Issue #1139

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Issue no: 1139



GT presents an exclusive interview with an ordinary man doing extraordinary work in the education field



In this week’s issue... Deputy Parliament Speaker Labels Alliance of Patriots MP Initiative as Discriminatory NEWS PAGE 2

Jens Stoltenberg: Russia Has No Say on Georgia’s NATO Membership


The Aberrant Shades of Contemporary Leadership: a Crash Course POLITICS PAGE 6

Major New UN Report Calls for Overhaul of Global Financial System to have peaked at around 3%. Changing the current trajectory in financing sustainable development is not just about raising additional investment, says the report. Achieving global goals depends on supportive financial systems, and conducive global and national policy environments. Yet the report warns that creating favorable conditions is becoming more challenging. Rapid changes in technology, geopolitics, and climate are remaking our economies and societies, and existing national and multilateral institutions, which had helped lift billions out of poverty, are now struggling to adapt. Confidence in the multilateral system has been undermined, in part because it has failed to deliver returns equitably, with most people in the world living in countries with increasing inequality. Continued on page 2


ixty-plus international organizations, led by the United Nations and including the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank Group and World Trade Organization, jointly sounded the alarm Thursday in a new report, warning that unless national and international financial systems are revamped, the world’s governments will fail to keep their promises on such critical issues as combatting climate change and eradicating poverty by 2030. In their 2019 Financing for Sustainable Development Report, the international organizations find some good news: investment has gained strength in some countries and interest in sustainable investing is growing, with 75% of individual investors showing interest in how their investments affect the world. And yet, greenhouse gas emissions grew 1.3% in 2017; investment in many countries is falling; and 30 developing countries are now at high risk or already in debt distress. At the same time, global growth is expected

Annual Investment Meeting to Host over 80 Conference Speakers


CNFGrants EUR 870,000 to Georgian National Parks SOCIETY PAGE 9

Georgian Soviet Avant-Garde Filmmakers Screen in Paris SOCIETY PAGE 12

A Conversation with Georgian Painter Mariam Chijavadze CULTURE PAGE 13




APRIL 5 - 8, 2019

Deputy Parliament Speaker Labels Alliance of Patriots MP Initiative as Discriminatory BY THEA MORRISON


eputy Parliament Speaker of Georgia, Tamar Chugoshvili, criticized the MP of the opposition party Alliance of Patriots of Georgia (APG), Emzar Kvitsiani, for an initiative submitted to Parliament which envisages removal of the terms "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" from the law. Kvitsiani says that by including these two terms in the law, the norms were violated. According to him, the existence of the abovementioned terms in the legislation “contradicts the family institution, morality and religious teachings.” “Although one of the fundamental principles for the EU is to eliminate discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, any directive should be in compliance with Georgian traditions and culture, and this incompatibility should not be a hindrance to Georgia's path of European integration,” the MP said while presenting the initiative to lawmakers. He added that one of the main principles of the European Union is diversity and “the Georgian culture and ethnopsychological peculiarities should have

their own place.” Kvitsiani also included the words of the Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II in his speech: "Georgia is in very poor demographic conditions, according to UN studies. As the nation is on the verge of extinction, the traditional family must be protected.” Tamar Chugoshvili, who was leading the parliament sitting, had the microphone of Kvitsiani turned off. The confrontation began after the Vice-Speaker of Parliament called Kvitsiani out for unethical conduct due to the views expressed in the process of discussing the initiative. She said his initiative was discriminatory. “Your entire initiative is totally discriminatory. Try to express your views on your initiative a little bit ethically,” she addressed the MP. Chugoshvili was responded to by another MP of the APG, Ada Marshania, who accused the Vice-Speaker of having “incorrect values.” “Your values do not coincide with our values, people who think differently. Your aggressive reactions to the draft law show this. You put people with different opinions in a discriminatory position,” Marshania addressed Chugoshvili. During the discussions, one of the MPs of the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party, Alexander Erkvania expressed his sup-

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port to the APG initiative, saying Georgia should not adopt such laws “that contradict the moral standards established in society.” He noted that it was unacceptable for the public that the terms "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" were written into the law. “Everyone remembers the stirring and protest of society when Parliament sought an anti-discrimination law. We remember the request and position of the Patriarch and the Church about this issue.

Unfortunately, Parliament did not consider this,” he stressed. The MP believes that when discussing such issues, the stance of the Church does not interfere in the activities of the government. The Committee on Human Rights and Civil Integration did not support this legislative package during the committee discussions. The initiative regarding removal of terms "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" from the legislation has been

submitted to Parliament three times. The anti-discrimination bill was passed in Parliament on April 2014 and was heavily criticized by rights groups as an ineffective legislation, failing to provide an effective mechanism for the enforcement of anti-discrimination measures. The bill has also come under attack from conservative and radical Orthodox groups. The law prohibits any acts of discrimination including age, health condition, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or profession.

April Geneva Int’l Discussions Again End in Disappointment BY SAMANTHA GUTHRIE


he Geneva International Discussions were launched in Geneva, Switzerland, in October 2008, in order to address the consequences of the 2008 August war between Russia

and Georgia. The decision to create such a format was adopted according to the 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement. Since then, the Geneva discussions are held four times a year. While they facilitate a dialogue between the parties, and are often used to communicate essential logistical and human security-related concerns, they have yet to produce any real progress towards Georgia’s demands

of having its occupied territories returned to Tbilisi control, or towards the de facto governments of the occupied territories’ desire for recognition. The most recent discussions, the 47th round, was held April 2-3. As they ended, Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister Lasha Darsalia spoke out about his disappointment in the discussions’ unproductive development. Speaking on behalf of the

Government of Georgia, Darsalia blamed the failure of the talks on the Russian side’s “destructive attitude” and their preference for “the language of pressure and threats” over diplomatic negotiations. Russia politicizes all issues, including humanitarian concerns, said Darsalia, making it more difficult to enact policies from either side that would improve the quality of life of people living in the

occupied regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali (“South Ossetia”). In late March, Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili shared her position that the Geneva Discussions should be shifted in a more political and less technical direction, transforming into a higher-level diplomatic and political dialogue. Continued on page 6

Major New UN Report Calls for Overhaul of Global Financial System Continued from page 1 “Trust in the multilateral system itself is eroding, in part because we are not delivering inclusive and sustainable growth for all,” said António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, in his foreword to the report. “Our shared challenge is to make the international trading and financial systems fit for purpose to advance sustainable development and promote fair globalization.” The international agencies recommend concrete steps to overhaul the global institutional architecture and make the global economy and global finance more sustainable, including: • supporting a shift towards long-term investment horizons with sustainability risks central to investment decisions; • revisiting mechanisms for sovereign

debt restructuring to respond to more complex debt instruments and a more diverse creditor landscape; • revamping the multilateral trading system; • addressing challenges to tax systems that inhibit countries from mobilizing adequate resources in an increasingly digitalized world economy; and • addressing growing market concentration that extends across borders, with impacts on inequality. At the national level, the report puts forward a roadmap for countries to revamp their public and private financial systems to mobilize resources for sustainable investment. It introduces tools for countries to align financing policies with national sustainable development strategies and priorities. One example of the opportunities and

challenges the report discusses is in new technologies and fintech (digitally enabled innovation in the financial sector). With more than half a billion people gaining access to financial services in recent years, the appeal of fintech is clear. But as new players enter and rapidly change the financing marketplace, regulators struggle to keep pace. As fintech grows in importance, activities outside the regulatory framework, if left unsupervised, may put financial stability at risk. Fintech’s promise can pay off with regulatory approaches that address these concerns, but these need to be implemented without stifling innovation. To this end, the report emphasizes the importance of discussions between fintech companies, financial institutions and regulators. It finds that regulatory attention will need to shift to financial

activities and their underlying risks, no matter the entity that engages in them, rather than by institutional type. “We have a major opportunity to overcome bottlenecks in sustainable financing in 2019”, said Mr. Zhenmin Liu, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs and Chair of the Task Force that issued the report. “The responsibility rests with governments to recommit to multilateralism, and to take policy actions that will create a sustainable and prosperous future.” The report is a joint product of the Inter-agency Task Force on Financing for Development, which is comprised of more than 60 United Nations Agencies and international organizations. The Financing for Sustainable Development Office of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs serves as the substan-

tive editor and coordinator of the Task Force, in close cooperation the World Bank Group, the IMF, WTO, UNCTAD, and UNDP. The Task Force was mandated by the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and is chaired by Mr. Zhenmin LIU, UnderSecretary General for Economic and Social Affairs. The full copy of the report and the annex will be uploaded to: https:// This report is the basis for discussions at the ECOSOC Forum on Financing for Development (15-18 April 2019), where Member States agree on measures necessary to mobilize sustainable financing. The SDG Investment Fair, which brings together government officials and investors, will also be held 15-16 April at the UN Headquarters. More information on both events is at: https://www.un. org/esa/ffd/ffdforum/


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APRIL 5 - 8, 2019

Jens Stoltenberg: Russia Has No Say on Georgia’s NATO Membership three-pronged approach: deterrence, defense and dialogue. We see threats from terrorist attacks, from cyberattacks, but we don't see any imminent threat against any NATO allies.



am certain we will find ways to deal with [the issue of Georgia’s occupied territories], said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in an exclusive interview for the Institute of War and Peace Reporting when he visited Georgia on 25 March to observe NATO and Georgian forces training together. “We should not speculate much because I think too much speculation just adds to the uncertainty,” he added when asked to share his thoughts on a foreign policy article published by Georgia’s Ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili, who opined that the next countries likely to experience a military threat from the Kremlin would be Finland or Sweden, the two non-NATO members in Scandinavia. GEORGIA TODAY is publishing the full version of the interview with the permission of the Institute of War and Peace Reporting, where the interview was originally published.

THE OFFICIAL NATO LINE IS THAT NO COUNTRY CAN INTERFERE WITH ANOTHER COUNTRY'S CHOICE TO BECOME A NATO MEMBER, BUT LATELY WE’VE SEEN SOME COMMENTS FROM THE KREMLIN THAT EVEN COOPERATION MIGHT SPELL UNPLEASANT SURPRISES FOR GEORGIA. I think we see Russia trying to re-establish a system of spheres of influence, where big powers like itself have some kind of right or mandate to interfere in what neighbors can or cannot do. This has never been a good thing; this has always been the wrong approach because every nation, small or big, has the same right to decide its own future and this is enshrined in a lot of documents which Russia has also subscribed to, the Helsinki Final Act, for example, a document which defined the rights of all nations to choose their own path, including to decide whether they would like to be part of a security alliance or not. Russia dislikes that, and that's their position. But we adhere to the principle of every sovereign nation’s right to decide on its own path, including Georgia.

BUT WHEN SOMEBODY TELLS YOU “DON'T DO THIS OR THERE WILL BE UNPLEASANT SURPRISES,” IS THAT NOT INTIMIDATION? It reflects an attitude from Russia which I deeply disagree with; mainly, that they have the right to decide what Georgia or another neighbor can do. Georgia is a


sovereign country, an independent nation and, of course, Georgia then decides what kind of cooperation it wants with other countries, neighbors and NATO. Norway joined NATO in 1949; at that time the Soviet Union didn't like the fact, but Norway did so anyway. Russia has protested heavily every time NATO has been enlarged- with the Baltic countries, Poland, Romania and now we saw it again recently when Montenegro joined. Russia protested North Macedonia joining, but North Macedonia is still joining; and, of course, it's for Georgia, and of course the NATO allies, to decide what level of cooperation activities are wanted between themselves. Russia doesn't have any say in that.

GEORGIA HAS AN OVERWHELMING MAJORITY SUPPORTING NATO AND EU INTEGRATION BUT THERE ARE ALSO SKEPTICS. IF SOMETHING HAPPENS AND THESE RUSSIAN “SURPRISES” DO MATERIALIZE, WHAT KIND OF ASSURANCES CAN THEY COUNT ON FROM NATO? NATO supports Georgia politically; we support Georgia’s sovereignty and integrity; we provide significant practical support with presence in different ways in Georgia- with exercises, as the country is part of our readiness force, and there is a training center and the NATO-Georgia Commission; we have an annual national program; we have NATO trainers and advisors here in Georgia, many of them directly working for NATO while others work for NATO allies, but still it's part of the broader NATO support to Georgia. So, it's obvious that NATO is already in Georgia; there is more NATO in Georgia than ever before because it is part of our missions and operations in many places.


EUROPE. WHAT ARE THE RED LINES FOR RUSSIA WHEN IT COMES TO NATO? We don’t accept that they define red lines for what sovereign nations can do. We will always be a defensive alliance and of course we will always respect the territorial integrity of our neighbors and we will never force any country to join NATO; we have excellent neighbors, partners like Sweden and Finland, Austria and Serbia, which have clearly stated that they don't want to become NATO members. That's their decision. Sweden and Serbia both neighbor NATO but decided they want to remain outside the Alliance. That's a decision we absolutely respect because NATO has never been in the business of forcing others to do something they don't want. We welcome the fact that these countries are neutral countries in Europe, our close partners who made a decision based on democratic processes.

EX-PRESIDENT SAAKASHVILI RECENTLY OPINED THAT THE NEXT COUNTRIES TO FACE A THREAT FROM RUSSIA WILL BE FINLAND AND SWEDEN. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THIS? We shouldn’t speculate much because I think too much speculation just adds to the uncertainty and may actually increase tensions. Our aim is to reduce tensions, to calm the situation and actually work for a better relationship with Russia. I know from my previous position as PM of Norway that it is possible to work with Russia; we did so for decades, even in the coldest period of the Cold War: Norway worked with Russia on border issues in the north, on energy, on fishing, on military cooperation. But that was not despite NATO, it was because of NATO; NATO gave us the strength and the unity that enabled us, as a small neighbor of Russia, to sit down and work with Russia. We should not increase tensions, we should try to reduce tensions and to continue to work for a better relationship with Russia and that's the reason NATO has a

Russia has to change its behavior. I'm always very reluctant to predict when things may happen. I think that NATO has to be prepared wherever Russia continues to confront us and that's why we are implementing the biggest reinforcement of collective defense in our history with combat troops in the eastern part of the Alliance. We are modernizing the command structure and have increased defense spending. We’ve done a lot to strengthen our collective defense in response to Russia’s aggressive actions against Ukraine but at the same time we are open for dialogue, for working with Russia, and it's up to Russia to decide. I'm very careful about predicting too much as to when Russia may change its behavior; it's impossible to say anything with certainty. No-one was able to predict the fall of the Berlin Wall, we couldn’t predict 9/11 or the illegal annexation of Crimea. We just have to be prepared for the unforeseen; we need a strategy to deal with uncertainty, with surprises. That strategy is a strong NATO because NATO reduces risks and NATO enables us to deal with surprises where they happen. Georgia is working with NATO on this and is moving towards membership.

YOUR PREDECESSOR SAID THAT THE BREAKAWAY REGIONS RECOGNIZED BY RUSSIA ACT AS AN OBSTACLE TOWARDS GEORGIA'S MEMBERSHIP IN NATO. DO YOU AGREE? The first and most important message is that NATO recognizes the territorial integrity of Georgia within its recognized international borders; second, we call on Russia to withdraw its forces from Abkhazia and South Ossetia and to stop recognizing them; third, NATO made the decision that Georgia will become a member and we have reiterated that many times. So, I’m pretty certain we will find ways to deal with it. The important thing now for Georgia is to focus on the reforms, to improve its democratic institutions, to mobilize defense and security institutions and then we will continue to work on the commitment of NATO to support the country on its path.

IF REFORMS ARE THE DECIDING FACTOR, HOW DID COUNTRIES LIKE MONTENEGRO AND (SOON) NORTH MACEDONIA BECOME NATO MEMBERS? GEORGIA’S DEMOCRATIC STANDARDS AND RANKINGS ARE NOT FAR BEHIND, IF NOT ABOVE, THEM. These countries implemented significant reforms. At the end of the day, it’s a political decision and every aspirant country has to be assessed on its own merits. The only thing Georgia can do is to continue to implement reforms and to modernize its defense and security sector, as we are doing here at the NATO training center, to work with us to meet our standards. That's the only way towards membership. Then, to become a member, we need consensus; we need the political conditions in place. I can't say exactly when that will happen, but I can say that all NATO allies agreed that Georgia will become a member and as soon as political conditions are in place, then it should be ready to join. The good thing with reform is that Georgia can reform not only to please NATO, but because it's good for society; it makes Georgia more resilient, it makes Georgia’s democratic institutions stronger and makes the Armed Forces better and on top of that, it helps Georgia move towards both NATO and the European Union.

WHY ARE SOME NATO ALLIES AGAINST GEORGIA GETTING MEMBERSHIP? I won’t go into specific arguments from different NATO allies; all allies agree that Georgia must continue to implement reforms, to strengthen different security institutions, democratic institutions. NATO will help; we are extremely grateful for the partnership with Georgia, not least because it contributes so much to our security: as we very often say, when our neighbors are stable, we are more secure and Georgia is now really addressing some of the challenges in this region, and nationw-ide, in a very impressive way. That's good for Georgia and for NATO. Georgia has been present in Afghanistan for many years; today, I met some soldiers wounded in a NATO mission in Afghanistan, and of course we are grateful, we pay respect to all those from Georgia who served in NATO missions and operations.

11 MEPs Call for Comprehensive Investigation into Death of School Principal BY THEA MORRISON


leven Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have sent an open letter to the Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze asking for a “comprehensive investigation” into the death of Zugdidi Public School Principal Ia Kerzaia. MEPs Ana Gomes (S&D), Michael Gahler (EPP), Rebecca Harms (Greens/ EFA), Nathalie Griesbeck (ALDE), Julie Ward (S&D), Alyn Smith (Greens/EFA), Tunne Kelam (EPP), Bart Staes (Greens/ EFA), Tania González Peñas (GUE/NGL), José Inácio Faria (EPP) and Jean Lambert (Greens/EFA) urge for a “prompt and thorough investigation into the case

involving political pressure on the school principal.” The parliamentarians believe the reasons that lead to the death of Kerzaia, who died on December 9, 2018 after an inspection was carried out in the school, need to be clarified. “We undetstand that days before Mrs Kerzaia suffered a stroke, which eventually resulted in her death, she publicly stated and also informed the Public Defender of Georgia of intense pressure [put on her] with the purpose of her joining the campaign of the then ruling party-endorsed candidate Salome Zurabishvili, now President of Georgia,” the letter reads. The MEPs also mention the NGO International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) report, which reads the case “contains elements of potential

discrimination with political motive.” “A Tbilisi-based election watchdog indicates that the circumstances surrounding the November 2018 inspection in Zugdidi Public School No. 6 raises suspicion that the inspection mechanism was used for political purposes ahead of the presidential elections and constituted a case of intimidation and harassment,” the authors of the letter say. The MEPs believe it is in the best interest of Georgia and its democratic future that Kerzaia’s case is investigated in a “comprehensive and timely manner by the Prosecutor’s Office and the judicial authorities in the country, so that the perpetrators are brought to justice.” In addition to this, the MEPs say the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of Georgia should also clarify the standards and methodology of school

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inspections and refrain from using such mechanism in the pre-election period. Ia Kerzaia’s son, Bachana Shengelia, claims his mother was the victim of repression and political persecution; that pressure was coming from the education minister with the intention of intimidating the school principal because she many times refused to become an activist for the ruling Georgian Dream party.

Kerzaia died on December 9, after she was operated on in hospital. On November 26 she published a letter in local media saying that on November 9, inspectors had shown up at her school from the Ministry of Education to carry out an inspection based on an anonymous complaint regarding the misappropriation of school funds. The principal denied the allegations against her.



Telling Right from Wrong OP-ED BY NUGZAR B. RUHADZE


atching as they talk, our politicians, political activists, political commentators and political media, it is practically impossible to tell right from wrong in politics. We, the watchers of politics, keep watching it patiently, frozen in one attention-grabbed pose, our shoulders shrugged to stiffness and our eyes goggling. And here is what’s happening: one category of political information enters our brains via the left ear, and information of totally different content penetrates our heads through the other, exploding within our poor skulls as a result of a deafening and debilitating clash. Regular mental capacity is not enough to, based on what we hear from our unrestrained public figures and voluble media, make reasonable deductions thereof to tell right from wrong. We, the listeners, are compelled to use all our talent, time and skill to appreciate the intricacies of our motley political plaid, but all in vain. There is even more to it: on this side of the television screens there is us, the public, whose social and political behavior totally depends on the ability to tell right from wrong in the conglomerate of information that we receive on an hourly basis. If we have the ability to tell right from wrong, our socio-political activity will become more educated and hence more helpful to the nation, making us feel better equipped and ready to cast a fair, rather than unfair, vote once we find ourselves in front of a decision-pregnant ballot box. On top of that, the electorate, a.k.a. the voting public, will never take to the streets if it is given a well-informed chance of telling right from wrong in politics. Incidentally, those who want to move from the oppositional platform, which carries less responsibility to the people, to the more-accountable stand of governing the country, prefer to keep us public in the position where telling right from wrong is virtually impossible, thus exacerbating the electorate to the point where street politics becomes indispensable. This is happening only because the opposition to the government knows well that a change will not take place unless they see the crowds in the street, angered by the frustrating sense of incapability to tell right from wrong in politics.

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The opposition, whose current activity is devoid of fresh social, political and economic messages that could work as bait for the voting masses to go for change, keeps saying that they expect change only via electoral process. Not true! Their most cherished daydream is to see thousands of their fellow citizens out in the streets, demonstrating their indignation against the ruling power. Every once in a while, for some, more or less serious reason, people do revolt in protest. This is the kind of exhaust that any normally-functioning society needs to have to operate within the tranquil normalcy of social life. This kind of occasional public pressure is even useful for democracy. It feels like the pulse of a human heart, indicating social tachycardia, which could be eased by means of a myriad of different means of immediate or longrun treatment. One should see the wistful radiant oppositional faces at the moment of another public upheaval, the faces that emanate the anticipation of the possibly approaching change. To wit, some of the oppositional parties directly call for street actions without delay, even without reason to do so, but the change-oriented public is not so easy to trigger. How can you instigate a desperate and decisive social movement, turn it into street petitions and manifestations unless society is distressed, and anxious enough to want to bring about change? Georgia’s recent history has recorded more than a few memorable social incidents of this sort and caliber. On top of everything, talking about the current socio-political situation in the country, people are no longer as naïve and politically undereducated as they used to be. So let us remain assured that they will not take pains to revolt without a strong enough reason to rush to streets; not unless they are 100% confident that their movement will bring them fairer rule and more stable and lasting welfare.

Georgian Candidate for Position of UN's FAO Head to Debate in London


n 12 April 2019, two of the four candidates in the running to become the head of the UN’s food body, Catherine Geslain-Lanéelle from France and Davit Kirvalidze from Georgia, will meet in Rome to debate hot-button topics about what’s on our plates. The event, Beyond Food Security: the Challenges for the Next FAO Director-General, will be hosted by Chatham House (the Royal Institute of International Affairs) and the Italian Institute for International Political Studies. At the event, the candidates will present their ideas on everything from how to grow enough food to feed 9.7 billion people by 2050 (without wrecking the planet or perpetuating unhealthy diets) to why some corners of the world need to eat more meat while the rest of the world needs to eat less, and debate the issues with leading food and agriculture experts. In addition to Catherine Geslain-Lanéelle (France) and Davit Kirvalidze (Georgia), the candidates, nominated by their governments, also include Qu Dongyu (China) and Ramesh Chand (India). A

fifth, Médi Moungui (Cameroon) has dropped out of the race. The selection will be announced at the end of June. They will replace Brazil’s José Graziano da Silva, who has served since 2011. Bios are available here. The winner will have to tackle the following hot topics, among many others. The role of biotechnology and other advanced tools for farmers. The recent approval in Nigeria of a cowpea variety genetically modified to resist attacks from the devastating pod borer pest indicates changing attitudes in some areas towards biotechnology such as genetic modification. And applications of gene editing in food crops are moving to the market in the US. The role of livestock in meeting food challenges. The FAO will play a key role in determining how livestock can be part of a sustainable solution to providing nutritious diets and urgently needed income for poor families in places like Africa and South Asia. Related to this is the issue of the use of antibiotics in livestock and its contribution to the problem of bacteria becoming more resistant to antibiotics, which is making some common infections increasingly harder to treat. Feeding billions without wrecking the environment. What are the steps we must take—from water management and control of pollution and greenhouse gas emissions to soil health and energy availability. Boosting the resilience of smallholder agriculture against the impacts of climate change. The FAO’s annual flagship report cited mounting evidence that weather extremes caused by climate change are already undermining production of major crops and contributing to hunger, which is rising after years of declining. Adaptation is critical. Bolstering food safety. The WHO estimates that contaminated food sickens 600 million people every year and kills 420,000.





APRIL 5 - 8, 2019

The Aberrant Shades of Contemporary Leadership: a Crash Course BY VICTOR KIPIANI


istorians often approach various facts or developments on the basis of ‘what if?’, and this is indeed a very helpful entry point when trying to find out whether something might have happened differently. By the same token, what if a Nobel Prize were to recognize the winner of the rather tricky and awkward accolade of ‘Political Craftsman/Leader of the Year’? One could easily imagine the members of the jury trying to bring some order to a multitude of conflicting criteria before casting their lot for this ‘Political Oscar’. This would be a truly challenging quiz in which the many different ‘known unknowns’ of distorted values and twisted realities (in fancy terms: ‘faked news’) and heavy betting and hedging on political pros and cons would make it almost impossible to discern a true state of affairs (let alone genuine and pure intentions). The apparently easy Cold War dichotomy of ‘evil vanquished by good’ has not simply vanished, but has instead splintered into various overlapping and frequently confusing shades of political leadership. Even more noteworthy is the fact that, with economies becoming increasingly digital and artificial intelligence growing ever more assertive, the real place of the human factor in governance, far from being curtailed, has instead gained new meaning and significance. With the ability to leverage a veritable plethora of political weaponry and social media on an unprecedented scale, that meaning is on the brink of being able to either turn events into a complete policy-making glitch, or to drive people towards conquering the new heights of a qualitydriven society. Most importantly, however, in an upside-down world the ‘new normals’ of political transactions (often behind our backs) gives special meaning to the process by which we anoint politicians to run our society and its politics. Typical of the pressing issues that need to be addressed are the questions of how we entrust them with decisive powers, and whether proper ‘watchdogs’ are in place and capable of not only watching but also ‘barking’ to draw our attention to aberrations of governance? While constitutional checks and balances matter a lot, and all possible seeds of grassroots democracy should of course be emphasized, the mindsets of powerful politicians remain a critical factor, along with their past form when reflecting

upon domestic and global affairs. Indeed, even in the era of digitalization and artificial intelligence, the actions of leaders will continue to play a decisive role for many decades to come, and therefore this is where a critical, timely and demanding analysis comes into play. Leadership matters, but what kind of leadership matters most and suits best?

STRONGMAN AS THE OPPOSITE OF LEADER When he made a series of bold statements in his book The End of History and the Last Man back in 1992, neither Francis Fukuyama nor any contemporary scholars could have predicted how dramatically democracy would slide over the next 25 years or so. With the end of the Cold War and its proxy wars, many expected that humanity would finally witness a steep rise in democratic values and prosperity. This did happen to some extent: authoritarianism, for example, descended from its peak of 75 percent in the late 1970s to under 50 percent in 2000. And so where is the real problem that is confronting us? Why is that nowmoribund forecast of greater democracy being substituted by authoritarianism? The bottom line when seeking to clearly distinguish ‘true’ democracy and ‘outright’ authoritarianism is becoming blurred. This should hardly be surprising since all-out rogue regimes are becoming increasingly unattractive and a liability to their leaders; yet on the other hand, democratic regimes (as we usually call them at face value) are struggling with an unprecedented array of challenges both foreign and domestic. Consequently, there is a striking and dubious convergence between authoritarians masking their true identity behind a patchwork of democratic ‘deal-making’ at home and abroad, and democratic (read: liberal) regimes resorting to the strongman’s toolkit to address crises of welfare, public services and national and global identity. This convergence is already producing a new type of governance, one which in some parts of the world goes by the name ‘illiberal democracy’ and in others by that of ‘sovereign democracy’, but in every case there are certain features that are essential to all these shades and categories and are mostly related to the need to align respective policies, since ‘whosoever desires constant success must change his conduct with the times’ (Machiavelli). There are many unsettling examples of this new breed of strongman: Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey, Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines, Vladimir

Putin in Russia. Different geographies, different cultural contexts and different ethnic and historical pretexts. Yet nearly all of them share an attempt to appear ‘smarter’ than overtly authoritarian—e.g. by maintaining pseudo-democratic institutions in place; by mimicking rulesbased processes for their own domestic consumption needs; and by shielding their regimes from unwelcome components of democratic rule such as accountability, competition and representative government (to name but a few). Besides, this also ostensibly helps the strongman regime to sell a positive image abroad. But the new clout strongmen obtain by presenting themselves as rebranded democratic leaders is not only nefarious on the domestic stage: it also poisons the global perception of healthy democracy and liberty, and introduces a sense of false liberalism by presenting as normal what has long being conceived as abnormal—and, hence, treacherous. Strongmanship, however, is not the sole, all-encompassing form of an outright false democracy gravitating towards authoritarianism, and it is reflected in various other categories such as populism or ‘madman leadership’, all of which are conspicuous in different parts of the world.

POPULISM ON THE RISE Migration crises, rising inequality, disillusionment with the moral authority of states and the global liberal order—all are solidifying anew the centuries-old merchandise that is populism. With the delicate modern algorithm of the will of the people vs. a decaying and dysfunctional or non-existent democracy, populism calls for preserving voters' interests even if doing so runs against the basic principles and values of liberal democracy (e.g. referendums to curtail minority rights or tasking the state with censoring freedom of speech). Following the examples of Orban in Hungary, some Central American leaders or mainstream Western European nationalist parties, populism purports to scorn liberal norms through the oversimplified model of backing a charismatic leader who promises salvation. But the promises of a savior are not always enough, and the people must be maintained in a constant state of alarm by finding enemies abroad or, as in the case of ‘reinventing’ a new Europe, by speaking of a ‘Europe of sovereign nations’ and thereby masking an inability to address social and economic challenges from within. In fact, populism may itself be the shortest and most efficient way to gallop towards

Image by Aude Van Ryn

dictatorship: when the residual legacy of democracy is finally dealt a mortal blow and when a populist leader is firmly in place, dislodging him through democratic means becomes extremely difficult.

MADMAN BRINKMANSHIP Unpredictability is the mark of the madman theory of running a nation (and beyond). With roots as ancient as Machiavelli's statement that ‘at times it is a very wise thing to simulate madness’, the real return of madman leadership to the global political stage may rightly be attributed to the Nixon era. Since then, ‘irrational rationality’ is clearly the signature of Trump’s presidency, the latter believing that bluffing is the best way for a strong leader to efficiently run affairs. Trump-like unpredictability does have its defenders, however, who argue that it allows for a fresh look at things and healthy debate on pressing matters; but such attempts to justify oddities in leadership are highly questionable, and the irony of the madman theory is that it failed to work for Nixon and will most probably fail to work for Trump. Most importantly, this brooding over game theory leaves a multitude of humiliating and sometimes dangerous questions (e.g. the North Korea ‘love letters’ fiasco, or the recent appeal to recognize Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights) to the consistency and inviolability of international law and order.

GEORGIA'S OWN WAY OF LEADERSHIP? Domestic governance matters inasmuch as it affects a country’s international performance. This is particularly true when ‘the sands are shifting’ and when the goals and objectives of major global stakeholders become blurred (if not mixed and confusing). Hedging on Georgia's national interests when transacting regionally and internationally therefore poses a profound risk of making the mistakes and miscalculation that are always present in international matters. Even more importantly, one must remember that, given the volatility of influencing factors, sticking to dogmatic classics of ‘how to run a country’ is dangerous, as it deprives our small nation of vital adaptability and freedom of action. Following the orthodoxies of policy-making is never a bad thing, but we need our own Georgian mode of governance if we are to navigate the world successfully, and notably a new, bespoke type of knowledge-based stewardship and leadership. The latter would incorporate the necessary ingredients of representative democracy and, most importantly, would enable the country to develop during the stormy decades that lie ahead. Essentially, knowledge-based government would allow us to make the informed decisions we need in order to invest our resources into building competitive and sophisticated state and civic structures.

April Geneva Int’l Discussions Again End in Disappointment Continued from page 2 “The Geneva International Discussions format to resolve the conflict in Georgia's Occupied Territories needs to be changed into a higher level of diplomatic and political dialogue. We cannot resolve our conflict with a format that merely addresses technical issues,” Zurabishvili tweeted on March 25. Presidential Spokesperson Khatia Moistsrapishvili explained Zurabishvili’s position in more detail, saying “it is necessary to use all the existing formats related to the occupied territories and conflicts, and to use all tribunes in order that we and our partners regularly remind the Russians of their obligations and to call for the obligations taken under various agreements to be adhered to.” Zurabishvili is not suggesting a substitution of the Geneva Discussions with another format, said Moiststapishvili, but is concerned that “only technical issues are solved within this format. It does not respond to political demands. Conse-

Image source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia

quently…it is necessary to update this format to include essential political dialogue. If this happens within the Geneva format, we welcome it, otherwise, other ways should be found to conduct a political dialogue,” she explained. “They need to understand in Russia that in the 21st century, aggressive politics should be left behind,” Zurabishvili told MPs during a speech to Parliament after

returning from her most recent international tour. The de facto Foreign Minister of Abkhazia, Daur Kove, called Zurabishvili’s suggestions “worthless” and insisted that Georgia sign an agreement on non-use of force with its two occupied territories Abkhazia and South Ossetia, although a unilateral non-use of force pledge was made by the Georgian government in 2010.

“Sadly, we see unconstructive approaches from the Georgian side,” said Kove. Continuing his review of the 47th Geneva Discussions, Darsalia explained that “the Georgian delegation raised the issue of activating the relevant international security mechanisms to ensure that [Russia] fulfills the six-point ceasefire agreement… Unfortunately, on the tenth anniversary [of the Russia-Georgia war], Russia still does not fulfil its obligations.” During the meetings, the Russian side expressed concern over joint NATOGeorgia military drills conducted in Georgia, which, warned Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin, could position Georgia as “a springboard for tensions in the Caucasus.” Karasin noted that his government is concerned with NATO “approaching the borders of the Russian Federation and its allies: Abkhazia and South Ossetia” and that they must ensure that military drills are “not addressed against us.” “We will take relevant measures if necessary,” Karasin cautioned.

Another issue on the agenda was the recent, rather murky death of Georgian citizen Irakli Kvaratskhelia in Russianoccupied Abkhazia. Karasin refused to discuss the topic, however, as investigations into Kvaratskhelia’s death are ongoing. He brushed aside the issue, saying “If we discuss only such tragic cases at the Geneva Discussions, we cannot move forward.” The Government of Georgia, the defacto representatives of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions, the Governments of Russia, the United States, the United Nations, the OSCE and the European Union participate in the Geneva International Discussions. The talks usually contain two meeting-groups – the first for discussing security and stability issues in Georgia’s occupied territories, and the second meeting for negotiating the return of internally displaced persons and refugees to their homes. The 48th round of the Geneva International Discussions will be held July 2-3, 2019.




Who Will Catch the Zugdidi Crown? OP-ED BY ZAZA JGARKAVA


eorgia is getting ready for the elections again. Round one of the upcoming battle between the political elites will take place on April 19 in the district of Mtatsminda, Tbilisi. Round two will be of a much larger scale, encompassing the whole country and scheduled to take place on May 19. On April 19, the population of Mtatsminda will be electing their Member of Parliament, whose mandate previously belonged to now-President Zurabishvili. On May 19, mayoral elections will take place in the towns of Marneuli, Zestaponi, Chiatura, Khulo and Zugdidi. The Mayors from said towns have all left their position for different reasons: some found themselves in a corruption scandal, while others in a criminal. On the same day, the people will also elect eight MPs to the local councils. Even though the scale and geography differ, the main controversies are expected to happen in Tbilisi and Zugdidi. Political experts believe that these will be like a general rehearsal ahead of the 2020 parliamentary elections. It seems that the battles in Zugdidi and Tbilisi will be ruthless and uncompromising, as both parties have already put into motion the heavy artillery: billionaire Ivanishvili by visiting Samegrelo and exiled former President Saakashvili appearing either on TV or live on Facebook every day. Seeing Ivanishvili in the Megrelian village of Khibula, in the house where the first President of Georgia Gamsakhurdia died, was both bizarre and surprising. Ivanishvili hasn’t been seen in regions since 2013, when he visited as part of the election campaign. Apparently, the Georgian Dream is having hard times and is trying to bring Ivanishvili into the game as early as possible to make sure his card is played effectively.

The billionaire gave out promises: that Gamsakhurdia’s Museum and a new kindergarten will be built in Khibula, and that he would allocate 1 million GEL to the Zugdidi Eparchy for the construction of a church. Political expert Gia Khukhashvili believes that Ivanishvili is right in realizing that the Samegrelo region is exactly where things aren’t the way he or the Georgian Dream wanted and that he is trying to gain points by offering aid and by speculating about Gamsakhurdia’s assassination. Pre-electoral experience and logic tells us that Ivanishvili will probably promise to solve the problems of the populations of the remaining election towns and villages, too, but his priorities are clear:

winning in Zugdidi has much greater political clout than winning in Chiatura, while in the capital, it is clear that Ivanishvili is not going to get involved at all. We know this as the governmental party doesn’t have a candidate and is planning to give its support instead to a number of other candidates. Sounds absurd, right? But, if we look more closely, we will see that having one more person or one less in a parliamentary majority of 107 MPs doesn’t much matter to Ivanishvili or the Georgian Dream. But the Mayor of Zugdidi, who influences almost the whole of western Georgia, is a different story, especially now, when the main candidate is the wife of Saakashvili, Sandra Roelofs. This

is the very Sandra who defeated Georgian Dream and Ivanishvili in 2016 and who plans to repeat said success. The presidential elections of 2018 revealed that the billionaire has been almost stripped of any support in Samegrelo. Dreamers vs Nationalists – this traditional conflict is central, but interestingly, other processes are taking place in parallel. Former Mayor Ugulava’s party ‘European Georgia’ and former Security Minister Alasania’s ‘Free Democrats’ will have a united candidate for Mtatsminda. In Chiatura, the two will be joined by former Parliament Speaker Usupashvili’s party. The oppositional front promises further agreements: it will not be appointing a candidate and will support Sandra

Roelofs, while the UNM will not propose a candidate in Mtatsminda and will support the oppositional candidate. Such agreed actions are planned in all election districts. Political analyst Vakhtang Dzabiradze believes that the union of European Georgia and Free Democrats is a smart move and that in the likely event of no third power showing up, the opposition should decide what their actions will be. If the opposition wants to have a realistic pillar to lean on, it should be able to cooperate, says Dzabiradze. “Let’s see what the first union in Mtatsminda will bring, then we can argue about what to expect in 2020. This is a test of powers and the electorate for 2020.”

NATO Turns 70: Despite Troubles, Alliance Will Be Reinvigorated BY EMIL AVDALIANI


his week NATO celebrates its 70th anniversary. This is a notable achievement in comparison with previous military alliances from world history. The historical phenomenon aside, the Alliance is now experiencing an arguably troublesome period, which many believe is the biggest crisis since its creation in 1949.

The US President Donald Trump, ambivalent in his statements about NATO in the pre- and post-election period, has often chastised his European allies for not meeting the 2% threshold of the GDP devoted to NATO alliance. While on the surface this seems to be the biggest misunderstanding between the trans-Atlantic allies, the Europeans fear that there is something more to this disenchantment. Many fear that Trump's statements are something beyond rhetoric and are actually a strong sign of wide geopolitical changes in the world,

where the US now sees the return of the power politics (almost classic 19th century "Realpolitik") back to the Eurasian landmass. The proponents rightly point to the developments when the US has recently disengaged from numerous trade agreements, rebuked its allies and overall seems to be self-absorbed and distanced from Eurasian affairs, a traditional (major) focus of the country’s foreign policy since the World War II. The US, rather than withdrawing from all its international commitments, is likely to be redefining its position in the world. The country has simply overextended itself over the past three decades in various wars and confrontations w i t h I ra n , Russia, etc. Tr u m p ' s decisions are more about spending resources more correctly on the US allies and a ga i n s t potential ge o p o litical

rivals, than about undermining the world order. Withdrawal from all its military commitments will certainly embolden the US’ geopolitical rivals such as Russia, China, Iran etc. This will ultimately create a Eurasia which will be able to confront the US moves and may be even shut the country out from the continental affairs. Thus, from Washington’s perspective, leaving Eurasia to its own devices will evolve into a direct threat to the US. As troublesome as the problems around NATO may indeed seem, still it is an exaggeration to claim that a definitive rupture between the trans-Atlantic allies has taken place. In fact, in the past decades, the Alliance had a much bigger strategic dilemma when for example, the Soviet Union collapsed: many believed that there was no need to upkeep NATO. Russia was weak, democracy had won in eastern Europe and, most of all, the Cold War had ended, the outgrowth of which was NATO itself. In short, NATO in the 1990s lacked a strategic reason for its future existence. Nowadays, the crisis within is less about grand strategy and more about finances. The US is worried it has acted as the sole spender in the Alliance and believes the situation must change. A definitive rupture within the Alliance is unlikely to take place as, unlike in the 1990s, now NATO has a strategic vision: keeping Russian influence in eastern Europe/the

former Soviet space at bay. This will play as a powerful motivator for the Alliance, as will China’s and Iran’s geopolitical agendas in Asia-Pacific and Middle East, respectively. Without NATO, European resolve to pursue a more or less unified/coordinated foreign policy vis-à-vis Russia will be undermined. The US decision-makers understand this as they know what this will mean for US interests in Europe in the future. The European Union, which makes up the bulk of the NATO alliance, is as divided into numerous countries as it has ever been. For Russia, historically it was easy to play one European power against the other. NATO thus serves as the sole instrument to keep Russia distanced from intervening in European affairs. Based on these strategic imperatives, the US support and commitment for the Alliance will likely increase. In such circumstances, it is also likely that NATO will push into Ukraine and Georgia will be strengthened. As a sign of the US commitment, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg delivered a speech to the joint US congress session on April 3. The US Vice President Mike Pence on the same day criticized Germany for not spending enough on defense, warned Turkey against going ahead with the purchase of a Russian missile defense system, S-400, and sought to reassure NATO allies that they will have US support.




APRIL 5 - 8, 2019

Annual Investment Meeting to Host over 80 Conference Speakers


l Rajhi Bank, Saudi Arabia’s second largest bank and the world’s largest Islamic bank, reported a growth rate of 8% during 2015- 2018, with an 8.9% increase in operating income and a 27% expansion in the number of mortgages in 2018. Additionally, its current accounts grew 6.6% in 2018 amid the rising Singapore Interbank Offered Rate (SIBOR) environment, the international benchmark interest rate. The bank has been playing a visible and active role in enticing foreign investors to Saudi Arabia. The bank made the announcement ahead of the upcoming Annual Investment Meeting (AIM) 2019, the latest edition of the world’s leading platform for FDIs, which will take place in Dubai from 8th to 10th April under the theme ‘Mapping the Future of FDI: Enriching World Economies through Digital Globalization’. Al Rajhi Bank’s Chief Executive Officer, Steve Bertamini, is one of AIM’s conference and workshop speakers this year. Bertamini pointed to the bank’s robust financial performance, industry standing, and proactive and sustained engage-

ment with regional and global investors as the main catalyst to create investor interest in the Kingdom, which will then generate more foreign direct investments (FDIs). In addition to Al Rajhi Bank, Annual Investment Meeting (AIM) 2019, will also witness the participation of Mario Cimoli, Deputy Executive Secretary, Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Chile. Latin American economies have shown an uptick in growth and it is estimated that the economy is set to grow by 1.7% in 2019. According to ECLAC, mediumsize economies are reaching better growth performances, with Colombia, Chile and Peru estimated to grow 2.7, 3.9 and 3.8%, respectively. In addition, Central America’s economy is anticipated to grow by an estimated 3.2%. According to Cimoli, an increase in venture capital investments in Latin America as the number of unique global investors in this part of the world more than doubled between 2013 and 2017. Major targeted sectors were financial technology, market places, logistics and distribution, and transportation. Silicon Valley’s largest players were

some of the key investors. At the upcoming Annual Investment Meeting, Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary General, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Switzerland, will also underscore the need to make critical investments in digital development strategies and other technological advances. He stated that foreign investments in developing countries accelerated by 3%, reaching a value of USD 694 billion in 2018 and bringing their share of total global flows to 58%. In his opinion, the adoption of digital technologies has the potential to transform the international operations of multinational enterprises (MNEs) and the impact of foreign affiliates on host countries. The impact of digital MNEs on host countries is less directly visible in physical investment and job creation, however, their investments can have important indirect and productivity effects, and contribute to digital development. Investment in digital development strategies will be among the key topics of discussions at AIM 2019. It is also one of the focused areas of UNCTAD’s

World Investment Report on ‘Investment and the Digital Economy,’ which was released to help boost investments in developing countries. This year’s AIM will witness the presence of over 80 speakers from countries as Brazil, UK, Republic of Tatarstan, Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Kenya, Ethiopia, UAE, Turkey, Cyprus, Germany, Canada, China, Sweden, France, Ghana, Ukraine, Hong Kong, South Africa, Kuwait, Bahrain, Republic of Namibia, Mauritius, Russia, Italy, Republic of Togo, Sierra Leone, and countries from Latin America. The forum will also witness 20 speakers highlighting potential investment opportunities in their countries. In addition to countries around the globe, AIM this year will also shed light on the importance of free zones in attracting FDIs. Free zones are now present in more than 80% of states in the world, including emerging countries, and comprise nearly 30% of global trade. Asia region consists of the largest number of free zones in the world, followed by North America, South America and the Middle East. With 160

free zones (7.3%), the Middle East is the fourth largest host region in the world with Dubai comprising of 30% of the free zones. Offering companies benefits as low tax rates, faster procedures, ease of business, quick access to international markets, robust physical and digital infrastructure, vigilant security and seamless regulations, free zones around the world have been the key source of economic growth. With free zones driving the growth of the economy, industry experts suggest that markets as US, European Union, MENA, Asia and Latin America will witness a robust growth in years to come. To generate more FDIs from the Middle East, meanwhile, the financial institution said it continues to develop Sharia-compliant products, including securitization, supply chain financing and point of sale financing for SMEs. The bank’s Sharia-compliant revolving credit card has been a strong contributor to its growth in net profit margins and fee income. Complete details of AIM 2019 are available at

Ambitions Are Affordable for Asia & the Pacific OP-ED BY ARMIDA SALSIAH ALISJAHBANA


hree years of implementation of the transformative 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific shows the region has some catching up to do. Despite much progress, the region is not on track to reach the 17 Sustainable Development Goals set out in the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. We are living in a time of booming prosperity, yet many are getting left behind. Basic needs, such as the freedom for all from hunger and poverty, ill-health and gender-based discrimination, and equal opportunity for all are elusive. Economic, social and planetary well-being has a price tag. Calculations by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) show that it is mostly affordable for the region.

REALIZING AMBITIONS BEYOND GROWTH What will it take to realize the ambitious

2030 Agenda focused on strengthening the three pillars of sustainable development? The 2019 edition of the ESCAP’s flagship publication Economic and Social Survey for Asia and the Pacific is asking for the region to raise ambitions beyond mere economic growth. Countries facing high and growing levels of inequality and environmental degradation will have to change course from pursuing a growth path that neglects people and the planet. The 2019 Survey forecasts continuing robust growth in the region which remains the engine of the world economy. Amid rising global uncertainty that challenges the Asia-Pacific region’s economic dynamism, there is a need for investments that not only sustain growth but also build social and environmental capital. ESCAP analysis shows the region needs to invest an additional $1.5 trillion every year to reach the Goals by 2030. This is equivalent to about 5 per cent of the region’s GDP in 2018, or about 4 per cent of the annual average GDP for the period 2016-2030. At $1 per person per day, this investment is worthwhile. It could end extreme poverty and malnutrition for more than

400 million people. A quality education for every child and youth would become possible, as would basic health care for all. Better access to transport, information and communications technology (ICT) as well as water and sanitation could be ensured. Universal access to clean and modern energy, as well as energy-efficient transport, buildings and industry could be achieved. Climate and disaster-resilient infrastructure could be built. Resources could be used more effectively, and the planet protected. Most of this investment is needed to protect and nurture people and the planet. Making a better world for our people by ending poverty and hunger and meeting health and education Goals, requires some $698 billion per year. Protecting our planet by promoting clean energy and climate action and living in harmony with nature, requires $590 billion per year. Another $196 billion per year is needed to invest in improving transport and ICT infrastructure as well as access to water and sanitation services. Of course, in a region as diverse as ours, investment needs vary considerably. Least developed countries need to invest the most at 16 per cent of GDP while South and South-West Asia has an

investment need of 10 per cent of GDP to reach the Goals by 2030. More than two-thirds of the investment in these countries will be in reducing social deficits – poverty, malnutrition, lack of health care and education as well as job creation. Landlocked developing countries need to invest most in improving transport and ICT infrastructure as well as water and sanitation services. East and North-East Asia and, to a lesser degree, South-East Asia, need to focus on clean energy and climate action investment.

PAYING THE BILL It should be remembered that the Goals support each other and an investment in one area has a positive effect on another. Good health depends not only on access to healthcare services but also nutrition, safe water, sanitation and good air quality. Education for all also promotes gender equality. Resource efficiency supports climate change mitigation. Besides harnessing these synergies, sustainable development financing strategies will have to turn to public and private finance. The good news is that most countries in the region have the fiscal space to invest in the Goals. There is also a massive untapped pool of pri-

vate financial assets estimated at $51 trillion in developing Asia-Pacific countries alone. Enhanced regional cooperation would also help the region offset external risks and build resilience by tapping into regional resources. Above all, leadership will be crucial in making the transition to a development strategy that balances all dimensions of human and planetary well-being. The 2019 Survey aims to stimulate a regional dialogue and offers guidance on accelerating progress towards the Goals in the region. Ms. Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana is United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).




CNF Grants EUR 870,000 to Georgian National Parks BY SAMANTHA GUTHRIE


he Caucasus Nature Fund (CNF) has pledged to spend EUR 870,000 on three national parks in Georgia over the period of 2019 to

2021. The three parks targeted for the new investment are: Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park, Mtirala National Park near Batumi, and the Pshav-Khevsureti National Park. The project will develop visitor infrastructure in the parks, install surveillance equipment and conduct monitoring of the protected areas, and increase wages and improve living conditions for park rangers. The new agreement was officially signed on Wednesday, April 3, at the administrative office of the Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park. CNF is a conservation trust fund created to safeguard the Caucasus eco-region, one of the most biologically rich and diverse areas on Earth. It provides grants to the protected areas of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, and builds the government’s capacity to sustain the parks for future generations. Initially established in 2007 by the German Government (BMZ), the KfW Development Bank, Conservation International, and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), today it counts among its sustaining partners Georgian entities including Bank of Georgia, TBC Bank, and ProCredit Bank Georgia. CNF has been working to provide fund-

ing and support for nature conservation in Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia since 2008. In February 2017, the Fund allocated EUR 240,000 to Georgian nature conservancy from 2017 – 2019. The bulk of that funding went towards operational expenses relating to the functions and activities of the Lagodekhi Protected Areas. Specifically, the grant covered increases in salaries for staff in the Protected Area, including park rangers, infrastructure development, construction and renovation parking lots, and much-needed biodiversity monitoring activities carried out in the Lagodekhi Protected Area. Many of Georgia’s protected areas are neglected by visitors, both international and domestic, due to a lack of infrastructure that makes it difficult to access and enjoy the natural attractions. CNF focuses much of its work on infrastructure development, as well as motivation of key staff through trainings and increased resource provision. The new tranche of funding continues CNF’s commitment to regional nature conservancy through supporting nine government-designated national parks and protected areas across Georgia. CNF also supports six national parks and protected areas in Armenia and three in Azerbaijan. The grant complements the five year ‘Enhancing Financial Sustainability of the Protected Area System in Georgia’ program, which kicked off on February 28. The project is funded by the Global Environment Facility through the UNDP, implemented by the Caucasus Nature Fund and partners directly

Image source: Agency of Protected Areas

with Georgia’s Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture. CNF will work closely with the Agency for Protected Areas to secure long-term financial sustainability and improve management of parks and protected areas through modernization. The project’s goal is to conserve globally significant biodiversity in twelve protected areas in Georgia, and will introduce innovative financing schemes, build the capacity of relevant

staff members, and improve biodiversity indicators. At the project’s launch event, CNF’s Executive Director Geof Giacomini summarized, “To achieve our ambitious goals, the project depends on partnership with numerous stakeholders as well as an appetite for innovation. Through this new funding, CNF will address the capacity needs in Georgia’s PA system in a systematic way, creating a long-term training

program, while also introducing more moderntechnologyandcreativeapproaches to financing in Georgia’s PA systems.” CNF allocated its first grant in Georgia to the Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park in 2009 as an emergency response grant that helped the authorities procure fire equipment and vehicles. Since then, CNF has provided nearly three million EUR in funding to Georgian national parks and protected areas.




APRIL 5 - 8, 2019

Lado Apkhazava: An Ordinary Man on an Extraordinary Mission



ladimer (Lado) Apkhazava recently became one of the most important figures in Georgia, and in the country’s educational system in particular, by being named among the top ten finalists for the Global Teacher Prize, organized by the Varkey Foundation under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai, which this round saw more than 5000 applicants from 127 countries nominated. Lado, a civics teacher from the small village of Chibati, Guria, western Georgia, says he is more a philanthropist than an ordinary teacher. He is now renowned locally and abroad for applying various innovative methods to his teaching process. The grandiose awards ceremony of the Global Teacher Prize was held on March 24, in Dubai, and had top celebrity Hugh Jackman announcing the results. Peter Tabichi, a teacher from Kenya, was named winner and recipient of an impressive prize of $1 million to put back into teaching. Even though Lado didn’t win, he has brought incredible success to a country as small and little-known as Georgia, and, equally as importantly, he has begun to change the perspective of teaching as a profession. GEORGIA TODAY met him to find out more about the awards and his path to success. “Teaching is not my direct profession,” he tells us. “I stated this at my very first interview after getting the National Teachers Prize in 2017. In 1993, in the highly corrupt times of post-Soviet Georgia, I applied for university. All places were already pre-arranged for students

of the teaching faculty, so I ended up doing a degree in Economics and studying at the Theological Academy, which is where I became a teacher of Religious Studies.” After graduating, he offered classes of economics at his local school. But before we delved further into his career development, we asked him about how his desire to teach was first borne. “I decided to become a teacher in 8th grade,” Lado says. “I was a sensitive child and I put a lot of weight in the relationships between teachers and pupils. I could never tolerate a child being humiliated by a teacher and made notes in my pocket-book about it. I kept those notes and even today sometimes get them out to look back.” We asked him how he had managed to succeed in his field. “I act rather than dream,” he says. “But before taking action, I think carefully about what I want to do and measure the risks. This is what helped me to come out on top.” He also spoke about the challenges he has faced. “There were difficult times in Georgia when I started teaching, as the country was acclimatizing as a result of the collapse of the Soviet Union; trying to adapt to a new era. I had to overcome various obstacles. Sometimes I had no classes at all or had to deal with skepticism from the school administration and colleagues about the methods I used to teach. It took a lot to convince them of the importance of an informal education. It was a period when some might have walked away. But, by constantly exploring and sticking to my decisions, I stayed and developed. The difficulties made me much stronger.” From self-development, Lado next focused on helping his colleagues on their own paths of development “I decided to change my colleagues' global outlook and in this way contribute to the major shifts in the education system. Negotiations are always better and

more fruitful than disputes, and it’s always more effective to showcase even the smallest results of your efforts. In Chibati, following several years of hard work, we have achieved positive outcomes and today have an established system of integrated teaching whereby the pupils are fully involved in all processes. We have also established a self-government institution, creating a small model of the state within the limits of the school. The needs of the youngsters are of paramount importance to the school administration. Being well aware of this fact, the pupils are very eager to offer new initiatives and in doing so participate in the establishment of a democratic country,” Lado says. He also highlights the results of the teaching methods applied at the Chibati

Image source:

Public School. “We have succeeded in multiple ways by applying such methods. The level of communication between adults and adolescents has increased and the pupils have learnt the vital significance of appreciating other’s views. They have also developed a number of core skills, including presentation and critical thinking. We have made major steps forwards in bringing up a new generation of active citizens with a high level of social responsibility, who will be able to face and overcome numerous obstacles, a vital skill in the modern world.” The civics teacher also shared his experience and touched on some of the hundreds of projects he has carried out so far. One in particular caught our attention.

“I noticed the lack of tolerance between the Muslim and Christian members of our community and felt the need to act. I took my Christian pupils to the local mosque and gave a class there, focusing on the importance of respecting every individual, regardless of their faith and ethnicity, in a democratic state. After several such classes, the whole community saw that the attitude of the representatives of different ethnicities had become much warmer. I consider that to be important not only on a local level as, when my pupils travel abroad and meet new people, they will already be well-aware of the concept of equality and tolerance.” He goes on to note that many wellestablished stereotypes in Georgian society can prevent teachers from making the needed and vital steps forwards towards development and success. “This is a crucial issue that urgently needs to be remedied,” he tells us. We asked him to what extent his pupils serve as a source of inspiration for him. “At school, we have a special box on the stairs where children can write down ideas for teachers. The location of the box also carries a symbolic message, as we consider the stairs to represent the path of our development. Children need to feel that they and their opinions are important for adults.” We couldn’t let Lado go without asking him about his meeting Hugh Jackman. “Hugh was very friendly and welcoming to all of us. He spent a lot of time with us at rehearsals and spoke to each finalist at the dinners. Jackman’s parents were also teachers and he himself has experience teaching, so he knows the challenges of the profession and he helped us to feel special and appreciated. But I had time to realize that only once I got home, because in Dubai we were so overwhelmed and absorbed with the exciting atmosphere that we were practically incapable of thought! There, I had a mission to present the problems seen in the Georgian educational system to the world’s leading institutions and demonstrate the country’s potential in this respect, so that was the focus of my thoughts at the time!” Thanks to his efforts to make positive changes to the Georgian education system, Lado Apkhazava was awarded the status of Varkey Foundation Ambassador. Despite such a triumph, he is very downto-earth about it. “I don’t consider myself distinguished. I’m an ordinary teacher just trying to work in the very best way,” he tells us.



~ Shop: Etseri, Svaneti



look around the shop we have in our house and think: SURELY now there’s no room to add more: it’s stuffed to the hilt! But my wife always manages to put in new wares, which she is very good at buying at the lowest prices either in Zugdidi or in Tbilisi’s Lilo “Mall.” This brings to mind two contrasting ideas of incremental increase, one mathematical, the other cinematic. The first is a thought experiment known as Hilbert’s Hotel, after German Mathematician David Hilbert, who proposed it. Suppose that you have a hotel with an infinite number of rooms, all occupied. But a new guest arrives and wants a room. What to do? Impossible, right? Well, due to the nature of infinity, you can simply ask all guests currently in rooms simultaneously to move to the next room. This will leave Room 1 empty for the new arrival! This works for any number of new guests, including an infinite number. In this case, you just ask all current guests each to move at the same time to… a room of number twice that of their current room number! Voila, an infinite number of rooms has suddenly become available! Is your

thinker hurting yet? The second expansion idea comes from the folks at Monty Python, and their comedy film, The Meaning of Life. One scene features an enormous man in a restaurant who has already vomited once and again eaten his fill. But a waiter (John Cleese) offers him a thin mint at the end, which proves to be the last straw for his LESS-than-infinite gastric capacity: the man explodes all over the establishment, a scene perhaps best left to the imagination. Which of these two scenarios is available to our shop? Neither, I hope. We don’t actually have an infinite number of nooks and crannies into which to cram new goods, though at the moment it may seem that we do. I add nails to the ceiling rafters and hang things there; I’ve already installed just about all the shelving space we can take, and the excess stock is threatening to take over other rooms of the house. I’m nowhere near as good at “arranging new things while maintaining order” as my wife is, so I let her do it, wondering when she’ll agree that enough is enough while still wanting novelties to draw people in. But we also don’t want the full-tobursting scene either, because this would simply be messy and wasteful. So, we try to balance on the edge between not full enough and too full, consciously

(in my case) or not (hers, I think). It doesn’t keep me awake at night, at least not yet. But we now have exotic new stuffed toys hanging about: a kangaroo complete with joey, a panda and its cub, a parrot; the elephant I joked that we would rustle up on demand has already come and gone in a day. She just goes on rearranging things or asking me to put them where she can’t reach. Meanwhile, the shop has grown from its single small table at inauguration to this amazing general store, the largest between Khaishi and Mestia. Etseri does need it, and it will continue, as long as we keep the credit line part under firm control, not letting it bankrupt us. Meanwhile, if you need a stuffed toy crocodile or spider monkey, no doubt inspired by our trip to Zimbabwe a few years ago, look no further. (And by the way, ~∞ means “approximately infinite”.) Tony Hanmer has lived in Georgia since 1999, in Svaneti since 2007, and been a weekly writer for GT since early 2011. He runs the “Svaneti Renaissance” Facebook group, now with nearly 2000 members, at He and his wife also run their own guest house in Etseri:





APRIL 5 - 8, 2019

Georgian Soviet Avant-Garde Filmmakers Screen in Paris BY AMY JONES


ilms from Georgian Soviet avant-garde f ilmmakers Mikhail Kalatozov and Kote Mikaberidze will be screened at the Pompidou Center in Paris during its 2019 cinema program. The films will be shown as part of ‘Red, art and utopia in the land of the Soviets’, organized by the RMN-GP and the Pompidou Center from March 20 to July 1. The series will showcase the works of five filmmakers linked to Soviet avant-garde art at the turn of the 1930s. It will also bring together experts who will discuss the important era of cinematography at the crossroads of aesthetic and revolutionary theories. Born in Tbilisi in 1903, Mikhail Kalatozov won international awards for his films, including a Palme d’Or at the 1958 Cannes Film Festival for his film ‘The Cranes Are Flying’. His documentary ‘Salt for Svanetia’ screened at the Pompidou Center on April 4 as part of the series. Kalatozov travelled to Svaneti in 1929 to document the life and customs of the Svanetian community in four villages. The black and white silent film portrayed the difficulties of a life cut off from the outside world. Like many artists at the time, Kalatozov was forced to adapt his film style. “Accused of formalism by censorship, Kalatozov completely reworked his fiction into an ethnological and poetic documentary - Salt for Svanetia,” reads

A still from Salt for Svaneti, Mikhail Kalatozov. Source: Centre Pompidou

an introduction by the Pompidou Center. On April 6, Cologne-based Georgian artist and researcher Soso Dumbadze will speak about the Soviet avant-garde filmmaker Kote Mikaberidze at the Pompidou Center. Born in Temruk, Rus-

sia, in 1896, Mikaberidze spent the majority of his life in Georgia. He was a pioneering filmmaker most famous for his 1929 silent film ‘My Grandmother.’ ‘My Grandmother’ tells the story of a conscientious civil servant who, con-

demned to wandering after losing his job, finds protection from a ‘grandmother.’ Mikaberidze was influenced by German expressionism, surrealism, the French avant-garde movement, and constructivism.

Mikaberidze directed six films and acted in 11 from 1929 to 1941. His first film was banned by authorities in 1929, however, he was recognized for his contribution to Soviet cinema later in his career. In 1945, he was awarded the title of Artist of Honor. His work was highly influential in Soviet Georgian cinema, especially silent film. Films were an integral part of culture in soviet times. Cinema’s ability to convey a message, and its widespread popularity, made it an important propaganda tool for the Soviet Union. In fact, Vladimir Lenin considered film to be the most important medium for educating the masses in the ways, means and successes of communism. Therefore, cinema during soviet times was closely regulated. In 1932, after the Communist Party decided to transform the Soviet Union both economically and culturally, the party forced cinematographers to abandon avant-garde styles in favor of socialist realism. The party declared a “cultural revolution” of all areas of the arts. The film industry therefore had to adopt a film style that would portray the Soviet message in an understandable way for a broad audience. Despite the restrictions placed on cinema at the turn of the 1930s, Soviet avantgarde cinema was diverse and of a highquality. It offers an opportunity to revise cliches and rethink Soviet production in cinema. Guest speakers Oksana Bulgakowa, Professor of Cinematography, and Soso Dumbadze, will discuss how Soviet filmmakers made their mark on cinema after the screenings.

Landmine Awareness Day Marked for the First Time in the South Caucasus The region-wide campaign, running under the slogan a 'Landmine Free South Caucasus', which will be held from 4 - 10 of April, will see events in a number of cities and districts of the region. Information material in Armenian, Azerbaijani, Georgian, Russian and English will be featured and distributed. The campaign aims to encourage governemnts, opinion formers and citizens to intensify their efforts to clean the South Caucasus from the scourge of landmines and unexploded ordinance. An important aspect is to take the message of the risks to children, young people and other vulnerable groups, especially when they still live in affected areas. In the South Caucasus, more than five



n April 4, the South Caucasus is marking International Landmine Awareness Day for the first time, a worldwide campaign raising awareness about the danger and effects of landmines. “On this International Day for Mine Awareness, let us reaffirm our commitment to eradicating the horrendous damage caused by landmines and assisting those who have been harmed by their use,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stated.

Khareba Feast at g.Vino Restaurant BY KETEVAN KVARATSKHELIYA


n April 7, the day marking the Khareba Feast, the g.Vino Restaurant will welcome sea food enthusiasts to enjoy wonderful Black Sea fish dishes and spend time in a pleasant atmosphere. Tamta Kikaleishvili, the young chef of the restaurant, is the star of the colorful and ever-changing menu of the traditional Georgian dishes with modern

European twists. For the Khareba Feast, she has prepared a 5-course set menu paired with carefully selected wines from g.Vino natural wine list. Enjoy Georgian anchovy mousse with Ghomi crackers; a warm red mullet appetizer with seasonal greens consommé; ‘Batumi’ mussels soup; turbot with smoked garlic sauce; peas and green beans on the side and rounded off with a scrumptious lemon and lime parfait. Price per person: 80 GEL. For reservation please contact: TEL: +995 577 22 29 09 Email:

thousand people have been killed or injured through landmines in non-combat situations in the last 30 years. Landmines kill indiscriminately, often taking innocent civilians or even child lives. Landmines can strongly influence the economic development of a country, as they can limit the cultivation of agricultural land and restrict livestock breeding. Georgia was affected by significant contamination from cluster munition after the five-day war between Georgia and Russia in August 2008. Among the most affected regions was Shida Kartli, one of the main agricultural areas of the country, which thousands of people were forced to leave. Much was also left unable to be farmed safely. Throughout the

years, however, the danger has been reduced through minefield clearance, yet there still remain dangerous areas which need to be taken care of. A number of national and international organizations are participating in the campaign 'Landmine Free South Caucasus,' an initiative supported by the European Union. The campaign partner in Georgia is the Europe-Georgia Institute ( Information on the 'Landmine Free South Caucasus' campaign is available on social media under the hashtag #landminefreeSC. For further information, contact the co-ordinating office of the 'Landmine Free South Caucasus' campaign at office@




A Conversation with Georgian Painter Mariam Chijavadze

Image Source: The Gamrekeli Gallery



he works of the talented Georgian painter Mariam Chijavadze are currently on display at the Gamrekeli Gallery, whose owners welcomed her second solo exhibition which is set to close after a successful run, this weekend. Chijavadze comes from a family of painters and graduated the Tbilisi Academy of Arts. She has worked as a theater stage painter, a book illustrator and in animation. “I do a little bit of everything as I’m always searching for myself,” she says. “Right now, I’m mainly working on painting, but I would like to try sculpture as well.” In her paintings, she delivers her emotions and brings to life characters that are deeply human. GEORGIA TODAY met her to find out more.

WHAT DOES PAINTING ALLOW YOU TO EXPRESS? Painting is a special and easy way to express what I want to say. I paint men and women in conflict with themselves. I’m interested in expressing emotions, and first of all, my own emotions; what I feel deep within myself. I think that human emotions are shared by everyone. What I feel is also felt by other people. Every human being has problems and conflicts within life that are impossible to express verbally, and painting is the best way to express them.

DOES CREATING ART MAKE YOU FEEL BETTER? Yes, art helps me in my everyday life because it enables me to express myself and free myself. I only paint when I know exactly what I want to paint. If I don’t have a precise idea of what I want to express, I just don’t do it.

DO YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF AN OPTIMISTIC OR A PESSIMISTIC? I would say realist. I express everything, positive things as well as darker emotions. I let other people judge my art, I just portray what I feel.

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THIS EXHIBITION? The purpose of my art is to be free like a bird [her current exhibition is called “Bird”].

I always try to be myself and find what I really am. I don’t want to be under the influence of other painters or people or of society. I paint my emotions. Putting too much thought into what other people might think of my work bothers me. I paint myself for myself: I paint my attitudes towards the world. I think that people who come and see my artworks read my message and can find themselves in my paintings. Everyone can recognize themselves in my work, and if some Georgians don’t understand what I do, then maybe some Spanish people will. In the end, we are all the same.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE A BIRD AS THE TITLE OF YOUR EXHIBITION? My favourite painting is named “Bird;” it shows a man carrying a bird in his hands and I think it is quite symbolic. The exhibition is on at the Gamrekeli Gallery until Sunday. Entrance: FREE WHERE: 14 Ingorokva St., Tbilisi. OPEN: Daily, 12 AM to 7 PM. Instagram: m.chijavaze




APRIL 5 - 8, 2019


TBILISI ZAKARIA PALIASHVILI OPERA AND BALLET THEATER 25 Rustaveli Ave. TEL (+995 32) 2 99 04 56 April 5, 6, 7, 10 TOSCA * Premiere Giacomo Puccini Opera in Three Acts Conductor: Gianlucca Martinengi Director: Giancarlo del Monaco Set Designer: Carlo Centolavigna Costume Designer: Ester Martin Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 20-300 GEL RUSTAVELI THEATER 17 Rustaveli Ave. TEL (+995 32) 2 72 68 68 April 8, 9 Ira Kokhreidze's Inclusive Theater Presents a philosophical inclusive theater performance CONTACT With English subtitles Stage director: Ira Kokhreidze Scenography and CoordinatorGeorge Mikaberidze Music: Bachi Tomadze Scenario: Ira Kokhreidze, George Mikaberidze Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 8-12 GEL GABRIADZE THEATER 14 Shavteli Str. April 5 THE AUTUMN OF MY SPRINGTIME Revaz Gabriadze Directed by Revaz Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 20, 30 GEL

April 10 Animated documentary film REZO Directed by Leo Gabriadze Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 15 GEL MOVEMENT THEATER 182 Aghmashenebeli Ave. TEL (+995 32) 598 19 29 36 April 5, 6 DIVINE COMEDY Directed by Ioseb Bakuradze Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10-15 GEL April 7 INTRO Sandro Nikoladze's Musical Alegry Director: Kakha Bakuradze Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10-15 GEL SHALIKASHVILI THEATER 37 Rustaveli Ave. TEL 595 50 02 03 April 5, 6 THE WISHING TREE Roma Rtskhiladze and Pantomime theater with electronic music presents: THE WISHING TREE where pantomime is combined with experimental music and performance Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 20 GEL MUSEUM

GEORGIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM SIMON JANASHIA MUSEUM 3 Rustaveli Ave. TEL (+995 32) 299 80 22, 293 48 21

April 6 RAMONA Revaz Gabriadze Directed by Revaz Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 20, 30 GEL


April 7 STALINGRAD Revaz Gabriadze Directed by Revaz Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 20, 30 GEL

In the framework of the celebrations of the European Year of Cultural Heritage in Georgia the Georgian National Museum presents the exhibition WISDOM TRANSFORMED INTO GOLD

MUSEUM OF SOVIET OCCUPATION 4 Rustaveli Ave. TEL (+995 32) 2 99 80 22, 2 93 48 21 Exhibition RED TERROR AND GEORGIAN ARTISTS IOSEB GRISHASHVILI TBILISI HISTORY MUSEUM - KARVASLA 8 Sioni St. TEL (+995 32) 2 98 22 81 Until April 12 Tutu Kiladze’s Exhibition CRYPTOGRAM The exhibition showcases artworks with abstract forms, installations and collage techniques. This is a story of the author’s internal and existential search, shown publicly but presented like a pictogram. The exhibition is divided into several parts - visitors have an opportunity to look at the creative dynamics of the artist and discover the artist's workshop and her personal space. ART PALACE 6 Kargareteli Str. April 1-10 NIKOLOZ KOCHLAMAZISHVILI’S EXHIBITION: SHADOW THEATER MUSEUM OF ILLUSIONS 10 Betlemi Str. Discover the Museum of Illusions Be brave enough to jump into an illusion created by the Vortex, deform the image of yourself in the Mirror Room, let yourself free in the Infinity room, fight the laws of gravity and size ratio, and take pictures of yourself in every possible pose. Enjoy our collection of holograms, look closer at every optical illusion and observe thoroughly each installation. Tickets: 17.5 GEL, Children (ages 6-18): 11 GEL, children (under 5 years): free, students: 13 GEL, family (2 adults + 2 children): 39 GEL. GALLERY

THE NATIONAL GALLERY 11 Rustaveli Ave. TEL (+995 32) 215 73 00 Until February 26 (2020) GRAND MASTERS FROM THE


Venue: April 5- 10 Erekle II Sq., Tekla Palace Hotel, April 6- New Tiflis, 9 Agmashenebeli Ave., Wine bar ‘Wine Station’

Until May 27 Georgian National Museum and Italian embassy in Georgia present the exhibition ESOTERIC DE CHIRICO. A TRAVELER BETWEEN TWO WORLDS



TBILISI CONCERT HALL 1 Melikishvili St. TEL (+995 32) 2 99 00 99 April 5 JIMMY SAX LIVE Start time: 21:00 Ticket: 50-120 GEL DOORS 26 S. Tsintsadze Str April 5 JIMMY SAX AFTER PARTY Start time: 22:00 Ticket: 50-1500 GEL DJ. KAKHIDZE TBILISI CENTER FOR MUSIC & CULTURE 125/127 Agmashenebeli Ave. April 6 AN EVENING OF SONGS BY DJANSUG KAKHIDZE with participation of the Tbilisi Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble “Rustavi” and Eka Mamaladze. Start time: 19:30 Ticket: 10-30 GEL SOUNDS OF GEORGIA April 5, 6 SING AND DRINK Mini concerts in the cozy atmosphere of Old Tbilisi, a mix of traditional Georgian music of different genres: folklore, a capella, guitar, and Georgian pop and city songs. Start time: 17:00 Ticket: 24 GEL

April 5 Concert of the Piano Department Tbilisi Zakaria Paliashvili Central Music School for GIFTED CHILDREN Start time: 14:00 Ticket: 10 GEL April 5 CLASSICAL MUSIC COGNITIVE PROGRAM "Symphonic Orchestra" LeaderMirian Khukhunaishvili Start time: 16:00 Ticket: 5-10 GEL April 6 PIANIST LUKA OKROS London-based Georgian pianist continues his European concert season, presenting grandiose works by Schubert and Liszt. Start time: 19:30 Ticket: 5-25 GEL April 10 OPENING CEREMONY OF THE VII GEORGIAN COMPETITION OF MUSICIAN-PERFORMERS Gala-Concert with Participation: Tamar Licheli, Marika Machitidze, Ketevan Roinisvhili, Vato Jordania, Ana Kipiania, Levan Tskhadadze, and David Khrikuli. Program: Mozart, Charpentier, Giampieri, Sarasate, Connesson, and Chopin. Start time: 18:00 Ticket: 5-15 GEL BAUHAUS BAR Dedaena Park April 5 BAUHAUS SUMMER VOL 3 Start time: 21:00 TBILISI MALL D. Aghmashenebeli Alley 16 km. April 6, 7 TBILISI MALL’S 7TH BIRTHDAY Entertainment program, prizes and sales Start time: from 10 am BARI BARSHI 9 G. Kikodze Str. April 5 ELLARGE Participants: Nicka Tseretely & Irakli Menagharishvili Electronic music played with psychedelic music, ethno jazz, house music, disco funk elements Start time: 21:00 Ticket: Free April 6 THE WINDOW AT BARI-BARSHI Participants: Nino Isakadze (lead vocals, guitar and songwriter), Tamar Akhalkaci (Violin), Davit Tavadze (Flute/ Keyboard, sound engineer, keyboard), Mariam Tsibakhashvili (Cello) Band producer- Tinatin Menabde Start time: 21:00 Ticket: Free April 7 NIKA KULOSHVILI- Acoustic Start time: 21:00 Ticket: Free April 8 LUKA MAMNIASHVILIACOUSTIC Start time: 21:00 Ticket: Free DEPO LAST STOP 27 Zestaponi Str. April 6 KVADRATI Start time: 21:00 Ticket: 10 GEL ASSA HALL Chardin Str. April 7 LELA TSURTSUMIA SOLO CONCERT WITH BAND NONSTOP Start time: 21:00 Ticket: 30 GEL




Celebrated Danish Choreographers Visit Tbilisi to Stage Bournonville Dance with State Ballet of Georgia BY LIKA CHIGLADZE


he State Ballet of Georgia is preparing yet another surprise for theater goers and ballet enthusiasts. World-famous choreographers Frank Andersen and Dinna Bjørn from Denmark came to Tbilisi especially to bring back the unique Bournonville ballet together with the Georgian company, first staged in Georgia years ago at the initiative of Nino Ananniashvili, Artistic Director of the State Ballet. The ballet ‘From Siberia to Moscow’ was made in 1876 by August Bournonville, a celebrated dancer and choreographer who directed the Royal Danish Ballet for nearly 50 years and established the Danish, so called Bournonville style, based on bravura dancing and expressive mime. Yet, the dance was preserved only through written form and went untouched for more than century until it was returned to life through the joint efforts of Andersen, Bjørn and Nino Ananiashvili. Frank Andersen is a former Danish ballet dancer who was twice Artistic Director of the Royal Danish Ballet. He has also been an influential supporter of the Danish choreographer August Bournonville. Dinna Bjørn is a Danish ballet dancer and choreographer specialized in dancing and directing the ballets of August Bournonville. What is it about the Bournonville style that so fascinates dancers and audiences alike? The most distinctive feature is the illusion of lightness: the dancers seem to float: touching the floor briefly, only to set off in flight again. Dancing Bournonville is just as hard as dancing Petipa or Balanchine, they say, demanding completely different abilities from the dancer: genuine grace combined with the ability to understate even the largest steps, combined with the discretion of mime to ensure a heavy dramatic impact.

Photo by Khatuna Gogichaishvili, The Messenger

GEORGIA TODAY had the privilege to attend a rehearsal led by Frank and Dinna at the Tbilisi Opera studio. The masterclass conducted by the famous Danish ballet dancers was attended by the Friends of Georgian Ballet (a group

of mixed expats and locals supporting Georgian ballet) as well as other invited guests. “Both Frank Andersen and Dinna Bjørn are successors of ballet families,” Prima Ballerina Nino Ananiashvili tells GEOR-

GIA TODAY. “Both teach and spread the Bournonville dancing style worldwide. The new performance we are preparing for the audience is really quite unique, since no-one has it in their repertoire. It is the very last ballet by August Bournonville, and for over 103 years this music went unheard. Fifteen years ago, when I came to this position [Artistic Director], I suggested that Frank revive this ballet after I saw a small part of Jockey Dance performed by male dancers. He told me that all the materials had been lost, but we kept pushing for it and struck some luck when Dinna found the materials written by Bournonville himself in her father’s archive. Her father, also a celebrated choreographer and head of the Royal Theater, after his death left a huge archive to his daughter in which she found the script of the dance dated 1876. All three of us were excited by this finding but reviving the dance from written materials required a lot of hard work. Dinna embarked on this serious mission and finally revived the dance documented on paper, together with Frank. The ballet was accompanied by Tchaikovsky’s overture, one that most musicians had not heard before.” Ananiashvili explains that the plot of the ballet is complex, unveiling how two great minds, Bournonville and Marius Petipa, meet. Petipa tells Bournonville the story of Natalia and her father, who were in exile in Siberia. Among those in exile was Georgian nobleman Kipiani, who did everything to free Natalia and her father, and who eventually became a hero. “The character of Kipiani is based on a real person, a student who was exiled to Siberia because of his revolutionary intentions together with other revolutionaries of different ethnicities,” Ananiashvili tells us. “And now we have managed to remake this ballet and return it to the stage of the Tbilisi Opera.” The production is diverse, since it incorporates Georgian folk elements as well as dances of other nations. “We are very happy to be back in

Georgia; we have already been here several times,” Frank Andersen tells GEORGIA TODAY. “To be honest, before meeting Nina, I didn’t know that there was a Georgian Ballet Company, and it was like discovering a hidden gem. We immediately fell in love with the country, with the company and dancers. I met Nino for the first time in Montreal in 1998 and offered to work on the Bournonville style with her. After a year, she came to Denmark and stayed for three months, studying it. This is how our friendship began. Then, at her invitation, we came to Tbilisi and staged the ballet with the Georgian dancers. The special thing about teaching Bournonville to others is that you see how mature dancers, with whom you have previously worked, so quickly get into it from memory, and the younger dancers follow- so the knowledge is passed from one generation to the next,” he says, noting that the main thing that distinguishes Bournonville from other ballets is a “joy of life”. “This ballet tells the story of ordinary people, but at the same time it is very romantic,” he adds. “It is amazing to come back here after 10 years and to see how the Company has developed since our first meeting,” Bjørn tells us. “Frank and I have traveled the world trying to pass on our knowledge about this tradition and it is nice to see that those dancers with whom we have worked come to master the Bournonville technique more easily, even if they are out of practice. And it is really rewarding to see how this tradition is living on here. The Bournonville dancing style generates joy. Even though it looks easy, it is extremely difficult to perform and to master the lightness characteristic to it,” the famous ballet dancer says. August Bournonville gave Danish ballet an identity of which it is justly proud, and some of his prolific repertoire survives and delights to this day. In October, the Georgian audience will be fortunate enough to enjoy and experience this amazing dancing tradition at the Tbilisi Opera and Ballet State Theater.

ICI Paris Launches New Perfume on the Georgian Market BY KETEVAN KVARATSKHELIYA


CI-Paris, one of Georgia’s leading perfume shops, has been putting the quality of products as among their major values since 1995. It has now launched a new fragrance of the prominent Hermes brand for its Georgian clientele: ‘Un Jardin sur la Lagune,’ which is set to mesmerize customers with a marvelous blend of scents. It was developed by perfumer and Hermes’ esteemed ‘nose,’ Christine Nagel. While working on the fashion house’s new fragrance, the sixth in the ‘Le Jardin’ range, Nagel found her inspiration in a secret hidden garden with an intriguing name: The Garden of Eden, located on the Venetian island of Giudecca. However, as it is permanently closed to the public and has as such obtained almost a mythical status, Nagel had problems getting in!

After numerous denials to her request for permission to enter the prominent garden, the perfumer directly addressed the president of the foundation in ownership of the Garden of Eden, explaining the reasons for her desire to visit. Her request was granted and Nagel was allowed to walk into the garden and work on the fragrance. The perfumer recalled the working process, which started on a cold winter’s day, and the difficulties she had to face. However, she also focused on the wonderful plants she had a chance to discover in the Garden of Eden. Nagel spent over 18 months translating multiple scents from the surrounding lagoon and the greenery found in its vicinity, transforming them into a single perfume: a sophisticated blend of jasmine, magnolia, Madonna lily and orange blossom, offset by woodier notes. The perfumer noted that creating this fragrance meant giving new life to the ‘mysterious’ garden and enabling travelers to finally discover its treasures.



Commercial Director: Iva Merabishvili Marketing Manager: Sesili Tikaradze



Editor-In-Chief: Katie Ruth Davies

Journalists: Tony Hanmer, Zaza Jgarkava, Maka Bibilashvili, Dimitri Dolaberidze, Vazha Tavberidze, Nugzar B. Ruhadze, Samantha Guthrie, Amy Jones, Thea Morrison, Ana Dumbadze, Ketevan Kvaratskheliya Photographer: Irakli Dolidze



Qvevri-shaped hotel complex, integrating a main building with 15 rooms and 20 Qvevri-shaped cottages, is to be launched in the village of Shalauri in Telavi. The main aim of the author of the idea, Giorgi Kldiashvili, is to associate the hotel with wine, while popularizing it and the whole extent of Georgian culture internationally. The cottages will carry the names of wines, while their guests will be able to familiarize themselves with Georgian culture, traditions and wine-making technologies. Almost 1.5 million was

Website Manager/Editor: Katie Ruth Davies Layout: Misha Mchedlishvili Webmaster: Sergey Gevenov Circulation Managers: David Kerdikashvili, David Djandjgava

invested in the project. The project has been approved and the construction will begin in April of 2019. “The hotel complex will include the main building with 15 guest rooms,” said Giorgi Kldiashvili in an interview, “a conference room, a restaurant of Georgian dishes, a bar, a terrace, swimming pools, kids’ playground. The starting number of Qvevris will be 20.” It is not yet known, what the exact opening date is going to be but the hotel is planned to welcome guests before the end of 2019. Source: Also see: Weekly Entrepreneurial News by Entrepreneur Georgia


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