Connect with us

Frontpage

#WoundedWarrior support foundation

SHARE:

Published

on

Since 2010, we have seen the creation of a number of significant international sporting competitions for wounded and injured veterans – such as this month’s Warrior Games and the Invictus Games. Both have drawn global attention, with millions all over the world watching the 2018 Invictus Games in Sydney. The remarkable skill and abilities of wounded soldiers is at last becoming front page news worldwide, writes George Ramishvili, Founder & Chairman of Silk Road Group.

But these games only tell part of the story. Behind each of the sporting heroes of these events is a team and a family. And there are many more servicemen and women and veterans who may not be participating in sporting events, but nonetheless still inspire us.

Advertisement

It is for all these heroes that the Wounded Warrior Support Foundation was founded in Georgia. Supported since 2018 by Silknet, the WWSF aims to provide support to wounded soldiers and veterans and their families, aiding them in their integration to civilian life. Practically, this includes a wide range of support – from financing higher education and professional qualification to helping to fund specific medical treatments and equipment. Silknet’s involvement was Georgia’s first example of a private-sector organisation becoming involved in the care of wounded soldiers, and as the founder of Silknet and Silk Road Group, its parent company, I am very proud of what we have done so far. But there is still much more to be done.

In establishing the WWSF, we were able to draw inspiration from a number of US and UK-based charities and initiatives such as the Allied Forces Foundation, the Azalea Charities and the Give an Hour initiative. When it comes to bringing wounded veterans back into civilian life through sport, European countries are unfortunately lagging behind the United States. However, the WWSF is on a mission to change this, putting Georgia on the map at the forefront of active recovery for wounded soldiers in Europe.

Across all our implemented and upcoming projects, the involvement of volunteers is crucial. In order to become volunteers, Georgian citizens must first be aware of the challenges that veterans and wounded active-duty military face. Part of our mission is to raise that awareness in the Georgian population, showing not only what these people have done and sacrificed in the service of our country, but also what they are still capable of after suffering life-changing injuries.

One of the most striking examples is the Georgian sitting volleyball team which emerged victorious in the Invictus Games in both 2017 and 2018, with HRH Prince Harry saying: “I’m not sure any of us were ready for a group of men from Georgia – who until three years ago had never even played the game to battle all the way to gold in sitting volleyball”. The sport gained a new following in Georgia after these victories, and there is no doubt that more medals and fans will follow in 2020, at the next Invictus Games. These victories eliminated the stigma of physical disabilities within the Armed Forces of Georgia, showing that active life goes on. They once again underlined that our wounded service men and women are true heroes and inspiration for our nation.

But why stop there? When discussing the WWSF’s projects with co-founder Paata Patiashvili and CEO David Mamulaishvili, it occurred to us that Georgia would make a fantastic location for a sporting tournament for wounded warriors, thanks to our unique geographical features, location on the crossroads between East and West, and our commitment to supporting soldiers and veterans. Having hosted some qualifying tournaments for the 2020 Paralympics, we are already home to much of the necessary infrastructure – as well as exciting natural terrain and stunning mountain ranges.

A sporting event is just one idea that Silknet and the WWSF are considering for the future. We have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Defense to improve the programs supporting active-duty military and veterans, and are always learning from our charity partners in the States and the UK about new techniques and approaches to support military servicemen and their family members. In order to raise awareness, we are also looking at ways to use the Silknet network to showcase the initiatives and abilities of our wounded warriors to the country.

As the Warrior Games kick off in Florida, and athletes from the USA, UK and Canada compete in 11 sports, it is my hope that more people engage with the competition and the issues faced by servicemen and women all over the world. In Georgia and at the Wounded Warrior Support Foundation, we are committed to continuing our partnerships and initiatives to help Georgian wounded warriors, as well as raising awareness across the country. One day, we hope to be able to host our allies and friends for a uniquely Georgian sporting event which celebrates not only the past achievements of our soldiers, but also their future endeavours.

Economy

Issuance of green bonds will strengthen the international role of the euro

Published

on

Eurogroup ministers discussed the international role of the euro (15 February), following the publication of the European Commission's communication of (19 January), ‘The European economic and financial system: fostering strength and resilience’.

President of the Eurogroup, Paschal Donohoe said: “The aim is to reduce our dependence on other currencies, and to strengthen our autonomy in various situations. At the same time, increased international use of our currency also implies potential trade-offs, which we will continue to monitor. During the discussion, ministers emphasized the potential of green bond issuance to enhance the use of the euro by the markets while also contributing to achieving our climate transition objective.”

The Eurogroup has discussed the issue several times in recent years since the December 2018 Euro Summit. Klaus Regling, the managing director of the European Stability Mechanism said that overreliance on the dollar contained risks, giving Latin America and the Asian crisis of the 90s as examples. He also referred obliquely to “more recent episodes” where the dollar’s dominance meant that EU companies could not continue to work with Iran in the face of US sanctions. Regling believes that the international monetary system is slowly moving towards a multi-polar system where three or four currencies will be important, including the dollar, euro and renminbi. 

Advertisement

European Commissioner for the Economy, Paolo Gentiloni, agreed that the euro’s role could be strengthened through the issuance of green bonds enhancing the use of the euro by the markets while also contributing to achieving our climate objectives of the Next Generation EU funds.

Ministers agreed that broad action to support the international role of the euro, encompassing progress on amongst other things, Economic and Monetary Union, Banking Union and Capital Markets Union were needed to secure the euros international role.

Continue Reading

EU

European human rights court backs Germany over Kunduz airstrike case

Published

on

By

An investigation by Germany into a deadly 2009 airstrike near the Afghan city of Kunduz that was ordered by a German commander complied with its right-to-life obligations, the European Court of Human Rights ruled on Tuesday (16 February), writes .

The ruling by the Strasbourg-based court rejects a complaint by Afghan citizen Abdul Hanan, who lost two sons in the attack, that Germany did not fulfil its obligation to effectively investigate the incident.

In September 2009, the German commander of NATO troops in Kunduz called in a U.S. fighter jet to strike two fuel trucks near the city which NATO believed had been hijacked by Taliban insurgents.

The Afghan government said at the time 99 people, including 30 civilians, were killed. Independent rights groups estimated between 60 and 70 civilians were killed.

Advertisement




The death toll shocked Germans and ultimately forced its defence minister to resign over accusations of covering up the number of civilian casualties in the run-up to Germany’s 2009 election.

Germany’s federal prosecutor general had found that the commander did not incur criminal liability, mainly because he was convinced when he ordered the airstrike that no civilians were present.

For him to be liable under international law, he would have had to be found to have acted with intent to cause excessive civilian casualties.

The European Court of Human Rights considered the effectiveness of Germany’s investigation, including whether it established a justification for lethal use of force. It did not consider the legality of the airstrike.

Of 9,600 NATO troops in Afghanistan, Germany has the second-largest contingent behind the United States.

A 2020 peace agreement between the Taliban and Washington calls for foreign troops to withdraw by May 1, but U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration is reviewing the deal after a deterioration in the security situation in Afghanistan.

Germany is preparing to extend the mandate for its military mission in Afghanistan from March 31 until the end of this year, with troop levels remaining at up to 1,300, according to a draft document seen by Reuters.

Continue Reading

EU

Digitalization of EU justice systems: Commission launches public consultation on cross-border judicial co-operation

Published

on

On 16 February, the European Commission launched a public consultation on the modernization of EU justice systems. The EU aims to support member states in their efforts to adapt their justice systems to the digital age and improve EU cross-border judicial co-operation. Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders (pictured) said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted the importance of digitalization, including in the field of justice. Judges and lawyers need digital tools to be able to work together faster and more efficiently.

At the same time, citizens and businesses need online tools for an easier and more transparent access to justice at a lower cost. The Commission strives to push this process forward and support member states in their efforts, including as regards facilitating their cooperation in cross-border judicial procedures by using digital channels.” In December 2020, the Commission adopted a communication outlining the actions and initiatives intended to advance the digitalization of justice systems across the EU.

The public consultation will gather views on the digitalization of EU cross-border civil, commercial and criminal procedures. The results of the public consultation, in which a broad range of groups and individuals can participate and which is available here until 8 May 2021, will feed into an initiative on digitalisation of cross-border judicial cooperation expected at the end of this year as announced in the 2021 Commission's Work Programme.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending