October 9 - 15, 2015
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Georgia Today 24 p., Enterprise Georgia 4 p.
Geor gian Pr esident in the Georgian President US: Lost Chance to Boost
Geor gian P ositions Georgian Positions
Gr een Buda pest to Green Budapest Cele br ate One Year Celebr bra Anni ver sar y Anniv ersar sary P.11 On the w ay to MAPIC wa
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IN THIS WEEK’S ISSUE
Sta te Minister of State Diaspor a: Of Diaspora: Offfering the Right Goals and Philosophy In light of the EU refugee crisis and near-miss GreExit, Georgia sat down with Minister Dumbadze to talk about the Georgian diaspora. P.8
British Council Cele br ates Celebr bra Customer Ser vice Week P.13 Service
Lif e of Syrian Life Refug ees in efugees Ber lin Berlin lin’’s LaGeSo Georgian Ambassador to US criticized for not accompanying President's Delegation. Ambassador argues that by law he had to stick with the Prime Minister. P.2
Rusta vi 2: Icon of Geor gian Democr ac y? ustavi Georgian Democrac acy?
Rustavi2 General Director: The government will shut down before we do! P.2
Georgia Today speaks to the volunteers and refugees at Berlin's official asylum registration center. P.8
Friends of Geor gian Ballet Georgian Get Unique Tete-a-T ete with ete-a-Tete Prima Ballerina P.23
OCTOBER 9 - 15
United Na tional Mo vement National Mov Pr oposes Ear Proposes Earlly Elections
Geor gian Pr esident in the US: Lost Georgian President Chance to Boost Geor gian P ositions Positions Georgian By Steven Jones
UNM supporters at the 2012 electoral campaign.Source: The atlantic.com.
By Steven Jones United National Movement (UNM), the main opposition force in Georgia has begun activities demanding Bidzina Ivanishvili, former Georgian PM, step back and a date for early parliamentary elections be appointed. Irakli Batiashvili, member of The Democratic Movement party, says former government [UNM] members are planning an attack on Bidzina Ivanishvili. “I have this information from a reliable source, with which I have had relations since the period when I was the Chairman of Information and Intelligence Service. The former government representatives who are now in emigration are planning a terror attack to kill Ivanishvili. Certain individuals have already arrived here to prepare the attack,” Batiashvili stated. In response to Batiashvili’s accusation, Akaki Bobokhidze from the UNM said: “Irakli Batiashvili must have got his information from the Russian security service.” As Bobokhidze explains, the UNM is far from having any such plan. “But it seems he misunderstood the information”- Bobokhidze went on- “as in fact the Chechens and Kazakhs may be planning on retaliating against the former Prime Minister for his old sins.” In the meantime, Nino Burjanadze, one of the main Pro-Russian forces from the Democratic Party in Georgia, commenting on last week’s querulous elections of the Georgian Football Federation
(GFF), emphasized that “if the parliamentary elections are conducted like the GFF elections, it will not pass peacefully.” Burjanadze claims that the leaders of opposition political parties paid no attention to the elections in the GFF. Burhanadze commented that observance of election processes is the case in normal states, but unfortunately, Georgia could not manage to become a democratic country. It seems that the Georgian internal political environment, amid the government’s failure to fulfill the promises of the 2012 elections, is becoming more complicated over time. Likewise, Russian information propaganda robustly endeavors to undermine Georgian sovereignty and mislead society by creating a negative icon of the EU and NATO in the country. Moreover, the number of disappointed voters in Georgia has steadily been growing, as ‘democracy has offered no tangible results in the short run.’ It is believed that this highly intricate process could simply be taken as an advantage by Russian political forces in the country to win a considerable number of places in the Georgian Parliament. Is the United National Movement and the overall political atmosphere in the country ready for snap elections? How could the political and social processes develop in the country throughout the year before the regular date of elections of October 1, 2016?
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The President of Georgia, Giorgi Margvelashvili, has criticized the Georgian Ambassador to the US, Archil Gegeshidze, for “not accompanying his delegation throughout the diverse highranking meetings in New York and Washington DC” where the President conducted meetings during the last week of September. Margvelashvili called on the Foreign Ministry to take adequate measures to demand the fulfilment of diplomatic etiquette by those diplomats that are breaching the law. Gegeshidze replied that, according to the law, he was obliged to accompany the second delegation, headed by the PM of Georgia, and as such was unable to simultaneously be with both delegations in different US cities. The President, assessing his visit to the US as successful, raised the issue of ‘ignorance’ of the Georgian Embassy in the US throughout his exclusive interview with Rustavi 2 TV’s talk-show ‘Archevani’ where he discussed the dissimilar aspects of Georgia’s internal and external political environment. President Margvelashvili and PM Garibashvili both headed to the US to participate in different high-caliber meetings. As the presidential administration reported, the Georgian Ambassador to the US did not meet the President to accompany his delegation to different meetings in New York and Washington DC. The Ambassador claims he behaved correctly according to the Geor-
Giorgi Margvelashvili at the Woodrow Wilson Center. Source: Giorgi Margvelashvili official, Facebook
gian Law on diplomatic services and did not breach the law in this instance. The argument between the Georgian government and the President occurred on the topic of participating in the UN General Assembly, the 70th anniversary of the international organization. The two parties, who had previously been united under one Georgian Dream coalition, decided that two official delegations would be led separately by the President and Prime Minister. While in the US, PM Garibashvili attended diverse formats of official meetings and gave a speech at the UN General Assembly session on October 1. At the same time, some bilateral meetings within the framework of the Assembly were held with Georgia’s international partners. At the same time, the President was in New York City and Washington DC, having been invited by Lithuanian President, Dalia Grybauskaite, where he par-
ticipated in the discussion – “Future of Eastern Europe: Strengthening the Role of Women”. The President also held several bilateral meetings and gave public speeches in both New York and Washington DC at various high-caliber think tanks and organizations, such as World Bank and Carnegie Endowment. Despite President Margvelashvili’s oppositional stance toward the Georgian Dream, he believes his official visit to the US should have been utilized by the government as an opportunity to further deepen and kick off certain issues, such as talks on a Free Trade Agreement with the US. The President also says that Georgia has disappeared from the US radars, a statement later bolstered by Georgian Foreign Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili who, when talking with Georgian media, stated he felt certain reason to selfcriticize when US President Barack Obama did not mention Georgia in his speech at the UN General Assembly.
Rusta vi 2: Icon of Geor gian Democr ac y? ustavi Georgian Democrac acy? By Zviad Adzinbaia Last week, Nika Gvaramia, the General Director of Rustavi 2, promised that the Georgian Government would be shut down before his company was. “The government delivered a death sentence when it closed Rustavi 2 TV. Now we must attract grants. We are working without pay and we have to increase our income. We promise the government that they will be closed before we are,” Gvaramia stated. The TV company has said that if they can raise 6 million Lari from investors, then the company could survive financially. “There will be protests within the framework of freedom of expression. We are different from the government. Their representatives and supporters rush into judges homes and humiliate their children. We will not allow anybody to do that. We will act legally,” Gvaramia declared yesterday. 100% percent of Rustavi 2’s properties were sequestrated at the end of August at the request of a former stakeholder in the company, businessman Kibar Khalvashi. Last week, the court deprived one of the shareholders of Rustavi 2 “TV Company Sakartvelo” from selling their shares to benefit Rustavi 2. The TV company itself says the case is rife with political motivations and accuses the government of fighting media freedom in the country. There are direct accusations against Bidzina Ivanishvili, the former Georgian PM, who is believed to be ruling the country from the shadows. Rustavi 2, Georgia’s largest TV Company and the country’s leading media organization, faced an initial attack when 100% of its shares were sequestered on behalf of Georgian businessman Kibar Khalvashi- who filed a lawsuit to attempt to regain his share of the company on August 7 this year. The dispute concerning the broadcaster has attracted nationwide concern. Along with Khalvashi, two founders of Rustavi 2, Jarji Akimidze and Davit Dvali, released a statement subsequent to
the freezing of assets, citing that the broadcaster has been strictly controlled by the United National Movement, the main opposition party in Georgia. According to the two, there are no alternatives for the legislative process, which “serves to establish fairness in a democratic society.” In response, Nika Gvaramia cited that both Akimidze and Dvali represented voices of the government. He went on to accuse the entire government, and the Georgian Dream coalition in general, of attacking free media and freedom of speech. The sequestration was followed by a social media campaign in support of the television station, which has endured a number of attacks from different governments throughout its more than two decades of operation. Thousands of supporters have appeared on social networks including Georgian expats – with messages of support for the values they believe Rustavi 2 is based on. The story of Rustavi 2 is widely compared to the case of Imedi TV back in 2007, which played a considerable part in Georgia being refused MAP at the Bucharest Summit. Notably, Georgia is currently seeking its considerable advancement at the forthcoming NATO Warsaw Summit in July 2016. However, there are negligible questions as to whether the attack on Rustavi 2 will result in refusing Georgia any tangible progress regarding the alliance membership. Importantly, the Rustavi 2 case has attracted international attention. The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatovi, in August assessed that excessive court measures against the Georgian television channel Rustavi 2, based
on an ownership dispute, may pose a threat to free media. European MPs, including the US side and other Georgia’s international partners, have expressed their fears concerning the case against the TV company, claiming the decision is disproportionate, excessive and might constitute a threat to media pluralism in Georgia. At the same time, Georgian civil society institutions such as Media Development Foundation (MDF), Georgia’s Reforms Association (GRASS) and Tolerance and Diversity Institution (TDI) have shown support for Rustavi 2. Analysis by Georgia Today’s Zviad Adzinbaia: The Georgian government, while denying its involvement in the process of the attack against the main broadcaster in Georgia, have openly expressed some radical positions against the media institution. Even the statements by the thenPM Bidzina Ivanishvili and his team members following the 2012 elections unceasingly articulated their negative positions against Rustavi 2, which could have been the very sign of a desire to attempt subordination of the Georgian media. At this crucial moment for Georgian democracy, the case of Rustavi 2 is believed to have a multiplier effect on the general media environment in the country. Additionally, to ensure the conducting of free and fair parliamentary elections in October 2016, Rustavi 2 is considered the main institution in spite of its lack of sympathies towards the government. Furthermore, Rustavi 2 could be regarded as the icon of Georgian democracy and any threat to the company could equal a threat to the rest of the country.
Rustavi 2 supporters. Source: Rustavi 2 Facebook Page.
OCTOBER 9 - 15
The ISET Policy Institute (ISET-PI, www.iset-pi.ge) is an independent think-tank associated with the International School of Economics at TSU (ISET). Our blog carries economic analysis of current events and policies in Georgia and the South Caucasus region ranging from agriculture, to economic growth, energy, labor markets and the nexus of economics, culture and religion. Thought-provoking and fun to read, our blog posts are written by international faculty teaching at ISET and recent graduates representing the new generation of Georgian, Azerbaijani and Armenian economists.
Elites that don’t Compete
By Florian Biermann
The Six Nations Championship is an annual rugby competition featuring an exclusive club of European nations: England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland, and Wales. The Six Nations Championship is considered the “elite” rugby tournament of the Northern Hemisphere, matched only by another international “elite” tournament, simply called The Rugby Championship. The Rugby Championship is played out in another closed group, made up of Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, all belonging to the Southern Hemisphere. These are the elite rugby leagues. But what elites? Members of these championships are only playing with each other and meet lower tier teams only occasionally at the World Cup. Is it possible to be expelled from these two closed rugby championships? No. The only consequence of weak performance in the Six Nations Championship is the Wooden Spoon, awarded to the team that makes the last place. And while this is a very mild consequence, even more convenient is the punishment for a team which loses all five matches: it will be called “whitewashed”, a term that does not come with overly negative connotations. What we see here is a phenomenon that is common in many different areas of society, namely that the members of certain “elites” are not exposed to strong competition. To the contrary, for many elites holds: once you are in, life gets cozy. Let us look at some examples. EDUCATIONAL ELITES If one wants to become member of the political elite in France, it is almost inevitable to have graduated from ENA, the École nationale d’administration. French Presidents Francoise Hollande, Jacques Chirac, and Valéry Giscard d’Estaing got their degrees at the ENA, as well as six French Prime Ministers and an innumerable number of ordinary ministers. Typically, between one third and one half of French cabinets have graduated from that one school. Being an énarque (the nickname given to ENA graduates) is an insurance for life, as it is almost impossible for énarques to fail in the French society. Competition? Performance pressure? No way. One might assume, therefore, that it is extremely difficult to obtain a degree from ENA. There must be a huge dropout rate, due to the high standards that are demanded from France’s future elite. Yet that is not exactly true. Once one is in the club, it is quite easy to stay. According to Peter Gumbel, author of the 2013 book “France’s got Talent – The Woeful Consequences of French Elitism”, the dropout rates at French elite schools are marginal, while in ordinary French universities about half of the students quit within the first year. However, it is difficult to become an ENA student – only about 6% of the applicants are admitted. This kind of elitism causes severe problems. Should a good deal of the top positions in a society really be assigned through the admissions exams of ENA and two other similar schools? How re-
liably can one single admissions procedure, which people undergo when they are still very young, determine the talent and skills of people in all those dimensions that are relevant for societal and economic decision making? Educational pseudo-elitism is not a problem restricted to France. Students of places like Harvard, Princeton, and Yale have to make it through admissions exams and pay high tuition fees, but afterwards there won’t be much of a challenge anymore. The tuition fees, by the way, are not very painful for the students, as many banks are glad to give loans to “elite” members, which can conveniently be paid back once one has graduated (for a member of the HarvardYale-Princeton elite, there is no danger not to find a well-paying job).
MANAGEMENT ELITES Also the international management elite is a cozy club. If you are the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of a big international corporation, the worst thing that can happen to you is quite similar to the Wooden Spoon in the Six Nations Championship. If you mess up, you may lose your job, but you won’t have to reimburse the value which you have destroyed. Chances are that you will find another elite job, like Leo Apotheker, who failed as CEO of SAP and soon afterwards failed as CEO of HewlettPackard, or Carly Fiorina, who became presidential candidate after busting Hewlett-Packard. If things go well, on the other hand, you can be sure that you will get your fair share. And the standards by which your performance is measured won’t be too high: Terry Semel was CEO of Yahoo! from 2001 to 2007 and made spectacular mistakes, like rejecting the offer to buy Google for $3 billion, based on his failure to recognize the potential of that company. Despite Yahoo! growing slower than most of their competitors (like Google) and missing important opportunities (e.g. social networking), he received almost half a billion dollar as compensation throughout his 6-year tenure. An average CEO in the United States makes 373 times the salary of an average employee of their company. Yet even if a top manager makes a mistake
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The Georgian rugby team has a tradition of being competitive, even when taking group photographs (picture from 2007). That is not true for some of its “elite” opponents. Source: Wikimedia Commons/Paata Vardanashvili
that allows for indemnity, their companies won’t let them pay for it but rather effect an insurance which covers management failure. And if a CEO is dismissed for good, the salary made previously allows for a convenient life without employment. THE DIRE CONSEQUENCES Last week, Georgia’s rugby team lost against New Zealand, but it was in no way a clear-cut case. The fears that the Georgian team could be crushed by the elite team from New Zealand lasted only for the first five minute of the game, until Tsiklauri scored a try (“lelo”). “We’ve seen through this tournament, compared to other tournaments that I’ve played in, that the so-called ‘easy’ games aren’t easy any more”, as New Zealand captain Richie McCaw admitted after the game against Georgia. However, being part of a typical elite club, there is no risk that New Zealand has to compete more often against “second tier” teams like Georgia. Only rugby as a sport is suffering: people won’t be interested in events like the Six
Nations Championship if the level of rugby falls behind what is displayed elsewhere. With such structures, it will be difficult for rugby to ever become a sports as popular as soccer. The flaws of French educational elitism, however, are even more far-reaching, as they affect the success of the whole country. Since many years, France’s economy is falling back dramatically, but the énarque François Hollande seems largely helpless and incompetent in view of this strategic challenge. Perhaps, being good in passing an admissions exam is in the end not what really makes a wise president. France would be well-advised to assign its important offices not to people who belong to some pre-selected elite, but to those who prove their potential in ongoing competitive struggles. It is now widely recognized that those who managed to excel in some admissions process are not necessarily the best decision makers. Employers like Deloitte, which are exposed to huge competitive pressure and therefore, un-
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like the government, must find the best talents, try to avoid being biased through the elite nimbus of some applicants. Hence, they remove the information about the alma maters from the CVs when selecting personnel. Not unusual for a non-competing elite, it is questionable how good the French elite schools really are. In the influential 2015 Academic Ranking of World Universities, primarily based on research performance, the ENA does not show up at all. The two other outstanding French elite schools, the École normale supérieure (nicknamed “Ulm”, as it is located in the Rue d’Ulm) and the Ecole polytechnique (nicknamed “X”), are ranked on places 72 and shared 301-400, respectively. Within France, there are 2 other non-elite schools which are ranked better than Ulm, and even 15 which are ranked better than “X”. It is not different with the business elite. While CEOs often ask their employees to accept sharp cuts in compensation and benefits, they are personally protected trough various safety nets. Once you are the CEO of a big company, your life cannot fail anymore. When in 2008 and the following years the financial industry messed up big time, leading to terrible economic consequences for many ordinary employees around the world, those who had caused the problem did not have to pay back. Richard Fuld, the last CEO of Lehman Brothers, is still a multi-millionaire, as is James Cayne, who was CEO of Bear Stearns while it went under. Clearly, members of such elites are lacking important incentives to perform well, and so they don’t. It is of high importance that the notion of an “elite” gets redefined. Feelgood elites, freed from any competition and not responsible for the outcome of their deeds, cause a lot of trouble in the world. Elites should be based on performance, and this performance should have to be proved continuously.
OCTOBER 9 - 15
The Galt & Taggart Research team comprises Georgian and Azerbaijani finance and economic experts who have broad experience of covering the macro and corporate sectors of the two countries. Our current product offering includes Georgian and Azerbaijan macroeconomic research, Georgian sector research, and fixed income corporate research. For free access to Galt & Taggart Research, please visit gtresearch.ge or contact us at email@example.com.
Hazelnut - Geor gia’s Precious Commodity By Tamara Kurdadze Hazelnut production and handling is a multi-billion dollar industry. The bulk of hazelnut supply goes to confectioneries, with Italian Ferrero accounting for the largest share. Ferrero purchases ¼ of the world hazelnut supply to produce its famous Nutella and Ferrero Rocher. In fact, hazelnut is such a critical ingredient in producing the world’s favorite chocolate hazelnut spread that when frosts in Turkey slashed the 2014 hazelnut harvest in half, consumers all over the world stocked up on Nutella, as prices were expected to spike on the back of reduced supply. Georgia is conveniently located in a climate zone where favorable conditions make growing hazelnuts easy, mostly in a narrow strip of land along the coast of the Black Sea. The Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) of Georgia has estimated the average cost for 1 hectare of hazelnut orchard to be GEL 5,700 (~US$ 2,300). Depending on the hazelnut variety and climate conditions for the harvest year, this translates into an average yield of 1 to 3 tons per hectare and can generate revenue of up to US$9,000 at current world market prices (~US$ 4.3/kg for in-shell hazelnut). However, hazelnut orchards need up to 7 years to reach their full yield capacity. Georgian hazelnut growers are dependent on world market conditions, but in the long term, hazelnut demand is expected to increase and
Georgia has a real shot at becoming one of the top 3 hazelnut suppliers in the world. Ferrero alone is a multi-billion dollar consumer of hazelnuts, with each jar of Nutella containing up to 50 hazelnuts (~170gr). Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN) estimated the world production of shelled hazelnuts at 858,697 tons in 2013, with Turkey having a dominant market share of 63.9%, followed by Italy (13.1%), USA (4.7%), Georgia (4.6%), and Azerbaijan (3.6%). In terms of total hazelnut planting area, Georgia is in third place after Turkey and Italy. Turkish hazelnut trade takes place on the Giresun Commodity Exchange in Turkey, which makes it the heart of the global hazelnut trade and the investor’s premier source of data and forecasts on the Turkish harvest. In 2014 Georgia produced 37,000 tons, the second highest annual figure after the 2013 harvest of 40,000 tons, generating total export
revenue of US$ 183mn, which placed hazelnuts among Georgia’s top 4 exports, surpassing even wine. Aside from the large harvest volume, the high export earnings in 2014 can be attributed to the global deficit on hazelnuts caused by the frosts in Turkey. Subsequently, Ferrero decided to purchase the family-owned Oltan, Turkey’s biggest hazelnut exporter, to strengthen its presence in the hazelnut market. Ferrero also owns a large hazelnut orchard in Western Georgia, home to most of the hazelnut production, and recently acquired 700 hectares of hazelnut orchard in Serbia. Hazelnut production in Georgia increased at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6% over 2006 – 2014, from 24,000 to 37,000 tons. If Georgia is able to integrate efficient farming practices in order to increase quality and productivity and expand the planted area, the country has an opportunity to land a place among the top 3 hazelnut
suppliers in the world, after Turkey and Italy. The American hazelnut industry, even though technology-intensive, is facing difficulties at growing and harvesting the hazelnut, as the hazelnut type most demanded on the world commodity market is being affected by a regionspecific disease. USA has only 1.4% of total hazelnut planting area (~12,200 ha), but its yield is much higher than in Georgia, as American hazelnut growers integrate innovative farming and best practices. Turkey is a price setter on the hazelnut market. In 2014 when the hazelnut harvest suffered from a severe frost in Turkey and output almost halved, hazelnut prices on the world market doubled from US$ 5.5 to US$ 11.5. This was rather beneficial for other nut exporting countries, including Georgia. In August 2015, prices were back to $4.5-5.0, and dipped further in September as the harvest outperformed forecasts. In 2015, according to the Istanbul Exporters Union, Turkey has already earned US$ 2.67bn in 7M15 and exported 208,000 tons of hazelnut. Georgian hazelnut exports in 1H15 increased 163% y/y in dollar terms and generated US$73.4mn in export revenues, up from US$ 28mn last year. Roughly ¾ of Georgian hazelnut exports went to the EU, where prices were 43% higher on average than in the CIS countries (2014 World Bank estimates). Italy, Germany, and Spain jointly imported 46% of hazelnuts exported
from Georgia. The largest importer from the CIS countries was Kazakhstan, accounting for 8% of Georgian hazelnut exports. Several international donors are active in the country with the aim to improve competitiveness of Georgian agricultural products, along with the living standards of the rural population. EU (through ENPARD - European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development) and USAID supply interested parties with relevant research and farmers with technical assistance, aiming to increase productivity and harvest quality. Furthermore, investment opportunities abound for post-harvest handling. As the harvest keeps increasing year after year, the drying, storage, and de-husking facilities are in high demand. The government of Georgia recently opened a hazelnut drying and storage facility in Darcheli, Zugdidi, close to the hazelnut growing grounds. The facility has drying and storage capacities of 24 tons and 500 tons, respectively, as per the MoA. Upon completion, the facility will be transferred to Darcheli Tkhili – a 500 member cooperative, as part of an effort to stimulate the development of farming cooperatives in Georgia. Further investments will be necessary as the current postharvest handling capacity is far from sufficient to accommodate the total harvest, according to the Hazelnut Exporters Association.
The Geor gian Identity Explained thr ough the Fight ffor or the GFF Pr esidenc y Georgian through Presidenc esidency By Zaza Jgharkava The two-month process that almost reached the point of life-and-death has come to an end with the election by the Georgian Football Federation of a new president. For the next four years the country’s number one sport will be led by the former captain of the national team and former half-defence of German ‘Schalke 04,’ Levan Kobiashvili. He beat the acting vice-president Rezo Arveladze by two votes to become the fifth president of the Federation. The main intrigue of the election was this minimal difference, which, as the battles at the Hotel Holiday Inn showed, was connected more to politics than sports. After the already former president of the Georgian Football Federation, Zviad Sichinava, stated following the UEFA Super Cup finals that he was resigning, it became topical who would take his position. Names of candidates were soon revealed. The Energy Minister Kakhi Kaladze gave a certain presentation of the governmental candidate when he stated that the Georgian football was in mud and Levan Kobiashvili would drag the country out of it with the help of the state. After these words, no one had any doubts that Georgian Dream would try to conquer the last bastion of the previous government. Until now, the Football Federation was staffed with people from the United National Movement. Period. The
Georgian Dream could do nothing about this until now. Upon coming to power, the Georgian Dream called for Zviad Sichinava to resign. They even involved the prosecutor in this issue. However, after receiving the yellow card from the UEFA president Michel Platini, Sichinava waited for the expiration of his term. This day came on August 9, the day before the Super Cup finals. Battles took place on and off the field as the government started fighting for the vacancy of the Foodball Federation’s president. During those days, newspaper Kronika + wrote that Prime Minister Garibashvili had assigned this mission to the Ministry of Security and the ministry had further delegated the task to its subordinate structure – counter intelligence. The assignment was intensified by the fact that the governmental candidate is a distant relative of the former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, which truly doubled the assignment of the security services. Levan Kobiashvili and the billionnaire’s sister’s children had the same last name, therefore, were related. The government’s interest in football is nothing new if we ignore the election of the first president of the Football Federation when the Georgian Football Federation was still part of the Soviet Football Federations and the name of the new federation head was decided at the Chess Palace instead of in the cabinet of the Central Committee Secretary. In 1989,
when Tbilisi’s Dinamo and Kutaisi’s Torpedo left the football championship of the Soviet Union, and it became necessary to elect the first, truly independent leader, there was a similar confrontation between the legendary coach of Dinamo, Nodar Akhalkatsi and the legendary footballer of Dinamo, Kakhi Asatiani. The opinions of supporters was also divided. “Ordinary people” supported Akhalkatsi more. “The Elite” was in favor of Kakhi Asatiani. People gathered at the Chess Palace and the delegates elected Nodar Akhalkatsi to be the president of the federation. Confrontations also took place several times during the epoch of President Shevardnadze while the federation was electing Merab Zhordania. It reached boiling point when FIFA threatened to oust Georgia. This organization does not stand by when a state interferes in the affairs of football. Events followed almost the same scenario during the governance of Mikheil Saakashvili and now, during the rule of billionaire Ivanishvili and the Georgian Dream. It should be said that the security services managed to complete its mission. At the last moment, the opponent of the governmental candidate was detained for drug abuse charges and two more candidates were removed. Thus, Kobiashvili won. Against such a background, a question arises: What do all the authorities want with the presidency of the Football Federation? Why do they shed tears of joy after
victory or become so angry they are unable to hide it? It is hard to say. Seven million Laris, control over that which is in the power of the federation president, is not an amount truly worth so much effort. Seven million is the amount given by the state budget to football. Then what causes the government’s passion for football? The only correct answer can be that football is the sport of the masses and beloved of people, the voters. Leaving football-loving voters and the authority over that beloved sport to opponents is equal to losing in the bigger elections, i.e. the bigger political picture, which means control over a 10 billion Lari budget. This is why they are fighting and “eating each other.” If not, how can they help Georgian football? What can become of Georgian football before the election of the Football
Federation’s president leaves the impression that it is a football superpower country. This constant, obviously pathological confrontation that has been repeating for years, from session to session, in fact hinders the development of Georgian football much more than lack of money or stadiums and playgrounds. What should we do? Nothing. Drink cold bear, enjoy the premier league and primer division or good appearances of small Switzerland or Slovenia at world championships. No one will restore the Soviet Union with the resources of totalitarian mobilization characteristic to it, and it takes historical evolution to collect the necessary skills of a collective effort. Thus, not years but decades or even more are needed and new generations with a totally different and updated national mentality, i.e. a new identity.
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OCTOBER 9 - 15
State Minister of Diaspora: Offering the Right Goals and Philosophy By Eka Karsaulidze The recent alarming situation involving refugees in Europe once again put the spotlight on the very difficult situation with emigration from Georgia. The Office of the State Minister of Georgia for Diaspora Issues has been working hard and has introduced a number of important events and initiatives throughout the last few years. One of them is Global Diaspora Week, which will take place in Tbilisi, on October 11-17, 2015. Prior to this event, Georgia Today met with Mr. Gela Dumbadze, the State Minister for Diaspora Issues, to discuss the Office’s work, emigration problems, the upcoming Diaspora Week and the Leuville Chateau. Q: Global Diaspora Week is already the second large diaspora event this year. What can you tell us about it? What awaits us next week? A: In the framework of Diaspora Days, we conducted a Professional Forum this May. It was the first professional platform at which local residents and officials could meet with Georgian professionals working abroad. I am glad to announce that it was a very successful project. Now we are excited to open the second Global Diaspora Week with the participation of diplomatic corps and our honored guests – my Turkish, Azerbaijani, Armenian counterparts, high-ranking experts from the US, UK, Czech Republic, Germany and many other countries – people who work on the issues of emigration and diaspora. Georgia’s Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili will open the event and highlight the main topic of the Week – Diaspora Investment and its Importance for the Georgian Economy. Q: The economical theme seems to be the main focus when discussing diaspora issues.
Mr. Gela Dumbadze, the State Minister for Diaspora Issues.
A: Diaspora investments in /the/ Georgian economy are significant due to the fact that 12% of annual GDP is made up of diaspora money transfers. We will talk about this more at our Economic Forum on October 13. We will also give an opportunity to diaspora representatives, who already have investments here, to share their experiences with all stakeholders and ministries. We will also offer a tour in Sighnaghi, Kakheti region, where our guests will be able to see the best examples of diaspora investments. Q: In addition to business topics, you pay a lot of attention to cultural and information issues. A: In the framework of the Global
Diaspora Week we will have informationsharing and a concert with the participation of diaspora celebrities. Our Office also plans to open Giorgi Danelia’s sidewalk star outside Rustaveli Cinema. In fact, it is our everyday job to attract the attention of the public, state and all structures to diaspora potential and to involve them in Georgia’s development. Q: Diaspora face many problems abroad. Do you assist in tackling those problems? A: It’s one of the priorities of our Office. Diaspora all around the world have different problems and we conduct regular meetings with them to study their needs, connect with the right government
structure, involve media representatives and attract public attention to this problem. In particular, there are some special regions. The biggest Georgian diaspora is in Russia and Greece. A new wave of economic crisis in Greece seemed to create a lot of problems with repatriation that did not correspond to reality. Despite this, throughout this year, I visited Greece many times and monitored developments. There is quite a different situation in Russia. According to unofficial sources, about half a million Georgians are in emigration there and, due to the absence of diplomatic relations, we are not allowed to go there and fulfill our obligations. Nevertheless, our fellow citizens often visit us in Georgia and ask for consultation or help to cope with some problems. Q: What can you name as the biggest achievement of your Office in all these years? A: We know that after returning home, our Office is not obliged to serve former emigrants, but we still take on this responsibility, because for many years we kept in touch with these people. We carry out the role of the provider. If they have problems with education, together with our consultant they go to the Ministry of Education to solve them, if there are some economic problems, we send them to various investment companies, and so on. The second big achievement is that we have created new platforms where people are able to exchange experience and contacts; raise the level of diaspora organizations; and have an opportunity to use the conditions of our memorandum with the World Bank, USAID, and foreign embassies. This enables diaspora to develop their projects. Q: You met the French authorities to discuss the Leuville Chateau issue. What was the result of this meeting?
A: Leuville Chateau is a place of extreme importance for Georgia and its people and I can say that it is another achievement from our side. After twelve years, we have every reason to believe that we will sign the agreement of Leuville Chateau’s transfer to Georgia in 2016. The Government of Georgia allocated more than 100,000 Euros to transform and maintain the venue within this transfer agreement. In future, a group of wellknown Parisian architects and designers will be part of a team to remodel Leuville Chateau. We will protect the Chateau, which is considered as a little part of Georgia in France. Q: There is a very serious issues concerning refugees in Europe nowadays. At the same time a large number of Georgian emigrants are scattered throughout the world. Do you have any tools to help stop this exodus [from Georgia] and make Georgia attractive to our diaspora? A: We call it the “Eternal dream”. I’m realist and know that diaspora face many problems in returning to Georgia and many of them are forced to go back into emigration. The only solution is in our unity. We all should get together – government, local people and diaspora - for Georgia’s wealth and prosperity. The majority of our emigrants do not have prestige work abroad, but receive better salaries. Therefore, if a teacher here is guaranteed a 1000 GEL salary, she will be more likely to come back. If a businessperson knows that Georgia is a better country to launch a construction project, he will perhaps choose it over Turkey and other countries. It seems to me that another achievement of our Ministry is the offering of the right goals and philosophy, without any illusions. We just need to build our country’s future together.
Life of Syrian Refugees in Berlin’s LaGeSo By Tamar Svanidze Once, a friend of mine posted on his twitter a comment that he’d overheard on public transport in Berlin. An elderly woman asked (of the Syrian refugees): Is it really necessary for them to leave their country? This is a much discussed question these days in Germany, as the country received tens of thousands of asylum seekers from Syria. Since Germany opened its doors, more than 31,000 refugees from the Middle East have come to stay in the country. Before they are given housing and official refugee status in Germany, they are allowed to stay at the State Office of Health and Social Affairs (LaGeSo), the official asylum registration center for processing by the German authorities. The refugees often spend weeks there trying to get papers in order to live in Germany. The area where the refugees are gathered is often very chaotic, very different from Germany’s well-known nature of precision. People are wandering aimlessly near the center, most lying in the street and sleeping in the open before they are given accommodation and living permission. LaGeSo itself looks like a large park with several buildings surrounding it, and every inch is full- crowded with thousands of people seeking asylum, most from Syria. This is not a place where a person can stay comfortably for a long period of time. Here, people are registered, given First Aid, food and clothes and then eventually sent on their way.
Mohamed Ali, 22, has come to Germany alongside thousands of his compatriots from Syria. The young English interpreter was forced to leave his hometown, Homs, with his two brothers and sister. It was not easy for him to leave his homeland and try to begin life anew. “I’m lucky that I’m young and can rebuild my life again from scratch. Now I know that I’m safe, but for this I sacrificed my home and my parents, who have stayed in Homs,” he said. “Two days I spent between Syria and the Turkish border. We had to try and survive. Our plastic boat had broken in the middle of our journey and we had to reach the Greek island by swimming. It was a nightmare for me.” At the Social Center around two thousand Syrians move chaotically around. Large families with children are living in the open air and sleeping on the frosty earth of Berlin’s early autumn days. Children run in-between open legs, tired men sleep on their feet. That’s life at LaGeSo. Only volunteers are trying to sort with the chaotic situation and help the masses of confused people who have no idea where to start. Most refugees their do not understand German or even English. Volunteers give them food, clothing, hygiene products and advice how to get the papers they need. Food is provided three times a day, warm food once a day. They have unlimited access to water. Newcomers are given a piece of paper with a number on it and have to wait their turn- this can sometimes take more than a week. Then they are allowed to register.
Only after they have registered can the official asylum process begin. Christopher is volunteering at the Social Center and has been since the first day refugees started arriving in Germany’s capital city, Berlin. “The main problem is integrating these people into a new society. My personal opinion is that the German Government should provide native speaker interpreters to these people to explain the big picture of the current situation, because they cannot understand many things in Germany because they are from a different culture and society and this would ease their integration,” he said. What about the integration of newcom-
ers into Western culture? After they are granted asylum status they are allowed and supported to study German language and take up low paid jobs for the first time. After registering, refugees are housed in one of Germany’s 16 federal states according to a formula that takes tax revenue and population size into account. Housing is simple: shared rooms, bunk beds and washing facilities – but most refugees are just grateful to have even survived the journey to Germany. Mohamed Kalag, 28, from Aleppo, who has gained refugee status in Germany, has spent most of his life in immigration. He traveled from Russia to Lebanon and finally to Germany in an attempt
Adverts for German language courses at the LaGeSo center in Berlin, Germany.
to find a job for better life conditions. He could afford to escape from the bombings but his married sister refused to do the same despite the fact that their home is being shelled almost every day. His dream is to get his sister with him. “In my country being different is seen as a threat. It means that Assad’s government will take away everything; they will seize private property and block any way of development. When I realized I could not even breathe in my own country, I started to find alternative ways to survive and now I am here with big hopes for the future,” he said. He added “By the way I have a Georgian girlfriend, her name is Mariam and when I can manage my life here in Berlin I will propose. I know she will agree. We will get married!” The Syrian civil war is considered by some to be the worst humanitarian disaster of our time. In figures it’s estimated that 11 million Syrians have fled their homes since the outbreak of the civil war back in March 2011, taking refuge in neighboring countries or hiding in Syria itself. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) over 3 million have fled to Syria’s immediate neighbors: Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq, with 6.5 million being internally displaced within Syria itself. Meanwhile, around 150,000 Syrians have declared asylum in the European Union, while member states have pledged to resettle a further 33,000. The vast majority of these resettlement pledges come from Germany.
OCTOBER 9 - 15
LafargeHolcim and Georgian Company to Develop Concrete Market After the cement project, that involves a construction of Cement grinding station in Poti Lafarge-Holcim and Leader Cement’s cooperation format will expand. It will become bigger and will also include a ready-mix direction. LafargeHolcim was created in 2015 with the merger of two leaders in construction materials sector from French Lafarge and Swiss Holcim. The company is represented in 90 countries and is a leading player in cement, concrete, and aggregate business. The company has 115,000 employees. The group owns more than 2,500 plants around the world including over 1600 in ready mix, over 180 in cement and 70 grinding plants. R&D is the cornerstone of innovation at LafargeHolcim. The Swiss-based Group combines best-in-class technical expertise, the latest equipment, and the most noteworthy international research partners to offer an R&D capacity that is unmatched in our sector. The company Leader Cement is cooperating with LafargeHolcim to finish the construction of a cement grinding plant in Poti that
will produce 250 000 thousand tons of cement annually in the initial stage. The Leader Cement team was invited to France in order to get acquainted with the up to date achievements of LafargeHolcim in cement and concrete production. During the visit representatives of
Leader Cement visited LafargeHolcim’s state-of-the-art Research Center in Lyon. Q: What is the current status of construction of the Poti cement plant and when will it be finished? A: The construction of the plant began in 2014. The construction process will be finished at the end of this year. After testing period and PAC certification, the plant will be put to use at full capacity, producing 250-300k tons of cement per year. Our company has a strategic development plan that is made up of several phases. If demand for cement increases on the market, we will be able to increase the capacity. The possibility of such an upgrade is incorporated in our plant design. Q: The construction of such a large cement plant and its successful operation is associated with many risks and challenges. A: Before the implementation of the project, a feasibility study was carried out. The study showed that the western Georgian market was largely served by imported Turkish cement. There was still enough space for one bigger player.
We hastened to decide as soon as possible because we were afraid that another foreign company would be keen to enter Georgian market. If that happened, there would not be any place on the saturated market, and we would have lost the opportunity. The implementa-
Merab Chikhradze partner of LafargeHolcim in Georgia.
tion of several large industrial and infrastructure projects, including largescale plants and a new port in Western Georgia, was a further incentive for us. We aim to fully supply the companies and provide them with a diversified product range. The development of in-
frastructure creates some challenges. We will fully address this problem with our tailor-made products including slag cement that is aimed at big HPP’s. Q: How protected are eco norms in your plant? Cement production is a heavy industry which means that it has problems with pollution… A: In this regard, our plant will be among the best in the region. The plant will be equipped with 11 dust collection filters to ensure air purity of up to d” 30mg/Nm3 that beats air quality standards allowed under Georgian legislation. Leader Cement pays special attention to eco norms. Our aim is to produce high-quality cement without adversely affecting the environment. Q: You just returned from France where you visited the research center of LafargeHolcim. A: The research center of LafargeHolcim is quite impressive. With an annual budget 112 Million Euro its 223 engineers and technicians seek to understand physical and chemical mechanisms and elaborate new technologies. The 15,000 m² site boasts state-of-the-art laboratories, pilot workshops and tech-
nology buildings for large-scale testing. As the new leader of the building materials industry, LafargeHolcim has leveraged its high-level research capabilities and experienced industrial know-how to develop the best range of multi-purpose concrete products and solutions on the market. Q: How would you assess your visit to France and what are your plans for future? A: During our visit, we met with the representatives of LafargeHolcim top management. We have a long-term development plan that consists of several stages. Therefore, it was planned that after this cement project our cooperation format will expand. It will become bigger and will include also a ready-mix direction. First a plant we will be installed in Tbilisi, then gradually we will reach out to the whole of Georgia. In Western Georgia we will have good synergy with our cement plant. Q: What type of concrete will you offer local consumers? A: After preparation works we will begin the implementation of a ready-mix production project in Tbilisi that will be equipped according to LafargeHolcim standards and will be unique to this particular region. According to our plan, after Tbilisi our project will be implemented also in other cities. Our aim is to introduce European standards on the market. We saw that there is a demand also for special concretes. So we have decided that it is time we provide such innovative products to Georgian builders that will enable them to curb all existing challenges. With the help of the most advanced R&D facilities worldwide, LafargeHolcim has developed the most innovative range of ready-mix, prefabricated concrete solutions and services. They are designed to support buildings and infrastructure construction players in meeting their challenges: CO2 footprint reduction and energy efficiency of buildings, costs and speed of construction and worksite productivity. Q: What can you offer your customers? A: We will offer stable service, timely deliveries and solutions tailored to individual needs. Our production is designed for modern constructions. That is why we will offer architects such concrete products that will enable them to create visually appealing buildings. This will help them to fulfill their ideas and work with such construction materials that will improve the architectural and visual appearance of the buildings.
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OCTOBER 9 - 15
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ICCA: Strengthening the Construction and Business Sector
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Green Budapest to Celebrate One Year Anniversary
International construction company Maqro Construction will be celebrating the one year anniversary of one of its most important residential complexes, Green Budapest, on October 9th. The event will be attended by 300 guests, among them
the Minister and Deputy Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, the Mayor of Tbilisi, the company’s management, representatives of partner companies and Green Budapest residents. After the official part the guests will see the show rooms, followed by unofficial part: live music, a Georgian and European buffet, the cake cutting, and distribution of gifts. Most important, the residents will have the opportunity to meet each other. “We do our best to meet our clients’ interests with sales groups working with each of the clients individually. The anniversary celebration is a confirmation of our respect for our clients. We’d like them to get better acquainted with each other and make friends in a comfortable atmosphere,” General Director of the company, Murat Avci, told Georgia Today. Purchasing a new apartment means improving living conditions and changing your life for the better. But comfort counts tenfold in your own apartment when the company takes care of the everyday problems of residents right from the start;
takes those problems into consideration and creates the ideal conditions to solve or make things easier. The intensity of a city makes each second wasted on basic services significant. Residents of Green Budapest will be provided with a number of services in their own protected area. And this is granted to them by the company Maqro Construction whose main working principle is to create maximum comfort. The 11700 sq. meter residential complex of Green Budapest offers 351 European-standard apartments with complete renovation - bathroom set, kitchen furniture and builtin appliances. Diverse infrastructure includes a basketball court, treadmill, skateboard ramp and children’s playgrounds, child care and fitness centers. The first floor will be devoted to the primary use of the goods stores, beauty salons, entertainment and recreational centers, cafes and other important facilities. The complex is located in the city center and is surrounded by a recreational area that is a guarantee of a healthy ecological and cozy environment. The construction is carried out with the latest safe materials. Residents are given the
unique opportunity to select the color and quality of internal repair materials on their own. Additionally, construction is going on at a rapid pace and will end in May 2016 instead of September of that year. Residential area protection, cleaning, green area care-protection will be free of charge during a year. Maqro Construction is one of the largest investors in Georgia and has invested in the country’s economy since 2013. During this short period the company has implemented such large-scale projects as furniture factory Belissa and Teleset, residential project Green Budapest, and international four-star hotel Mercure Tbilisi Old Town. Based on the preliminary data of 2015 of the National Statistics Office of Georgia, Maqro Construction’s two important projects, residential Complex Green Budapest ($45 m.) and hotel Mercure Tbilisi Old Town ($16 m.) are the top direct foreign investments in Georgia. Live Happily! Maqro Construction will take care of the rest!
OCTOBER 9 - 15
On the way to MAPIC Georgia Today had the privilege to meet Nina Kipiani, Country Director of Cushman & Wakefield | Veritas Brown (CW|VB), to discuss the upcoming international retail property market event MAPIC to be held on November 18 – 20 in Cannes, France. Nina Kipiani joined CW | VB in 2012 as a Senior Real Estate Consultant and was responsible for coordinating the company’s agency services across the region. Nina has seven years’ experience in commercial real estate brokerage, including four years heading up Rakeen’s internal sales team and two years as a senior leasing manager in Turkmall. Currently, Nina is heading the Georgian office as Country Director for CW | VB. Georgia Today: What is MAPIC? Nina Kipiani, Country Director of Cushman & Wakefield | Veritas Brown (CW|VB): Since 1995, MAPIC has gathered the world’s leading retail real estate professionals under one roof to foster innovation, build partnerships and spark deals during three days of dedicated conferences, exhibitions and networking events. Having celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2014, MAPIC has become a major industry event gathering 8,400+ international participants, including over 2,400 retailers and 2,300 property developers for exhibitions, conferences and networking events targeting all types of retail property: city and shopping centers, factory outlets, leisure areas and transit zones. MAPIC gives the opportunity to stay on top of retail real estate trends, launch new products and find great stories. It’s a great opportunity to join live debates, hear from key industry players and discover the latest retail and property trends. To sum up, it gives the best platform for retailers to gather new contacts with the view of efficient future cooperation for achieving targeted goals; thus we are looking forward to MAPIC being held next month in Cannes. Q: What are the projects that you are presenting at MAPIC? A: As CW|VB we have already attended MAPIC for four years at the Cushman & Wakefield (CW) stand. Unlike previous years, CW | VB will have its own stand separated from the main CW exhibition stand, therefore we will enjoy the pros of being a part of CW and the indi-
Nina Kipiani, Country Director of Cushman & Wakefield | Veritas Brown (CW|VB)
vidual presence as CW | VB, presenting not only the global clients of the large global firm but also the projects from the regions that we cover. The idea for our stand-alone presentation was determined by the volume of projects that we represent though CW|VB. CW and CW|VB stands will be located next to each other as alliance partners’ under one umbrella. Q: What are the projects that you will present as CW | VB? A: As CW | VB we are promoting six main retail projects from Kazakhstan and Georgia, like the St. Regis Astana, the luxury hotel and residential project located in Astana central park. The new-build hotel will have 120 guest rooms, including 18 suites and a Presidential Suite. For meetings and events, the hotel will have a ballroom, five meeting rooms and a business center. The hotel has the podium of high street retail accommodation seats below the residences providing premium retail and food facilities, and CW|VB will be the exclusive agent for this project. One of the most important projects is EXPO -2017. On November 22, 2012 Astana was chosen by the International Exhibitions Bureau (BIE) to host EXPO-2017, focusing on the “Future Energy” theme. More than 100 countries and 10 international organizations are expected to participate. Around 23 million people are expected to visit the international pavilions from June to September 2017. This is a massive project and we are excited to be the lead retail broker and consultant. Apart from the capital city of Georgia, we actively promote the
Black Sea Coast, with projects such as “Atlas Georgia” which is an integrated development that will be built on an area of approximately 4 hectares in Batumi. The CW|VB team were requested to undertake a development feasibility study for the proposed project and, as the exclusive retail agent for this project, will be representing Atlas Georgia on MAPIC. And last but not least we will present Merani Center, which is located on Rustaveli Avenue, with very good transport accessibility from both the historic part of the city and the modern center of the city. We are looking forward to attending the exhibition and of course our expectations are optimistic. Q: What kind of outcome are you looking for? A: During the last few years we have been introduced to many useful contacts at MAPIC and, as a result of these meetings, we have completed many successful deals and have some projects in the pipeline. One of the core projects that we implemented within the framework of MAPIC is “Defacto” which we brought to the Georgian market. Therefore, from this perspective we are extremely positive about the upcoming events and hope that our mutual relations with all MAPIC participants and interested parties will be extremely beneficial and the result of our intensive work will be positively reflected on the Georgian market.
Q: What are your future plans? A: As you know, with over 200 participants, the Investment Forum Batumi 2015 was successfully held in Batumi at the Hilton Hotel in the Black Sea region of Adjara. The event was organized by Cushman & Wakefield | Veritas Brown together with the Georgian National Investment Agency and the Government of Autonomous Republic of Adjara. The forum brought together key policy-makers, government officials, investors and business people who discussed different investment opportunities and business prospects across the Adjara region and Georgia. Delegate feedback was highly positive and Cushman & Wakefield | Veritas Brown can announce that several high profile projects in Batumi as well as in other areas of Georgia have received investor pre-contacts as a direct result of the conference. A similar forum was organized in London in May 2015 by CW|VB and the Georgian National Investment Agency which showed reported success. Georgia demonstrated itself as an opportunistic market for investment and gained further international recognition as a competitive country to invest in. From all of the above you can see that we enjoy close collaboration with the Georgian government in the framework of investment forums. We are also planning to participate in the upcoming Silk Road Forum. CW|VB provides a full range of real estate services and is in a position to meet all kinds of client requirements. Taking into consideration the country’s promising prospect, especially in the hospitality sector, we are seeking to increase our resources in this direction and commit to new projects. What’s more, the Government is working on different projects to redevelop and create other tourist destinations. We see great potential to add value through our services. Cushman & Wakefield has given permission to expand our footprint across the region and open new offices. Therefore, I assume that we have busy and positive years ahead of us! www.veritasbrown.com
Arbitration Days in Tbilisi 2015 Tbilisi is hosting an international conference “Regional Development of Arbitration – Reality, Challenges and Perspectives”. The three-day event, which was opened on 8 October 2015, is part of the annual Arbitration Days in Tbilisi and is organised by the Georgian International Arbitration Center (GIAC) with financial support from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The Conference was opened by Nino Chikovani,
President of the Georgian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI). Dimitri Kumsishvili, Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia; Nino Bakakuri, Georgia Supreme Court judge; H.E. Johannes (Jos) Douma, Ambassador of the Netherlands to Georgia and Armenia; and Shombi Sharp, acting Head of UNDP in Georgia, addressed participants at the opening session. The first day of the Conference was marked with the signing of an Agreement on Cooperation between the Georgian In-
ternational Arbitration Center (GIAC) and the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), an intergovernmental arbitral institution established to facilitate arbitration and other forms of dispute resolution between states. The Memorandum creates new opportunities for the GIAC to share the PCA practice, engage in joint educational activities and cooperate on dispute resolution cases. The Conference also provides opportunities for lawyers, students and young practitioners to attend seminars and master classes organised by the US-
based International Center for Dispute Resolution (ICDR) – the largest provider of global arbitration and dispute resolution, and the International Council for Commercial Arbitration (ICCA). The Conference “Regional Development of Arbitration – Reality, Challenges and Perspectives” will continue until 10 October 2015, bringing together a wide range of Government officials, representatives of civil society and international organizations, as well as leading international experts in the area of arbitration.
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BUSINESS ICCA: Strengthening the Construction and Business Sector By Ana Akhalaia The role of construction companies in the country’s economy and infrastructure development was one of the main topics that was discussed at the presentation of the Infrastructure Construction Companies Association (ICCA). The presentation of the new Association took place at Holiday Inn on October 8. The NGO was founded in June by 18 companies which work on infrastructure projects including roads and bridges, reconstruction and the construction of state-owned buildings. The head of the ICCA, Zviad Toidze, discussed issues which led to the formation of the Association and its goals. He spoke about the importance of strengthening the construction sector with the agreement of the government, international organisations and the business sector; institutional development of the companies involved in the sector; also the pro-active role of the business sector in the economic development process of Georgia.
The head of the ICCA, Zviad Toidze.
“There are some gaps in the law that the previous government failed to eliminate. The goal of the Association is to work on these issues with the appropri-
Attendees at the ICCA presentation.
ate agencies. We have to involve international experts to adjust the procurement law,’’ Toidze said. Everyone has the right to participate in tenders for construction. However, gaps in the law were revealed which hinder healthy competition. For example, for most of the companies in the ICCA it is impossible to participate in online (electronic) tenders as many have limited budgets following the depreciation of the Georgian Lari. Some companies take advantage of this situation and even decrease their prices sometimes by 50%. This results in damage which is ultimately sustained by the state when projects are not completed or can only be completed with poor quality. In many cases it turns out that the tender commission is focused on low price and the issue of quality is insignificant. “Many strong construction companies are capable of ensuring better quality. These companies point to this gap in the law where price has more significance than quality. Of course, we are working on this,” said Eka Sepashvili, Deputy Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure of Georgia. “Quality should be the main goal. Georgia signed the Association Agreement last year. There are a lot of technical regulations and quality requirements in the Agreement that apply to the construc-
tion sector that should be introduced in some years. The terms of the Association Agreement are strictly defined.’’ Another issue is that no Georgian company is involved in large international tenders due to a lack of experience. This is another of the reasons why the ICCA was founded. “All the construction companies have the same problems,” said Davit Choladze, the founder of ‘Construction Company N1’ and member of the ICCA board. “The preparation of tender documents, procurement law, providing experts for facilities, national currency devaluation, the standardisation of materials, quality control and many other issues. If we want European standards we should work with the government and agencies. The goal of the Association is to help builders to solve these problems,” he added. “Different construction companies want to join the ICCA every day. The only restriction is that they have to be conscientious and have a good business reputation. This is the main requirement that we, the board members, consider,’’ Toidze said. The presentation was attended by government and business sector representatives (banks, insurance companies, construction companies), international organizations (USAID, EBRD, World Bank), NGOs and other associations.
British Council Celebrates Customer Service Week By Meri Taliashvili Customer Service Week is a week of opportunity to raise awareness of customer service and the crucial role it plays in successful business performance and growth of the economy. It is observed annually in the first week of October worldwide. Georgia Today met with Zaza Purtseladze, Director of the British Council in Georgia, and Salome Shalamberidze, Customer Service Coordinator of British Council and winner of Global Customer Service of 2013, to find out what Customer Service Week deals with and how it is celebrated in Georgia. Q: Salome, what is Customer Service Week? A: Customer Service Week is a very important event celebrated differently in every country. In the UK it is called the National Customer Service Week. During one week in October, all the organizations celebrate it. The main idea is to highlight customer service in almost all fields that develop and grow business. During the week, organizations get the opportunity to emphasize the value of their customer service team, specifically employees who work at the frontline and directly face customers. Secondly, they get to thank customers for being loyal and for trusting in the organizations. For the organizations it is a unique opportunity to demonstrate that they value and care about their customers. Q: How do you celebrate Customer Service Week in Georgia? A: In Georgia, British Council has been celebrating this week for many years, choosing different themes each year that are important for customer service. This year our theme is attracting, winning and retaining customers. This
The British Council thanks its Team in support of Customer Service Week.
is a holistic approach to customer service that organizations should apply to every aspect of their processes, procedures, quality control and strategy in order to succeed. Our organization is working very hard on getting the whole organization to have this marketing, selling and policy of delivering as one team. Because customer service does not deal with only frontline staff. It is marketing; the message that goes from the organization, finishing with the policy ‘we promised and we deliver.’ We started our 2015 celebration with World Teachers’ Day and had a meeting in-house. We thanked our teachers for their hard work and they felt valued and a part of our chain. Additionally, throughout the week we’re collecting customer feedback and will be posting it on Facebook for promotion. Also, we have two winner customers we awarded with who joined our teaching center in autumn 2013 and have since reached their advanced level. We met them personally and thanked them for their loyalty. This is very rewarding to see how many people trust us. We will also be going to schools, delivering presentations about exam activities, the teaching center, conducting lessons to show them what our
courses are like. We try to spread information and hope other organizations will join us in celebrating this week. Q: Zaza, what does customer service mean to the British Council? A: We take customer service very seriously. Customer Service Week is hugely important for the success of our business operation, particularly for our teaching center. We want excellence of customer service in our country. We have an absolutely brilliant customer service team, working very hard to help our customers, to make their journey easier and provide them with the best possible services. Once again, I think that success of our teaching operation hugely depends on customer service. That’s why we take it very seriously and want to share this information with other organizations in Georgia and to acknowledge the importance of customer service in general. FROM THE EDITOR: In the spirit of Customer Service Week, Georgia Today would like to thank its loyal Readers and hard-working Team. Georgia Today has been going for a fabulous 15 years and goes from strength-tostrength- something that it could not do without your support!
OCTOBER 9 - 15
Multi-Clinic Innova Opens in Tbilisi with Support of Bank of Georgia A new multifunctional clinic, Innova, opened on Sandro Euli Street #7 last week. The clinic’s main areas of work will include neurosurgery, gynecology, traumatology, and general surgery. The head of Innova, Giorgi Kipiani, addressed the gathered audience on the opening day of the clinic. “We are very pleased to open a new multifunctional clinic in Tbilisi. Innova is equipped with ultra-modern medical technology. We have gathered the best specialists of the South Caucasus region in our clinic. Starting today, the population of Georgia will have an opportunity to get medical treatment of the highest quality at our clinic. A large portion of Georgia’s population is enrolled in the Universal Healthcare program. Today, there is no medical center that is not part of the Universal Healthcare program, and we are also going to be cooperating with it,” the head of the clinic noted. Innova’s founder is Tbilisi Central Hospital, which still continues to invest in the medical field. This is Tbilisi Central Hospital Group’s second totally new medical clinic. The project was fully financed by the Bank of Georgia, which contributed financially not only in the construction, but also the acquisition of inventory. Bank of Georgia has been actively involved in the healthcare field in Georgia for the last couple of years. The Bank plans to continue crediting in order to financially assist healthcare projects that have great promise. “Today, yet another high-tech medical center opened in Tbilisi. I am delighted that the clinic has been equipped with the latest technology,” said Minister of Health David Sergeenko. “The clinic has
David Sergeenko, Minister of Health, and Giorgi Kipiani, Head of Innova tour the new clinic.
well-thought out fully functional equipment which will allow clinic personnel to aptly respond to any new challenges facing it,” he said, before adding: “Innova is practically a universal center. There are more than 104 beds in the clinic, along with a large ambulatory. I wish success to my colleagues.” “The Bank of Georgia is very active in financing the health sector. We have financed three projects from this group already. The previous two projects were very successful and I’m confident this next project will also be a success,” the Bank of Georgia Deputy Director-General said. Innova clinic has 7,000 square meters of space and is equipped with the latest high-technology. It has 8 operational blocks, 30-bed intensive care, and a 70-bed hospital space. The clinic also has a high-tech diagnostic center where such professional and successful doctors as Mr. Aghlemashvili, Vadim Khatiashvili, Rezo People, Irakli Todua, Gocha Chutkerashvili, Irakli Chelishvili, David Datoshvili and Zurab Narimanidze will work together.
12 Reasons You Should Drink Beer The 12 benefits of drinking beer: 1. Beer keeps your kidneys healthy. A Finnish study singled out beer among other alcoholic beverages, finding that it was better for your kidneys. In fact, each bottle of beer you drink reduces the risk of developing kidney stones by 40%. 2. Beer for better digestion. Beer, and especially dark beer, contains up to one gram of soluble fibre* in each 30 cl glass - unlike wine, which doesn’t contain any fibre at all. Fibre plays an important role in intestinal transit (a fibre deficiency can cause gastric and intestinal disorders such as constipation or diarrhoea). 3. Beer to lower your bad cholesterol. The fibre in beer can also help reduce your levels of LDL cholesterol, i.e. the “bad” type of cholesterol. 4. Beer can increase your vitamin B levels. Beer contains several B vitamins (B1, B2, B6 and B12). A Dutch study found that beer drinkers had 30 percent higher levels of vitamin B6 than their non-drinking counterparts, and levels that were twice as high as those of wine drinkers. Beer is also a generous source of vitamin B12, an anti-anaemic factor not found in many foods. 5. Beer for stronger bones. A 2009
study concluded that the elevated levels of silicon in beer can contribute to higher bone density. 6. Beer as a cure for insomnia. Lactoflavin and nicotinic acid, which are both present in beer, can promote sleep! 7. Beer reduces your risk of a heart attack. Beer drinkers have a 40 to 60 percent reduced risk of suffering a heart attack compared with non-beer drinkers. 8. Beer helps prevent blood clots. The ingredients in beer help prevent blood clots from forming. 9. Beer boosts your memory. According to studies, beer drinkers are less likely to suffer from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia than non-beer drinkers. 10. Beer helps combat stress. Researchers at the University of Montreal found that two glasses of beer a day can reduce work-related stress or anxiety. 11. Beer as a cold remedy. Drinking warm beer is an excellent cold remedy! When barley is warmed up it improves blood circulation and helps you breathe when you feel congested. It also provides relief for joint pain and boosts your immunity. So, how do you prepare it? Heat a bottle of beer in a double boiler and then add four small teaspoons of honey. 12. Beer makes skin more beautiful. Good news for women! Certain vitamins in beer can regenerate the skin and have a positive impact on pigmentation. Your skin becomes smoother and suppler. Convinced? Then let’s go! Two beers for memory, two for better digestion, another for better bone density, one for your kidneys and the rest as a cold remedy… Normally this should guarantee good health, right? (J). Of course, Doctor “GoodFood” is joking. The idea is not to get drunk every night, but instead to enjoy a nice refreshing beer now and then, without excess!
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Azz edine Alaia’ s De but F Azzedine Alaia’s Deb Frragrance No w on Geor gian Mar ket Now Georgian Mark Hundreds of perfumes are released each year, but only a few of are awaited so eagerly and for so long with such a level of anticipation. Azzedine Alaïa is known for his perfectionism and his strong ties to freedom from which he never compromises, to the degree that he is known to hold fashion shows only when he has something to show. Now I am holding the heavy glass flacon in my hand and admiring it in all its glory. The gorgeous black bottle is embossed with a pattern of one of Alaïa’s laser-cut designs and it is completed in its gold & black luxuriousness by a gold cap. The composition is signed by perfumer Marie Salamagne. It opens as a fresh spicy fragrance. You’ll find the steaming blend of water and chalk mostly in the top notes, which read as a special effect more than as individual notes — on skin, it’s fresh, airy, mineral, peppery, and warm all at once. The heart of the scent has a transparent floral character and yet smells like no flower in nature, and the base is likewise abstract- musky ambery woods, warmish but not at all heavy, with a slight but lingering mineral undertone. It was the desire of Alaïa to blend all into a sensual, lightly smoky and musky, slightly powdery direction which is very pleasant and unique. Alaïa Eau de Parfum screams luxury, confidence, intimacy and sophistication. Alaïa’s Eau de Parfum is now available in Georgia at Ici Paris stores in 30, 50 and 100 ml.
OCTOBER 9 - 15
ASB: Getting Kids R ead y to F ace Disaster Read eady Face By Eka Karsulidze Georgia is a highly disaster-prone region with a hazard-profile of floods, earthquakes, droughts, storms, landslides, mudflows, avalanches and other extreme climate events. The disastrous flood of June 13 in Tbilisi is evidence of this. That is why Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund’s (ASB) project We are Ready! – Building Disaster Resilient Preschools in Georgia seems of vital importance. The project was started on June 2014 and over 18 months experts are teaching kindergarten children and their teachers how to behave during disasters. Care-givers receive child centered First Aid trainings, so they have basic and necessary information how to save a child’s life before professional help arrives, and are involved in awareness-raising activities. The project also envisages provision where possible of equipment within kindergartens- fire extinguishers, megaphones, and First Aid kits to increase their disaster preparedness capacity. Organizers highlight that their main aim is to instill a culture of safety in children from the very early years. Trainings for children are fun and interactive – with response to disaster made into a memo-
rable game. Yet the children do understand the danger of natural disasters. In total 27,297 people, including 24,612 children, are benefiting directly from the Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) project and 344 preschool institutions are being covered in areas highly exposed to natural hazards and disaster risks, such as Georgian regions: Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti, Adjara, Samtkhe-Javakheti and Tbilisi. The project is realized in partnership with relevant ministries of the Government of Georgia: the Emergency Management Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Education and Science, Ministry of Environment Protection and Natural Resources, and Regional and Local Authorities – who each have a role to play in coordinating disaster management and reduction activities in order to ensure that the policy development for disaster risk reduction supports the sustainable results of the project. According to the latest reports, the ministries of Georgia endorse all DRR materials. The culture of safety is standardized and made into an integral part of the educational agenda. In addition, DRR is now introduced in SamtskheJavakheti University as a teaching course.
Preschool children during an ASB Disaster Risk Reduction training / ASB.
OCTOBER 9 - 15
UN Adopts Sustaina ble De velopment Goals Sustainab Dev In achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the joint effort and cooperation of countries and people across the world has demonstrated clearly the importance of the existence of a common global agenda in order to tackle challenges such as poverty eradication. Global reduction of the main challenges to development still remains relevant for the world despite having achieved impressive results in the last 15 years. This 15-year cycle of accomplishment of the Millennium Development Goals concludes this year. In practical terms, speaking of Georgia, delivering on the MDGs has meant real changes in people’s lives, from a significant reduction in extreme poverty to increased access to schooling for young children, from new laws to protect human rights and prevent discrimination to reduced child and maternal mortality, stronger measures to protect the environment and protect people from natural disasters, and much more. To maintain this momentum, address targets still not achieved under the MDGs and introduce critical new aspects, especially in the area of governance transparency and accountability, the world again came together at the UN last month to craft a new global agenda that defines world development priorities beyond 2015. The newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), reinforcing
the MDGs, are a global call to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all human beings enjoy peace and prosperity. The 17 Global Goals consist of 169 targets and will guide policy and funding for the next 15 years. Building on the successes of the MDGs, the Global Goals include new areas such as economic inequality, innovation, climate change, sustainable consumption, and peace and justice. The SDGs are universal, inclusive and a bold commitment to people and the planet. Shombi Sharp, Deputy Head of the UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) in Georgia, commented on the importance of the SDGs: “For middle-income and transition countries like Georgia, the Sustainable Develop-
ment Goals represent an important means of linking a broad range of important, interconnected development priorities within one framework. More than ever before, challenges such as making sure that growth not only exists, but that it is sustainable and its benefits broadly shared, that society is inclusive and protective of the rights of all citizens, and that the government is accountable – these are all both non-negotiable and fully achievable. We are now working with the Government Administration, which is already leading the way towards mapping how SDG targets relate to existing national priorities and strategies, from the Georgia 2020 document and the Association Agreement, to the National Human Rights
Strategy and Action Plan and many others, to mutually deliver on the aspirations so clearly demanded by over 10,000 Georgians in the post-2015 My World survey.” The 17 Sustainable Development Goals include: Goal 1- End poverty in all its forms, everywhere Goal 2 - End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture Goal 3 - Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all, at all ages Goal 4 - Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all Goal 5 - Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls Goal 6 - Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all Goal 7 - Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all Goal 8 - Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all Goal 9 - Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation Goal 10 - Reduce inequality within and among countries Goal 11 - Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
Goal 12 - Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns Goal 13 - Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts Goal 14 - Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development Goal 15 - Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss Goal 16 - Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels Goal 17 - Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development World leaders formally adopted the SDGs at a three day summit in New York at UN headquarters in September 25-27. All of the UN’s 193 Member States participated in the summit. The UNDP also co-organized the Social Good Summit, which ran parallel to the SDG Summit and examined the impact of technology and new media on human development worldwide. More than 100 countries hosted their own Social Good Summits in order to bring the Global Goals to prominence. The new SDGs and targets will be coming into effect on 1st January 2016.
Nobel Priz e ffor or Liter atur e Nominee anta Imbr agimo v: On War and F riendship Prize Litera ture Nominee,, K Kanta Imbra gimov: Friendship By Dimitri Dolaberidze For the second time, Chechen writer Kanta Imbragimov has been included in the list of official nominees for the Nobel Prize for Literature. Kanta Ibragimov was already nominated for the Nobel Prize in 2010 for his novel ‘Children’s World.‘ Georgia Today got the unique chance to meet the Nobel Nominee. Q. Mr. Ibragimov, you literally burst into the literature world relatively recently, immediately becoming the new discovery for creative writing lovers in many countries. Before that you were a scientist with international recognition and a very successful business. What prompted you to become a writer? A: The blessing of literary work, I received from my father, but it was war that forced me to take up the pen and start writing. Actually, I’d had a dream to become a writer since I was a child, especially after well-known writers visited our school. I was appalled by how and what they told us, how they were reading their poems. And their books! It was back then that I realized one day I wanted to hold a book in my hands which had been written by me. I even promised my grandfather that I would write a book about him, but all family members were scientists. Father had a Ph.D. in chemistry; he was a professor and academician. He wanted his children to follow in his footsteps by dedicating themselves to the science and to achieve considerable success in that field. As a result, five members of my family have a PH.D. At the age of 37 I obtained a PH.D. in economics, I was a professor, I had my own business, and I had a favorable position. My father knew about my most sacred desire of becoming a writer. He told me: “If you have ideas, if you are able to write, then write!” Times were hard and we needed the money to sustain our large family. But my father insisted: “If you distance yourself from literature, and devote all your time to business, you won’t be able to go back!” So I gave up the fight. The war at the end of 20th century brought unspeakable tragedy to my nation. I had
the feeling that I should write the truth about this war and about Chechens who were indiscriminately labeled as criminals. I also had to keep my promise to my grandfather. He had a very difficult fate; he went through unthinkable hardships, including Kolyma. I dedicated my first novel to him ‘Past War.’ In my mind the plan for the second novel was already born ‘Gray Caucasus,’ and again it was mostly about the war. Frankly speaking, I thought that I would write several books about the issues which were the most painful for me, which would show that Chechens are no worse or better than others. I only write on paper. It is absolutely different from typing on the computer; livelier, more soulful, that’s why you feel that you and your composition are part of one whole. Q. In Georgia there are many admirers of your talent, two of your books have been published in Georgia ‘Tale of East’ and ‘Stigal.’ We know that a third novel ‘Children’s World’ is being prepared for publishing. How will you please your Georgian readership this time? A. This novel is most sacred for me, most touching and most actual because this novel is about the children in war. In my novel is a boy asking the mute question: “Why is everyone beating us and shooting at us?” He lives surrounded by the smell of death and war, where a child’s world is painted in dark colors. Meanwhile, the boy is exceptionally talented in music; he is composing an anthem for peace for the new children’s world. Unable to cope with the hell of war, he takes a step torwards this other world. Children should not be aware of war. Unfortunately, they are. All over the world they know about it and adults are the ones who should be blamed for letting this happen. Q. There are many things which connect you with our country. You are the only foreigner to be a member of the committee of the National Academy of Sciences of Georgia. Tell us about your plans connected with Georgia. A. Can I firstly confess my love for this amazing country; Georgia? After all, mutual affection between Georgian and
Kanta Imbragimov in Kazbegi.
Chechen people was born not today but tested for centuries. Affection, friendship, love, respect, as well as cultural and scientific connections, all these constitute only small part of the mutual relations between our nations. I have plans to do everything in order to strengthen those cultural, literary, and scientific connections that have been recently weakened. Work in this direction has already started. Our frequent guest is the director of the Center for the Study of Problems in the Complex Development of Georgia (at the Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University), Doctor of Political Sciences, Levan Metreveli. The outcome of our meetings is the signing of agreements regarding cooperation between Tbilisi State University and Chechnya State University, also between The Georgian National Academy of Sciences and Academy of Sciences of the Chechen Republic, which includes exchange programs and joint scientific research in the fields of philology, history, culture and literature. Mr Metreveli and I are planning to establish a GeorgiaChechnya community of friendship to allow the exchange of experience regarding scientific-creative activities in the fields of culture, literature, history and science. I also plan to establish close relations with the Union of Writers of Georgia with the aim of creative exchanges and for the translation of literary works. Georgia is an ancient, developed, beautiful country, and we have a lot to learn and to adopt.
Q. You are actively engaged in public activities. Tell us a little about it. A. My main task at present is participation in the organizational committee of the Year of Literature in Russia which includes the organization of different events, book fairs, meetings with writers and the public, helping young writers and so on. In particular, right now we are preparing for the 85th anniversary of the Union of Writers of the Chechen Republic. Notably, we are also planning events connected with the 200th anniversary of outstanding painter Petr Zakharov-Chechenec. This is my topic- I’m involved in it both as a writer and as a public figure. As a writer I already published a book about the painter and am working on a second, as well as on a Catalogue-Album of the paintings of Zakharov with the expectation that next year will be announced the Year of Zakharov in our republic and the title of
Zakharov returned to the museum of the republic as it was named after Zakharov before the military actions.His heritage belongs not only to the Chechen people, but to all Caucasia in general. A little orphan boy who should, in that situation, have died but survived- taken care of by a Georgian monk… He went on to become a well-known 19th century painter, earning the status of a free painter. He retained his identity; he did not reject his roots and he signed his paintings: ‘Chechen from the DadaUrt’.’ I want to end with my love of Georgia, but this time with the words of Lermontov: And before him a picture Beauty blooming alive: Georgia, luxurious valley Carpets spread far; Happy, lush end of the earth.
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OCTOBER 9 - 15
In F t? Head o ver to the Geor gian Stand… Frrankfur ankfurt? ov Georgian By Katie Ruth Davies See below for the latest from those in the know and the program which starts next week. Q: The 2015 Frankfurt Bookfair is imminent. How do you see Georgia’s participation this year in contrast to previous years? THE GEORGIAN NATIONAL BOOK CENTER (Dea Metreveli): Participation of Georgia at the Frankfurt Book Fair and organizing the National Stand has always been among the main priorities for us. Since 2010 the dynamic of activities which Georgia is realizing within the framework of the Frankfurt Book Fair, is permanently increasing. This year Georgia will be presented with a renewed stand and enriched cultural program which will include several readings, presentations, performances and discussions. Traditionally, various Georgian writers will attend the Book Fair and participate in the events planned by the Georgian National Book Center, along with international partners. Three thematical catalogues, prepared specially for the Book Fair for the first time, will be presented to international publishers, partners and readers interested in Georgian contemporary as well as modern classic and non-fiction titles. THE PUBLISHER (Tina Mamulashvili of Bakur Sulakauri Publishing House): This year does not differ a lot from previous years - we prepared everything in advance and are ready meet our fellow publishers from all over the world to discuss new projects. Q: What do you hope to gain from this year’s Fair (in general and in readiness for being Guest of Honor in 2018)? THE GEORGIAN NATIONAL BOOK CENTER: We see the Frankfurt
Book Fair as the most beneficial international platform for presenting Georgian Literature and particularly Georgian authors to a wide range of readers. Starting in 2010, step by step we have been gaining international awareness which in fact got us to the point where Georgia was selected to be the Guest of Honor Country at the 2018 Frankfurt Book Fair. From the Book Fair this year, we expect to gain more experience by having consultations and working meetings with our partners who have been Guest of Honor in previous years. THE PUBLISHER: More information about e-books and new trends in digitalization of various kinds of books, including children’s; more new titles to translate and more Georgian rights sold abroad. Q: How are preparations going for Frankfurt 2018? THE GEORGIAN NATIONAL BOOK CENTER: Preparation for the Guest of Honor Presentation at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2018 started in 2014. The Georgian National Book Center as the LEPL organization was established under the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia right after signing the Agreement between the Georgian government and Frankfurt Book Fair to ensure that the working process, related with the Guest of Honour Presentation will be coordinated in relevance with the requirements of the project. So far we are meeting the deadlines set by the Frankfurt Book Fair, and the Georgian National Book Center, as the coordinator of the process, is in permanent touch with Frankfurt Book Fair management on the one hand and the state institutions within the Organizing Committee of the Guest of Honour project. THE PUBLISHER: Active preparations will start only next year. We are gradually preparing the translations and
catalogues, but more is planned for 2016. Georgian Program of the Frankfurt Book Fair 2015 October 14 / 15:00-16:00 Lesezelt / Agora LASHA BUGADZE ZEUS VS EUROPE (HOMO EX MACHINA) Reading / Performance: A crisis can appear in many forms – international crisis, ecological crisis, middle age crisis and the hardest one – economic crisis. The last one recently popularized Greece in a manner such as was unattainable even by the Acropolis. Storm-breaker Zeus got old and retired, Dionysus joined the Alcoholics Anonymous, Apollo started a modeling career, Hermes sells lottery tickets and silicon-addicted Aphrodite lost her beauty… Who will rescue Greece from eviction out of Europe? What will happen with the idea of a united Europe? Author: Lasha Bugadze focuses his critical and ironic attention on relationships between the generations, and he describes situations in which people fall victim to their prejudices, fixed ideas or stereotypes. October 14 / 17:00-18:00 Georgian National Stand / Hall 5.0 B 100 PROMOTING GEORGIAN LITERATURE ABROAD Presentation: Welcoming Reception at the Georgian National Stand accompanied by Georgian wine and snacks. Topic: Initiatives by the Georgian National Book Center / Medea Metreveli of the Georgian National Book Center Georgia’s young and dynamic book market / Gvantsa Jobava of the Georgian Publishers & Booksellers Association
October 15 / 17:00-17:30 Forum International Dialogue / Hall 5.1, A128 SHOTA RUSTAVELI KNIGHT IN THE PANTHER’S SKIN Shota Rustaveli’s Knight in the Panther’s Skin is regarded as the national epic of Georgians. The 1955 German adaptation by Hugo Huppert, reprinted in the present edition, attempts to render the style and content of the epic as closely as possible. The volume is decorated with 54 illuminations from the 17th-18th century manuscript, which exhibit strong influences of Persian models in their filigreed design. Moderation: Prof. Manana Tandashvili / Goethe University Frankfurt Participants: Prof. Dr. Jost Gippert / Goethe University Frankfurt; Ursula Reichert / Reichert Verlag
October 16 / 16:00-17:00 Lesezelt / Agora ZAZA BURCHULADZE ADIBAS Presentation / Discussion: Zaza Burchuladze and Jurij Andruchowytsch on Burchuladze’s Adibas. Writers will talk about literary writing in politically uneasy times. Author: Zaza Burchuladze’s narratives often startle the reader with his experimental way of writing and provocative themes that he takes up, in most cases considered taboos. He writes about political conformity, violence and brutality, addressing ideological and religious topics as well as sexuality. Adibas is his first book published in German. Moderation: Lasha Bakradze / Georgian Literature Museum Participant: Jurij Andruchowytsch / Aufbau Verlag
October 16 / 11:30-12:00 Forum International Dialogue / Hall 5.1, A128 FOUR GEORGIAN TITLES BY POP VERLAG Presentation: Four Georgian authors, four different stylistic and thematic flows: Tchola Lomtatidze, Ekaterine Gabashvili, Esma Oniani and David Barbakadze. Reading / Discussion: David Barbakadze about his book The Triangle of Cranes. Author: David Barbakadze is a poet with a background in philosophy and psychology. He abandoned a standard academic career to pursue independent projects in Georgian and German Literature. Barbakadze has been a member of the European Writers’ Union Kogge since 2007. Moderation: Traian Pop / Pop Verlag Participants: Steffi Khotivari-Juenger / translator; Artchil Khotivari / translator
October 17 / 12:30-13:00 Forum International Dialogue / Hall 5.1, A128 ANNA KORDZAIA-SAMADASHVILI WHO KILLED CHAIKA? This is a very complicated and intriguing story written in a very catchy way. Who Killed Chaika? won the IliaUni Literary Award (Georgia) as the Best Novel of 2013. The central figures of this novel, with all their idiosyncrasies and emotional outbursts, are as lovable as the characters of Almodóvar. Moderation: Tim Mücke / Verlag Hans Schiler Author: Anna Kordzaia-Samadashvili’s expressive and emotional tales and short stories about men and women, love and hate, sex and disappointment are somewhat outré and sarcastic, but it is this that gives them their appeal.
WHAT'S ON IN TBILISI THEATRE GABRIADZE THEATRE Address: 13 Shavtelis St. Telephone: 2 98 65 93 October 9 AUTUMN OF MY SPRING Rezo Gabriadze Directed by Rezo Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket price: 10, 15, 20 Lari October 10 RAMONA Rezo Gabriadze Directed by Rezo Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket price: 10, 15, 20 Lari October 11 MARSHAL DE FANTIE’S DIAMOND Rezo Gabriadze Directed by Rezo Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket price: 10, 15, 20 Lari MOVEMENT THEATRE Address: 182, Aghmashenebeli Ave., Mushthaid park Telephone: 599 555 260 October 9, 10 11 FAN DO’S MAGORY * Premiere One Act Tale Directed by Kakha Bakuradze Author: Ioseb Bakuradze Start time: 21:30 Ticket price: From 15 Lari GRIBOEDOV THEATRE Address: 2 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 93 11 06 www.griboedovtheatre.ge October 9 THE ELDER SON Alexander Vampilov
Directed by Giorgi Margvelashvili Small Stage Language: Russian Start time: 18:00 Ticket price: 5 Lari October 10 THE MARRIAGE Nikolay Gogol Directed by Avtandil Varsimashvili Small Stage Language: Russian Start time: 18:00 Ticket price: 5 Lari October 11 CHIPOLLINO Jianni Rodari Directed by Gogi Todadze Small Stage Language: Russian Start time: 12:00 Ticket price: 5 Lari TBILISI VASO ABASHIDZE MUSIC AND DRAMA STATE THEATRE Address:182 D.Agmashenebeli Ave. Telephone: 2 34 80 90 www.musictheatre.ge October 11 MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM William Shakespeare Directed by Davit Doiashvili Musical Start time: 19:00 Ticket price: From 8 Lari October 15 DIVORCE Giorgi Eristavi Directed by Davit Doiashvili Musical Start time: 19:00 Ticket price: From 8 Lari TBILISI ZAKARIA PALIASHVILI OPERA AND BALLET THEATRE Address: 25 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 99 04 56
October 9 THE 164TH SEASON OPENING One act ballets and two premiers: ‘’Symphony in C’’ (George Balanchine) and ‘’Le Spectre de la rose’’ (Mikhail Fokin). Start time: 20:00 Ticket price: From 10 Lari Venue: Tbilisi Concert Hall CINEMA AMIRANI CINEMA Address: 36 Kostava St. Telephone: 299 99 55 www.kinoafisha.ge October 9-15 THE MARTIAN Directed by Ridley Scott Cast: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig Genre: Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi Language: English Start time: 20:00 Language: Russian Start time: 13:00, 16:30, 19:50, 22:40 Ticket price: 7.50 – 12.50 Lari PAN 3D Directed by Joe Wright Cast: Levi Miller, Hugh Jackman, Garrett Hedlund Genre: Adventure, Family, Fantasy Language: Russian Start time: 17:00, 19:30, 22:00 Ticket price: 7.50 – 12.50 Lari LEGEND Directed by Brian Helgeland Cast: Tom Hardy, Emily Browning, Taron Egerton Genre: Biography, Crime, Thriller Language: Russian Start time: 12:00, 14:40 Ticket price: 7.50 – 12.50 Lari THE INTERN Directed by Nancy Meyers Cast: Robert De Niro, Anne Hathaway, Rene Russo Genre: Comedy Language: Russian
Start time: 17:25 Ticket price: 9.50 – 10.50 Lari EVEREST Directed by Baltasar Kormákur Cast: Jason Clarke, Ang Phula Sherpa, Thomas M. Wright Genre: Adventure, Drama, Thriller Language: Russian Start time: 22:50 Ticket price: 11.50 – 12.50 Lari RUSTAVELI CINEMA Address: 5 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 255 50 00 www.kinoafisha.ge October 9-15 THE MARTIAN (Info Above) Start time: 12:30, 16:00, 19:40, 22:30 Ticket price: 7.50 – 12.50 Lari PAN 3D (Info Above) Start time: 12:00, 14:20, 16:30, 19:45, 22:10 Ticket price: 7.50 – 12.50 Lari LEGEND (Info Above) Start time: 19:30 Ticket price: 11.50 – 12.50 Lari THE INTERN (Info Above) Start time: 16:50 Ticket price: 9.50 – 10.50 Lari EVEREST (Info Above) Start time: 15:20, 22:40 Ticket price: 8.50 – 12.50 Lari MUSEUM SIMON JANASHIA MUSEUM OF GEORGIA Address: 3 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 99 80 22 ARCHAEOLOGICAL TREASURE
June 27 – October 31 GEORGIANS IN WORLD WAR II EXHIBITION DEDICATED THE 70TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE VICTORY OVER FASCISM. MOMA TBILISI ZURAB TSERETELI Address: 27 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 298 60 30 October 2-18 GUCHA KVARATSKHELIA’S EXHIBITION Our Black and White and Coloured Earthly life October 9 – November 15 OLEG TIMCHENKO’S EXHIBITION October 9-13 TBILISI FASHION WEEK NEW NORDIC FASHION EXHIBITION MUSIC INTERNATIONAL MUSIC FESTIVAL “AUTUMN TBILSI” – 2015 Address: Dj. Kakhidze Tbilisi Center for Music and Culture, 125 Agmashenebeli Ave. Telephone: 296 12 43 October 10 TBILISI SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA Soloist – MARINA NADIRADZE (piano, Great Britain) Conductor – AMOS TALMON (Israel) VERDI – Overture from the opera “La Forza del destino” MOZART – Concerto for piano and orchestra No.20 FRANK – Symphony d-moll Start time: 19:30 Ticket price: 4-20 Lari
OCTOBER 9 - 15
Not without a Fight: Ireland-Svaneti By Tony Hanmer Some weeks ago I was contacted via Facebook message by an Irishman who had a few questions about particular things in Mestia, which I was glad to be able to answer. He was coming to the region soon to do some hiking up mountains, and I also had the opportunity to find out more about him. Herewith, an introduction to one of the kinds of people who are drawn to the Caucasus, followed hopefully next week by his own thoughts on Svaneti itself. Fergal Hingerty turns out to be no ordinary hiker or mountaineer. Not only because of the remarkable things he has achieved and records he has broken on the high places of the UK, but doubly so because of the hurdles he has had to overcome to be walking at all... Now about 50 years old, in 2001 Fergal was diagnosed with chronic back pain due to spinal degeneration, brought on by an earlier back injury. Back pain? That’s it? Well, given that the spine is central to the body, if it goes wrong, the whole body suffers. So chronic back pain should be bad enough to stop a normal person from considering going up mountains, wouldn’t you think? For all its centrality, the muscles of the back are generally much weaker than the leg muscles. My father told me, from his own position of two fused vertebrae
Fergal Hingerty - no ordinary hiker or mountaineer.
after a pinched nerve, always to lift something off the ground with bent legs but a straight back, never bending down to it, but squatting. I’ve been careful to avoid his issues, and the hard work sometimes required in village life in Svaneti, along with no injury, has paid off. Fergal was not so lucky in the injury department; these things happen! He underwent an operation of nearly ten hours, and about ten years of treatment overall, most of it unsuccessful. The despair and agony of all that and its attendant recovery process are something one can hardly imagine. But here was someone determined not to let it sideline him. He pushed himself through rehabilitation, and the hill walking became part of his recovery process. Great views and measurable challenges must
have been just what he needed because Fergal is now the first person on record to have climbed all the county tops (highest point in a county) in both Ireland and Wales, as documented at www.hill-bagging.co.uk. No small feat for a fit person, but for one recovering from such an ailment—really remarkable and worthy of commemoration. Now, a Caucasus native might scoff at what the UK calls “mountains”: indeed, the highest point in the UK is Scotland’s Ben Nevis, a mere 1344 meters above sea level. Ushguli isn’t even a mountain and it’s 2200 meters up, Europe’s highest village! My house in Etseri is at a higher altitude than Ben Nevis! However, as a British booklet I have called ‘Safety on Mountains’ points out, one can die just as easily from ex-
posure or a fall on a small mountain or a hill as on a Kazbegi or a Shkhara. If you’re not prepared for the weather, or it changes beyond your preparations, or you get stuck somewhere... wherever you are, it can mean the end for you. And so it happens, both in the UK and in the mighty Caucasus. Fergal hopes that his determination will be an inspiration to people with challenges everywhere, of whatever sort, to push themselves and do more than they think or others tell them they can. The resulting euphoria from such success must make up for the struggle, and silence the naysayers too. Now, having extended his adventures beyond the UK into other parts of Europe, Fergal has turned to some of the heights of Svaneti. He’s not looking to
climb technically with pitons, axe and ropes, but that does not at all belittle his efforts. We look forward to hearing next week from his own notes of his time here in our neck of the woods: what was new and wonderful, what the unique things were- both good and bad. I’m sure he will have much to tell. I, too, find myself challenged from my introduction to Fergal not to give up on the things which are in my way, both physical and mental. There are plenty of things which I know (or suspect) that I can’t do at all, or can’t do alone without help. And others which I am supposed to tackle and in the process grow. Not necessarily becoming more self-reliant (I know my weaknesses), but still, to grow. Next week we’ll hear from the man himself after his visit to Svaneti.
Tony Hanmer runs the “Svaneti Renaissance” Facebook group, now with over 1250 members, at www.facebook.com/groups/SvanetiRenaissance/ He and his wife also run their own guest house in Etseri: www.facebook.com/hanmer.house.svaneti
Follo w the Museum ollow and Become P ar artt of It Par By Eka Karsaulidze The Georgian National Museum is giving its visitors the chance to learn more about curatorial work and preparation of exhibitions, see what is inside the museum funds, how the restoration processes take place and what happens in those science labs. The behind-thescene journey is possible now via the Museum’s new Instagram page @georgiannationalmuseum. “About 10 years ago we conduct the first Museum event, but the only participants came from museum field. Now I’m happy to see so many guests here,” said David Lordkipanidze, Director of the Georgian National Museum, at the presentation of the Instagram page this week. “With new technologies, we try to link our rich history with future opportunities. We make our history accessible to people all over the world. The main point is that the Museum belongs not only to us, but to all people,” he added. Representatives of the PR Department of the Museum, who were initiators of this project, admitted that they did not want merely to open an Instagram page but to create an exhibition with the participation of five young and popular Georgian photographers each of whom have their own unique view of what a museum is. “Visiting museums and filming its spaces is part of my professional life,” said Levan Maisuradze, Georgian photographer and participant in the project. “Even so, I was excited to participate in this project as I was granted with more possibilities, like free access to all the museum spaces [Open Air Museum of Ethnography, Tbilisi History Museum, National Gallery etc.] and the chance to see and capture them from the different angle.” Along with Maisuradze, artists Louisa Chalatashvili, Davit Tchalidze, Dina Oganova and Nata AbashidzeRomanovskaya also took photos. Through their works the photographers tried to show a new side to the Museum: they captured familiar exhibits from a new angle, showed places that were previously inaccessible to visitors, so integrating visitors with the museum. Additionally, Dina Oganova showed people who often go unnoticed. Her profession, she says, is to capture people, so when she entered the Museum she had no doubts – her heroes would be the
Museum staff. “I think they are a huge part of the National Museum Most had worked all their lives there and they are really happy. I was surprised that they are so passionate and involved in their workyoung and old,” said Oganova. The Instagram page of the National Museum is the first Instagram-exhibition in Georgia. According to Ana Verulashvili, Head of the PR Department of the Georgian National Museum, a special feature of this exhibition is that all photos were handled only by Instagram’s filters and presented in the Museum via the Instagram interface. In addition, to make the exhibition more interactive, the organizers offered visitors the chance to choose the best photo using heart stickers (which means “Like” in Instagram speak). “Using modern technologies and social media to connect museums and their visitors is a very diverse experience and interesting process. In the modern world, time is a very valuable asset. With the growing accessibility to the Internet, we receive more information and I think an Instagram page is a good opportunity for modern museums to attract new visitors,” said Davit Tchalidze, Georgian photographer and participant in the project. Natalia Davlianidze, of the PR Department of the Georgian National Museum announced that from now everyone could become a photographer of the Museum. Every person who posts a photo on Instagram with the hashtag #museuminfocus will have the opportunity to present their work on the official Georgian National Museum Instagram page. “From now on we will post different behind-the-scenes photos of the Museum, as well as we look through our visitors’ photos. We aim to make people more interactive and involved in our history and the life of the Museum,” she said.
OCTOBER 9 - 15
Georgian Rugby Gets Royal Appreciation By Nini Gegidze HRH Prince Harry, who is honorary president of England 2015, vice-patron of the RFU and patron of the RFU All School’s Program, attended the Namibia vs Georgia rugby match, before the game meeting a group of 16-24 year olds who had gone through the Rugby Empowering Employment Program. He witnessed Georgia make history and automatically qualify for the 2019 Rugby World Cup after beating Namibia 17-16. Georgia‘s form this World Cup has been impressive so far – a shock win over Tonga before a hard-fought loss to Argentina and a relentless display to give World Champions New Zealand a scare. Namibian captain Jacque Burger and Georgian general Mamuka Gorgodze both make their 11th World Cup appearances, beating their respective nations’ records. After a great competi-
tion so far, Gorgodze will likely have a massive impact on the outcome of this game. The Georgia national rugby union team, nicknamed The Lelos or Men of
Borjgali, represent the Georgian international rugby union in Georgia and are take part in the annual European nation championship and participates in the Rugby world cup which takes place every four years. The most experienced Georgian line-up ever was selected for this year’s Rugby World Cup. The Lelos will line up at Sandy Park in Exeter with 693 Test caps, beating the 654 selected for the 43-10 loss to New Zealand last Friday. Coach Haig has made seven changes to his forward pack and a further positional change, with captain Mamuka Gorgodze keeping his place but moving back to No 8. 18-year-old Vasil Lobzhanidze, the World Cup’s youngest ever player, returns to the starting XV at scrum-half along with inside center Merab Sharikadze and full-back Merab Kvirikashvili, who wins his 88th Test cap and should extend his national team scoring record beyond 660 points.
In another positional change, Tamaz Mchedlidze moves from inside center to his preferred spot on the right wing. The Georgian players managed to
hold on to their single-point lead and earn a historic win that is almost certain to guarantee them a spot in Japan in four years’ time.
Friends of Geor gian Ballet Get Unique Tete-a-T ete with Prima Ballerina Georgian ete-a-Tete By Katie Ruth Davies The Friends of Georgian Ballet, a group of ladies and gentlemen- all ballet enthusiasts -of various nationalities, were able to enjoy an exclusive tete-atete with Prima Ballerina Nina Ananiashvili, seven leading young stars from the Georgian State Ballet Company and their guest and guiding light for the upcoming season opener, Ben Huys, Belgian répétiteur for the George Balanchine Trust and internationally renowned choreographer, here from the US to give just four weeks of training. The Friends of the Georgian Ballet, a non-profit organisation established in 2006, aims to help the State Ballet of Georgia with various programs, providing scholarships for promising young ballet students and supporting the participation of the Ballet Company’s dancers in prestigious ballet competitions and master classes all over the world. The Tbilisi Z. Paliashvili Opera and Ballet State Theatre will hold the opening performance of its 164th season at the Tbilisi Concert Hall on Friday, 9th October at 20:00. Prima Ballerina and Artistic Director, Nina Ananiashvili, will
be performing at the event. The Ballet Company will introduce two one-act ballet premieres: “Symphony in C” by George Balanchine and “Le Spectre de la Rose” by Mikhail Fokin. The program also includes Balanchine’s “Serenade”. The gala will be accompanied by the Orchestra of the Tbilisi Z. Paliashvili Opera and Ballet State Theatre. Georgia Today had the honor of hosting the interview/round-table, in the process finding out what has been going on behind the scenes of preparation for the opening of the new ballet season and what expectations are had for the upcoming performances and the Georgian ballet scene in general. Ben Huys: “I started ballet dancing when I was seven- I hadn’t seen ballet before that but when a school in our village offered lessons, I joined. My desire to dance came from within. When I was 12, I joined the professional ballet school in Belgium [Antwerp]. I then won the 1985 Prix de Lausanne which got me a scholarship to the NYC Ballet Company. I loved the aesthetic there. I’d heard of Balanchine, seen the pictures and the repertoire, and I decided I was going to do everything I could to join.
Nina Ananiashvili, Ben Huys and soloists of the Georgian State Ballet at a private meeting in the Blue Hall of the Tbilisi Opera House.
When I retired from the stage, having danced most of the repertoire of the NYC, I expressed my interest in working for the Balanchine Trust. That’s how I ended up assigned to Georgia, one of the best companies in the world.” “I’m thankful to Balanchine Trust for their 25 years of support for Georgian State Ballet,” Nina says. “They have a brilliant work ethic- if they say they’ll do something, they do it! In my 10 years with the Georgian State Ballet, we have done nine Balanchine ballets. Some will be in this season’s repertoire, some not, but those not will be brought back in future. It was my dream to show Symphony in C to Georgia.” Nina performed Symphony in C for the first time on ‘Balanchine’s’ stage in NYC. “Then with the Royal Ballet in Covent Garden, then the Bolshoi in Moscow, but I never had a chance to dance it here.” The original idea of the State Ballet Company was to reopen the Opera House with Balanchine but renovation works on the building are expected to continue until December. Nina says, however, that the Company will be performing Balanchine there at some point this season and, in the meantime, will continue to stage both classic and contemporary ballet works in the Gribodoev Theatre. Bizet composed his Symphony in C major when he was a 17-year-old pupil of Charles Gounod at the Paris Conservatory. The manuscript was lost for decades, and was published only after it was discovered in the Conservatory’s library in 1933. Georgian born George Balanchine first learned of the long-vanished score from Stravinsky. He needed only two weeks to choreograph it as Le Palais de Cristal for the Paris Opera Ballet, where he was serving as a guest ballet master. When he revived the work the following year for the first performance of the New York City Ballet, he simplified the sets and costumes and changed
the title. We asked Huys what he felt when performing Symphony in C. “It’s challenging. The movements are very quick, very specific. I’ve danced the first movement a lot and I still get stressed when I hear it. That first movement is under-appreciated. Audiences are sitting waiting for second part- an adagio - to come on. But it’s thrilling music and brilliant choreography. That last note really gets you out of your seat. Fantastic.” “The most difficult aspect of our training [for Symphony C] was to count,” added Nina. “In our [company’s] preparation we count as a standard: ‘And one, and two…’ Balanchine, however, being a musician and composer, starts down (on the one) so there were a lot of missed steps.” “I had to correct their instinct every day,” Huys says, laughing. “Each dance company has its own style. The Georgian dancers needed to train in the [Balanchine] speed and different technique. They have to get it in their bodies, breathe it; feel it in their bodies. But I’m definitely pleased with their progress. They’ve applied themselves and have been working very hard. I have high expectations for the opening on October 9th.” Georgia Today heard from some of the seven soloists in the room, three of
whom were Georgian and had been ‘brought up’ by Nina in the State Ballet School- Nutsa Chekurashvili, Nino Samadashvili, and Eka Surmava. The international members- Brit William Pratt, American Philip Fedulov, Dutch Frank van Tongeren and Japanese Yonen Takano – all seemed to have ended up in Georgia for one reason: the chance to dance with Prima Ballerina Nina Ananiashvili. William told us: “Nina was the main reason for me joining the Georgian ballet. When you’ve got this ballerina and this repertoire, well, there aren’t many ballet companies in the world like it.” For her part, Nina complimented her team: “They are all motivated, full of energy. It’s not easy to wake every day, body hurting, needing to warm up. But then you start dancing and you get addicted all over again- each and every day. This is the life of a professional ballet dancer.” We asked Nina about the motivation of the next generation of Georgian ballet dancers. She pointed out the continuing stigma against boys participating in ballet dance in Georgia- where Georgian dance is considered traditionally more masculine. Of the 300-odd students in the State Ballet School (up from 120 in past years), only 20 are boys. Nina is not discouraged by this, however. “Look at these boys,” she exclaimed. “They are all muscle. We are here to change this mentality and show the strength of the ballet dancers.” About the Friends of the Georgian Ballet: The Friends have a special relationship with the Georgian Ballet – they receive information on the Company’s news, upcoming performances and other events on a regular basis, invitations to special celebrations (e.g. the season opening reception and scholarship awarding ceremony, Opera House tour, book presentation) where they can meet and interact with Nina and the Ballet Company’s soloists in person and get to know more about the life of the Georgian Ballet. For more information or to join, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF - Katie Ruth Davies
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