Teaching History in Pankisi
Ethnographer Nazi Borchashvili teaches history to high schoolers - not an easy task in Jokolo, a remote village in the secluded Pankisi valley in northeastern Georgia, close to the border of the Russian Federation’s Chechnya.
The volatile valley has experienced challenges with violent extremism in recent years as men as young as sixteen have traveled to Syria to fight in the so-called Islamic State’s (IS) ranks.
In class, 53-year-old Borchashvili challenges her students, involving them to discuss the current issues the village faces - particularly the influence of IS propaganda on youth. But she goes beyond this - she is an active member of the women’s council which was set up in the valley to advise the all-male Council of Elders on women’s rights and issues.