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Issue no: 903

• DECEMBER 9 - 12, 2016



In this week’s issue... Georgia’s Foreign Minister Meets European Counterparts in Brussels

FOCUS ON VLAP Georgia one step closer as the Suspension Mechanism is agreed



QSI Annual Winter Bazaar Dec 9 NEWS PAGE 4

Georgia’s President Participates in OGP Summit 2016 in Paris POLITICS PAGE 6

“I think like a Georgian” – Ilyas Cilloglu on Identity, Education and Being Georgian

BGCC & AngloMedical Brings Britain’s Top Oncologists to Tbilisi SOCIETY PAGE 10


“I would love to repeat some films but we don't have the money”


joint initiative of the British Georgian Chamber of Commerce (BGCC) and AngloMedical brought the UK’s top oncologists: Professor Ian Jenkins, Clinical Lead for Colorectal Cancer in St. Mark’s Hospital and Northwick Park Hospitals; and Professor Tom Cecil, Clinical Director of the Peritoneal Malignancy Institute in Basingstoke, to Tbilisi, where during their short visit they participated in the International Conference of Oncology held at Tbilisi State Medical University, organized by Professor Rema Ghvamichava, Director General of the National Center for Disease Control and Public Health of Georgia. The British oncologists visited Georgian medical clinics, gave consultations to oncological patients and held a meeting with the Georgian Solidarity Fund to discuss the possibilities of future cooperation and opportunities for Georgian Solidarity Fund beneficiaries to get medical services in UK hospitals, which entails finding the best available methods for the diagnostics and future care of the patients. It was further agreed to organize trainings and programs of exchange for Georgian doctors in the UK. “This is our very first step of collaboration,”


Leila Shelia’s Mystic Female Art CULTURE PAGE 16

British Doctors: Ian Jenkins, Tom Cecil, and AngloMedical founder Karine Solloway Source: Irakli Dolidze Photos

said Karine Solloway, Founder of AngloMedical. “These two specialists have brought unique methods and techniques for the treatment of surgical colorectal cancer. My greatest belief is that international medicine will only develop through sharing and exchanging information

and here we are with our enthusiasm and our energy to encourage the Georgian medicine field to move forward, and to invite our professors to lecture in Georgia. Through sharing knowledge and expertise, we will fight cancer with better success; fight and save real lives.”




DECEMBER 9 - 12, 2016

Georgia’s Foreign Minister Meets European Counterparts in Brussels BY THEA MORRISON


ithintheNATOForeign Ministerial in Brussels, Georgia’sForeignMinister Mikheil Janelidze met his European counterparts, who confirmed their firm support for Georgia’s integration into the European Union (EU) and expressed their will for a timely visa waiver for Georgian citizens to the Schengen area. Georgia’s visa-liberalization process, recent developments in the region and in Georgia’s breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia were top issues of the meeting between Janelidze and his Bulgarian college, Daniel Mitov. The sides also discussed mutual cooperation within NATO frames and agreed to promote further development of bilateral ties in transport, trade, tourism and culture. Janelidze also met his Spanish counterpart, Alfonso Dastis Quecedo, who welcomed the visit of the Georgian Foreign Minister to Spain to be held by the end of this week, and the visit of the Georgian Prime Minister at the beginning of 2017, which, according to the ministers, will promote the enhancement of relations between Georgia and Spain. The ministers also underlined the importance of opening Spain’s Embassy in Georgia. Mikheil Janelidze thanked this Spanish colleague for supporting Georgia’s territorial integrity and foreign political aspirations. Alfonso Dastis Quecedo reaffirmed

The Georgian and Greek Foreign Ministers discussed prospects for co-operation between the two countries

Spain’s support for Georgia’s European and Euro-Atlantic aspirations and underlined the importance of granting Georgia visa-free travel with the EU. Moreover, Georgia’s Foreign Minister met his Greek counterpart Nikos Kotzias. The officials underlined the importance of appropriate celebration of the 25th anniversary of establishment of the diplomatic relations between Georgia and Greece. In this respect, Mikheil Janelidze invited his colleague to pay an official visit to Georgia to mark this date. Janelidze also held a meeting with his Swedish counterpart, Margot Wallström. The sides spoke about the partner rela-

tions and successful co-operation between Sweden and Georgia. The ministers highlighted the further support of Sweden, as the initiator of the Eastern Partnership, for Georgia’s European and Euro-Atlantic integration. “Georgia has set an example in terms of implementing the reforms on the European agenda and the work the country has done in the process of preparing for visa liberalization, which deserves to be completed successfully,” Wallström said, reaffirming Sweden’s firm support for Georgia’s aspirations. The Georgian Foreign Minister welcomed the establishment of a Georgian-

Swedish Chamber of Commerce, which will further contribute to co-operation between the two countries and will encourage Swedish businessmen to take more interest in Georgia’s business opportunities. While meeting his Estonian counterpart, Sven Mikser, Janelidze underlined that the Government of Georgia makes maximum use of Estonia’s experience in the process of carrying out reforms and pointed out the existing successful co-operation between the two countries in various formats. The Georgian Foreign Minister also welcomed the decision to hold the annual meeting of the Speakers

of Parliament of the Baltic and Nordic countries in Tbilisi in 2017. Estonia’s strong support for Georgia’s European and Euro-Atlantic integration and the importance of practical assistance rendered by Estonia in this process were underlined. The two sides expressed hope that the relations between their countries in terms of the European integration will acquire particular dynamics during Estonia’s EU presidency in the second half of 2017. Janelidze also met his Lithuanian counterpart Linas Linkevicius. After the meeting JanelidzesaidGeorgiaandLithuaniaenjoyed excellent partnership and friendship.



EU Structures Reach Agreement on Suspension Mechanism BY THEA MORRISON


he European Parliament and the Council of the European Union (EU) finally agreed on the mechanism of suspension on Wednesday, which means that the European Parliament will be ready to vote on visafree travel regimes for Georgians and Ukrainians by next week. The good news was announced by Member of the European Parliament, Kati Piri, who tweeted that the finally agreement on the Suspension Mechanism had been reached. “We can vote next week for visa free travel for Georgians and Ukrainians,” Piri’s tweet reads. EU Enlargement and Neighborhood Policy High Commissioner Johannes Hahn welcomed the agreement on the Suspension Mechanism. "I welcome it and I urge the EU Council and the European Parliament to make a decision as soon as possible," he posted on Twitter. Official Tbilisi expects that visa-free travel with the EU will probably begin in 2017. "Georgia has fulfilled all undertaken obligations and the decision of EU structures was logical," it said. Georgia’s Ambassador to the EU, Natalie Sabanadze, explained that the two Euro-

pean structures agreed on a "compromised version” of the Suspension Mechanism that was presented by the Council of Europe. State Minister for Euro-Atlantic Integration of Georgia, Viktor Dolidze, hopes that Georgian citizens will enjoy visafree travel to the EU very soon. However, he cannot specify an exact date. “I think the issue of visa-liberalization will be decided very soon, at the beginning of 2017. There are no more barriers, practically procedural issues are solved and only the voting of the European Parliament is left,” Dolidze stated. The Georgian opposition says that Georgia should have started enjoying visa-free travel a long time ago and blames the current government for dragging out the process. “The fact that we do not have visaliberalization already is the result of our government’s policy. However, we will be glad if Georgian citizens enjoy visafree travel with the EU as soon as possible,” said Zurab Chiaberashvili, member of the opposition party United National Movement. The official website of the European Parliament (EP) announced that a preliminary date for the consideration of the visa waiver suspension mechanism is January 18, 2017. The mechanism will introduce the procedure of a visa waiver suspension for third countries whose citizens have visa-free travel with the EU.


Tusk Calls on Schulz to Timely Grant Visa-Liberalization to Georgia and Ukraine BY THEA MORRISON


onald Tusk, Chairperson of the European Council, has sent a letter to European Parliament President Martin Schulz asking to timely complete the visa liberalization process of Georgia and Ukraine. “What is really at stake is much more than the balance of power in the EU political system, it is the legitimate hopes and aspirations of the neighboring nations, as well as the reputation of the European Union,” Tusk’s letter reads. He added the EU had put tough demands on its partners, which they had met at the price of painful reform efforts, and often at huge political risk. “They took up this challenge in the firm belief that the EU would abide by its undertakings and deliver on its promises. So let me repeat that what we risk losing here are not only social, political and economic interests, not only the future of our relations with all our neighbors, but also - and especially - our own credibility,” Tusk said. The European Council President emphasized the positive role of the European Parliament in the negotiating process and noted that it would be a pity if the hard work did not bring the desired outcome. "I can understand why you attach such importance to the role of the European Parliament in the development of the Suspension Mechanism. I also understand the willingness of the EU countries

to decide themselves who should cross their borders. Even though all the parties have their own arguments and undoubtedly good will, it seems that we are wasting our efforts,” the Official said. “It would be an unforgivable mistake if we did not make all efforts to complete this project. We simply cannot allow those who have put their trust in us in the end to become the victims of our internal dispute. I believe that we will find a rapid agreement on the Suspension Mechanism. Time is not on our

side, but we still are able to win this race,” says Tusk in the letter to Martin Schulz. The Suspension Mechanism, agreed Wednesday, is a tool that allows each EU member state to request the European Commission to temporarily suspend the visa waiver for nationals of a certain country in specific circumstances, including a substantial and sudden increase in the number of irregular migrants, unfounded asylum requests or rejected readmission applications.




DECEMBER 9 - 12, 2016

ICC to Open Field Office in Georgia for Better Interaction with Local stakeholders BY GEORGE SHARASHIDZE, FROM THE HAGUE

QSI Annual Winter Bazaar Dec 9


he QSI Parents Support Group (PSG) is organizing its Annual Winter Bazaar, which will take place on Friday, December 9, from 10.00 am till 5.00 pm. The tradition began a couple of years ago with just a few vendors. This year they are to host 35 vendors, who will offer a variety of handmade decorations, souvenirs and other winter-related crafts

for sale. Besides Georgian and international artists, they have invited representatives from Art Koda Social Enterprise, KERA, Disability Center and Association for People in Need of Special Care. All proceeds from their sales will go to the beneficiaries of these organizations. So please go, take your friends and do your holiday shopping at the QSI/PSG Winter Bazaar!


year after the International Criminal Court (ICC) authorized the Prosecutor to proceed with an investigation on crimes committed in and around South Ossetia in the summer of 2008, the ICC is to set up a Field Office in Georgia to foster communication with local authorities, media and the general public. As the ICC process takes several years for all major phases, which include preliminary examinations, investigations, analyses, preparation and court proceedings, opening a Field Office in a country such as Georgia can usually take more than a year. However, Georgia seems to be an exception. From early 2017, the field office will take on responsibility for developing and maintaining relationships with key partners on the ground in order to assist various court actors in the execution of their roles in the field. Nika Jeiranashvili, ICC Project Officer at OSGF (Open Society Georgian Foundation) recently moved to The Hague to lobby Georgia’s case with other NGOs at the Coalition for the ICC. “We don’t want to have unrealistic expectations,” he says. “Georgia is new for ICC and ICC is new for Georgiapeople don’t know it well and can hardly

distinguish it from the Strasburg European Court of Human Rights. The process will take a while and thus communication is a key factor for managing expectations. The field office to open soon will facilitate the ICC process by providing useful information about local perceptions to The Hague headquarters.” As ICC spoke person, Mr. Fadi El Abdallah informed Georgian media representatives at the ICC headquarters in The Hague this week, The ICC intends to launch the field office in early 2017 to establish regular and, more importantly, proper communication with Georgian authorities, media, legal associations and the local community, and to manage proper expectations about the outcome of the ICC process.” On 27 January 2016, Pre-Trial Chamber I granted the Prosecutor's request to

open an investigation proprio motu in the situation in Georgia in relation to crimes against humanity and war crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court in the context of an international armed conflict between 1 July and 10 October 2008. The ICC, governed by the Rome Statute, entered into force on 1 July 2002 after ratification by 60 countries including Georgia. Russia did not ratify the agreement. The ICC is the first permanent international criminal court, established to help end impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community. The ICC is an independent international organization and is not part of the United Nations system. It sits at The Hague in the Netherlands.

Number of Foreign Tourists Rising in Adjara BY NATIA LIPARTELIANI


he 2016 data released today by the Georgian National Tourism Administration (GNTA) shows there has been a 4.7 percent increase in the number of tourists, with 435,585 people having visited Adjara in 2016. The number of foreign tourists has increased by 19.5 percent meaning 295,269 foreign tourists visited Adjara this year. Based on all three border crossings over 11 months 1,332.215 international travelers visited the Adjara region. A large number of international travelers was registered in Batumi International Airport with the number of tourists who entered the region by air increasing by 70 percent (126, 474

international visitors). The large majority of travelers originated from Turkey (962,382), Azerbaijan (114,177), Russia (62,150), Ukraine (36,922) and Armenia (16,158). However, compared to previous years, in 2016 the number of Jewish travelers has noticeably increased, with 28,982 international travelers visiting Adjara from Israel in the first 11 months of the year, three times more than in 2015. The large majority of them (28,498) entered Adjara from Batumi International Airport. Compared to previous years, the number of visitors from Iran has also considerably risen (by 87 percent): during 11 months, 32,340 Iranian visitors entered the region. This year there has also been an increase in foreign travelers from the United Arab Emirates (+5 percent) and Saudi Arabia (+44 percent).




DECEMBER 9 - 12, 2016

Georgia’s President Participates in OGP Summit 2016 in Paris BY THEA MORRISON


eorgia has been elected as the next co-chair of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) and the Summit of 2017 will take place in Tbilisi. The decision was voiced at the OGP Summit 2016, held in Paris on December 7-9. The President of France, François Hollande, held the official welcoming ceremony for the participants in Salle Pleyel and opened the Summit. Summit, followed by a video address of the President of the United States, Barack Obama. The OGP Summit 2016 brought together 3000 participants from 70 countries. Heads of States and governments, ministers, public servants, members of parliament, local authorities, civil society representatives, start-ups and digital innovators, researchers and journalists gathered in Paris to share their experiences and best practices. The representatives of Georgia at the Summit include the members of executive and legislative branches of government and non-governmental organizations. Transparency and anti-corruption, climate action and sustainable development, digital commons and civic technology, access to information, and open parliament were the key issues discussed at the Summit. Margvelashvili thanked the President of France for organizing the global Summit of 2016 and added that Georgia has been a part of this process from the beginning.

“We are very excited about the chairmanship, and we believe it gives us opportunities to share what we have done and to receive experience from others who have successfully improved governance according to the five main priorities discussed and described here,” he added. He went on to underline that under conditions of increasing democracy, Georgia has successfully carried out many reforms and achieved significant progress related to open government, business, and the fight against corruption. Within the working visit to Paris, Giorgi Margvelashvili met with the United States (US) Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power. “It is important that Georgia be actively raised under the new administration of the United States, both on the Georgia-US bilateral agenda and the international agenda adopted by the United Nations,” the Secretary of the President of Georgia for Foreign Affairs, Tengiz Pkhaladze, said. President Margvelashvili also had a meeting with the President of Uruguay, Tabaré Vázquez, on Wednesday. The current situation and the cases of human rights violation in the occupied territories of Georgia were the main issues of the meeting. Margvelashvili thanked his counterpart for his firm support of Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and for supporting the Resolution adopted by the UN, recognizing right of return for refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Georgia. The President of Georgia expressed hope that the cooperation between the two countries in the areas of trade and economics would further be enhanced.

Experts: Georgia & Ukraine Have Similar Foreign Threats & Interests BY THEA MORRISON


eorgian experts say that Georgian and Ukrainian foreign threats and interests coincide, and approve of the fact that the Ukrainian Delegation initiated a discussion at the United Nations (UN) Security Council on Wednesday regarding the situation in Georgia, condemning Russia’s ratification of a military deal with Georgia’s breakaway region Abkhazia. The information about the initiative of Ukraine was released by Ukrainian news agency, “The Ukrainian delegation to the United Nations initiated in the Security Council a review of the situation in Georgia in connection with the decision of the Russian Federation to deploy a joint group of troops in Abkhazia,” the article reads. says that Ukraine's permanent representative at the UN, Volodymyr Yelchenko, said the Ukrainian and other delegations condemned Russia's actions which constitute an attempt to legitimize the illegal deployment of Russian troops on the occupied territory of Georgia. “It was highlighted that Russia is blatantly violating its international commitments, in particular the cease-fire agreement reached on 12 August 2008,” Yechenko told Representative of the McCain Institute for International Leadership, Batu Kutelia believes that Georgia and Ukraine can simultaneously speak up about the threats coming from Russia, as they have similar foreign problems. “I think this opportunity is not used by the Georgian government. From the point of view of our partners abroad, Georgia and Ukraine are not working closely on such issues. That is why I think that Ukraine’s initiative was a bright spot,” he stated. Another analyst, Giorgi Badridze, says Ukraine’s initiative proves this country is Georgia’s true friend. “Despite the fact that our government deliberately distances itself from this country, Ukraine maintains a state approach towards us. Georgia’s careful

politics towards Russia, which mean trying not to irritate it, have not brought any positive results,” Badridze noted. The opposition party United National Movement (UNM) says it is strange the news was spread by the Ukrainian media and demands an explanation from the government. “In general, this process of annexation from Russia is ongoing and this problem is not raised before the UN properly by the Georgian government,” Elene Khoshtaria, member of the UNM stated. The ruling team Georgian Dream welcomes the initiative of Ukraine and says the process in general was started by the Georgian government. “The Georgian Foreign Ministry and diplomatic corps are regularly in contact with its international friends and partners and do their best to achieve good results,” the Chair of Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, Sopo Katsarava said.

A Georgian man wearing Georgian flag while holding those of the EU and Ukraine. Source: Onnik Krikorian






obody has any doubts after “Black Thursday” that a pretty harsh and difficult winter lies ahead. After the drastic devaluation of the national currency, the political circles started speaking not only about the alleged economic collapse, but even a revolution. Analysts assume that the symbols of former Georgian revolutions “Beans”, ‘Roses” and “Brooms” might get a new member “Lari” next spring. The detonator of the new revolution is identified as the 4-point action plan of the government, which concerns Larization of the banking loans, and increased excise taxes on tobacco, oil products and imported automobiles. Whether the former main trend named the “democracy” of Georgian revolutions will be substituted by “economy” this time is hard to predict. Since the stability of the Georgian national currency index is defined by jonjoli, turkey and pork instead of economic parameters, presumably the alleged revolution and the fate of the government will depend on the upcoming New Year feast and gastronomic assortments rather than stock exchanges. Nevertheless, there are some other factors as well. The parliamentary elections held on October 8 once again proved that the Georgian electorate has a black and white attitude not only towards the parties but towards politics in general. It is not acquainted with transitional tones, and therefore decided not to vote for the Republicans, Laborists or the Free Democrats, instead choosing to distribute the

votes towards major players such as Georgian Dream (GD) and United National Movement. Hence, it becomes highly unrealistic that any political power outside parliament today will be able to use this protesting charge of unsatisfied electorate in their favor. “The main trump card of the government is not having a strong opposition and thus a leader for the protesting wave,” says political analyst Khatuna Lazagidze. The fact that there are currently no distinguished political figures, especially those who know how to “do” revolutions, is nothing new. As they say here, “He who knows this business” and “understands revolutions” is abroad, preparing a new “revolution” against the Ukrainian government. It seems that the billionaire Ivanishvili has accurately evaluated the scale of mine that Saakashvili could represent for the Georgian Dream. It should be easily imaginable what sort of revolutionary fire the ex-president would light in those people whose income has practically halved since he left. Social dissatisfaction is already present and one of the main reasons these unhappy people refrain from heading to the streets for protests today is the non-existence of a more or less “undamaged political brand” which could consolidate the protest. And exactly this is the main advantage of this government in light of the prevailing crisis. Despite these factors, political analyst Gia Khukhashvili warns the government not to feel at ease, since as a rule the revolution itself gives birth to its heroes and these people can fill the political vacuum. “I would advise our government not to get stuck in to eating, but to get to work before January 15 while we’ll be busy with pork and gozinaki. They should know better that when we finish eating,

we’ll be demanding answers. They must prepare a real plan and not the unconvincing one they have presented to date. Otherwise, serious problems might begin. If a protest needs a leader, the leader will be found, if consolidated protests begin, a serious crisis might emerge. And this type of government will have serious difficulties overcoming it.” That the Georgian Dream and the whole country are facing serious economic

problems has long been clear. The important question is whether this “grey mass” which came into power under the name of the Georgian Dream in the 2016 parliamentary elections has the ability to avoid another revolution in our country. For one thing that is already obvious is that the GD won’t be able to reach this strategic goal by bringing figures completely deprived of charismatic energy and leadership qualities to the forefront.

Besides, the two-month old elections should not be regarded as an unchanging given for the government. Naturally, many expectations have already failed, there is much frustration and an accelerated and very dangerous wearing-out process of the main governmental project “Bidzina” has begun, accompanied by an imminent revolution, although, we can still presume that the situation won’t get to that point.




DECEMBER 9 - 12, 2016

Between a Rock & a Hard Place OP-ED BY NUGZAR B. RUHADZE


tate sovereignty as such has become a very commonplace political value of our time. Practically all known nations of the world are free and independent countries, members of the United Nations Organization, but in the globalized and interdependent world, national sovereignty is only a nominal value: we depend on each other today as never before in history. For instance, in the not very remote past, if any of the neighboring countries wanted to invade Georgia and they had enough military power to pursue the goal, they would make a very independent political decision to assault Georgia and conquer it, devastating the country to the extent they found practicable and necessary, doing this exceptionally at their own discretion. A thing like this is no longer as easy today as it used to be. Invading somebody else’s land has become a complicated undertaking thanks to current world order rules and regulations, but exclusions seem to be possible even in our civilized times. For example, almost one third of Georgian territory was recently invaded with the pretext and for reasons that are not the subject of this narration. Yes, part of Georgia was literally invaded, and remains occupied by a stronger neighbor even now. Georgia is a sovereign nation, theoretically protected by international law in every possible respect, but its historical lands are occupied by another nation against the spirit and letter of that law and against its own people’s free and sovereign will. In trying to be free and independent, and in an attempt to maintain the long fought for independence, Georgia is trying to make the best premeditated geopolitical choices. It is not very clear what ‘the best’ might mean in this context, but Georgia is basing its choices on affordable reasoning and a sense of future security. In the continuous series of desperate attempts to stay around and function, Georgia is suspended

between a rock and a hard place, which literally means that it has found itself in a red-hot place between Russia and America, and, stuck between the two giants, does not exactly know what option to resort to. Russia is an old ally and a new enemy; America is an old soviet-time nemesis and a new friend. Meanwhile Russia and America are sworn adversaries with totally contradicting concepts of the world’s future, including the fate of Georgia. Georgia is feeble both as a partner and as a rival, but it is also a geopolitically attractive and strategically interesting land with some pleasant ethnic features and indigenous customs to enjoy. It seems that both Russia and America are inclined to enjoy love and kinship with the little darling,

but none of them have found ample time and enough readiness to define the little one’s spot under the sun, accommodating it between them so that nothing might threaten the attractive good guy called Sakartvelo. The idealistic dreamers like me have thought and imagined that a certain fruitful triangular geopolitical model could have worked, if possible at all, to the benefit of the mentioned threesome, but there is always an awkward obstacle emerging between them. For instance, in the projected US military budget for 2017, cooperation between Russia and America is not considered reasonable, to put it mildly, and not only that! Allegedly, USD 4.3 billion will be allocated to restrain Russia. Could this be true? Most

probably, yes. This is at least what I read in our most serious information sources. On the other hand, the self-same American military document has qualified Georgia as a worthy friend, and has once again confirmed America’s support for Georgia’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity. Question: How much do these two statements in the same American document of global importance help the said Russian-Georgian-American hypothetical triangle, within which friendship and cooperation could burgeon if tried? It sounds like the dream of a better life was shattered momentarily, even before it was divulged. Meanwhile, Georgia could indeed play a role, if given a chance, in building that dream triangle.


Visiting World Bank Vice President Reiterates World Bank Support to Georgia


yril Muller, World Bank Vice President for Europe and Central Asia, commended Georgia for its steady economic growth and development priorities, as he concluded his official county visit. Muller met with senior officials including President Giorgi Margvelashvili, Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Minister of Finance Dimitry Kumsishvili and the Governor of the National Bank Koba Gvenetadze, and reiterated the World Bank support for Georgia’s reforms aimed at boosting economic growth and micro-economic stability. “Strong implementation of Georgia’s four-point plan focused on education, governance, business environment and infrastructure has the potential to accelerate economic growth, create jobs, and bring opportunities to all Georgians. Our partnership with Georgia is very strong, and we stand ready to support programs in these areas,” said Muller. During his meetings, Muller outlined the need to focus on addressing critical constraints to growth while creating opportunities aimed at improving the lives of all people in Georgia, especially the poorest and most vulnerable. The Regional Vice President met with the Governor of the National Bank of Georgia, Mr. Koba Gvenetadze, and discussed financial and banking sector developments, exchange rate policies, and perspectives for continued cooperation between the World Bank and the National Bank of Georgia. In the course of the visit, the Vice President held meetings with representatives of the development community, civil society and private sector in Georgia. He reaffirmed the Word Bank’s partnership with the country and acknowledged the progress that has been made to date.

“I am glad to see Georgia among the top 10 global reformers in improving the business environment. The country was ranked 16 out of 190 economies in the most recent “Cost of Doing Business” survey,” he said. Muller also visited the Georgian Innovation and Technology Agency and met with the World Bank supported Georgia National Innovation Ecosystem (GENIE) project and its beneficiaries. The project objective is to increase the innovative activities of firms and individuals across Georgia and their participation in the digital economy. The project will help to create jobs and new small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Since Georgia joined the World Bank in 1992, USD 2.7 billion has been committed for 73 projects (International Development Association and International Bank for Reconstruction and Development). Currently, the World Bank portfolio includes 12 active projects with total commitments of US$744 million. Areas of support include transport, energy, innovation, regional development, and agriculture.



DECEMBER 9 - 12, 2016


Romania Embassy Marks 98 Years Unification & Extolls Ties with Georgia

H.E. the Ambassador of Romania to Georgia, Mr. Radu-Liviu Horumba, opens the celebration of the National Day of Romania



n a reception attended by the representatives of various diplomatic corps accredited in Georgia, as well as members of Georgian parliament and government, international organizations and media representatives, H.E. the Ambassador of Romania to Georgia, Mr. Radu-Liviu Horumba opened the occasion to celebrate the National Day of Romania. “On December 1, 1918, 98 years ago, for the first time in the long history of my people, all the Romanian historical territories became united within the borders of one country, and we started

building the modern state of Romania. The unity of the country and of the people is one of the most sacred values for the Romanians and, since then, it has been promoted and defended, many times with sacrifices and suffering.” Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the re-construction of Romanian society on the international recognized principles of democracy, rule of law and market economy commenced. “Therefore, December 1989, like December 1918, is another important mile-stone for the history of my country, marking the return of Romania into the large family of democratic countries, confirmed by our membership in the European Union and NATO,” the first Romanian diplomat stated.

In 2017, the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Romania and Georgia will be marked, which coincides also with the anniversary of 10 years since Romania became a full-fledged member of the European Union. “I am very happy to note that these anniversaries will meet Georgia with a strong bind to the EU through the Association Agreement and the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area agreement. I am also proud to recall the fact that Romania was the first EU Member State to ratify these important international documents, which reflect also our firm support for the Georgian European and Euro-Atlantic aspirations,” he said. The ambassador also talked about the similar histories of two countries:

“The relations and contacts between the peoples of Romania and Georgia are deeply rooted in the history of our region. Our history is similar and we have in common our constant struggle for independence and the preservation of our national identity and our Orthodox faith.” Mr. Horumba remembered the figure of Anthim the Iberian, a Georgian born arch-bishop of the Romanian Orthodox Church, as an emblematic symbol of the long historical relations, “who left a deep mark in the Romanian culture in the 18th Century with his spiritual and academic writings and personal contribution to the introduction and development of the typographic craft in Romanian language. Today, he is praised and celebrated as a Saint of

the Romanian Orthodox Church, every year on the day September 27, and the 300 years since his demise was commemorated this year both in Romania and Georgia.” Next year, the anniversary of 25 years of bilateral relations between Romania and Georgia will happen in the year when the final decision on EU visa liberalization for Georgian citizens will be adopted, which in the Romanian Ambassador’s words, will “enhance the dialogue between the two countries, including the economic projects in the fields of transports and energy corridors, both in the Black Sea basin and in the framework of the transit connections between Europe and Asia, as well as tourism, education and culture.” Davit Zalkaliani, First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, congratulated the Romanian people on their national day from the party of the Georgian authorities. “I am glad to note that our cooperation, based on mutual respect, principles and values of support and historical friendship, is permanently becoming ever firmer. Romania is one of the most active supporters of Georgia’s European and Euro-Atlantic integration.” He thanked Romania for their contribution in the framework of the EUMM and also congratulated the country on its successful fulfillment of the function of NATO contact embassy in the years of 2013-2016. “Romania and Georgia are geographically connected. The Black Sea does not separate us, it unites us. In this context, our wish is to maximally use the potential of cooperation, particularly in such spheres as transport and energy, as we represent the natural bridge between Europe and Asia,” the First Deputy Minister added.

Statement of Hope from the Family of Murdered Fritz W. Musser “For the past two weeks, I have been in Tbilisi. I wasn’t planning on being in the Georgia n capital so long but the city is just so seductive. It has been good to relax and rest and for my body to heal. And, I believe I have made some connections that will prove fruitful in the future. I shall start walking again tomorrow. For this Georgian segment, I designed and commissioned a Free Hugs button (well, it actually says “Free Hug”) that I have affixed to one of the straps of my pack. I had wanted to do the same for Azerbaijan but was advised it would not be well received. I still wish I had, if nothing else to be a conversation started. I’ve worn the button for the past few days and am yet to get a reaction or response. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.” – Fritz W. Musser


tatement of Hope from the family of Fritz W. Musser upon the conclusion of his murder trial (08/12/16): Yesterday was a sad yet hopeful day for the many who loved Fritz W. Musser. With the conclusion of the court proceedings for the man who confessed to taking Fritz’s life, we have completed one part of our unplanned journey that began without warning on August 12. We are grateful for the efforts of the police, the courts and others who have supported us during this part of the journey. The gaping hole in our family remains, however. It is unimaginable that we will never hear Fritz’s silly laugh, enjoy his refreshing and insightful views on life, witness his genuine caring or watch him play with his doting nieces. We take some solace in knowing he died while living an 11-year old dream to hike the Caucasus Mountains from the Caspian Sea to the Black Sea. While Fritz was walking this portion of his hike across the Caucasus without a physical companion, he was never alone. He was constantly making new friends and staying connected to old, like he had in his other adventures across over 60 countries on five continents. He derived great joy from building connections with people of

all backgrounds, learning from others, and experiencing life with them. The power of these connections has showed in the wake of his death when memorials were held, candles lit and tears continue to be shed in many countries around the world. Fritz believed in the value of each human life, the inherent goodness of humanity and that each person has the potential to change the world for the better. He was deeply interested in creating bridges of understanding, and the ones he built continue to thrive and grow in the wake of his death. With Fritz always in our hearts and minds, it is our deepest hope to honor his beliefs and his commitment to the ideas of restorative justice as we heal from the horrible circumstances of his death. It is our wish, now that a verdict is decided and a sentence given, that the man convicted be given the opportunities Fritz wished to create for others: the necessary help to make long lasting personal changes that are lifeaffirming personally, familially, and globally. It is our hope that the family of the convicted not carry the burden of this misdeed, and that they will continue to have meaningful opportunities to share time with their loved one. As Fritz’s family, we want to move forward in peace, understanding and

On December 7, the trial for the murder of the American explorer Fritz W. Musser, who was stabbed while traveling through Kakheti, was concluded

hope; we believe strongly in the indomitable human spirit and the power we each have to create a more just, loving,

and hopeful world. We hope that the journey we now share with his family will contribute this vision.




DECEMBER 9 - 12, 2016

“I think like a Georgian” – Ilyas Cilloglu on Identity, Education and Being Georgian BY VAZHA TAVBERIDZE


n exclusive interview with the Rector of International Black Sea University.

“I was born in Turkey, but my family roots are Georgian,” he says, and goes on to list his Georgian genealogy all the way back to the great grandfather who first moved from Batumi to what was then still the Ottoman Empire. “To this day, my mother, eighty five years old now, speaks better Georgian than Turkish. So it’s not strange that I came here to study and build my career. And she was happy and proud to hear of my decision,” muses Ilyas Ciloglu, or as you may find him under his Georgian aliasChilashvili, Rector of the International Black Sea University (IBSU) as he sits down with us for a friendly chat. We ended up discussing many an issue, ranging from his recollections of 90s Georgia to the intricate nuances of today’s education system. When speaking of the former, he can’t hide his fondness. “When I came to Georgia, there was no electricity, no gas; it was a very difficult time. But what we found there and what I hold dear to this day is that wonderful aura of togetherness and honesty, this wonderful camaraderie. I’m still getting phone calls from some of my course-mates who are “homesick” about Georgia,” he chuckles. After wrapping up his Ph.D and quickly embarking on an academic pilgrimage

to the USA, he came back to Georgia to settle down, “with my wife and three kids, I can say I’m happy here.” As we are now and again interrupted by knocks on the door and calls on the phone, he takes a break to hail the IBSU’s non-bureaucracy approach a little. “Anybody can visit anybody here. Anytime. We’re open like that – students, professors, guests – they come and ask, and there is no barrier to reaching out. I think that’s very important.” Going back to discussing the 1990s, he admits the changes have been massive. “Huge developments have been carried out – Georgia is really becoming a truly European country. To have witnessed Georgia’s change from, let’s put it fair and square, an incredibly corrupted country to one of the freer and most modern countries in this part of the world was incredible.” Speaking of European values, he insists it’s the sector that he is employed in that makes the changes happen. “Education is key. It’s hugely important – to become a European and think like a European, you should learn what this stands for. And here in IBSU we have programs in English and Georgian, and without any false modesty, students here get a high standard education to an extent that makes us different, and I myself have checked most of the curriculums. The difference between how they are taught here and in Europe is miniscule. We are getting a lot of positive feedback from European universities where some of our students continue to study; they’re impressed with our students’ knowledge

and competence. We also have exchange programs for professors; we invite them here and send some of ours abroad, to share experiences.” Another aspect that is bona fide European and perhaps not as widely accepted as it should be is the element of selfgovernance in universities. Mr. Ciloglu, however, puts great stock in this and as a result, IBSU boasts abundant amounts of student clubs and communities. “To help them learn to work as a team, to find a consensus and drive forward,” he announces, sagely. However, IBSU’s trademark was and

remains instruction in the English language, which ranks among the very best in the region, including among universities of Turkey, becoming over the years a go-to place for those who want to study in English. Ciloglu himself thinks it’s a “low-risk, high rewards solution and it makes huge difference,” stressing the points, such as access to information and ability to better compete on the job market (a particular boon being that IBSU graduates aren’t required to show their TOEFL scores). The prospect of attracting foreign students is strategically important, too.

“Every foreign student that comes here to study and goes back home satisfied (and we do our best to make sure they are satisfied) is a voluntary ambassador of this country. They go home with huge love of Georgia, and in most cases, knowledge of the Georgian language, too. And many of them come back to invest here.” But what catches the eye most in our conversation is his fervent approach to what it means to him to be a Georgian. “If you cut me, my blood is Georgian – I said it in one interview and they used it as a headline. I think in Georgian in my head. I’m not showing off, it’s a natural condition for me.” And as a father of three, he makes sure his children feel the same. “They are in an English language school and I transferred them to the Georgian language section. It’s important that you know Georgian if you want to live and work here, if you want to be a citizen of this country. Aside from very practical uses, I want my kids to grow up as Georgians, as well as Turkish. You’ve got to know your identity. And once again, this is not to show the world how hardcore I am; I think this is very normal, this is how things should be,” he announces solemnly. We shake hands, each of us satisfied with how this turned out. With pleasantries exchanged, the Rector of the International Black Sea University goes back to his everyday busy schedule: running the country’s top rated English language academic facility requires gargantuan efforts from those responsible to keep it in the same high esteem it is held now.




DECEMBER 9 - 12, 2016

Paint the World & the Little Things That Count Lika Torikashvili in Swaziland with local children Source: Lika Torikashvili



ika Torikashvili, 19, is everything but ordinary. A Harry Potter fan at a younger age, she dreamed of Hogwarts and ended up receiving a scholarship in the UK, but even before that, she founded the “Paint The World ” project assisting children and elderly in need. GEORGIA TODAY first met her in March and since then she has decided to take a year out before university and experience life in Swaziland. Here’s her story:

TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF I’m a normal 19 year old Georgian girl from a very traditional Georgian-Jewish family, with parents, grandparents and a sister. Remembering myself as a kid I can say I was always looking out for something new, I invented new games to play… the problems began when I started school: me and my classmates were very different, I only had a few friends and we’re still very close. I hated school- I was a little like Alice in Wonderland! My family always supported me in everything, both my mom and dad. My aunt was an inspiration for me. She has a mental disability and I grew up knowing something was wrong- I always wanted to bring her joy, sort of light things up for her, although I had no clue what exactly to do. Initially, my aunt was the inspiration from which the idea of Paint the World project was born.

TELL US ABOUT THE PAINT THE WORLD PROJECT Together with five of my friends we went to the Iashvili Children clinic and brought balloons, and gifts to the children with

leukemia, trying to cheer them up a little. After that first visit we decided to go to other hospitals and little by little there were more and more of us involved. The process was mutual. On one hand we were helping those in need, and on the other, seeing those children happy gave us huge motivation to continue. Then we decided to move outside Tbilisi and went to the company Gulf, the first to assist us financially, which gave us a chance to go to Batumi and Kutaisi. Gulf, Wendy’s, Ferrero, and Kia Motors also supported us.

YOUNG AS YOU WERE, WITH NO EXPERIENCE, HOW DID YOU DECIDE TO START FUNDRAISING? It was something unimaginable, when we, 15-year-old teenagers went to Gulf and told their manager we wanted to help children with disabilities and from deprived families. They believed us and gave balloons with their logos. We then took photos at the events we organized and sent them back to the companies who helped. The project Paint the World became successful and we registered a company in the name of my mother, because at that time I was only 16 years old, and the organization Paint the World was established. Now I’m in Swaziland I want to invest my time to making it more active; I would very much like the project to be a part of the extracurricular activities available in the public schools in Georgia, as a course, and I even wrote a letter to Alexander Jejelava introducing the project. I hope to meet him, as I believe that Georgia needs more children who’ll help to paint the world! Orphans, children with disabilities, or children from vulnerable groups, socially deprived families, the Paint the World


project is for all of them; it’s for people, young and elderly, who don’t have and desperately need hope.

HOW DID YOU END UP GETTING A SCHOLARSHIP AND STUDYING IN UK? My mother saw on TV that United World College (UWC) was offering grants to six children in six different countries, for children who were active and had an ambition to change the world. When she mentioned it to me I was quite skeptical: I couldn’t believe that it was possible, although I always thought of myself as of someone who would travel around the world. It was my dreamto get this scholarship and I filled in the application and passed! I wanted to go to the UWC's United World College’s UK affiliate, the scholarships were available in six other countries too, but I wanted to get into the UK and I did! If anyone ever tells you that dreams can’t come true, don’t believe them!

WHAT WERE YOUR FEELINGS WHEN YOU GOT TO THE COLLEGE? The adaptation process was quite hard at first, but I was very motivated, and even though the IB program seemed hard, I found myself devoted. I introduced my Paint the World project to my fellow students, and we initiated the

project at college. My new friends got involved and came to Tbilisi, 20 of us, all different nationalities, riding in a bus that the Georgian Ministry of Sports kindly provided; we went to villages, where children had never seen any foreigners at all. That was on my first year of college, and the next year the project expanded as students from Malaysia joined us, and my college director came to Tbilisi on a visit. Why Malaysia? Because, my closest college friend lives there… she’s Muslim and I’m Jewish. We’ve made an affiliate Paint the World project there and it’s quite successfully developing so far. Now, there’s a Paint the World course in the college I studied at and we also received a grant which enabled us to realise the Paint the World project in Belgium, France and the Netherlands in the summer of 2015.

WHAT TOOK YOU TO SWAZILAND? I chose to write a diploma thesis on Arts Therapy and my supervisor worked and lived in Swaziland. I think that sometimes every great story starts with failure. In my case, since I put all of my energy to my Paint the World Project, my grades were not very good, and I wasn’t able to get into the universities I wanted. My college provides grants for students to continue their education after they grad-

uate from UWC, and it may sound too ambitious but I sent applications to all the top universities in the US, but unfortunately didn’t get into any. It was my supervisor who suggested I take a gap year and travel to Swaziland. At first it sounded unrealistic… both for me and for my parents, but the college has one of its affiliates in Swaziland, and there’s also a multi-functional Moya Center where local children come after school to eat and get help with their homework and learn English. I work at the Moya Center in the art therapy class- it suited me perfectly and now I’m here until next July.

WERE YOU SHOCKED WHEN YOU ARRIVED? Yes! It helped to change my views, to realize what’s important and what’s not… Some of the people here are so poor they don’t have anything at all and still they are happy. I know now that I have to be thankful for so many things in my life… The poverty here is striking, and it’s a life-changing experience. I’m one of the first Georgians to be in Swaziland and I would so much like to meet with their king! I have a lot of plans to realize, I want to change things for the better. I’m discovering myself, too, and also I want everyone to know, especially in Georgia, that we can be happy even with tiny good things happening around us.

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tudents of the SamtskheJavakheti and Telavi Universities are benefiting from demoplots equipped with modern, climate smart technologies in order to broaden their agriculture and environmental related education and research skills. The lack of practical education and research skills in regional universities of Georgia led the European Neighborhood Program for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD) to implement a project called Empowering Modern Research Practices of the Regional Agriculture-Related Institutions, in partnership with the Georgian Institute of Public Affairs (GIPA), the Caucasus Environmental NGO Network (CENN), and PMC Research Center, aiming to increase the capacity to conduct research and meet challenges within the agricultural value chain, climate change and rural development sectors. The first demo-plot was opened at the Iakob Gogebashvili Telavi State University where students planted strawberries in raised beds using drip irrigation and mulching systems. According to Manana Kevlishvili, the Dean of the Agriculture Sciences Faculty of Telavi State University, the development of such pilot projects is very important for both students and universities.

“Students will have the possibility to practice what they learn in the actual field and apply modern techniques to the plants and soil, including composting,” she says. Besides strawberries, students will plant raspberries, blackberries, plums, persimmon and walnuts. Demo-plots will let students get practical training to help them understand proper land preparation, sowing and planting techniques, integrated pest management and post-harvest best practice. They will examine how modern, climate smart technology can increase farming efficiency and enhance resilience to climate change and variability. Within the next six months, the project

plans on developing another demo-plot at the Akhaltsikhe University. Meanwhile, the universities will allocate laboratories, tools, equipment and other available technical resources to contribute to collecting empirical evidence-based results on the topic of modern agricultural and rural development. Additionally, the pilot project’s implementing team will stimulate and motivate the institutions to look into modern approaches aimed at increasing their competitive advantages. In response, the reputation of the individual universities is expected to grow as the demand for their research-based knowhow, advice and recommendations increases.



DECEMBER 9 - 12, 2016


Time to Meddle: Ogden on Actually Educating People




hen I was a young lad at school, exactly what education was meant to be eluded me. To my mind, education meant preparing young gentlemen like me for the world, endowing a wide range of knowledge in all fields and specific expertise in a chosen few areas of interest. On paper, at least, that is what the curriculum was supposed to do, but the reality was rather different. I was awful at Maths, and I never understood how trigonometry or the theories of Pythagoras were meant to prepare me to apply for a mortgage or understand how to pay taxes. I was told time and again that I needed to learn how to divide and add ludicrous sums, being reminded by my teacher that “You won't have a calculator to do this in real life”. Ignoring the fact that if I ever needed to times seven hundred and forty-two by sixteen then my life will have undoubtedly taken a turn for the worse, I produced my mobile phone and showed him the calculator app. I was told not to be insolent. I was good at History, mostly because it was (and is) a hobby of mine. However, school did not give me much room to spread my wings on this, since the same periods of time were covered every year, just in a little more depth; 1066, the Tudors, the causes of the First World War, the Russian Revolution, and the rise of Hitler. Of Roman and medieval history there was little, of the British Empire even less, and most students associated the name Napoleon with the pig from Animal Farm. On a parents' night, my mother was told by a History teacher that all of us were bound to get good grades, since we were repeating what we had done before. “Is this what I'm paying you for?” she demanded, as well she might. This, from the sixth oldest school on the planet, was nothing short of disgraceful. French classes were eye-opening in other ways, since I spent most of my holidays in France and was exposed to the chatter of our neighbors. Although I could tell them that last weekend I had been to the cinema but I didn't like to play football, I was unable to say much else. Only after years of exposure to the French reality did I learn to speak their language with any proficiency. To put it succinctly, my school education was geared towards passing exams. To return to the example of our History course, in a Politics class, a straight-A student called Alys was heard to say

that “The attack on Pearl Harbour triggered the Vietnam War”, and in a Classics lesson, a girl called Catherine argued that the Emperor Augustus had taken control of the Church and killed the Pope... in 26 BC. It was a prestigious school once, I promise. Britain needs an education program that actually educates people, and so does Georgia. This morning I read an article about child brides in Georgia, and the gloomy thought crossed my mind once again that the only time Georgia makes the Western headlines is when something awful happens: a war, zoo animals rampaging around the capital, or young girls being raped and told “Gaixare” (bless you); they're going to have children, after all, and what could be better than that? Most Georgians complain that they simply don't have the opportunities that people in other countries do, and while this is true, I've met too many Georgians who have come from humble backgrounds and achieved great things to have much sympathy for the young men squatting on street corners drinking beer and eating sunflower seeds before it's time to go home to mother. Georgian friends of mine have forged their own path (and I hold those who join the uniformed services in the same high regard), but I admit that it is not in everyone to have the strength to emulate them. However, with an education program grounded in reality, the government could make things easier for them, especially for people in Georgia's many villages. Teenage girls could be taught that getting married before 18 to a man considered the local-boydone-good because he makes 500 GEL a month might not be the wisest life choice, and perhaps young men could be shown how their lives could improve if they could stomach university for a few years. It would be difficult to implement, of course, due to cultural pressures. It is the parents of young women who encourage them to marry and the parents of young men who do not pressure them into working or staying in school. Tampering with the education system in this way is tantamount to attempting to change the culture of the country, and something happens every year that shows how badly Georgians react when they feel (I emphasise 'feel') that their culture is being meddled with; it only takes someone to open a vegan cafe or a group of gay people to say “We're gay” for things to get out of hand. It is an issue the government will have to address sooner or later, as the disparity between 'the regions' and the cities continues to grow. Although now that I think of it, if they hadn't attacked that vegan cafe, we wouldn't have Rosemary. Every cloud has a silver lining, I suppose.

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DECEMBER 9 - 12, 2016

Flight Response BY TONY HANMER


aving bought our tickets for Canada as fast as possible, to attempt in vain to race to my father's deathbed, we were stuck with the next-day results: almost as much time in airports as in the air, in both directions. Plenty of time to muse about this strange phenomenon of hurling oneself across the globe's great circles so quickly that the soul is left behind, with jetlag the result until reunion with the body is achieved. It has been discouraging to see that a greater set of destinations for one airport can mean a lesser set elsewhere, such as has happened with Edmonton, Alberta's capital, and Calgary, its largest city. Much business has moved south to the latter. Gone are London and other European places; Reykjavik is mostly a stopover; Amsterdam is only seasonal; and all the other "international" locations are in the USA, Mexico or the Caribbean. Our choices have shrunk, and Tbilisi/Kutaisi/ Batumi-Edmonton now cannot be done in less than three flights. I always fervently pray that my luggage will greet me at the endpoint carousel, and not disappear into the terrifying void of Lostness, potentially ending up at any airport of the thousands in the world. And prefer many hours in an airport to only two between flights, given the choice, knowing how easily an earlier flight's lateness or (even worse) other delay for which the airline will Not Accept Responsibility can bring the whole following house of cards crashing down. It nearly happened to me at the second of NINE connected flights in 1994, taking me three quarters of the way around the world. The extended panic (this was going to be my fault) felt like a heart attack, while the relief at Not Even Boarding Last was a collapse in sweaty gratitude. Surabaya, Jakarta, Singapore, Helsinki, and a few more I now forget, ending in Seattle. Wi-Fi! We must have it for free in such places! The quality and quantity vary;

an enterprising believer in the desire of information to be free has listed, and updates, all known airport Wi-Fi access ways and means around the world. Now we have more than half a day in Istanbul's Ataturk airport, where I cannot connect at all for free, just come tantalizingly close: connected but not. En route here I read that Turkish Airlines has been voted Europe's best airline for the sixth year in a row, and believe it, based on a score of little things done right. This airport aims to become the largest and busiest in the world within a few years, which will need plenty of new building but, given the country's other infrastructure investments, is doable. We at least find a quieter place to stretch out and sleep during our long wait. The only loudspeaker announcements are increasingly frantic and scolding bilingual ones as gates approach their Final Call, that most dreaded of conditions. Heathrow in London does not even have these; just relative silence and lots of lit boards. Oh, and by sad coincidence, here comes a fellow asking me if the flight gate next to me was for Jakarta, which it might well have been, given the dress of the large waiting crowd, now tragically sealed off from his lateness by a Closed Gate. My heart goes out to him. I have been in this situation only once (in Paris), and hope never to repeat it in my life. Your pleadings fall on sympathetic but unbending ears. You must wait for your luggage to be removed from the plane and then try to identify it. And then you must get yourself home by other means. For me that time it was an overnight bus to Frankfurt, unsleeping of course, and then a flight to Tbilisi. So near, but so far! Tony Hanmer has lived in Georgia since 1999, in Svaneti since 2007, and been a weekly writer for GT since early 2011. He runs the “Svaneti Renaissance” Facebook group, now with over 1350 members, at He and his wife also run their own guest house in Etseri:

From the recent viral Lebanon Child Marriage video highlighting the scale of young brides across the world

Is Sharia a Trigger for Early Marriages? BY NURANA MAMMAD


he minimum legal age for marriage in Georgia is 18. According to the legislation, only with a court’s approval can people get married before that because of pregnancy or the birth of a child. But is this law implemented effectively? In fact, it’s difficult to know exactly how many girls become wives and mothers at an early age in Georgia as there are no exact data about early marriages due to the high number of unregistered marriages. Deputy Public Defender of Georgia, Ekaterina Skhiladze, says that legislation has been tightened. But there is no possibility to evaluate the positive changes in the practice, as the regulation is very new. It is also important that the legislative amendments be supported by campaigns aimed at raising public awareness and other measures supporting the implementation of the law in practice. “Given the fact that registration of marriage has a particular impact on women's property rights, the Public Defender considers that it is important the Georgian legislation be reviewed and improved in this direction as well,“ Skhiladze says. “We may say that the public is not ready

to implement such a change, but we should not forget the scale and the seriousness of the problem of early marriage.” She added that according to the Ministry of Justice of the Public Services Development Agency, 265 registered marriages took place in total between persons of under 18 years old in 2015. According to the same data of the 2016 January – July period, only 1 case was reported. However, it should be noted that in 2016, from January until July, the Ministry of Justice has learned about 742 birth cases in which one or both parents were minors.

SHARIA LAWS TRIGGER EARLY MARRIAGES Mostly it is Muslims that apply for early marriages. Under the laws of Sharia, religious marriage is very important for bringing couples together. According to tradition, wedding ceremonies are held, but the marriages are usually never officially registered. Samira Aliyeva is one women who experienced an early unregistered marriage. From the Marneuli region, she got married when she was just 16 years old. Samira didn’t want to get married. In fact, she was forced to get married by her mother for various economic and cultural reasons and Samira was abducted with the permission of her family. “Local tradition states that if a girl is

kidnapped, her parents don’t have to pay a dowry for their daughter. My family is poor, and that’s why they agreed and my husband abducted me,” she said. “A young bride is cheaper than dowry," she added. But after some time, Samira left her husband due to violence. “Now I’m living apart from my husband. We had only a religious marriage so I can’t ask anything of my husband because we have no official document and I have no child. My family doesn’t support me and life is hard for me.” Sheikh of the 'Union of Georgian R. Igidov' emphasizes that it would be better to have a religious law regulating these marriages. But, he says, there should be no age limit. “I don’t think there should be an age limit for marriages. But Sharia does not say to us people should marry at an early age- on the contrary; our holy book tells us that if a person is ready for marriage mentally, economically, physiologically and biologically, he/she can marry.” A representative of 'Journalists Network for Gender Equality' project in Kvemo Kartli, S. Bayramova, believes unregistered early marriages are contrary to human rights. “If people deviate from the obligation of civil marriage before religious marriage, this will lead to the abuse of children's and women's rights, especially regarding inheritance rights,” Bayramova says.


“I would love to repeat some films but we don't have the money” Gaga Chkheidze, director of the festival



EORGIA TODAY met Festival Director Gaga Chkheidze to discuss the recent Tbilisi Film Festival and the Georgian film industry.

HOW WOULD YOU SUM UP THE 17TH TBILISI INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL? I'mhappyifthescreeningsarewellattended. That was mostly the case, although it is of course hard to bring people into the cinema for a film by an unknown director. Personally, I liked the program “Bios Politikos” with a beautiful selection of political films. It was definitively a political year with the elections in Georgia and in the USA, and with the Brexit referendum. I was impressed by the engaged discussions after the screenings.

WHAT COULD YOU HAVE DONE BETTER? We can improve on technical and organizational things. The lightning of the stage in front of the screen was insufficient, even at the closing ceremony. And we had some problems with the microphones which we had to rent.


PEOPLE EVEN SITTING IN THE AISLE. WHY DON'T YOU ORGANIZE A SECOND SCREENING OF THE MOVIES? I would love to repeat certain films. But we don't have enough money to do so. For example the rights for “I, Daniel Blake,” Ken Loach's new film, cost us about 1000 Euro – a price defined by the Russian distributor who owns the rights for Georgia. We just couldn't afford a second screening. In general, our budget was lower because of the weak GEL. We get our money in GEL from the State and from sponsors, but our expenses are in Euro or Dollar.

DOES THAT MEAN THAT YOU CAN’T EXPAND YOUR PROGRAM IN FUTURE? It will be difficult because culture isn't a high priority for the government, even though culture is a way for Georgia to attract foreign tourists. We are trying to find new funding for the Industry Days. We organized this program for young Georgian filmmakers for the third time this year, and I think it's very important for them. We would love to enlarge this part. That's why we want to talk with the Film Center and the Ministry of Culture about a separate funding which would also make it easier for the regular film program because at present the Industry Days are financed from the normal festival budget.



DECEMBER 9 - 12, 2016

Still from winning film "House of Others"

And the Winner is: Georgian Cinema BY LUKAS MÄDER


t the closing ceremony it was all about Georgian Cinema. Although the Tbilisi Film Festival is an international festival with an international competition and showcases films from all around the world, it has a strong focus on local films as well. And therefore at the closing ceremony last weekend the main role in Cinema Amirani was played by Georgia's well-established award winning directors and their possible future successors – the young filmmakers. And the next generation of Georgian filmmakers did get international acclamation this night from Jury members. “Georgia will become an important player in cinema,” said Christian Routh, member of the pitching jury for Feature Films. “I saw so much enthusiasm among these young filmmakers.” Directors, producers and writers had the chance to work on their projects for two days before presenting them in an open pitch. Ulrich Gregor, member of the jury for Best Georgian Film said, “Georgian cinema is in good shape, especially regarding the future.”

A GEORGIAN FEATURE FILM WINS THE INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION Since Georgian cinema is important at the Tbilisi International Film Festival it was no surprise that the winner of the Golden Prometheus for the Best Feature Film in the international competition was a Georgian movie: “House of Others” by Rusudan Glurjidze, one of the two local contributions to the competition. The film tells the story of a family after the war in Abkhazia moving into a foreign house, abandoned by its inhabitants who had to flee together with the whole village. The mother starts to install herself in the house, wanting to make it her own, whereas the father hesitates and is unwilling to get comfortable in a house belonging to others. Although the conclusion in the end remains vague, the movie fascinates with its cool aesthetics and precise camera work. Thanks to unreal staging and the lack of historical references, “House of Others” is more a timeless oeuvre about home in general than about the situation in Abkhazia. The films in the competition, debuts by definition, were in general of high quality. A lot of them telling

the story of women fighting for their independence. The outstanding Croatian movie “Quit staring at my plate” is one such case, about a young woman living with her parents and handicapped brother who has to find her place after she suddenly becomes the breadwinner. Or the Bulgarian contribution “Zhaleika” in which a teenage girl doesn't fit into the conservative society of her remote village. The second Georgian film in the competition, “Ana's Life” also tells the story of a single mother struggling for a better life – but it goes over the top with its dramatic twist towards the end of the movie.

HELP FOR GEORGIAN FILMMAKERS For the young, funding for Georgian cinema is a problem – a problem that was also mentioned at the closing ceremony. As a symbol of the issue, the Georgian Panorama of the festival has been sponsored by an Azeri Bank for the past three years, its logo prominently displayed at the closing ceremony. Clearly, a Georgian sponsor couldn't be found. The winner was the project “Border Games,” a parody about the absurdity of some borders. Remarkably, it was the only project among the seven which told a story related to the recent wars in Georgia and the unsolved problems with borders. The other filmmakers chose topics like the struggle of a young couple in a difficult social situation, or a priest who gets punished by the Orthodox Church for inappropriate behavior. Maybe for the international members of the jury, Georgia is more associated with war and conflicts even today, than for playing a role in the real life of the majority of young Georgians.

AUDIENCE RECOGNITION Georgian movies were very much in the focus of the audience's interest. The screening of the two Georgian contributions in the competition were so crowded that even festival guests struggled to find a seat in the big hall of the Amirani Cinema. Equally popular were screenings of contemporary European films by well-known directors. The new movie of the Belgian Dardenne brothers, “The unknown girl,” almost filled the theater with 450 seats on a Saturday afternoon. This is a clear sign of the large number of film lovers in Tbilisi. But it also shows that the Tbilisi Film Festival is still mostly a festival for the local audience, for various reasons: some of them financial, some of them organizational. But the not because of the program: the quality of the movies in the competitions is fantastically high.





DECEMBER 9 - 12, 2016

Leila Shelia’s Mystic Female Art BY MAKA LOMADZE


heGeorgianNationalMuseum Dimitri Shevardnadze National Gallery opened a solo exhibition by Leila Shelia on December 6, showcasing up to 80 paintings and graphic works created by the artist at different times. Leila Shelia was born in Sokhumi, Georgia. She graduated from Tbilisi State Academy of Art and from 1982 participated in various group exhibitions in Barcelona, Paris, Moscow, Brussels, Baku, Zürich, London and Amsterdam. Her solo exhibitions locally have so far been held at Tbilisi History Museum (Karvasla), Gallery ‘TMS', Baia Gallery, Gala Gallery, Chardin Gallery, and TBC Gallery.

“I would like to say a special thanks to Leila Shelia for her beautiful works. Of course, for us the main thing that mattered while selecting the exposition was the high quality,” said Davit Lortpikanidze, Director General of the Georgian National Museum. “For me, this day is very important,” said the artist. “Here you can see works I created in various years, including abstract works and graphics. I want to extend my thanks to the employees of the museum who have enabled me to display these works.” “For me, after so many successful shows in Georgia and abroad, this is a very special day, to have my solo exposition held at the Georgian National Gallery,” she later told GEORGIA TODAY. In 2014 the artist's album was published with the support of Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia. “They say




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that the original Venus de Milo held a mirror in her hand…Now, this eternal resident of the Louvre has neither the mirror nor hands… This historic ‘defect’ reveals one paradox in particular: Any perception lags behind its object,” writes the art historian Davit Andriadze in the preface of Shelia’s album. ”She is as if omitting the primary layer of the visual experience. Hereby, the art historian implies that the nudes of Mrs. Shelia do not have any organs. “Maybe, this is the kind of artist that “seizes” the invisible sounds and scents… seizes with pure sight; the sight devoid of words… and at the same time, purifying our cultural sight (or the sight created by culture) from the chain-like logic of the consciousness.” “Leila Shelia looks at this universe as at the infinity… Each color is derived from its own self and stays within its

borders with Leila Shelia.” Perhaps this is something devoid of deep male study and intellectual insights; this is a woman, already an interesting creature, and doubly interesting for her strong artistic talent that possesses a golden means not to be too subjective and autobiographically “nude”, thus maintaining the title of a mysterious woman. It seems she is not illusive, but she is a woman who has many inner layers to discover which are not shown on canvas. It has little to do with candidness, and rather more with an infinite journey into the womanly universe. At the end of the opening, Leila Shelia presented the Georgian National Museum Dimitri Shevardnadze National Gallery with the work titled “Music”. Where: Dimitri Shevardnadze National Gallery, 11 Shota Rustaveli Ave. Tbilisi When: Until January 1, 2017

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10 Galaktion Street

Tel: (995 32) 2 45 08 08 E-mail:



DECEMBER 9 - 12, 2016


“From the Alps to the Caucasus:”Georgian Pianist & Philanthropist BY MAKA LOMADZE


rom the Alps to the Caucasus is the name of the project within the framework of which pianist Tamar Kordzadze, living and working in Zurich, and Swiss and Georgian stars performed an unforgettable concert on November 20 in Zurich, that aimed to build strong cultural bridges between the two countries. GEORGIA TODAY spoke to Tamar Kordzadze to find out more about her charity work and talent.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR CHARITY ASSOCIATION “VIVACE” My generation of musicians experienced an extremely difficult period during which there was no financial aid for students, and no sponsors to help us to participate in international competitions, festivals and concerts abroad. From childhood, I dreamed of founding a charity to fund talented children. On arriving in Zurich, where I was able to continue my studies with the aid of a full scholarship from the fund “Lyra” - Bank Vontobel, I became even more motivated to ensure that future generations would be able to receive simi-

lar funding for such opportunities. Since 2009, we have implemented around 30 projects and have given a helping hand to about 70 young musicians, 10 piano chairs were distributed to 7 music schools in Tbilisi, where the children had previously been playing while sitting on uncomfortable dining chairs. We purchased 3 pianos, 4 childsized violins, 2 cellos and 3 wind instruments for music schools. These instruments are of utmost importance for the children, as from childhood development of musical talent begins; without the necessary instruments, it would be impossible for their abilities to flourish. Around 30 young Georgians were given opportunities to perform at various international music festivals, to participate in master classes taught by famous musicians and to give concerts in Europe. We have also provided scholarships and have supported Georgian students participating in international competitions financially. All this is a tremendous success for a charity such as ours, which is financed via charity concerts and by sponsors who finance concrete projects. It is also based on the enthusiasm of myself, as its President, and of Ralf Kostgeld, vicePresident, without a penny in return.


CAUCASUS”- THIS PROJECT SOUNDS SO EXTENSIVE. PLEASE TELL US ABOUT IT. It’s 15 years since Georgian students came to Zurich University of the Arts to study. We decided to embark on this project to mark this anniversary with the aim of linking Tbilisi and Zurich music high schools to enable student and teacher exchanges; for instance, we wish to invite instructors from Zurich to attend the exams and contests at Tbilisi Conservatoire. We also wish to organize special projects and training courses for Georgian students and instructors at the Zurich University of the Arts. The concert on November 20 in Zurich was a great success! We had an extremely diverse and interesting program, and many prominent, talented artists took part. The 500-seat hall was packed. Among the attendees were Irakli Kurashvili, the Georgian ambassador to Switzerland, Guenther Baechler, former Swiss Ambassador to Georgia, directors of academic institutions, famous musicians, critics, managers of leading music agencies and Georgians living in Switzerland. I must mention the support of Michael Eidenbenz, director of Zurich University of the Arts, who supported us in this project, and I would also like to extend special thanks to the professors at the Zurich University of Arts who

participated in our concerts and projects – all was provided in the spirit of charity! As well as Mrs Liana Isakadze who, despite her tight schedule managed to participate in the concert and hold master classes for the Swiss students the day before the concert.

HOW DID YOU REACH YOUR CURRENT LEVEL OF SUCCESS AND ACCLAIM? I started playing the piano at 5 with the encouragement of my mother, Natalia Sikharulidze, who is a graduate pianist from St. Petersburg Conservatoire. When we moved from St. Petersburg to Tbilisi, I attended Dodo Tsintsadze’s class at the Musical School for Gifted Children; who got me involved in an active piano and performing life. From the age of 6, I took part in festivals and annual concerts with chamber or symphonic orchestras all over Georgia, in Russia, Ukraine and later in Europe. Therefore, I was recognized by the press from a very young age. After graduation, I continued my studies with Manana Doijashvili at the Tbilisi State Conservatoire, got a bachelor’s and master’s degree, and from 2004 continued my studies at the Zurich University of the Arts in the class of Konstantin Sherbakov. Following this, I continued to live, work and perform my charitable activities in Zurich.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR PERFORMANCE AT THE RECENT CONCERT Among other pieces I performed Prokofiev’s First Sonata for Violin and Piano, in a duet with Mrs Liana Isakadze. Beethoven’s Trio op.11 for piano, clarinet and cello, with fantastic musicians as Fabio di Casola and Thomas Grossenbacher. Widor’s “Introduction and Rondo” for clarinet and piano, and Dvorak’s Rondo for Cello and Piano.

YOU TEACH AT ZURICH CONSERVATOIRE, GIVE MASTER CLASSES AND ARE JURY MEMBER AT INTERNATIONAL COMPETITIONS. WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE TO TALENTED GEORGIAN PIANISTS? Study foreign languages and learn to be independent at an early age, in life as well as when working on their professional development. It is important to have the skills of self-organization and communication, to make acquaintances and network. Many talented students have wasted years because they believed they could build a musical career just by sitting at home and playing for 7-10 hours every day. However, if individuals are not sociable and independent, they rely entirely luck.




DECEMBER 9 - 12, 2016


TBILISI VASO ABASHIDZE MUSIC AND DRAMA STATE THEATRE Address: 182 D.Agmashenebeli Ave. Telephone: 2 34 80 90 December 15 MARY POPPINS Directed by Davit Doiashvili Musical Start time: 19:00 Ticket: From 8 GEL GEORGIAN STATE PANTOMIME THEATRE Address: 37 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 99 63 14 December 9 THE KNIGHT IN THE PANTHER'S SKIN Shota Rustaveli Directed by Amiran Shalikashvili Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 25 GEL GRIBOEDOVI THEATRE Address: 2 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 93 43 36 December 9 THE MARRIAGE Nikolay Gogol Directed by Avtandil Varsimashvili Language: Russian Start time: 18:00 Ticket: 5 GEL December 10 THE PLAYERS N. Gogol Directed by Giorgi Margvelashvili Language: Russian Start time: 18:00 Ticket: 5 GEL December 11 TALE OF KING SALTAN Directed by Avtandil Varsimashvili Language: Russian Start time: 12:00 Ticket: 5 GEL GABRIADZE THEATRE Address: 13 Shavtelis St. Telephone: 2 98 65 93 December 9 STALINGRAD Rezo Gabriadze Directed by Rezo Gabriadze

English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10, 15, 20 GEL December 10 RAMONA Rezo Gabriadze Directed by Rezo Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10, 15, 20 GEL December 11, 15 MARSHAL DE FANTIE’S DIAMOND Rezo Gabriadze Directed by Rezo Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10, 15, 20 GEL MOVEMENT THEATER Address: 182, Aghmashenebeli Ave., Mushthaid park Telephone: 599 555 260 December 9, 10, 11 Premiere PERFORMANCE ECLIPSE Directed by Kakha Bakuradze Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 15 GEL December 13 PERFORMANCE THE DECAMERON Directed by Otar Egadze Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10 GEL

ALLIED Directed by Robert Zemeckis Cast: Brad Pitt, Marion Cotillard, Jared Harris Genre: Action, Drama, Romance Language: Russian Start time: 17:15, 19:30 Ticket: 13-14 GEL HACKSAW RIDGE Directed by Mel Gibson Cast: Teresa Palmer, Andrew Garfield, Luke Bracey Genre: Biography, Drama, Romance Language: Russian Start time: 22:10 Ticket: 13-14 GEL FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM Directed by David Yates Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Ezra Miller, Ron Perlman Genre: Adventure, Family, Fantasy Language: Russian Start time: 13:30, 16:30 Ticket: 9-14 GEL UNDERWORLD: BLOOD WARS Directed by Anna Foerster Cast: Kate Beckinsale, Theo James, Bradley James Genre: Action, Horror Language: Russian Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 13-14 GEL RUSTAVELI CINEMA Address: 5 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 55 50 00

Fisher, Jon Hamm, Gal Gadot Cast: Zach Galifianakis, Isla Fisher, Jon Hamm, Gal Gadot Genre: Action, Comedy Language: Russian Start time: 11:45, 16:50, 22:25 Ticket: 8-14 GEL HACKSAW RIDGE (Info Above) Start time: 14:20, 17:15, 22:20 Ticket: 11-12 GEL FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM (Info Above) Start time: 22:15 Ticket: 13-14 GEL MUSEUM



AMIRANI CINEMA Address: 36 Kostava St. Telephone: 2 99 99 55 Every Wednesday ticket price: 5 Lari December 9-15 NOCTURNAL ANIMALS Directed by Tom Ford Cast: Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon Genre: Drama, Thriller Language: English Start time: 19:30 Language: Russian Start time: 14:30, 22:15, 22:10 Ticket: 9-14 GEL

Every Wednesday ticket: 5 GEL December 9-5 ALLIED (Info Above) Start time: 14:10, 17:15, 19:45, 22:30 Ticket: 9-14 GEL OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY Directed by Josh Gordon, Will Speck Cast: Jason Bateman, Olivia Munn, T.J. Miller Genre: Comedy Language: Russian Start time: 12:15, 14:45, 17:15, 20:00, 22:30 Ticket: 8-14 GEL KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES Directed by Zach Galifianakis, Isla


THE NATIONAL GALLERY Address: 11 Rustaveli Ave.

PERMANENT EXHIBITION June 24, 2016 – June 24, 2017 PIROSMANI’S "YARD CLEANER" AND "EAGLE SEIZING A HARE" ON DISPLAY Both paintings were in the ownership of Ilya and Kirill Zdanevich until 1930 when Dimitri Shevardnadze bought part of their collection (39 paintings) including the above. September 28 - September 28 (2017) PIROSMANI’S ROE AT A STREAM Kept by the TsitsishviliGedevanishvili family from 1949 until 2011, the painting has never been exhibited to the public before. In 2011, the artwork left Georgia and was sold at Sotheby's auction. It appeared at the same auction again in 2016 where it was bought by Bidzina Ivanishvili and Cartu Fund and donated to the Georgian National Museum. November 29 - January 28 (2017) EXHIBITION DEDICATED TO THE 140TH ANNIVERSARY OF IAKOB NIKOLADZE In 1906-1908 Nikoladze worked with the greatest sculptor of modernity, Auguste Rodin. Despite a number of suggestions to work in Europe and America, Nikoladze brought his experience gained with Rodin to Georgia and founded the school of sculpture in his home country. December 6-31 SOLO EXHIBITION BY LEILA SHELIA The exhibition showcases up to 80 paintings and graphic works created by the artist in different times. FABRIKA Address: 8 E. Ninoshvili Str. November 18 – December 18 BRIAN GRIFFIN EXHIBITION 'MOTHER GEORGIA' FOR COMME DES GARCONS ESTIA Address: 60 Tsinamzgvrishvili Str. ANETA BASISHVILI’S EXHIBITION MUSIC

TBILISI STATE CONSERVATOIRE Address: 8 Griboedov St. Telephone: 2 93 46 24 December 10 WE FOR ZVIAD Concert dedicated in honor of musician Zviad Beriashvili Start time: 19:30 Ticket: 10-20 GEL December 14 PIANO RECITAL Lucas Debargue - Laureate of international competitions (France) Program: Schubert, Szymanowski Start time: 18:30 Ticket: 5-30 GEL MOVEMENT THEATER Address: 182, Aghmashenebeli Ave., Mushthaid park Telephone: 599 555 260 December 13, 15 JAM SESSION Reso Kiknadze Quintet Start time: 21:00 Entry: Free December 14 TANGO EVENING MILONGA, LA CUMPARSITA Argentine Tango Dance Night Start time: 21:00 Ticket: 5 GEL




Inspiring Young Minds: Georgia Today Education Presents to St. George’s International BY KATIE RUTH DAVIES


to read some of the latest stories in a mini demonstration “read, understand, reproduce” group speaking activity. They were then gifted a copy of the newspaper to take home and read in more detail. Hopefully this is only the start of an inspiring journey for them into the English-language media. Among other educational initiatives it is developing, Georgia Today plans to organize a number of competitions to encourage young readers to write and speak their minds. Winners will be given the chance to interview selected VIPs in the political and entertainment fields. Georgia Today Education is seeking partner organizations to sponsor educational material for the newspaper. If you are interested, please contact us at: EDUCATION

s part of its mission to inform, educate, inspire and entertain, the Georgia Today Group presented its new monthly newspaper ‘Georgia Today Education’ (GTE) to pupils and teachers of the St George’s International School / Silicon Valley. The 16-page full-color newspaper provides schools with a monthly feast of news stories, feature articles and fun language-development activities. Some stories are taken and adapted from the mainstream news, offering its young readers the most recent happenings in and about Georgia, and often demon-

strating the connections between their country and the rest of the world. Joint international projects and “hot” social issues are discussed, the government’s latest economy and education-boosting projects introduced, and the latest social research results (good and bad!) revealed. Learning material is written by the Georgia Today journalists or provided by sponsors, including the British Council, which offers two specially adapted reading and learning activity pages per issue. Each story offers a glossary box for unfamiliar words, an info box for extra information or background on each topic, and a Food for Thought box introducing questions that teachers can use in-class to generate discussion, or which can be set as writing tasks for homework. Pupils at St George’s International got


Issue no: 003

• APRIL 2016 georgiatoday




In this issue...



Source: British International School Tbilisi



Georgia Welc omed into EU’s Research and Innovation Society Young Georgians learning to experi and succeed ment

Stand Out from the Crowd with an AP from American Hig h School PAGE 6 Buckswood Summer School

PAGE 8 ever. With nearl y 77 billion Euro s of funding availa IYIPO Attracts ble over 7 years (2014 to 2020 Young esearchers and ), it promises Innovative Min inno- break more throughs, disco vators from ds from Georgia world veries and aro und the World -õrsts by takin will now be g great ideas able to from the lab to the participate in Horiz market. Horiz on 2020 is on seen 2020, the EU’s as a means to frame- econ drive agree work program omic growth ment for research and once again prove and create jobs. inno- “The vation, under s what a great role scien EU values work the same cond ce has in the coun ing together itions with as their counterpa try’s developm its partners to rts from EU Mem invest in know ent. “Georgia - edge and ber States and l- become has PAGE 10 other associated innovation for part of a singl the future,” coun- said e European tries. Carlos research area. Moedas. Moedas, Euro An impo pean rtant step Beyond Commissioner Participation for the country, for Research, Scien the Classroom in Horizon 2020 this brings a myri ce grams is and Innovation proad at BIST of interesting now available , and Tamar Sanik proposals and : the Importance for all Georidze, gian Georgian Mini opportunities for our scientists, resea ster of Education of After School scientists,” she rchers and and innov Science signed said. In the 7th fram Activities ators, as well as the association Georgia-based ework program agree- unive ment between (2007 rsitie -2013) preceding Georgia and Horiz s, research instit Horizon 2020, utions, Geor on NGOs, 2020 on April small and medi gian organizatio 29. ns participate um enterHorizon 2020 prises, foundatio d in 49 signed is the biggest projects. They ns, governme EU agencies, Research and nt already have and more. Innovation progr participated in eight proam Minister jects within the Sanikidze claim framework of s that this zon Hori2020. PAGE 14





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Profile for Georgia Today

Issue #903  

December 9 - 12, 2016

Issue #903  

December 9 - 12, 2016