- By Max StrasserMax Strasser is an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Prior to joining FP, he lived and worked in Cairo from 2009 to 2012 and was the news editor at Egypt Independent, an English-language newspaper. He has been a freelance writer, covering everything from the fishing business in Turkey to international arms fairs in London to Islamist militancy on the Egypt-Gaza border. His writing has appeared online or in print in The Nation, The New Statesman, The London Review of Books, Foreign Affairs, The Atlantic, Newsweek, and elsewhere. Max is a proud New Jersey native and has a BA in History from Oberlin College and an MSc in International Political Economy from the London School of Economics.
The government of Georgia is courting MTV in its effots to improve its image in the world and encourage tourism. EurasiaNet.org reports:
In a bid to promote Georgia’s profile in world markets and attract tourists and investors, Tbilisi has signed a deal with the global music entertainment network MTV for a high-octane concert to be televised worldwide, a source close to the negotiations has confirmed to EurasiaNet.org.
The concert, tentatively planned for May or June 2011, will be held in the Black Sea resort town of Batumi, according to Georgian Tourism Department Director Maia Sidamonidze. The performance will take place under the auspices of MTV Impact, a division of the network that uses concerts to expand MTV’s reach in developing countries, with the pledge to use the MTV brand to encourage economic growth.
Georgia already enjoys a "crushing soft-power advantage" over its neighbors, as James Traub put it in an article for FP over the summer. The country has scant resources and a small population, but delicious food, friendly people and a beautiful landscape might be able to make up for that. And if Katy Perry gets a beach house near Batumi? Maybe the U.S. will be willing to join in the next fight against Russia.
In seriousness, though, it makes sense for the government in Tbilisi to push tourism and foreign investment to their tiny country and MTV, with a global audience in the hundreds of millions, is probably a good way to bring the kind of exposure that they want. The government is simultaneously trying to make English (instead of Russian), the national second language.