Nestled in the shadow of the Caucasus Mountains at the intersection of Eastern Europe and Western Asia, Georgia’s cultural roots date back into antiquity. The country was invaded and annexed by the Soviet Union in 1921 before regaining its independence seventy years later. A member of the Council of Europe and an ally to the West, Georgia’s challenges center on its extremely delicate geographic position near its much larger neighbor with whom it shares a testy relationship, Russia, and its attempts to become a stronger player in the increasingly competitive global economic community. Severe shocks after the end of the Cold War greatly destabilized the country’s economic capacity although the Georgian state has gradually recovered following this volatile period. The Georgian economy, based on agriculture, natural resources (oil), and valuable metals such as gold, is worth an estimated $37 billion when adjusted for cost of living. 1 in 8 Georgians live under the national poverty line and 10% of Georgians live on less than $3.10 a day when adjusted for the cost of living.