  • Putin’s Russia: Where Does It Go from Here?
  • Oligarchy and Democracy
  • Is Trump Foreign Policy Better Than It Seems?

Featured speakers include:

  • Giorgi Margvelashvili, President of Georgia
  • Mamuka Bakhtadze, Prime Minister of Georgia
  • Kersti Kaljulaid, President of Estonia
  • Ben Hodges, former Commanding General, U.S. Army Europe
  • Tacan Ildem, Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy, NATO
  • Mikhail Kasyanov, former Prime Minister of Russia
  • Irakli Kobakhidze, Chairman of the Parliament of Georgia
  • Linas Linkevičius, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania
  • A. Wess Mitchell, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs
  • John Tefft, Former U.S. Ambassador to Russia, Ukraine, Georgia and Lithuania
  • Andrea Thompson, U.S. Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security
  • David Zalkaliani, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia
  • Other high ranking government officials, regional experts and thought leaders

View the full agenda.

The conference is by invitation only. For press interested in covering the conference on-site, please contact Nino Evgenidze at [email protected]. The program will also be available via livestream at

About McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University

The McCain Institute, founded in 2012 as part of Arizona State University, is located in the heart of Washington, D.C.  Inspired by the leadership of Senator John McCain and his family’s legacy of public service, the McCain Institute is a non-partisan, do-tank dedicated to advancing character-driven leadership in the U.S. and abroad.  The Institute seeks to advance security, economic opportunity, freedom and human dignity.  Learn more at

About the Economic Policy Research Center (EPRC)

The Economic Policy Research Center (EPRC),founded in 2002 is a leading economic think tank in Georgia, striving to improve prosperity through rigorous economic policymaking, advancement of security and Euro-Atlantic Integration and by promoting public engagement through education. Learn more at