While the only institution of its kind in the South Caucasus, the International School of Economics at Tbilisi State University (ISET) is not alone when it comes to Eastern Europe and the former Soviet space.
In fact, ISET is one of the latest arrivals (established in 2006) into a very small family of teaching and research institutions that propagate and practice modern economics. Some of the other institutions belonging to this family are (from oldest to youngest):
- The Moscow-based New Economic School (www.NES.ru) and Center for Economic and Financial Research (www.CEFIR.ru)
- The Kyiv School of Economics www.KSE.org.ua),
- The Stockholm School of Economics in Riga (www.SSERIGA.edu) and the affiliated Baltic International Center for Economic Policy Studies (www.BICEPS.org)
- The Center for Economic Analysis in Szczecin (http://www.CENEA.org.pl)
- The Belarusian Economic Research and Outreach Center (www.BEROC.by)
Of course, these are not the only excellent economics departments in Eastern and Central Europe. A few others come to mind, such as the Prague-based Center for Economics Research and Graduate Education (www.CERGE-EI.cz). Yet, what is common to ISET and this particular set is that we are all part of an academic network created and coordinated by the Stockholm Institute of Transition Economics (SITE). ISET has been gradually pulled into this network since 2010. Our seven strong delegation to this year’s annual SITE network – held in Sigtuna – included ISET faculty members, researchers and senior management.
Being part of a larger universe of like-minded institutions is very important for small and isolated schools like ISET. Annual retreats are a great opportunity to compare notes and learn from the experience of more established places. The list of visiting faculty who taught at ISET in the last couple of years includes many from sister institutions in the SITE network: Igor Livshits (Western University, Canada and BEROC, Belarus), Maksym Obrizan and Denys Nizalov from KSE, Alexei Savvateev and Sergei Izmalkov from NES. Networking has many other tangible benefits as well: students exchanges, internships, joint research projects and a common space for blogging about the economics of transition and development – FREE.