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Issue no: 1211

• DECEMBER 13 - 16, 2019 • PUBLISHED TWICE WEEKLY

PRICE: GEL 2.50

In this week’s issue... Femicide in Georgia - 151 Women Murdered in 6 Years NEWS PAGE 2

TBC Bank Receives EBRD Award for Financing Energy Efficiency Projects NEWS PAGE 3

Why Russia is Not as Weak as it Seems POLITICS PAGE 4

Investing in Georgia’s Green Economy! BUSINESS PAGE 6

FOCUS

ON GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE

Georgia joins the Resolution cause with the polyphonic group Suliko

Holiday Factory Named Best Incoming Tour Operator 2019 at Welcome to Georgia! Awards

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Abducted Georgian Doctor Discussed at Geneva Talks BY TEA MARIAMIDZE

BUSINESS PAGE 7

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he 50th round of the Geneva International Discussions (GID), which represent the only format of an ongoing international dialogue between Georgia and Russia, took place in Geneva, Switzerland, on December 10-11. One of the main topics was the case of the illegally detained doctor, Vazha Gaprindashvili, who has been held captive by the puppet regime of the Russian-occupied South Ossetia since early November. Lasha Darsalia, Deputy Foreign Minister and Head of the Georgian delegation, at the talks, noted he hoped Gaprindashvili’s case will be resolved soon despite the complexity of the issue. “We continue to work with our partners. The issue is difficult, but, on the basis of the reactions we saw and dynamics of the negotiations, we expect and hope that the issue will be resolved in the near future,” Darsalia said. He added that another top issue discussed concerned the closing of Administrative Boundary Line (ABL) crossing points in occupied Akhalgori.

LAG, No Lag: Mestia, Svaneti CULTURE PAGE 9 Image source: alt-info.com

“The human rights and humanitarian situation has worsened there since August. There are a number of issues related to both the closure of crossing points and illegal borderization and we hope that progress will be made in this regard,” he added. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko, who attended the 50th round of GID on behalf of Moscow, also commented on the issue of Gaprindashvili after the meeting, claiming it was a humanitarian issue and “everybody should meet New Year together with their families.”

“We listened to the views of both parties. We hope that Gaprindashvili will be returned to his loved ones in the near future. It is in everyone's interest that this issue be removed from the agenda. Do not ask me how he will be releasedyou know he is not in the Kremlin," Rudenko told Georgian journalists. The Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) also released a statement regarding the GID, noting that the EU, UN, OSCE and US officials unanimously demanded the immediate release of the Georgian doctor. Continued on page 2

4 Young Pianists Play at Paris Christmas Gala Concert CULTURE PAGE 11

Special Offer for readers of Georgia Today -15% off all Diet Plans!

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NEWS

GEORGIA TODAY

DECEMBER 13 - 16, 2019

Femicide in Georgia - 151 Women Murdered in 6 Years BY TEA MARIAMIDZE

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emicide is the killing of a woman or girl, in particular by a man and on account of her gender. 151 such cases have been reported in Georgia in the last six years, the Public Defender of Georgia, Nino Lomjaria reported at the Conference on the Prevention and Monitoring of Femicide held in Tbilisi on Wednesday with the support of the Public Defender of Georgia and UN Women. Femicide is a sex-based hate crime term, defined as "the intentional killing of females because they are females.” Most cases of femicide are committed by partners or ex-partners and involve ongoing abuse in the home, threats or intimidation, sexual violence or situations where women have less power or fewer resources than their partner. The Public Defender requested information about femicide from the Georgian law enforcement agencies, including the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Prosecutor's Office and the Court, for her report

about femicide. The data showed that most cases involving the attempted murder of women are usually accompanied by domestic violence. Lomjaria said that according to the Prosecutor's Office, 135 killings of women were reported in 2014-2018. Of these, three victims were led to suicide while 64 showed signs of domestic abuse. Other motives were identified in 71 cases. In the same years, there were 69 attempted murders of women, of which five of the victims were led to attempt suicide and 46 of which contained signs of domestic abuse. Other motives were identified in 23 cases. The first 10 months (January-October) of 2019, saw 16 killings of women reported, of which one of the victims was led to suicide and nine showed signs of domestic abuse. Other motives were identified in seven cases. In the same period, there were 16 attempted murders of women. Signs of domestic abuse were identified in 12 cases, while other motives were identified in the remaining four cases. The Ombudsman found that due to the lack of uniform statistics gathering, different agencies’ statistical data on genderrelated killings of women are often con-

Image source: newstatesman.com

t ra d i c to r y, wh i c h co m p l i c a te s coordination between them. The main findings of the report show that it is still problematic for the court to assess a case as femicide or attempted femicide. “Even when gender motives are identified, this is not reflected in the aggra-

vating circumstances of the punishment. Accordingly, it is important for the Prosecutor's Office to take appropriate measures to identify gender motives in the murders or attempted murders of women,” the report reads. Lomjaria also stressed that despite the decline in the rates of femicide, efforts

need to be made during the examination of cases in order to address systemic shortcomings. Deputy Public Defender Ekaterine Skhiladze told Netgazeti that the prevention of violence against women and domestic violence remains a problem in Georgia, and such cases lack an effective response when identified. “The main problem, in our estimation, is that most cases of domestic violence or violence against women are not reported to the relevant authorities, as women are reluctant to address them due to various barriers, such as economic problems, lack of trust or other factors,” she explained. Skhiladze said that as the report covers the last five years, cases when the police was informed but could not prevent femicide are few. However, she believes that for 2014-2016 the number of such cases is still high. The Deputy Ombudsman noted that the first and foremost recommendation is for the State to expand and strengthen women's support programs, to create more programs for victims of domestic violence and to prevent the escalation of violence, such as the killing of women.

Abducted Georgian Doctor Discussed at Geneva Talks Continued from page 1 The Georgian delegation raised worsened security and human rights situation in Georgia's breakaway regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali, as well as in the villages adjacent to the occupation line. In this context, the provocative steps of Russia and de facto regimes of the breakaway regions of Georgia were stressed, in particular, in the village of Chorchani near the Georgia-controlled area, where barbed wire fences had been erected, the occupation line was closed and the number of kidnappings has increased. “The culmination of these illegal steps

was the detention of Doctor Vazha Gaprindashvili,” the MFA says. The Ministry also noted that the CoChairs, participants from Georgia and the United States, strongly condemned the illegal detention of the representatives of the European Union Monitoring Mission by the occupation forces on October 24 on territory controlled by the Georgian government. They assessed the occupation regime's actions as unprecedented provocation and stressed that it was unacceptable to interfere with the mission's activities. It was reiterated that the EUMM should be allowed to enter the occupied territories and fulfill its

mandate throughout Georgia. Among the top issues of the talks were the killings of Georgian citizens Archil Tatunashvili in breakaway S. Ossetia, who received 100 injuries prior to his death in 2018, of Giga Otkhozoria in May 2016, of Davit Basharuli, murdered in unclear circumstances in breakaway Tskhinvali in 2015, and of Irakli Kvaratskhelia in 2019, who died in unclear circumstances at the Russian military base in breakaway Abkhazia. The Georgian side requested Russia provide full information regarding the last case. Official Tbilisi also stressed that the Russian Federation continues occupation

of the Georgian territories, grossly violates the EU ceasefire agreement of 12 August 2008. It urged Moscow to fulfill its international obligations, including the withdrawal of occupation forces from the territory of Georgia. The Geneva Discussions were launched after the Russia-Georgia war 2008 and are held with the co-Chairmanship of the EU, UN and OSCE, and with the participation of Georgia, the Russian Federation and the USA. The representatives of Georgia’s breakaway regions, the Sokhumi and Tskhinvali occupation regimes, also attend the working group sessions. The talks are usually held within a two

meeting-group format. At one meeting, the sides discuss security and stability issues in Georgia’s breakaway Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions, while the second meeting concerns the dignified and safe return of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and refugees to their homes in the occupied regions. While discussing the issue of IDPs return to their homes at the 50th round, the GID participants from Moscow, occupied SokhumiandTskhinvalidemonstratedtheir now-traditional “destructive attitude” and left the negotiating room. The next round of Geneva International Discussions will take place on March 31 and April 1, 2020.

Georgia Joins ‘Resolution,’ a Collaborative Project to Raise Awareness on Global Climate Change by Universal Music. Suliko performs polyphonic songs, recognized by UNESCO as intangible cultural heritage. The song premieres on New Year’s Eve. Together with its foremost aim to raise awareness on global climate change, Universal Music has released the Georgian version of the song to serve another

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he Earth’s climate is experiencing destabilization, and our planet’s ability to sustain life as we know it is in crisis. From shifting weather patterns that threaten food production, to rising sea levels that increase the risk of calamitous flooding, the impacts of climate change are global in scope and unprecedented in scale. But it is likely not too late to prevent the worst effects of global warming by adopting meaningful adaptation and mitigation strategies. What’s missing is the ambition. ‘Resolution’, a collaborative project by Universal Music, National Geographic and WWF, has been created to raise awareness on climate change and inspire preventive action. The project calls on everyone, from individuals to companies and politicians, to take part in the global effort. On Georgia’s part, the

British Georgian Chamber of Commerce (BGCC) is the sponsor and initiator of this global New Year project. The Embassy of Georgia to the UK supports the initiative. The song "Resolution" was written and created by Universal Music specifically for this promotion - the song will be performed by world famous stars and choirs on New Year's Eve. The creators of the song earnestly hope that it will help encourage individual persons to make personal contributions to the overarching aim of dealing with climate change. The message of the song is simple- anyone's action matters for saving the planet. The participators in this vital project include famous actors such as Keira Knightley, Emma Thompson, Mark Rylance and Naomie Harris, to name a few. Suliko, the team of famous Georgian opera soloists, will perform a unique polyphonic version of the song written

agenda- to promote Georgia and its unique polyphonic tradition. Apart from taking part in the famous NASA project, which took place in 1977, Georgia's polyphonic team has never been engaged in such a huge global initiative. "Georgia joins its voice of ancient polyphonic singing to the global initia-

tive," Ambassador of Georgia to the UK, Tamar Beruchashvili, told GEORGIA TODAY. "The Georgian Embassy in the UK is delighted to support this amazing project implemented by the BritishGeorgia Chamber of Commerce as an excellent opportunity to promote our country, culture and values."


NEWS

GEORGIA TODAY DECEMBER 13 - 16, 2019

Voting Makes a Difference, Right?

TBC Bank Receives EBRD Award for Financing Energy Efficiency Projects BY MARIAM MERABISHVILI

OP-ED BY NUGZAR B. RUHADZE

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e want democracy because there is nothing better to want. I havealwayswondered why a country being governed by the whole population is a smart thing to do. Plato, one of the wisest men in history, was seriously concerned that democracy stood in opposition to expertise, which means that the rule of people is not enough to manage the nation effectively. Human society has a nasty feature of perennially being divided on many different issues, one of them being a division into rich and poor. In a democracy, as Aristotle bequeathed us, the destitute have more political power than the wealthy because there are more of them and the will of the majority is higher and more influential than the will of the minority. So, let’s say the democratic rule is the rule of the poor. The rich have only a limited say in ruling a country. Formally, of course! And nobody knows whether this is fair or unfair. In the representative democracy, the bottom-line is usually reached via voting – the public vote is a decision maker, but some of the most civilized personalities of the past exhibit concern about the relevancy of voting in general. For instance, the universally famous and beloved Mark Twain once jovially commented: ‘If voting made a difference, they wouldn’t let us do it’.

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Image source: purdue.edu

If we follow into the footsteps of this genius’ political philosophy, we might arrive at a funny conclusion that it makes no difference what kind of people are propelled into Georgia’s legislative body with the help of a public vote. Why, then, this uproar concerning the change of the extant electoral system? We’ve been killing ourselves, and each other too for that matter, looking for a better instrument to vote with, as if this is the way out for a nation which has found itself in a multifaceted complicatedness, including economy, education, consumer prices, public health, environmental pollution, currency fluctuation and what not. Nevertheless, we want to be totally dipped in a bitter political narrative, not the narrative that makes money and gives us a little respite. Fine, let it be voting this time: the only electoral system that might be usefully practicable would probably be the system that successfully provides for putting into Parliament the wisest men and women of the nation, the individuals who have relevant education, proficiency, character and desire to enter this most responsible servitude of the nation, totally excluding accidental membership in the legislature, occurring thanks to a party affiliation. How could this be done? Here is the simplest and clearest of the answers: a)

by politically educating people so extensively that they eventually feel themselves as enlightened electors who can make the best choice via a ballot box in favor of the nation, and who knows the price of his or her vote when it comes to the future of the country and the fate of their children in that country; b) by giving a chance for the crème de la crème of the nation to run for office, those with enough lore and ruling qualification under their belt; c) by instituting a stable and durable government system, including the electoral one, adamantly based on the principle of checks and balances, which will last for centuries, as the American people have managed to do it: they are still successfully operating with a 240 year-old Law of the Land; d) by helping our people love and trust our Constitution; e) by methodically bringing up the younger generation to refuse to lie in the electoral process, and who believe that truth is the only guarantor of rightful development. If voting is indispensable because we are living in a democracy, it should at least be correctly calculated by every single voting individual. If this is feasible, then the funny and benignly cynical comment by the already mentioned great American could possibly be reconsidered, and even altered: voting makes a difference, that’s why they let us do it.

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he European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has awarded TBC Bank with a grant for financing the best energy-efficient projects and promoting green economic development in Georgia. At the event, six companies were identified as the authors of the best energy-efficient projects, including LiderFood Ltd and the Shilda Hydro Power Plant, which have been cooperating with TBC Bank for many years. The Caucasus Energy Efficiency Program is funded by CEEP, EBRD, EU and the Austrian Ministry of Finance, within which 31 companies and more than 29,000 households in Georgia have received more than €42 million of energy credits from six local banks since 2012. The presentation also included the presentation of the new EBRD Green Economy Financing Program - GEFF, a

continuation of the Caucasus Energy Efficiency Program - CEEP. Within the framework of the project, EBRD will finance energy efficient projects. GEFF will allocate $54 million for Georgia. Co-sponsors of the program with the EBRD are: Green Climate Fund - GCF and Austrian Ministry of Finance. The Green Climate Fund is the world's largest fund that helps developing countries respond to climate change. The new project will enable corporate, small and medium-sized businesses to obtain loans from local banks to contribute to the development of green economics. Loans are available for energy efficient building materials, agricultural machinery and equipment. For a full list of green technologies see here: https://ts.ebrdgeff.com/georgia-ge/ The EBRD is a leading investor in Georgia. Since launching its operations in Georgia, the Bank has invested more than €3.5 billion in 237 financial, corporate, infrastructure and energy sectors. 89% of bank investments go to the private sector.


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POLITICS

GEORGIA TODAY

DECEMBER 13 - 16, 2019

Why Russia is Not as Weak as it Seems OP-ED BY EMIL AVDALIANI

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n discussions of international affairs, it has become fashionable for Western observers to view Russia as a declining power, destined to succumb to the string of domestic and foreign problems that have beset it. To begin with, there is a standard set of arguments to support this scenario. Russia’s declining population from the current 144 million to 120 mln by 20402050. economic stagnation (unlikely to reverse in the coming decade), problems with ethnic minorities, especially in the north Caucasus are just the tip of the iceberg. On the foreign policy front, Russia’s backfired support for the Ukrainian separatists and Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia’s signing of EU association agreements are cited as proof of Moscow’s weakening state. Similarly, while remaining the predominant military power in Central Asia, with bases in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, Russia has been losing its economic preeminence in the region to China, which has also made military inroads by holding joint exercises with the Tajik and Kyrgyz armed forces and opening military bases in Tajikistan. No less importantly, Moscow is still feeling the impact of the Western sanctions, which are unlikely to be lifted anytime soon, while its attempts to foment far-right populism across Europe have thus far failed. These internal and foreign policy setbacks have led Western observers to doubt whether Russians would be prepared to tolerate a Putin presidency till 2024. This year, Putin’s rule, which has already lasted a full 19 years, has become the longest since Stalin’s. An entire generation of young Russians has grown up

knowing no other national leader. Though interesting, these observations are Western-centric. They fail to consider the Russian mindset, political culture, and Russians’ rules of the game. While the above problems would probably suffice to bring down most European governments, a Russian leader's, whether a tsar, Soviet secretary-general or modern president, sway over the country has always remained strong. Political sovereignty in the West emanates from below. In Russia, the government relies on coercive measures to control the vast country. Not only is this state of affairs not alien to most Russians, but as a result of the specific geographic, cultural and economic factors which have shaped modern Russia, its citizens expect their leaders to be guarantors of peace through various policies, even heavy-handed ones. Hence the Kremlin’s lack of serious concern over the anti-government demonstrations which, in contrast to their over-dramatization by the Western media, reflect just a tiny fraction of the Russian population, as such not a real calculator of existing discontent across Russia. Moreover, when we hear various poll results on a Russian leader's even sharply decreasing popularity, this rarely demonstrates the real circumstances inside the country. Various protests too, even when held in Russia's major cities, nevertheless represent no more than a small part of the population. This also helps explain the failure of the Western sanctions introduced against Russia from 2014 onwards. True, the number of Russians impoverished by the sanctions has grown, but consider the following: while in Western democracies deterioration of life would likely lead to mass protests or even a change of government, nothing like this usually happens in Russia. There is also the Russians' specific

Image source: themoscowtimes.com

pride in their resilience in the face of a long string of Western aggressions, from the 1612 Polish siege of Moscow, to Swedish King Charles XII’s early 18th century incursions, to the Napoleonic and Nazi invasions: Russians view themselves (not wholly unjustifiably) as victims of Europe. This half-philosophical, half-historic worldview helps unite the population against both internal and external enemies. Sacrifice, for ordinary Russians, is a distinct concept from what exists in the West. Throughout history, Russians (and their governments) have burned entire cities (including the spiritual capital of Moscow in 1812 when Napoleon invaded Russia); allowed cities to be besieged for months or even years (Leningrad in

WWII), a striking comparison with what the French did in WWII when Germans closed on the city; and showed indifference to basic needs considered vital in western societies. Respect and obedience to authority is also a distinct element of Russian society. The latter is neither overly democratic, fully European nor despotically Asian, but the Russians are always on a quest for a messianic formula to keep the state together. Christianity and panSlavism under the Romanovs, Communism in the Soviet era, a certain version of Eurasianism under Putin. Russia evolves, but explaining this evolvement via Western prisms rarely helps. Hopes in the West that a new generation of Russians, even those who have been

protesting in the last couple of years, would eventually aspire to build a western-style democratic country is very much overblown. Much likelier is a generation of young Russian decision-makers which would remain anti-western, but more cold-blooded in their foreign policy moves. This different point of view partially sheds light on why Western observers often misread Russia. For while, a Russian leader undoubtedly craves the widespread approval of his subjects: it is Russia’s strong state structures (e.g., the police, the security forces), together with messianic sentiments, that strengthens a Russian government to harness all political, human and economic resources for its various geopolitical aims.


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BUSINESS

GEORGIA TODAY

DECEMBER 13 - 16, 2019

Investing in Georgia’s Green Economy! ProCredit Bank and USAID/CENN WMTR Program to Start Supporting Recycling Businesses in Georgia

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n December 6 Memorandum of Cooperation was officially signed between ProCredit Bank and the USAID / CENN Waste Management (WMTR) program, confirming their readiness to deepen collaboration and jointly promote the development of the waste management sector in Georgia. The cooperation aims to promote the development of the waste recycling sector and introduce modern waste management standards in Georgia, part of which is also raising awareness about the waste recycling sector in the country. Going forward green financing will be part of the strategic direction of the Bank, an important component of which is waste management. To support the development of the mentioned sector in Georgia, the Bank will provide the companies operating in this sector with services tailored to their needs. Collaboration will also see various activities from both sides. The Bank is ready to actively participate in raising awareness about waste management and other educational activities, including - visits to the ‘Green Building’ of the Bank to see different approaches to waste reduction and other awareness-raising activities. Within the WMTR program CENN has established the Waste Management Association of Georgia which unites sorted waste collection and recycling companies. The association has two main objectives: creating a business-friendly environment for the development of waste recycling and aggregating companies in Georgia through advocating and lobbying key issues for sector development with different interested parties, including decision makers; and developing the capacity of recycling and aggregating companies according to the best international practices. CENN also cooperates with individual waste collection and recycling companies through various technical assistance to support their

further development. Within the program, the Agency provides a grants component that aims to equip target companies with modern equipment to support their development. A key component of the program is awareness raising and public outreach; within this component the program is actively working with youth via various campaigns. Based on this information, CENN in its turn is ready to provide ProCredit Bank information on the waste management sector and to facilitate cooperation between the Bank and companies operating in the sector. GEORGIA TODAY spoke to Nana Janashia, CENN Chief Executive Director and Alex Matua, ProCredit Bank’s General Director to find out more about the future collaboration between the two agencies / organizations and the main aims and benefits of this partnership. “The purpose of initiating cooperation between ProCredit Bank and CENN is to support the development of the waste

management sector in the country,” Janashia tells us. “Within the frames of the partnership, the agencies will implement various activities, both educational and awareness raising, and will offer different financial mechanisms for waste collection and recycling companies involved in waste management, which will contribute to their development and empowerment. Essentially the aim is to promote partnerships between the private sector and the bank Nana Janashia went on to explain activities planned for the youth and education involving seminars, trainings, internships and other activities at the Bank’s Green Building. “ProCredit has developed an Environmental Management System (EMS) with ISO 14001: 2015 certification for environmental management which consists of three pillars: The second and third pillars focus on reducing the environmental impact of their clients' operations and financing green investments. Since ProCredit Bank's core business is bank-

ing, the indirect environmental impacts of their clients' activities are, of course, greater than their direct impacts. As such, their daily business is to assess and manage the environmental and social risks of each of their loans, as well as to directly invest in energy efficiency, renewable energy technologies and other environmentally friendly investments with our eco loans. The first pillar focuses on the Bank's internal environmental management, in which they continually improve the efficiency of the resources they consume, raising awareness of the Bank's employees and contracting companies - be it construction, repair or cleaning services. “Protecting the environment is an integral part of our identity and long-term strategy,” ProCredit Bank’s General Manager Alex Matua tells us. “Waste management is within the first pillar and we take responsibility for all the waste we produce (paper, plastic, glass, electronic waste, hazardous waste, etc.) and

invest in sustainable management. We see the importance of continually improving the results of our internal environmental management, as we understand that it contributes to the diffusion of green technologies, creating successful examples and raising environmental awareness in the community.” “We’ll look primarily at organizations working in the field, offering sectorspecific banking products and planning and implementing awareness raising, educational activities with CENN,” Mr. Matua tells us. “Over 80% of our green funding comes from energy efficient investments, we are actively working to diversify our portfolio and finance sectors such as waste management, renewable energy technologies, bio / organic production and more,” Mr. Matua notes. “Specifically, in October, we completed a waste market study on waste management, allowing us to assess the current situation, challenges and market prospects. Also, the Bank's experience in sustainable waste management has given us the opportunity to get to know the market players as well as commercial, businessoriented as well as non-governmental organizations and social enterprises with whom we are already cooperating in various ways. The Memorandum of Understanding with CENN is a successful example of this cooperation.”


BUSINESS

GEORGIA TODAY DECEMBER 13 - 16, 2019

Holiday Factory Named Best Incoming Tour Operator 2019 at Welcome to Georgia! Awards

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our operator Holiday Factory was named the Best Incoming Tour Operator 2019 at the 2019 Welcome to Georgia! National Tourism Awards event held in Sheraton Grand Metekhi Palace in Tbilisi on December 6. Holiday Factory is well known not just for its excellent service, but also for its unbeatable holiday package prices, serving clients mainly from the United Arab Emirates and the GCC countries. GEORGIA TODAY sat down with Kara Buell, General Manager of Holiday Factory Georgia, to find out more about their work and their reaction to receiving the above recognition. “It's a great honor to be recognized as the best Tour operator of the Year,” she tells us. “We thank our customers and all of our staff in Georgia and around the world. This award is a reflection of our hard work and the love we promote Georgia with every day. I truly can say that Holiday Factory loves Georgia!" Holiday Factory was the first operator in Dubai and the UAE to create the hype and mass-advertise Georgia as a tourist destination, which it did from 2015. Holiday Factory managed to catapult Georgia from a completely unknown tourist destination to among the top three most in-demand travel destinations in the UAE. We asked Kara what made Holiday Factory so strong that it was awarded the Best Incoming Tour Operator award this year. “We see this award came about because we managed to bring so many guests to Georgia and this is a continuation of the great pioneer work we did in promoting Georgia as a holiday destination in the UAE years ago,” Kara says. “Besides our massive efforts to promote Georgia, the free visa regu-

lations for UAE residents were very important and we are thankful to the Georgian government and the Georgian Tourism Board for recognizing the direct influence of visa regulations on the travel industry.” Kara notes that Holiday Factory follows German tourism standards and is very much focused on long-term business and sustainability. All its tour guides are trained and follow the European travel standards which Holiday Factory has implemented. “Clients recognize not only the affordable prices but the outstanding tour guide services, which increase the number of returning guests by the year,” she adds. We ask her about the company’s long-term goals. “Supporting the local economy is our goal. More tourists visit Georgia during the summer months than in winter. By not following the classical tourism trends of the region, Holiday Factory balances the number of guests, and during the winter season, brings the same number of tourists to Georgia as during the summer season.” Kara notes that just last weekend, within 48 hours, the company brought more than 500 tourists to Tbilisi. “Bringing so many guests during the winter period is direct support to the hotels and to the local Georgian economy,” she says. Holiday Factory Georgia was established as its own company in Tbilisi in 2018 in order to support the investment in the travel industry in Georgia. The company offers clients affordable tour packages which include flight, hotel, excursions, and tour guide services, insurance, airport transfer and everything costumers needs to travel hassle free to Georgia.

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BUSINESS

GEORGIA TODAY

DECEMBER 13 - 16, 2019

Conference and Exhibition Halls at the Museum of Fine Arts & the Art House BY KETEVAN KVARATSKHELIYA

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rt House – The Place to Meet, which is an extension of the Georgian Museum of Fine Arts, is a multifunctional complex in the heart of the Tbilisi, integrating cafÊs, restaurant, fit club and conference hall in the same area. The conference hall of Art House, distinguished for its cozy environment is set to be a great discovery for business clients. It makes a perfect venue for official meetings, as well as semi-formal events. A mouthwatering buffet with a selection of fine food can also be provided on site. The exhibition hall is also ready to serve for corporate and exclusive events, award ceremonies and exhibitions. The two venues of the Art House have already successfully hosted events of important establishments, including embassies and international organizations. The venue also hosted Mercedes Benz Fashion Week twice. Georgian Museum of Fine Arts & Art House even provides an opportunity to hold private museum tours for corporations seeking to run teambuilding activities, while gourmands can benefit from the gastronomic tour which begins in the museum and closes with tasting of fine wines in the Kharcho restaurant. #foryourfirsttimeingeorgia Address: L. Gudiashvili St. 18 Sh. Rustaveli St. 7 Tel: 544 44 45 44 Art House - The Place to Meet @arthouse_georgia

Revenues from Tourism Exceeded USD 3 billion in 11 Months

BY ANA DUMBADZE

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n the first 11 months of 2019, Georgian revenue from international travelers amounted to $3.05 billion which is $35.4 million more compared to the same period of last year, says the Georgian National Tourism Administration.

In November 2019, the revenue from international travelers reached $201.7 million which is a 5.6% increase compared to November of last year. In January-November 2019, visits of international travelers coming to Georgia reached a historic high at 8,690,352, which is 7.2% more compared to the same period of last year. In November 2019, visits of international travelers coming to Georgia reached 670,122 which is an increase of 12% compared to the same period of last year.


CULTURE

GEORGIA TODAY DECEMBER 13 - 16, 2019

LAG, No Lag: Mestia, Svaneti BLOG BY TONY HANMER

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AG, as in Local Action Group. No lag, as in action now! They asked me to appear for a follow-up meeting after a series of interviews of local people, including my wife and me, last year on farming and tourism in Upper Svaneti. There were 59 interviews given, with about a 2:1 ratio of women to men involved. Tbilisi State University and other institutes of higher learning in and outside Georgia are involved, including Justus Liebig University Giessen in Germany, as are these organizations: Mountain Research Initiative (http://www.mountainresearchinitiative.org) and Scientific Research Initiatives for Mountain & Rural Development, Caucasus Region (https://www.mrd-cau.net/). It’s a joy for this mountain-dweller to realize that so much is being done to focus on the high places around the world, including their unique ecologies, geologies and cultures. I came to Georgia because of Svaneti, what I had read about it in print before the internet really took off, and have made it my home for longer than anywhere else in the world now. So to see such concentration on places like this one is very encouraging, for me and for anyone else who lives here. The area around Kazbegi was the first place these organizations zeroed in on in Georgia, Upper Svaneti the second. We are further away from Tbilisi than Kazbegi is, and larger, and higher, all of which adds to the complexity of everything here. But much which was asked and learned there can also be applied here. What are the things, both positive and negative, special or even unique to mountains as compared to other zones? Their altitude; their pronounced three-dimensional topology; their flora and fauna; their weather and seasonal changes; their relative inaccessibility and its role in

their history; their inhabitants’ livelihoods; their tendency to mix the lowlands’ religion, if any, with local animism; and so much more. Glaciers are born here, as are many rivers (often fed directly by them) which then descend to the world’s seas or oceans. The altitudes themselves are usually growing or shrinking, by tiny amounts, under a variety of influences, year by year. Temperatures are generally cooler than in the lowlands, in every season, because of the height. There is less oxygen available, but often much cleaner air in general. Population density may be much lower than further down because of the topology, large percentages simply being vertical and/or much less arable. Tourism, though, may be high because of the natural beauty. How can tourism best be managed here, sustainably and so that its results are best for most people? This is a key set of questions and answers. In Svaneti, the two main income sources are farming and tourism. How do they overlap? How can they support each other? Now that tourism for all seasons including winter is making a big comeback in Upper Svaneti, after its flourishing during late communism and die-off during the chaotic period of Georgia’s early independ-

ence, we need to be asking them. What are Europe’s Alpine areas getting right, especially Switzerland but also parts of France, Germany and Italy? What can we learn from their successes and failures, especially so as not to repeat the latter? How are we the same as the Alps, and how different? Perhaps we don’t have access to the same levels of wealth and national or international support and subsidy that they do. But we do have access to some of it; and can do much with this, carefully and wisely. IF local corruption will not be too big an obstacle… I look forward to seeing what my new friends and the inhabitants of Upper Svaneti, including my wife and I, can do together to make this place more “A Town Like Alice”. Tony Hanmer has lived in Georgia since 1999, in Svaneti since 2007, and been a weekly writer for GT since early 2011. He runs the “Svaneti Renaissance” Facebook group, now with nearly 2000 members, at www.facebook.com/groups/SvanetiRenaissance/ He and his wife also run their own guest house in Etseri: www.facebook.com/hanmer.house.svaneti

Friends of the Georgian Ballet: Scholarship Ceremony BY NINI DAKHUUNDARIDZE

O

n December 7, the little students of the V. Chabukiani Tbilisi Ballet Art School warmed the cold Saturday night with their performance at the Tbilisi Opera House. It happened within the scope of the Annual Scholarship Awarding Ceremony of the Friends of the Georgian Ballet. Traditionally, the event was attended by Prima Ballerina Nina Ananiashvili and her colleagues from the Friends of Georgian Ballet. This year, the non-profit organization presented 12 scholarships. “Eight of the students received scholarships previously and continue in the program, and four first-time recipients are entering our scholarship program this school year,“ the FGB told us. The Friends of the Georgian Ballet is a non-profit organization that was founded in 2006. It aims to support the initiatives of the State Ballet of Georgia under the artistic directorship of Ananiashvili and so facilitate the process of development of the Georgian ballet. The membership fee of FGB serves to provide funding for scholarships for

promising young ballet students at the V. Chabukiani Choreographic School, participation by specially selected members of the Ballet Company in prestigious ballet competitions and master classes held around the world. Since 2007, the FGB and the Prima Ballerina have awarded annual scholarships to selected students of the Ballet School based on talent and/or social need, while also supporting the participation of students and company dancers in international competitions and masterclasses. The 1,200 GEL FGB fee covers a full school year’s tuition for one student (600 GEL per semester), which is the only institution in Georgia that raises professional ballet artists. The curriculum includes all academic subjects, as well as classical dance, Georgian dance, historical, modern and character dances, and special courses in rhytmics, acting, and stretching techniques. The organization also has individual scholarships which are entirely donated by Friends. “It is now a tradition that those in attendance present the scholarship to their particular students at the annual awarding ceremony,“ the FGB noted. A graduate of Chabukiani Ballet Art School, Mari Lomjaria joined the current students for this year’s short performance

this Saturday. Mari is a laureate of the Domenico Modugno International Ballet Competition (Lecce, Italy) and the Riga Spring International Ballet Competition (Riga, Latvia). It was the kind doing of the Ambassador of Japan to Georgia, H.E. Tadaharu Uehara and his spouse, Mrs. Masako Uehara, that supported Mari’s going to the competition, as they hosted a fundraiser at their Residence in March 2019. Proceeds from the charity event contributed to Mari’s scholarship, and accordingly, to her success. “All I can say is that I am forever grateful to our Friends of Georgian Ballet, who make it possible for more children to go to the Ballet Art School. The only thing I wish was that more Georgians were involved in supporting the development and future of Georgian ballet – our members are mostly foreign,” Ananiashvili, who was named by the Daily Telegraph as one of the 12 greatest ballerinas of all time, and in 2002 - the Best Ballerina of the Year by the US Dance Magazine, told GEORGIA TODAY. Ananiashvili added that she is very happy with her ballet students: “No matter where they go in life, they always keep the culture of our ballet school. Whichever path they choose, they always make me proud,” she said.

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CULTURE

GEORGIA TODAY

DECEMBER 13 - 16, 2019

WHAT’S ON IN TBILISI THEATER

TBILISI OPERA AND BALLET THEATER 25 Rustaveli Ave. December 14, 15 MACBETH Premiere Giuseppe Verdi's opera Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 10-300 GEL GABRIADZE THEATER 14 Shavteli Str. December 13 STALINGRAD Revaz Gabriadze Directed by Revaz Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 20, 30 GEL December 14 THE AUTUMN OF MY SPRINGTIME Revaz Gabriadze Directed by Revaz Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 20, 30 GEL December 15 RAMONA Revaz Gabriadze Directed by Revaz Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 20, 30 GEL December 19 REZO Animated documentary film Directed by Leo Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 15 GEL MOVEMENT THEATER 182 Agmashenebli Ave. December 13 DIVINE COMEDY Dante Aligieri Three 20-minute choreographic statements (Two 10-minute intervals) Directed by Ioseb Bakuradze Composer/Arranger: Sandro Nikoladze Language: Non verbal Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 15 GEL December 14 PARADISO "Our Theatre" presents one act play with puppets Directed by Irakli Khoshtaria Author: Ketevan Chachanidze

Language: Non-verbal Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10 GEL December 15 TAMADA IN MANHATTAN Georgian-American Premiere Washington Theater Company E and Movement Theater co-stage a performance in the format of a Broadway musical Directed by Paul Gordon Author: Paul Gordon, Ioseb Bakuradze, Choreographer: Robbie Priore, Abby Leithart, Vanessa Owen, Gavin Strewart, Lasha Robakidze Genre: Musical Language: Non-verbal Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 25 GEL December 19 INTRO Directed by Kakha Bakuradze Genre: Musical Language: Non-verbal Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 25 GEL MUSEUM

GEORGIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM SIMON JANASHIA MUSEUM 3 Rustaveli Ave. TEL (+995 32) 299 80 22, 293 48 21 www.museum.ge Exhibitions: GEORGIAN COSTUME AND WEAPONRY OF THE 18TH-20TH CENTURIES NUMISMATIC TREASURY EXHIBITION STONE AGE GEORGIA ARCHEOLOGICAL TREASURE NEW LIFE TO THE ORIENTAL COLLECTIONS Until December 15 The first-ever exhibition of a remarkable coin from the time of King David the Builder The coin shows Kind David IV dressed in Byzantine imperial attire, wearing stemma, and holding a Globus cruciger. On the reverse is an invocation in Georgian surrounding a cross and listing the extent of David's kingdom: 'Lord, aid David, king of Abkhazians, Kartvelians, Rans, Kakhs, Armenians.' Until February 1 Exhibition NEANDERTHALS IN THE SOUTH CAUCASUS – TSUTSKVATI CAVE, OLD AND NEW DISCOVERIES The exhibition displays the

latest findings of archeological and paleontological excavations discovered by Georgian National Museum's Tsutskvati Cave Archaeological Expedition. IOSEB GRISHASHVILI TBILISI HISTORY MUSEUM - KARVASLA 8 Sioni St. TEL (+995 32) 2 98 22 81 Until January 19 Project "Contemporary Art Gallery" presents the exhibition "How to Catch up with a Dead Hare" by Georgian contemporary artist ILIKO ZAUTASHVILI MUSEUM OF SOVIET OCCUPATION 4 Rustaveli Ave. TEL (+995 32) 2 99 80 22, 2 93 48 21 www.museum.ge The exhibition hall is equipped with monitors, where visitors can see documentaries of various historical events. MUSEUM OF ILLUSIONS 10 Betlemi Str.

NATIONAL MUSEUM COLLECTION XIX – XX CENTURY Until February 29 The Georgian National Museum and the Embassy of Italy in Georgia present the exhibition ROMA AETERNA. MASTERPIECES OF ROMAN SCULPTURE FROM THE DINO AND ERNESTA SANTARELLI FOUNDATION The National Gallery features 33 sculptures depicting the stages of artistic or stylistic evolution from the Roman Republic to the Neoclassical era. TBILISI DIGITAL SPACE Tbilisi Mall The first museum of digital art in Tbilisi, where you will meet three different spaces: Vazha-Pshavela's "Dried beech", the world of torches, and a digital space decorated with various graphic and visuals effects. In the main hall decorated with video projections and mirrors you will discover that there is no boundary between Man and nature. Ticket: 10-30 GEL MUSIC

Discover the Museum of Illusions Be brave and jump into an illusion created by the Vortex, deform the image of yourself in the Mirror Room, free yourself in the Infinity Room, resist the laws of gravity and size, and take selfies in every possible pose. Enjoy the collection of holograms and discover optical illusions. THE BOOK MUSEUM 5 Gudiashvili Str., National Parlamentary Library +995 32 297 16 40 The Book Museum holds a unique collection of items, including private libraries of Ilia Chavchavadze, Dimitri Bakradze, Giorgi Chubinashvili, the recently recovered book collections of Grand Duke Michael Nikolaevich Romanov and Brothers Zubalashvili, as well as books with signatures of Ilia Chavchavadze, Ivane Machabeli, Victor Hugo, Dmitri Mendeleev and AntoineAugustin Renouard, etc.

SILK FACTORY STUDIO 59 Kostava Ave. December 15 Georgia National Music Center & Nikoloz Rachveli Present Dmitri Shostakovich’s Symphony N7 in C major, Op.60, LENINGRAD Performers: Georgian Philharmonic Orchestra Conductor- Kakhi Solomnishvili Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 15-35 GEL TBILISI CONCERT HALL 1 Melikishvili Ave. December 15 Foundation "Life is Wonderful" presents a concert of Georgian National Ballet "Sukhishvilebi", Niaz Diasamidze and 33A and band Region. Start time: 20:00

THE NATIONAL GALLERY 11 Rustaveli Ave. TEL (+995 32) 215 73 00

December 18 BEL SUONO The grand Christmas event, Welcome to the new era of classical music Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 80-130 GEL

GRAND MASTERS FROM THE GEORGIAN

RUSTAVELI THEATER 17 Rustaveli Ave.

GALLERY

December 16 THE SOLO CONCERT OF NEW GENERATION PIANIST SANDRO GEGECHKORI The pianist performs masterpieces of Ludwig van Beethoven and Franz Liszt. Start time: 19:30 Ticket: 10-20 GEL SHALIKASHVILI THEATER 37 Rustaveli Ave. December 19 SOUNDWAVE PRESENTS: The Black Marrows concert Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10 GEL MAGTI CLUB 22 Rustaveli Ave. December 7 JAM! Events 2019 ROMAN LOMTADZE (Daron Malakian’s Scars On Broadway) with solo-project

DRUM EMPIRE Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 12-20 GEL DJ. KAKHIDZE TBILISI CENTER FOR MUSIC & CULTURE 123a D. Agmashenebeli Ave. December 14 GEORGE FRIDERIC HANDEL ORATORIO- MESSIAH. CONCERT OF CHORAL MUSIC Georgian State Choir and Tbilisi Symphony Orchestra Under the baton of Archil Ushveridze The solo parts will be sang by vocalistsMegi Chikhradze, Nutsa Zakaidze, Mikheil Abramishvili, George Alexandria and David Pataridze. Start time: 19:30 Ticket: 10-30 GEL MONOHALL 2 D. Bakradze Str. December 14 WE SUPPORT MICHAILO MICHAILO – LIVE, IRAKLI MICHAILO + IRAKLI FOREST B TAPE CHIKOVANI Start time: 23:00 Ticket: 30-50 GEL TBILISI BAROQUE FESTIVAL December 13 VENETIAN BAROQUE Performers: Tbilisi State Chamber Orchestra– Georgian Sinfonietta Sergio Azzolini– bassoon, Italy Ai Ikeda– bassoon, Japan Balázs Máté– cello, Hungary Pablo Zapico– theorbo & baroque guitar, Spain Anna Kurdovanidze– harpsichord & positive organ, Georgia Program: Music by Antonio Vivaldi & Giovanni Benedetto Platti Start time: 19:30 Ticket: 10-30 GEL Venue: Rustaveli Theater, Small Stage CLASSICAL MUSIC IN ALTERNATIVE ENVIRONMENT December 14 POLISH MUSIC IN TBILISI Szymon Nehring & The Beethoven Academy Orchestra Conductor: Mirian Khukhunaishvili Soloist: Szymon Nehring (Piano) Program: Penderecki - Polish Requiem: Agnus Dei (arr. B. Pergamenschikow for string orchestra) Chopin – Piano Concerto No. 2, in F minor, op. 21 Grieg - String Quartet No. 1 in G minor (version for string orchestra) Karlowicz – Waltz from Serenade for string orchestra Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 35 GEL Venue: Youth Art Palace MOVEMENT THEATER 182 Agmashenebli Ave. December 17 JAM SESSIONImprov played by different Georgian and foreign musicians and instrumentalists. Musical art director- Sandro Nikoladze Start time: 21:00 Ticket: 5 GEL


CULTURE

GEORGIA TODAY DECEMBER 13 - 16, 2019

11

A Georgian Performance Artist & the $120,000 Banana BY NINI DAKHUNDARIDZE

W

hen you think about how ‘banana’ and ‘art’ could be put together in one sentence, you’re probably reminded of Andy Warhol and Velvet Underground. However, contemporary art is here to surprise you with new visions, and last week, a banana ducttaped to a wall made perfect art sense. The piece, titled ‘Comedian,’ by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan was on show at the international gallery Perrotin at Art Basel in Miami when, on Saturday December 7, Georgian-born and now New Yorkbased performance artist David Datuna casually grabbed it from the wall and ate it. The Georgian artist reacted to the resulting shock by shrugging his shoulders and saying he “was hungry.” The artwork was originally hailed by Perrotin, a French contemporary art dealer and gallery owner, as “a symbol of global trade, a double entendre, as well as a classic device for humor.” Perrotin Gallery had represented Cattelan

in Miami’s exhibition. Maurizio Cattelan, known for his humor in the art world, has lead a long career of testing the limits: from a golden toilet called ‘America’, and taxidermy, waxworks of John F Kennedy, the pope and Hitler to large sculptures of extended middle fingers. So it came as no surprise to the reality of contemporary art that Cattelan this time came up with taping a banana to the wall, claiming that he worked for a year on the conceptual piece. Three collectors had already paid between $120,000 – 150,000 to purchase a certificate for the banana artwork when Georgian-born artist David Datuna came out of the blue and ate it. All is not lost for the buyers, as the certificates claim that the owners can replace the banana and it will still be a Cattelan. “[Datuna] did not destroy the art work. The banana is the idea,” Lucien Terras, the gallery director told the Miami Herald. A point proven when a fresh banana was affixed to the wall minutes later. David Datuna was born in Tbilisi. A performance artist and an art-collector,

Image source: BBC News, Artnet News

he currently lives in New York. In his interviews with the Guardian and the CNN, Datuna showcased his affection for the Italian artist and his conceptual piece. “I would love to meet him. I think he

is a genius. Art is about comedy, about fun, about tragedy, about emotions. He played this very well. I love the banana of Andy Warhol, but I think Cattelan has put the banana on a different level.” He revealed his thought process as

well, saying that: “[I thought] what can I do with this banana? How can I bring it to yet another level?” And how to do it also with comedy? So I ate it. It is something deeper,” Datuna told the Guardian.

4 Young Pianists Play at Paris Christmas Gala Concert December 5 was particularly successful and because it was dedicated to that great lady, Nicole Dassault, who passed away this year, the traditional concert had an extra level of overwhelming emotion.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR YOUNG TALENT TO PARTICIPATE IN SUCH CONCERTS? It is a great privilege and opportunity for young pianists to attend such a prestigious concert, especially given their age. The young talent are presented to important listeners, as well as musicians, journalists and public figures. Attendance at their concerts is hard to achieve in Paris.The initiative of the Dassault family is a wonderful platform for my foundation and allows society to discover the musicians of the future individually.

T

he Christmas gala concert of the International Foundation ‘SOS Talents’ was held at the Marsel Dassault Palace in Paris, at the Champs-Élysées, on December 5, with the participation of eight laureates from different countries. Four young piano talents from Georgia, Barbare Tataradze, Ilia Lomtatidze, Barbare Chkhaidze and Liza Megrelishvili from Kutaisi, the latter the youngest performer at the concert at age 10, took part in the gala concert with the initiative and support of prominent Georgian pianist Eliso Bolkvadze. The event was traditionally held with the support of Marsel Dassault family and Dassault Industrial Company. This year, the Concert was dedicated to the memory of Mrs. Nicole Dassault. The invited public had an opportunity to enjoy the performances of young and well-known virtuoso pianists of differ-

ent nationalities who are laureates of the SOS Talents Foundation. Annually, the Champs-Élysées 19th century palace and its owner, the Dassault family of entrepreneurs, exclusively hosts a gala concert of the talents of the Foundation. The Foundation ‘SOS Talents’ was founded in 2000 by internationally acclaimed French musician and methodologist Michel Sogny. The main purpose of the Fund is to support young, talented musicians and to present them on the international stage. Michel Sogny talks about the gala concert held in Paris and the the work of the SOS Talents Foundation:

HOW WAS THE 2019 CHRISTMAS GALA CONCERT? The gala concert was traditionally glorious and full of emotions. I remember the words of Mrs. Nicole Dassault, who founded this exclusive gala concert 18 years ago. In my opinion, the evening of

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George Sharashidze COMMERCIAL DEPARTMENT

Commercial Director: Iva Merabishvili Marketing Manager: Sesili Tikaradze

GEORGIA TODAY

EDITORIAL DEPARTMENT:

Editor-In-Chief: Katie Ruth Davies

FOUR GEORGIAN PARTICIPANTS TOOK PART IN THE GALA CONCERT THIS YEAR, WHAT ABOUT THEIR FUTURE PROSPECTS? They are the third generation from Georgia for me, and like the previous generations, they are of the highest level. 16-year-old Ilia Lomtatidze and Barbara Tataradze, who have been mastering my innovative piano system since age 8, have achieved great results. Lisa, at 10, is already showing extraordinary potential, which gives us reason to assume that she has the perfect way forward. I would also like to emphasize the extraordinary progress and impressive performance of Barbara Chkhaidze.

WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS RELATED TO GEORGIA AND GEORGIAN YOUNG TALENT? I never know in advance: life shows the way. I visit Batumi International Festival

Journalists: Tony Hanmer, Zaza Jgarkava, Maka Bibilashvili, Vazha Tavberidze, Nugzar B. Ruhadze, Beka Alexishvili, Tea Mariamidze, Ana Dumbadze, Nini Dakhundaridze Photographer: Irakli Dolidze

every year and I am always happy to discover new talent there. My main criterion for selecting young musicians is always their natural connection to music and the potential for future development that I can instantly feel when listening to them.

TELL US ABOUT THE MUSIC TEACHERS WHO WORK SO HARD IN GEORGIA AND HELP THEIR STUDENTS TO REACH SUCH HEIGHTS. I work in harmony with some Georgian teachers and they have adopted my methodology. Some of them make an effort to realize the rapid development of children in both technical field and improvement of musical phrasing. Accordingly, they are involved in the process and consider my advice. It is important for the teacher to feel responsibility and try to understand and embrace a new approach unfamiliar to them. We then get extraordinary results.

WHAT ROLE DOES THE BATUMI FESTIVAL OR GALA CONCERT IN BATUMI PLAY IN GEORGIANFRENCH CULTURAL RELATIONS? Cultural relations between different countries are always very interesting, because other cultures always bring benefits. What fascinated me in Georgia is the great interest in culture. Whether it's music, visual arts, sculpture, or dance. You have a very interesting cultural background and you have interesting artists. It is good to discover all these. And let's not forget that France has long been an inevitable destination for artists. Chopin left Poland and came to Paris, Liszt left Hungary and moved to Paris, Mozart also visited Paris with his mother to give concerts and so on. There was a time when coming to Paris was inevita-

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

ble. It is not the same today, but the heritage of this culture still exists. France is still a country where an artist can successfully launch a career.This is the creative trajectory of the famous Georgian pianist UNESCO Peace Artist Eliso Bolkvadze. I listened to her performance at the Marguerite Long competition in Paris, and immediately invited her to Villa Schindler in Austria, where her creative career reached the top.

ELISO BOLKVADZE PLAYS AN IMPORTANT ROLE IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF GEORGIANFRENCH CULTURE AND DOES A GREAT JOB ALONG WITH YOUR FOUNDATION FOR GEORGIAN CHILDREN. WHEN DID YOU MEET AND HOW DID THIS COLLABORATION START? When I met her, she was 25-26 years old and was filled with Georgian culture. She soon adopted the European way of life, but never left her homeland. I am proud that Eliso is the first Georgian UNESCO Artist of Peace, which is very interesting for cultural relations between Georgia and Europe.

WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS ABOUT GEORGIA AND WHEN DO YOU PLAN TO GO THERE NEXT? I love Georgia very much, I love coming to Georgia. I am amazed by the warmth of the Georgian people. I have seen Georgia in a very difficult time, when there was no electricity ... and when Eliso introduced me to this country, which was in such trouble, I told myself that I had to do something to help. I began to implement this idea through music and created the SOS Talents Foundation, which raised many Georgian successful stars and introduced them to the world.

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Profile for Georgia Today

Issue #1211  

December 13 - 16, 2019

Issue #1211  

December 13 - 16, 2019

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