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Issue no: 949

• MAY 26 - 29, 2017

• PUBLISHED TWICE WEEKLY

FOCUS ON INDEPENDENCE DAY Noe Jordania's descendants describe Independence Day and all it means for Georgia- past and present PAGE

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PRICE: GEL 2.50

In this week’s issue... Georgia Saddened by Manchester Arena Blast NEWS PAGE 2

$34.1m to Be Allocated for Georgia from US 2018 Budget POLITICS PAGE 4

Georgia's Political Climate: Election Update POLITICS PAGE 8

Accor Group Opens IBIS Hotel in Tbilisi BUSINESS PAGE 10

26th MEF International Research Projects Contest Commences

Swiss Lessons for Georgia – Neutrality, Diversity and Resource Management BY VAZHA TAVBERIDZE

SOCIETY PAGE 11

Sine Qua Non of GermanGeorgian Relations SOCIETY PAGE 13

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oday, Switzerland is considered and perceived as a very successful country politically, economically, and socially. GEORGIA TODAY, alongside the Panorama TV Show, met with the Ambassador of Switzerland to Georgia, H.E. Lukas Beglinger, to talk Swiss know-how, excluding watches and papal guard that is, and what Georgia can learn from Switzerland. At a meeting that took place at the International Black Sea University, Ambassador Beglinger addressed the crowded audience consisting of students and free listeners alike and was keen to answer each and every question posed to him. “The Swiss worked hard to get where we are today,” the Ambassador tells us. “And that work is ongoing. Actually, Switzerland was quite a poor country until almost the end of 19th century. What brought us forward was industrialization. Switzerland was the first country on the continent after England to become industrialized. So, Switzerland, a poor country with practically no resources except water, clean air and a very beautiful nature, had to find a specialty in order to survive. Continued on page 2

Bulgaria Celebrates Education and Culture Day at TSU CULTURE PAGE 15


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NEWS

GEORGIA TODAY

MAY 26 - 29, 2017

Georgia Saddened by Manchester Arena Blast

Swiss Lessons for Georgia – Neutrality, Diversity and Resource Management Continued from page 1

BY THEA MORRISON

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eorgian leaders and officials have expressed deep concern over the Monday night terror attack at Manchester Arena, that left at least 22 dead and nearly 60 injured. Georgian Prime Minister, Giorgi Kvirikashvili extended his condolences to the families of the deceased. "On behalf of the Government and the people of Georgia, I offer my sincere condolences to the Government of Great Britain and to the English people. We wholeheartedly share your sorrow in this challenging time. I believe that the civilized world will launch even more vigorous efforts against terrorism and as a united force we will

achieve peace across the world," the PM stated. BBC reports that the blast happened at 22:35 BST on Monday at the end of a pop concert by the US singer Ariana Grande. The explosion occurred shortly after the singer left the stage at the arena - the city's largest indoor venue with a concert capacity of around 21,000. Greater Manchester Police said the lone male attacker, who died in the blast, was carrying an improvised explosive device which he detonated. Home Secretary Amber Rudd said it was "a barbaric attack, deliberately targeting some of the most vulnerable". The prime minister is to chair a meeting of the government's emergency Cobra committee. The blast occurred close to the entrance to Victoria train and tram station has been closed and all trains cancelled.

Kazakhstan - Deprivation of Citizenship for Grave Crimes BY DIMITRI DOLABERIDZE

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eprivation of Citizenship — A new legislation that has been initially approved by the deputies of the Kazakh Parliament, said the Minister of Justice of Kazakhstan Marat Beketayev on May 24. This sanction will apply from minor to very serious crimes such as terrorism, separatist activities, genocide, creation of extremist groups amongst others, explained Marat Beketayev. Terrorism, as well as the aforementioned crimes, creates a serious concern for the state. Fears such as loss of Kazakh territories as in the Ukraine, are part of the issues trying to be preemptively avoided, to site one example. Family life and the health and wellbeing of citizens are concerns of the upmost importance here, thus

the deprivation of citizenship is not to be classed as punishment, but protection of such values and to remove those who jeopardize the security of the country in general. A ‘punishment’ as such, would be categorized as another matter entirely. Denationalization will only apply in exceptional cases where the public and Kazakh citizens may be put in danger, said Kazakhstan’s Minister of Justice. In saying that, the deprivation of citizenship is indeed used as a form of criminal punishment in many countries around the world, including more than 30 countries in Europe alone.

We also invested a lot in our education system, because 200 years ago we were ahead, with famous pedagogues like Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi, who called for education for all - this at the end of 18th century! It was rather revolutionary at the time because education actually was reserved for the more to do of society. And this is the key. Even today there is no country in the world that can develop successfully without investing in education.

LET’S DISCUSS THE BILATERAL RELATIONS BETWEEN OUR TWO COUNTRIES. WHAT ARE THE CORNERSTONES? One is development cooperation, which is a major pillar of our presence here. For years, we’ve focused on helping agricultural sector development, which is really important when you consider that 50% of the population is still active in this sector. Yet, it only produces 9% of the GDP which is a huge gap that has to be filled. And it’s not appropriate that Georgia imports 70-80% of its food with the conditions that you have here. We’re also active in decentralization which is, of course, yet another Swiss feature. The other major pillar is our peace policy. Switzerland has a humanitarian tradition and for serving as a mediator thanks to its position of neutrality. Here in Georgia, and since the August 2008 war, the Swiss Embassy has been representing the interests of the Russian Federation as well as the interests of Georgia in Russia.

HOW WAS SWITZERLAND ABLE TO SECURE AND MAINTAIN NEUTRALITY AND COULD THE SAME BE FEASIBLE FOR GEORGIA? Switzerland is a special case in many respects, including its permanent neutrality status which has been practiced for centuries, recognized at the Vienna Congress in 1815, 200 years ago; it served Switzerland well, saving us from several major wars. It first saved us from the 30 Year War in the 17th century, and that’s actually when the Swiss understood that we should keep out of such conflicts. Regarding the army – it goes without saying that as a neutral country you have to be able to defend yourself. Otherwise, any other country can encroach on you and you are a liability then in terms of security. So, Switzerland has had always its own army and always invested well in its defense.

SOMETHING THAT GEORGIA CANNOT AFFORD, ITS OWN ARMY… The government and the new defense minister here recently decided that Georgia should urgently invest in its own territorial defense capacities rather than just send soldiers to Afghanistan. I think that’s a major policy shift and recognition of the fact that you should be able to defend your country in the first place. I served in Poland and saw the same defense policy reform happen there - now, they’ve invested in buying tanks, air defense and so on. And this is something Switzerland has been doing for centuries. We even managed to survive WWII while being surrounded by the Nazis.

THE FINANCIAL ASPECT CERTAINLY HELPED SWITZERLAND TO BOOST ITS ARMY AND MILITARY CAPABILITIES I don’t think that was the only factor. It’s not up to me to give any advice to Georgia and Georgians but Swiss history certainly shows that you have to get along with your neighbors, somehow, even if it’s not ideal. I’d say it might not be a very good idea to choose one camp over another because if you attach yourself to certain allies then you may alienate your other neighbors.

YET ANOTHER FAMOUS SWISS KNOW-HOW IS FEDERALISM. HOW DO YOU MANAGE TO UNITE AND KEEP FOUR DIFFERENT ETHNIC GROUPS WITHIN ONE NATION? The Swiss system is quite unique. Switzerland is very much decentralized. We call ourselves a bottom-up country. It grew up from small entities, small cantons. And the modern Swiss confederation we have now was only created in 1848 – it took a small civil war to establish it. Otherwise, we might have been in the situation the EU is in now - a confederation of sorts, but not a federal state. Notwithstanding, the federal constitution respects the powers of the cantons. Actually, cantons have their own constitutions, own governments, parliaments, justice, etc. As a Swiss citizen, first you are a citizen of you own canton and your municipality. We’re very diverse but we don’t consider this a handicap. Actually, it’s a big advantage. Of course, we’ve had our fair share of internal conflicts and civil wars, for instance, because of religion. Switzerland could not have survived if we’d decided to have a strong central state. For countries such as Georgia, the

lesson must be that diversity is something that enriches your country and you shouldn’t be afraid of giving powers to the local level.

SWITZERLAND IS FAMOUS FOR ITS DIRECT DEMOCRACY AND REFERENDUMS We have referendums roughly every three months, sometimes even more frequently, at all levels – federal, canton, municipal. All important questions are decided by the people themselves. In Switzerland, people decide even on foreign policy issues. Membership of the European Economic Area, of the UN, etc.: it has to be put to the people. Direct democracy is really systemic in my country and of course it has many advantages because people really feel empowered and they are not frustrated with politics as we see in many other, even western, countries.

THERE’S AN ONGOING DEBATE IN GEORGIA AS TO WHETHER THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD ALLOW LAND TO BE SOLD TO FOREIGN CITIZENS. IS BANNING THE SALE OF GEORGIAN LAND TO FOREIGN CITIZENS DISCRIMINATION AGAINST FOREIGN INVESTORS? Obviously, it would be. Of course, this is a delicate question in most countries, especially in agricultural countries. The important aspect in Georgia is that agricultural land must be registered in the cadaster. There isn’t even a functioning market inside Georgia, which is a huge problem. You can’t develop a competitive agriculture without the possibility of selling or buying land, otherwise people will sit on their one hectare plot and not produce anything and it doesn’t help the country.

AND IN REGARDS TO SWITZERLAND? DO FOREIGNERS OWN SWISS LAND? Yes, of course. For quite a few decades Switzerland has had a political problem with foreigners buying land and it was restricted from the 1960s onwards, but always with the exception of foreign business investments because that would have been shooting ourselves in the foot. What was restricted primarily was holiday homes. This is maintained even today. But there’s no limit on foreign business investments if they are serious. That’s important. That should also be a guideline for Georgia. But it should develop its own capacities in agriculture and not depend too much on foreigners.


NEWS

GEORGIA TODAY MAY 26 - 29, 2017

Why Poroshenko did not Attend the BSEC Summit BY DIMITRI DOLABERIDZE

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he Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) came into existence as a unique and promising model of multilateral political and economic cooperation, with the signing of the Istanbul Summit Declaration and the Bosporus Statement by the Heads of State and Government of the countries in the region, on June 25 1992. With its Charter being granted on 1 May 1999, BSEC acquired international legal identity and was transformed into a full-fledged regional economic organization - the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation. The President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, did not plan to take part in the summit of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC), which takes place in Istanbul, due to the "low status" of the declared participants. Despite this, the BSEC summit in Istanbul went ahead. Russia was represented by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. It was expected that Poroshenko would take part in the meeting of the heads of state and prime ministers who are mem-

bers of this association. Poroshenko was represented in the delegates from the Ukraine, yet the group of Ukrainian representatives at the summit in Istanbul was headed by First Deputy Prime Minister Stepan Kubiv. "Proposals to participate were discussed, but Poroshenko was managed to be convinced not to attend" - said the source. According to him, this decision is connected to the so called "low status" of representatives of the BSEC countries

that were announced to participate in the summit. The Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization is an intergovernmental organization uniting 12 states of the Black Sea and the Southern Balkans. It was founded in 1992. The headquarters of the organization are located in Istanbul. Member-States: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Moldova, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Turkey, Ukraine.

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Security Council Secretary: WesternTechnologists are Planning a "color revolution" in Russia BY DIMITRI DOLABERIDZE

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he intention of Western technologists to implement the "Color Scenario" - A change of power in Russia, was reported by the Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation Nikolai Patrushev on May 18. According to Nikolai Patrushev, "color revolutions" are a method used for the destruction of the state under the pretext of "democratization". In saying this, the real goal of such an intervention is to build up controversy and transfer the country to ‘external management’. Patrushev said that Western technologists have plans to organize a "color" coup in Russia. In this case, the reason for heating up the protest is not only real economic difficulties, but also speculation and false information. Nikolai Patrushev expressed confidence that law enforcement agencies and special services are controlling this situation. According to him, attempts to implement the coup in Russia do not stand a chance of success. You may recall that, on April 12, President Putin said that the Russian authorities will do their best to prevent a "color" coup in Russia and other CSTO countries. On April 27, Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matvienko reported that a large-scale attack on Russia, along with an attempt to inspire a "color revolution" in the country, was stopped before it had

even begun. The country, according to her, not only survived, but also strengthened its influence in the international arena. "There is growing awareness in the world that no significant issue of world politics can be solved without Russia's participation". In light of this international situation, parliamentary diplomacy has become one of the most important instruments of Russia's foreign policy. Speaking about the priorities of foreign policy along with activities of Russian parliamentarians, the speaker noted that the fight against terrorism along with the settlement of conflicts in Ukraine and in Syria is of the upmost importance.


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POLITICS

GEORGIA TODAY

MAY 26 - 29, 2017

$34.1m to Be Allocated for MEP McAllister: Georgia Is Leading among Georgia from US 2018 Budget Caucasus, Eastern Partnership Countries BY THEA MORRISON

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34.1 million is set to be allocated to Georgia, according to the United States (US) Congressional Budget Justification for 2018, which is $45.9 million less than the funding Georgia received this year ($80 million.) In general, the US budget of the next year is 29 percent less compared to the budget of 2017. The document was released by the US Department of State on Wednesday. From the total $34.1 million considered for Georgia, the US will allocate $28 million towards supporting Georgia’s efforts in democratization, economic development, Euro-Atlantic integration, and resiliency against Russian pressure. “Funds will support targeted efforts to enhance economic opportunities and increase access to objective sources of information for populations vulnerable to Russian influence, including communities bordering the Russian occupied territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia,” the document states. It also added that programs will help

strengthen institutional checks and balances, as well a the rule of law in Georgia. They will also try to enhance public trust in state institutions; develop a more vibrant civil society and enable its participation in Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration process, both as partners with the government and as advocates for reform. Moreover, programs will also provide training, technical assistance, and resources to build the capacity of journalists and improve access to independent, reliable, and balanced media. “Programming will increase energy security, aiming at advancing renewable energy and promoting interregional connectivity and trade diversification to reduce reliance on Russian resources,” the document says. $3 million will be spent on an initiative that will assist Georgia in addressing the growing transnational organized crime problem in the Caucasus region. “Programs will help build the capacity of law enforcement authorities, including their ability to trace and recover assets, respond to critical incidents, and fight human and narcotics trafficking,” the document says. Continued on page 6

avid McAllister, the Chair of the European Parliament's Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET) stated that Georgia is the leading country not only in the South Caucasus region but also in the Eastern Partnership as well at a press-conference in Tbilisi. The AFET Delegation visited Tbilisi on May 24 and included representatives of various political groups: the European People's Party, the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, the European United Left - Nordic Green Left and the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance. McAllister noted that the reforms, implemented in Georgia, are very important. However, he stressed that more intensive reforms in the fields of human rights protection and judiciary are necessary. "We urge Georgia to further strengthen its efforts to carry out reforms in the areas like judiciary, protection of minorities’ and human rights etc. Of course, these reforms are underway, but more needs to be done," said McAllister. The MEP noted that for reaching such a balance, proper functioning of the State Audit Office and The Public Defender’s office are imperative. Furthermore, he underlined the importance of freedom of the media and mentioned the court dispute over the opposition-minded Rustavi2 TV case. "In order to create a stronger democratic country, it is essential that the government provide pluralism and independence of the media," David McAllister said. The AFET Chair said that the

European Union and Parliament supports Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within internationally recognized borders and this position is “unwavering.” He also approved the government's actions aimed at establishing a constructive and pragmatic relationship with Russia. Furthermore, within the framework of the official visit of the AFET delegation, Georgian Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze held a meeting with members of the European Parliament. Georgia-EU co-operation issues and the democratic reforms implemented by Georgia were the key issues of the meeting. It was emphasized that Georgia responsibly fulfils its commitments under the Association Agreement (AA). Also noted was that the country has made considerable progress in the implementation of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA). The current situation in Georgia’s occupied territories and the European Union’s role in ensuring security on the ground were also discussed by the offi-

cials. Members of the European Parliament congratulated Georgia on the launch of visa-free travel with the EU/Schengen area. They went on to underline the necessity of ensuring tangible results in the process of rapprochement with the European Union. Special attention was paid to the preparation of the fifth summit of Eastern Partnership scheduled to be held in Brussels on November 24. Representatives exchanged views over Georgia’s expectations with respect to the Summit. Mikheil Janelidze thanked the MEPs for the European Union’s firm support of Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders. The Georgian Foreign Minister says that the meeting with the AFET delegation was very important for Georgia. "It was a very important meeting, because it is a committee that determines so many issues in relation to Georgia. We had strong support of the committee in the process of visa liberalization and we have their strong support for our European integration," said the minister.


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POLITICS

$34.1m to Be Allocated for Georgia from US 2018 Budget Continued from page 4

Assistance will also be provided from the US side to help reform criminal justice sector institutions, including prosecutors, defence attorneys, judges, and probation and corrections officers to bolster the rule of law and strengthen Georgia’s ability to prosecute transnational organized crime and reduce corruption. Furthermore, funding will support Georgia in advancing criminal procedure reforms and continue its initiatives to enhance public understanding of the criminal justice system and develop strong community-based relationships with local law enforcement. $0.9 million will be allocated to assist Georgia in implementing its new strategic trade control law, including reforms of secondary legislation and training and equipment for its officers. “Funds will be used to help Georgia’s private sector understand and comply with export control laws. Funding will also help Georgia counter transnational threats such as transit or proliferation of WMD related commodities and technology,” the document says. Georgia will also receive $2.2 for the training of the Georgian armed forces. The US Congressional Budget Justification for 2018 reads that the challenges facing the United States and Europe in 2018 are great. Terrorism, increased migration, Brexit and Russia’s actions are named as the top challenges. “Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, and its occupation of Crimea, and parts of Georgia, and Moldova, continues to contravene international principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the document reads.

GEORGIA TODAY

MAY 26 - 29, 2017

Political Hatred in Georgia BY NUGZAR B. RUHADZE

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ove is the basis for human life – this is one of the recent utterances by the spiritual leader of the Georgian Orthodox Church – simple and true! Love has numerous identified definitions throughout the history of philosophy and literature, and there will be many more to come in the future too; but I wish we had a sharper ear for those sacred precepts that are heard every so often from those whose words sound so ordinary but, paradoxically, are very much worth listening too. The quoted phrase reminds me of the judgments I happen to have come across in books and articles by contemporary political authors, mostly, the political philosophers who are often alluding to the interrelation between hatred and political rivalry. There is probably no nation in the world whose political situation does not leave much to be desired. This would be true about Georgia too, where the overriding definition of the political style is a sense of hatred, but it seems we are not alone; hatred in politics prevails everywhere, yet this should not be a consolation for Georgians. I simply wonder if any active politician in this country has heard and imbibed the Patriarch’s phrase about love. It is a reality of a technically sophisticated world that the governors create policy right in front of the eyes of the people, unless something decidedly covert is in the pipeline. So we are always in the midst of current political matters. We have a fair idea of what is happening generally, and what our politicians want to make of ordinary Georgian lives. We see that politics has divided this society rad-

ically and hopelessly, the division based on mutual aversion – biological, organic, unbridled – and the seeds of that aversion are relentlessly sowed by politicians. The naming of them would be to no avail – they are all much of a muchness. Each political party is firmly convinced that all the evil is nested on the side of the opposition, whereas all good things are nursed and administered on their soil; opposed parties do not admit the possibility that something good might be happening in the nemesis’s camp too; they openly accuse each other of corrupt wrongdoings against our people, using the most vicious vocabulary, which is directed to their opposition. This is simply cruel and vindictive; even their humor is full of brutal aggression and violent sarcasm; they ceaselessly defy each other’s idealogies, even the best ones, qualifying them as dangerous. They condemn each other’s projects, even if they are undoubtedly beneficial for the country. Their beloved style is to invent some horrible catchphrase to characterize each

other’s behavior in the most brutal and malicious manner. Their preffered subject of mutual incrimination is either the alleged built-up power or a so-called amassed fortune, making all kinds of malevolent attempts to undermine each other’s standing in the eyes of the public. Their primary focus is not the wellbeing of their people, but the opponent’s next play. These are the attitudes, motivated not by the needs of the people, but by negative, hateful, angry and spiteful political rivalry, which is hugely detrimental to our people’s present and future. Incredibly, the reality is that these nasty, inhuman attitudes by such selfsame politicians is cold-bloodedly disputed as if nothing corrupt is happening to the Georgian people. The fact is that this is the political state of affairs which demands that we all act accordingly, and pick a side. Yet the most optimal model of behavior in this particular political environment is to perhaps stay indifferent. Is this model of social-political behav-

ior justified? No, it is not because this is all reflected in our public life so that the members of this society are becoming cynical about everything that takes place around them, to the extent that the political culture of intolerance towards any idea that differs from our own thoughts becomes incurable. There is something atrociously unruly taking place in our political climate. The impression is that the universally accepted ideologies and principles, fall victim to our nonchalance, if not ignorance. If we want our political culture to be effective, in the most international meaning of the word, then we have to admit that “decent public culture cannot survive and flourish without its cultivation in some suitable form” – as one outstanding American political writer has emphasized in a recent publication. If we cannot use mutual respect and tolerance in politics, let us at least say no to a mean, heartless and furious style in the political dialogue that seems to inevitably be present at all times.


POLITICS

GEORGIA TODAY MAY 26 - 29, 2017

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99! Transfer of the Domain of Leuville to the Georgian Nation, Sept. 2016 BY NICOLE AND NOE JORDANIA

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inety-nine years today! Yes, almost a century since my father Noe Jordania proclaimed Georgian independence on May 26, 1918. Hardly anyone remains who was alive at that time, and definitely no-one who would remember anything. My sister Nathela, who was born in Tbilisi in November 1918, passed away last year – she was 98 years old. Claude de Kemoularia and Zeinab Zourabichvili-Kedia the last of my contemporaries, also sadly passed last year. At the age 95, I am the only one remaining of the immediate descendents of the great men and women who created our first republic, born in Paris the same year our country was invaded by the Soviet Red Army, at which time the Georgian Government went into exile to continue the struggle for freedom, as directed by the Georgian parliament. It has been some 26 years since Georgia shook off the soviet yoke, and once again gained its independent, and restored May 26 as our national day of independence. But for me and all older Georgians in exile during the 70 years of soviet occupation, it has been almost a century. When I was growing up in Paris in the 1930’s, May 26 was the most important day of the year, for me and my young Georgian friends. That was the day when all exiled Georgians, regardless of party, religion, sex or opinion would come together in celebration, sorrow, and remembrance. Even at such a tender age, I remember it as a solemn occasion, with our revered flag – the three-colored one – in a prominent position together with our elegant coat of arms, unencumbered by gratuitous elements. Of course, we all sang with fervor our national anthem, Dideba, with its Georgian sounding harmonies. That tradition went on during seemingly never ending years of Soviet occupation. Then, in 1990, the first year I could come to Georgia, I had the joy of seeing our three-colored flag, symbol, and national anthem ‘Dideba’ revived, with our flag hoisted on all public buildings, displacing the hated Soviet one. Eventually, Georgian politicians decided to replace our flag with the Bagration medieval banner, with its connotations excluding anyone who is not a practicing orthodox, the old anthem with Paliashvili's music and its Italianate melodies and harmonies, and burdening our clean-cut coat of arms depicting St George riding the skies over Mount Elbrous with pretentious symbolism. At least our national independence day remained the same, affirming continuation of present day Georgia with the 1918-21 republic. After almost a century there are no living persons with direct memories of those times. However, there is no lack of documents, texts, photographs, and movie newsreels. There is a renewal of interest and research on the period, particularly amongst the new generation of young historians untainted by negative Soviet propaganda. Yet, to convey the direct interpretation of actually having lived in that given time there is nothing better than a novelist's interpretation.

TBILISI IN THE TIMES OF NOE JORDANIA The Civil War, a conflagration extending over thousands of miles, had cut Tiflis off from Moscow completely. An independent republic had sprung up in Georgia, led by the Liberal Menshevik Noe Jordania. Iniquity raged everywhere, famine and pestilence reigned, but on the other side of the peaks of the Caucasus free Georgians, together with Armenians, Persians, Russians, Greeks, and Jews, sat beneath chestnut trees, drinking wine and Lagidze mint and eating fresh lavash bread, radishes, herbs, shashlik that wasn’t bad for the times, and, as always, the exceptional satsivi chicken with nuts, lobio beans and tskhinvali fish. Tiflis had witnessed an amazing flowering of artistic life. Even as war was raging on the Western front, poets and artists were racing south in order to avoid the call-up, and later they became fleeing the Reds, the Whites, the Greens... in short, anyone

who did not understand that only a revolution in art would save the world, not banal artillery, not vulgar sabers, and not those supremely indecent mass killers with machine guns. Small theaters and bohemian cafes opened all over the place. The Futurist poet Vasily Kamensky read his epic Stenka Razin from a white horse galloping around a circus ring. Sergei Gorodetsky lightheartedly made fun of the Provisional Government in his Symbolist journal. Noe Jordania was depicted on the cover of one issue as a loathsome, distrusting goat. In reply to this mockery, the Premier smiled and said, "They’re poets!" Titzian Tabidze, a member of a group of poets called the Blue Horns, ran into to the mayor of Tiflis one day on Golovin Prospekt. ’ “Listen, Titzian, why do you walk around my city with your young wife looking so down?” asked the mayor. "We have nowhere to live, Mr. Mayor," complained Titzian. "We have no money to pay for a flat." The mayor took a key from his pocket. “Titzian, I’ve just requisitioned the mansion of the Businessmen’s Club. Go and live there with your young wife, work there. Only don’t deprive Georgia of your verse." Everything was so wonderful in Tiflis during that three-year springtime. Noah’s ark Jordania floated like a prospering block of ice in a sea of blood and muck, in the sea of the typhus epidemic of the Civil War, and looked as though it might sink or split at any minute; maybe it was wonderful precisely because it was so fragile; all that were present felt as though their heads were spinning… By the end of 1920, all such liberty that had been so greatly received in the South had vanished, perhaps flown back to its sources, to the Greek islands. The Georgian Republic was in its death throes. In 1921 the Red Army burst in and freedom came to an end. (From: Generations of Winter by Vassyil Aksyonov) Yes, freedom came to an end; our republic was forcibly incorporated in the Soviet empire, but it continued to be internationally recognized for several years, never ceased to exist in the minds of all of us living abroad, and materialized in the Domain of Leuville near Paris, dubbed Little Georgia, which was acquired in 1925 by the government in exile on behalf of all Georgians. Last year, some 90 years later, the wish of my father and his associates that some day the property would be incorporated in a free and independent Georgia finally came to pass: on September 23, 2016, the custodians of the Domain of Leuville, who had jealously preserved it for almost a century, solemnly transmitted full possession and responsibility to our country. As specified and legally binding in the transfer document, work will soon be underway for the rehabilitation and modernization of the property and its perpetuation as a museum of our First Republic and a Franco-Georgian cultural center. All Georgians, whatever their political inclination, should be proud that Georgia was the first social-democratic country in the world. Now that it is an integral part of our nation, the domain of Leuville will always remain in our hearts an essential phase of our national evolution.

GAUMARDJOS SAKARTVELOS (CHEERS TO GEORGIA) Redjeb Jordania, New York, May 18 2017 Life in Leuville before the second world war: The Colonel

Colonel Tsereteli was a retired Georgian officer whose occupation consisted entirely of serving as Tamada — toast-master — during the numerous keipis (banquets) that took place, lasting often from afternoon until the following dawn. Enormous quantities of red wine were consumed, Colonel Tsereteli breaking all records, as was only proper for a successful Tamada. And with that, he never got drunk. How many Keipi were held there over the years! The great table or tables around which thirty or more guests could be seated always looked immaculate since tablecloths were disposed of. Despite less than ideal conditions, these Keipis gave birth to enormous quantities of lobio, satsivi, kharcho, romi and other traditional Georgian dishes. Guests came from Paris, some twenty kilometers away, and they brought the food and drink, since the colonel didn’t have a penny. What he had, and what no amount of money could buy, was hospitality, camaraderie and such a big and generous heart that to be near him, even without speaking to him, one would feel enveloped by his warmth. It was undoubtedly for that reason that the banquets were held at his place. Often they would last from Friday to Monday! The guests would come and go, but the colonel remained there, in his role as Tamada, a role that he filled with brilliance and dignity. One day the colonel got sick, for the first time in

his life. A doctor came, and since I happened to be there, I served as interpreter. The colonel was 82 years old at that time, and although he had been in France for thirty years, he could not speak one word of French. The doctor: Ask him if he drinks a lot. Me: Colonel, the doctor wants to know if you drink a lot. The Colonel: Drink? Alcohol? No, I don’t drink. I only drink red wine. The doctor: Well, how much does he drink? The Colonel: Oh, I drink a bit here and there, normally. The doctor: But what does he mean, normally? One bottle per day? Three? five? The Colonel: (indignant) What? Five bottles? What does he take me for, a child? After some more back and forth, the Colonel admitted that now that he was getting on in years, he only drank about eight bottles daily. Hiding his surprise, the doctor prescribed him to limit himself to four bottles. “If I restrict him to any less than that, he will die, his metabolism is so accustomed to wine!” Excerpted from Redjeb's book of memoirs ALL MY GEORGIAS. Can be downloaded FREE in most formats from: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/125916. Also available as a paperback from Amazon.com


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POLITICS

GEORGIA TODAY

MAY 26 - 29, 2017

Georgia's Political Climate: Election Update BY ZAZA JGARKAVA

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he President has not yet announced the date of the local self-governing elections, but the country is already preoccupied by the upcoming elections this autumn. Similarly to the Latin saying, all roads in Georgian politics lead to elections. The current political fuss on the constitutional reforms, the decrease of the President’s power, abolition of self-governing units and occasional fist fights between officials, are all there for a reason, which is winning the local elections. When discussing the elections, the impetus falls on a number of regions, however, in this case the Mayoral elections are the most discussed. Who will become the Head of the country’s main city? Who will be the one that should control the budget of almost a billion? Obviously, it does matter who will be controlling this money both for the government and for the opposition.

two days ago, which showed not the personal ratings of these politicians, but the satisfaction or dissatisfaction of our society by means of their results. The catastrophically low number of just 8% evaluated the work of the current Tbilisi Major positively, 33% think of it as average and 52% believe it is bad. As for the Ministry of Energy, 29% assess their work as positive, 40% as average and 23% as negative. The data shown in the NDI survey shows opinion about the respective bodies, nevertheless, it indirectly implies the personal ratings of the heads of these institutions,” – said Bigvava in his interview with Newspaper Rezonansi. Overall, the election strategy of Georgian Dream is more or less apparent, interesting still will be how the opposition will strategize their campaign. Generally speaking, the opposition is a wide notion, especially in light of there being more than 200 registered political parties in the country. However, all in all, only about three or four out of these would have the ambition and means to become the mayor of the

Public comments made by the ruling party make it apparent that the Georgian Dream is in the active process of choosing a candidate for the future mayor of Tbilisi. Until recently, it seemed that the Dream were suggesting the candidacy of the current Mayor Mr Narmania, but soon after the chief auditor of the country, Lasha Tordia, confronted the government, Narmania announced that he might become the next State Audit Officer of Georgia. Notably, the serving term of the rebellious chief auditor of the country finishes at the end of December, very soon after the elections. The fact that Mr. Narmania is no longer set be the candidate anymore is also obvious since the government’s supporters openly state that Kakha Kaladze would make a good head of Tbilisi via social media. Although the main sociologist of the ruling party Zurab Bigvava denies the fact that the current mayor won’t be running for a second term, he also says that Mr. Kaladze is way ahead Narmania according to the polls. “NDI have published the social poll results

capital, or even the head of one of the regional self-governing units. Of course, the main candidate in this regards is still the member of the former governmental team, that is, the United National Movement, allegedly the ex-Minister of Foreign Affairs Grigol Vashadze. Yet, it shouldn’t be excluded that the UNM is partial to changing its tactics and putting the stakes on a completely different candidate. It is, essentially, confirmed that the Republicans and Free Democrats will pair up for the coming autumn elections and many have publicly mocked this alleged political partnership a cross social media. One favored candidate is Aleko Elisashvili, who has not yet made the decision to run, but if he does – the Republicans and Free Democrats plan to support him. Another discussion is the candidate from the third parliamentary party, the Patriotic Alliance. As a member of the party, MP Gocha Tevdoradze stated to the Newspaper Rezonansi, their leaders won’t be running for the City Mayor’s post, and that the chosen representative will be announced in early June.

The Role and Place of Georgia in the Russian Military Calculus BY EUGENE KOGAN

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here is a saying that appetite comes with eating. In other words, Georgia is indeed a “sweet cake” that Putin and his administration are interested to take care of. As a result, they pay the upmost attention to Georgia and are not ready to let others take care of the country. How Georgian political and military elites see the Russian encirclement of Georgia is of no importance to the Russian military, since the latter know full well that Georgian politicians can only complain about the Russian encirclement, yet will do nothing to hinder it. Furthermore, the Russian military see the encirclement of Georgia as a one-way street, in that steadily encroaching upon Georgian territory will reduce the country's independence and sovereignty and will slowly move it back into Russia’s fold. In order to understand the role and place of Georgia within the Russian military calculus we need to look at the bigger picture. For instance, the Russian military continues to view Georgia as a pivotal transit country for oil and gas pipelines and a newly-built rail link from Azerbaijan to Turkey (Baku-Tbilisi-Kars). Furthermore, Georgia is primarily responsible for the missing rail link between Abkhazia, the breakaway region of Georgia, and Armenia, still the staunch ally of Russia. Georgia is also a major transport route and an energy transit country from Russia to Armenia. As a result, the Russian military views Georgia as part of the Russian sphere of influence where all the necessary links come together, a

10 Galaktion Street

kind of regional strategic hub. In addition, they see in Georgia a potential Russian pressure point on Turkey, a NATO member state. Putin and his administration view Turkey with mild suspicion, despite President Erdogan’s repeated reassurances that Russia is a friendly country and an important economic partner of Turkey. They say that: “For too long Turkey was and still remains a NATO member state and, as a result, cannot be fully trusted, assurances or not.” Furthermore, the Russian military bases in and has joint task forces with Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the breakaway regions of Georgia, as well as the Russian military bases in Armenia and the soon-to-be-established Russian-Armenian Military Joint Task Force (MJTF) set to encircle Georgia. Finally, since Georgia lacks serious air and naval capabilities, Russia maintains its air and naval dominance over Georgia in the Black Sea and thus puts Georgia in a tight spot. It is currently hard to say whether or not Russia is interested in revitalizing the defunct Transcaucasian Military District (TMD) that existed during the Soviet era by including Azerbaijan in it. However, such a possibility cannot be dismissed entirely, although the author has no evidence to support his assumption. If such evidence exists, it would remain highly classified by the Russian military and is unlikely to be disclosed. Nevertheless, the aforementioned Russian actions highlight the very important place and role of Georgia in the Russian military calculus. The author’s point is further reinforced by the Nezavisimaya Gazeta military expert Lieutenant-General Yuri Netkachev. According to Netkachev, "Georgia striv-

ing to join NATO poses a threat to the Russian friendly countries (Abkhazia and South Ossetia). This is an important factor in Russia strengthening its positions in the region". Netkachev's claim that Georgia’s aim to join NATO poses a threat to Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the breakaway regions of Georgia, is indeed ridiculous. However, at the same time, it shows that Georgia is viewed by the Russian military as an important link to what is happening in the South Caucasus and justification for Russian strengthening its presence in the region. Keeping Georgian political and military elites guessing what may happen in the future remains the Russian mid-to longterm policy for the South Caucasus region in general and for Georgia in particular. Furthermore, the Russian guessing game versus Georgia also targets Georgia's partners, such as the EU, NATO and the US who are currently distracted from the region by their domestic challenges. That the rhetoric of Georgia's partners has only partly manifested in deeds encourages Russia in its pursuit of keeping Georgia in its sphere of influence. To reinforce the author’s point of view about the Russian medium-term policy and Russian pursuit of Georgia, Stephen Blank writes that, coupled with the integrated airdefense system (IADS) and anti-access/ area-denial (A2/AD) networks that Russia is building in and around Syria and the Black Sea, Russia is constructing an elaborate network of air and naval defenses. As a result, the constructed network places the entire Caucasus beyond the easy reach of NATO and Western air or military power. As Blank continues, in other words, as Moscow moves to maneuver Turkey, as well as

Tel: (995 32) 2 45 08 08 E-mail: info@peoplescafe.ge

Georgia and Azerbaijan, into its orbit through combined economic, ethnic, military and political pressures, it is also ensuring that these countries will be placed behind an air-defense umbrella. This could allow the Russian Army and/ or Navy to advance into them if necessary and to do so with impunity, since Western forces would be deterred by the likely high rate of casualties they would incur. Indeed, when this network is completed, Moscow need not invade but only threaten to undermine the sovereignty or integrity of these countries, or their pro-Western affiliations and economic-political ties. A variety of soft security tools available to Russia, such as propaganda and/ or disinformation campaigns combined with cyber security attacks plus imposed economic sanctions, would be ruthlessly used by Moscow to bring Georgia under Russia’s heel, even before Moscow decides to move in and finish the business called independent Georgia. The Russian military option towards Georgia cannot and should not be ruled out. Such a warmongering scenario may sound too coldblooded and sober minded to the liberalminded political elites in the West, but that is how Russia's political elites and military think and operate in the 21st century, author’s comment. The author’s assertion will be dismissed outright by the Russian officials, but this should be expected. Furthermore, Blank states that the consequences of this Russian strategic operation are quite clear. If NATO cannot effectively defend the Caucasus or connect to it, Georgia’s NATO option becomes meaningless. Since NATO remains unwilling to accept Georgia as a member, the [Georgian] application [for membership] will become an empty

ritual, a cheque that cannot and will not be cashed. The result of Georgia not becoming a NATO member state but rather remaining a NATO partner turns Georgia into easy prey for belligerent Russia, a point reiterated below. Despite NATO's presence in Georgia, which Russia tends to exaggerate intentionally, Russia does not consider this presence as a threat that would jeopardize its plans to keep Georgia in its sphere of influence. Putin and his administration know full well that NATO is not in a position to assist NATO partner Georgia if Russia decides one day in the future to bring recalcitrant Georgia back into its fold. Let us remember that Putin's plans to invade Georgia in August 2008 were prepared in 2006 and put into motion two years later. Even if Putin and his administration will dismiss the author’s assertion outright, such plans exist and are likely to be carried out if and when Putin and his administration see the right moment to execute them. Let us remember the famous quote “expect the unexpected” or be prepared for any [Russian] eventuality that Russian officials would deny strenuously, since they live in their own created world: the world of denial. In conclusion, Georgia continues to play an important role in overall Russian strategic goals in and around the South Caucasus and the Black Sea region. Georgia is a link to Armenia and Azerbaijan as well as a pressure point on Turkey, whom Russia is interested in keeping at bay, decoupling from the NATO Alliance and exerting a degree of control over. Georgia is also a rail link between Abkhazia, the breakaway region of Georgia, and Armenia, that Russia is very much interested in re-establishing.


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BUSINESS

The Delegation of the European Union to Georgia is searching for a property to be leased or purchased, to be used for office purposes

GEORGIA TODAY

MAY 26 - 29, 2017

Accor Group Opens IBIS Hotel in Tbilisi

BY NINO GUGUNISHVILI

This property should meet the European Union's requirements, concerning quality of construction, space, security and location. It should comprise a lot with a stand-alone building located at a minimum distance of 15m. (ideally 20m.) from the perimeter of the lot, in particular from neighboring streets and surrounded by a boundary wall. The building's surface area should be between 1 700 and 1 900 m² and should consist of a maximum of 4 floors. The property should be situated within the city limits of Tbilisi. Its location should be easily accessible and consistent with the needs of representation and visibility of an important diplomatic mission. The required office space should be suitable for hosting around 60 members of staff either in individual offices or in shared offices and in open space in different combinations. It should also provide an adequate number of meeting rooms, one multi-purpose conference room of approximately 140 square meters, as well as archive spaces, storage rooms, server room, kitchenette and lavatories. Sufficient natural light is a pre-requisite for the offices; rooms without windows can only be foreseen for archiving, photocopying, etc. Energy-efficient, "green buildings" will be considered with preference. The total 1 700 – 1 900 square meters as indicated above should include corridors, entrance hall, reception area, and internal staircases but not parking spaces and areas entirely dedicated to technical equipment. A minimum 30 parking slots should be available within the perimeter boundary of the compound. The office space must be compliant with all local building standards and regulations, in particular in terms of occupational health & safety, fire prevention and anti-seismic construction codes. Compliance with EU standards or other international standards is a valuable asset. The overall quality of finishing as well as the technical and mechanical equipment facilities should be in line with EU or international standards. The office space should be available for occupation, after construction or fitting-out works completion, on 1 August 2019. Offers may include either: - Proposals from private constructors to develop, sell or lease a bespoke office facility to shelter the European Delegation - Proposals to rent or sell existing suitable buildings, including if in need of refurbishment. In case of rental, the building will stay the property of the owner, while the European Union will enter into a long-term agreement assumed to be for 10 to 20 years minimum, with an option to extend and/or even purchase at a further stage. Submitted proposals should provide:

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3-star Hotel ‘Ibis Styles Tbilisi Center’ from the Accor Group, the world’s leading hotel operator and a market leader in Europe opened on Galaktion Tabidze Street, in the center of Tbilisi this Wednesday. Featuring 119 rooms, with 101 standard rooms including 71 standard double and 30 standard twin rooms, 7 superior rooms and 11 suite rooms, the ibis styles Tbilisi is said to offer a homey atmosphere, all rooms having a large bed, comfortable bedding with tea and coffee making facilities. The hotel has a terrace bar ‘City Roof’ on the fifth floor with panoramic views of the city and offering Asian cuisine to its guests. All the hotel’s rooms are equipped with free Wi-Fi. As the world’s leading hotel operator, the Accor Hotels Group claims to be united “by a shared passion for hospitality and driven by a shared promise to make everyone feel welcome” with all their brands either luxury or economy combining excellent service and a multicultural, respectful approach in 95 countries around the world. Ibis Styles Tbilisi Center shares the same concept as other Ibis style hotels, offering an all-inclusive package, with breakfast and Internet access included in its room rates. Situated in the center of the cities in close proximity to historic sites, business districts, entertainment and shopping centers; each Ibis Styles hotel however, tends to have its unique character reflecting a colorful and energetic branded spirit. “This unique product, the first 3star international hotel in Tbilisi, I’ve no doubt will help Georgia and Tbilisi to become even stronger on the international tourism market. This is our second project in Tbilisi after the Mercure Hotel. This one has been opened in less than

“It’s a great pleasure for me to be here at this opening. It fills me with a great deal of pride to witness another Turkish investment- of Maqro Construction. I’m very impressed by their professionalism and fast work, I wish them all the best and I thank them for their commitment to Georgia’s future. Georgia has had an incredible increase in its tourism potential, and of course it needs high quality hotels in Tbilisi in particular, and I’m sure this hotel will definitely contribute to Georgia’s tourism potential,” Levent Gumrukcu, Ambassador of Turkey to Georgia noted, adding that as Georgia and Turkey are celebrating their 25th year of diplomatic relations this week, seeing this new building as a manifestation of Turkish Georgian friendship, as well as the Turkish private sector’s and government’s commitment to Georgia’s development is a great pleasure and fills us with pride.

Call For Land Transport Management Service Provider Companies

• A full description of the lot and/or the existing building • Spreadsheets of surfaces in square meters • Detailed information on the construction proposal • In case of a construction proposal, information on building company • Information on rental and sale conditions, including rental price per square meter. Proposals must be submitted: a. either by post or by courier not later than 16:00 on 20 June 2017 to the address indicated hereunder. b. or delivered by hand not later than 16.00 on 20 June 2017 to the address indicated hereunder For further information please liaise with the Delegation of the European Union to Georgia at DELEGATION-GEORGIA-HOA@ eeas.europa.eu Address of the Delegation of the European Union to Georgia: 38 Nino Chkheidze Street 0102 Tbilisi - Georgia Tel.: 995 294 37 63

10 months from start to finish, which is somewhat of a miracle. Now we have two hotels and we can also confirm there are set to be more, as we have projects planned in Ortachala, Chavchavadze and Agmashenebli. Hopefully within the in the next couple of years we will be one of the main hotel providers in Tbilisi. We’re also looking into Bakuriani, Kutaisi, and Kakheti, so as to expand and help the Georgian hospitality industry,” Alexis Delaroff, Chief Operating Officer for Accor Hotels, Russia and CIS said at the opening, after he expressed his gratitude to the Maqro Construction Company, in charge of construction for the Ibis style Tbilisi center hotel. Maqro Construction is considered to be one of the largest investors in Georgia, from 2013, with projects like Green Budapest, Green Diamond, and the international 4 Star Mercure Tbilisi Hotel among the projects they’ve launched in Georgia. “We’re opening a very important hotel today, at the heart of the city of Tbilisi. It creates additional job opportunities and given its success, it will serve as an example for other investors and companies on how to realize a new top quality project in a limited period of time,” Davit Narmania, Tbilisi Mayor pointed out in his speech, attending the opening event alongside Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Prime Minister of Georgia, Giorgi Chogovadze, Head of Georgian National Tourism Administration, Levent Gumrukcu, Ambassador of Turkey to Georgia. “There’s no question this project will be successful in Georgia. The Georgian government has a very clear vision on its tourism development and according to the latest figures from the first four months of 2017, this year the number of tourists is expected to be higher than in 2016,” Giorgi Chogovadze stated.

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P Exploration (Caspian Sea) LTD Georgia invites eligible companies to express their interest in providing Land Transport Management services for BP Georgia operations: • Provision of professional drivers, trainings and competency assurance

• Provision rent services of vehicles for in city, long distance, off road transportation • Provision of planning, scheduling, coordination and execution of maintenance and repair of vehicles in accordance with manufacturers’ recommendations with up-to-date records held. • Provision and Management of professional Transport Call Centre/ Journey Management for fleet coordination and on time vehicles dispatch • Provide and administer vehicle assets: e g. comprehensive insurance coverage; registration, state technical inspection, fuel provision and card management,

inventory, car wash, parking, traffic fines etc • All vehicles which are owned, leased or contracted by BP shall be installed with an In Vehicle Monitoring System (IVMS) Interested companies should provide their Contact Details; company name, address, telephone, e-mail and contact name to the following e-mail address: arveladm@bp.com or to the company office in Tbilisi at 24 Sulkhan Tsintsadze street for the attention of Maka Arveladze, PSCM Country Lead Georgia. Submission deadline 5th of June 2017.


SOCIETY

GEORGIA TODAY MAY 26 - 29, 2017

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Enhancing Civic Education in Georgia with the Future Generation Program BY NINO GUGUNISHVILI

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two day media seminar organized by PH International’s Georgia office at the beautiful Lopota lake in the Kakheti region was not only a perfect weekend getaway for exhausted minds, but also turned out to be anything but ordinary. As all of us had our own views and understandings of what the Civic Education concept is about, a more in-depth look was clearly necessary, as was meeting those people who are actually behind putting it into practice and trying to move it forward. PH International was founded in 1985 for educational and cultural exchanges between the countries of former Soviet Union and USA. Today, the organization sees its mission in building strong communities by fostering civic engagement. The media seminar was held within the framework of PH International Georgia’s ‘Future Generation’ (Momavlis Taoba) program, which runs with the financial assistance of USAID and is implemented in collaboration with the Center for Training and Consultancy, Civics Teachers’ Forum and 10 regional partner NGOs, and which is run in 480 schools nationwide in all the regions of the country. The Future Generation program goal is to strengthen and achieve greater civic engagement among Georgian youth, while at the same time enhancing the role of civic society “by

expanding andinstitutionalizing secondary school civics education curricula and practical applications”. Our first meeting occurred at the Napareuli Public School, where we met the students and their extremely motivated and enthusiastic teacher Natalia Beriashvili, was just the right illustration for the Future Generation program, implemented in a total of forty schools across the Kakheti region. Students of the Napareuli Public School debriefed us on theirnumerous activities, uniting 21 students from grades 9 to 12 in the civic club ‘Anabechdi’ with projects like ‘Civic Awareness for Active Citizenship’, which covers defending women and children’s rights, helping socially deprived children by collecting and bringing them clothes, organizing an event against tobacco smoking, preparing information leaflets on AIDS, organizing an Earth Day Week and a global warming awareness campaign, and creating a resource room for fellow students with special needs. The group has also petitioned the local government authorities to equip the school with ramps and new toilets. And the government has responded, with promises to fulfil the request by September. Meanwhile, Napareuli School has no central heating, a problem that still needs to be solved. As the teachers told us, the children are very motivated to study civic education, which is a relatively new subject for Georgian schools, and are now eagerly willing to advocate what they’ve learned and accomplished. However, it was noted

that although the subject is now taught in schools, often the material is rather “dry” and that’s where additional resources like books and manuals published within the Momavlis Taoba program come in. “These books helped students come up with their own initiatives, identify problems and plan activities to raise public awareness on the topics they chose, deciding who to adress with the issue,” Beriashvili said. “The local authorities are always trying to assist students to put their initiatives forward as it’s hard to refuse children!” “Through civic education, not only students but teachers are also learning, discovering, and getting to know that this country is ours- we share the responsibility and doing what needs to be done is entirely on us,” she concluded. Back at the Lopota Lake resort, Berdia Natsvlishvili, PH International Georgia Director; Marina Ushveridze, Chief of Party, Momavlis Taoba program; Mariam

Chikobava, from the National Curriculum Programs Department at the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia; and Nino Beselia, Civic Education Expert, made detailed presentations on the civic education trends in Georgia. “Civic Education has been taught as a mandatory subject in Georgian schools for 10 years already,” Ushveridze said. “If a country wants to develop democracy, it needs Civic Education, as individuals should learn how to engage and be a part of a decision-making process: that is the model and concept on which Civic Education is built on”. In order to teach Civic Education properly, there are three essential components needed: a qualified teacher, a good textbook and practical exercises, Ushveridze told us. Every topic is taught with theoretical and practical parts, with cases offered in relation to a certain topic, and problems that are identified are then addressed through the various students’

projects carried out in schools. Almost 1500 teachers were trained across Georgia within the USAID-funded civic education projects. “And over 500 solutionshave already been implemented by different bodies as a result of issues identified by students through the project,” Ushveridze stated. “Civic Education is a priority for us,” Chikobava said in her presentation of the country’s national plan for education. “Civic Education is the belief that a person can be in charge of change in a society,” she added. She went on to talk about the challenges Civic Education teachers encountered when the subject was first introduced in schools as a subject some ten years ago. Civic Education is now taught in the 9th and 10th grades, it is also added to the curriculum of 3rd and 4th grades and “Citizenship” will be taught in grades 6, 7 and 8 as an independent subject. “The key concept of Civic Education is the development of political culture,” said Nino Beselia, going on to discuss the broader understanding of the notion and its elements- political and legislative literacy, social and cultural literacy, economic, global and European literacy. She also explained the methods of Civic Education teaching and its ground principles such as discussions and debates. The last part of the seminar was focused on the issues of the important role media can play in advocating Civic Education in Georgia, and further recommendations were discussed and exchanged among the participants and organizers of the event.

26th MEF International Peace Meet: Mestia, Svaneti Research Projects Contest Commences BY TONY HANMER

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nternational Research Projects Contest, implemented in 1991 by the MEF Educational Institutions with the intent of encouraging high school students from all over the world eager to propose scientific solutions to current problems, marks its 26th year this May. Assoc. Prof. Bilge Demirköz from Middle East Technical University’s (METU) Faculty of Arts and Sciences, awarded the “Women in Science” award by UNESCO-L’ORÉAL for her work at the METU, gave a motivating and eloquent speech to contestants as a part of the opening ceremony that took place on May 23, 2017 at UNIQ Istanbul. The contest received a total of 508 project submissions from 13 countries, including Georgia as well, from which 142 high school students’ projects were chosen to compete in the finals. After the opening ceremony, these students took their places next to their exhibition stands, where they will be presenting their projects for the next three days.

Assoc. Prof. Bilge Demirköz was joined by; Azmi Ozkardes, MEF International Schools General Manager; and Prof. Fevzi Unal, MEF University Vice President as she visited each stand to learn about each student’s projects in detail. This year’s contest, having provided many winning projects with the opportunity to be implemented in the Turkish industry in the past years, features a wide variety of projects, including but not limited to natural hybrid power banks, production of prosthetics, technologies for the visually impaired and cancer treatments. The award ceremony of the 26th International Research Projects Contest will be held on May 26, 2017, at MEF Schools’ Ulus Campus. The student and advising teacher of the project given the encouragement award as well as those coming in first, second and third will be given monetary award; whereas all participating students, advising teachers and principles will be awarded with certificates of achievement and plaques.

e were summoned, all Svaneti regional English teachers and our school directors, to a midweek meeting at School No. 1 in Mestia, organized by the “Peaceful Corpus” as the Georgian description went, whatever that was. It was some time before I realized that it actually meant the Peace Corps, America’s great program of service in over 60 countries around the world. The organization has been in existence since President John F. Kennedy initiated it in 1961, expressly “To promote world peace and friendship through a Peace Corps, which shall make available to interested countries and areas men and women of the United States qualified for service abroad and willing to serve, under conditions of hardship if necessary, to help the peoples of such countries and areas in meeting their needs for trained manpower.” Georgia’s statistics include a start in 2001, with over 735 volunteers having served since then and about 110 being current, on the standard 2-year program after 3 months of through training. An extension may be granted upon request. The main features here are English teaching of at least 18 hours per week, in concert with a co-teacher, and other community development projects too. The American volunteers (all must be such) stay in carefully chosen and vetted host families, pay them a stipend, and receive a small salary. Much like TLG (Teach and Learn with Georgia), the organization I’m in; indeed, ours was permitted to borrow much from PC training and infrastructural materials in its inception. I once met a couple of young ladies who had been Peace Corps volunteers in Svaneti, but this was some years ago and I’ve not been aware of any since, though they may have come and gone. But, as I seem to have been the sole

TLG volunteer in all Svaneti for a few years now, there is plenty of room for PC to fill the huge available gaps remaining all over the region, in both schools and communities. The presenters gave a detailed overview of how Peace Corps works, the application process for potential volunteers, host families and communities; and let us know that this process would re-start for Svaneti this September, meaning inflows of successful applicants a year after that, so, September 2018 or so. There were a number of quite pertinent questions, about why neither school directors nor English co-teachers could host (conflict of interest) and about “orientation” (referring coyly to gender issues; vetting and training of all parties would be thorough, we were assured, although Peace Corps is thoroughly equal-opportunity…). They asked us to consider at least three good possible host families for each potential host community, none of whose homes shall be more than 45 minutes’ walk from the host school as a rule. Information packets circulated and were also promised online; a few more questions and words of thanks; then it was over and we were dismissed to greet one another and disperse.

I was delighted to be introduced afterwards to the current English teacher in Ushguli, of which there have been an unbroken stream for several years now, as per my long season of urgent requests to the Georgian Ministry of Science and Education not to let my own hard work there go to waste. From the sound of things, the level of English in the village is indeed still climbing, as it must for this hugely popular destination, end of the road in the country and supposedly highest village in Europe. Peace Corps, although it is purely an American institution, is doing good things in this country and deserves the chance to prove itself further up in these mountains. We shall see how the thing develops over the coming year and a half, now that the ball is in our court. 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 www.facebook.com/groups/SvanetiRenaissance/ He and his wife also run their own guest house in Etseri: www.facebook.com/hanmer.house.svaneti


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SOCIETY

“Magic Drawing” – A new Campaign of Natakhtari Lemonade Dear friends, magic drawing of Natakhtari Lemonade took start on May 20. The list of prizes, rules for their awarding and the other details are listed below: • Only 0.33, 0.5, 1, 2 and 2.5 L yellow -cap plastic bottles of Natakhtari Lemonade will take part in the drawing; • The following prizes will be awarded: 300,000 plastic 0.33 L bottles of Natakhtari Lemonade; • 100 tablets, 50 mobile phones, 50 lap tops, 1 tour to Paris Disneyland for 4 persons and one apartment in Bakuriani; • A winner will be identified instantly by opening a bottle and detecting an inscription under the cap; • Winning of 0.33 L Lemonade can be received at any supermarket; • In order to receive the other prizes - tablets, mobile phones, lap tops, tour to Paris Disneyland for 4 persons and an apartment you have to visit special centers for awarding the prizes at the following addresses: o 87 a Akaki Tsereteli Avenue, Tbilisi o #5, 18th m/d Rustavi and Aghmashenebeli Avenue; o 22 Alazani Avenue, Telavi;

o 16 Nikea Street, Kutaisi; o 7 Orbeliani street, Batumi; Prizes will be awarded every Tuesday and Thursday at these locations from 11:00 to 18:00. Other Important Details • When receiving the prize (except for 0.33 L free lemonade), you should have an ID or passport, the copy of which can be submitted by the drawing organizer to a respective government agency in case of legal liability; • Winner minor in order to receive the prize (except for 0.33 L free lemonade) shall be accompanied by a legal representative to the respective address. Minor shall present a birth certificate, while a legal representative his/her ID. • Drawing will be held in Georgia during the period from May 20 to August 20, 2017. • Any person can take part in the drawing; • An individual automatically becomes a drawing participant if he/she buys respective product (0.33, 0.5, 1, 2 and 2.5 L Natakhtari Lemonade); • For additional information related to drawing please call 2 369 193 on working days from 9:00 to 18:00.

GEORGIA TODAY

MAY 26 - 29, 2017


SOCIETY

GEORGIA TODAY MAY 26 - 29, 2017

Sine Qua Non of GermanGeorgian Relations

Mixture of Cafe and Theatre under a single space in the very heart of the old city. Warm environment, Georgian & European Food, Art and Music Open everyday from 12:00 pm to 01:00 am

BY MAKA LOMADZE

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n May 23, the Goethe Institute hosted a discussion dedicated to the Georgian-German relations. The main sub-topic of the great event with the motto “Future Heritage”, and a presentation relating to the 200 years of bilateral relations between both nations, when the first colonists arrived in Georgia from Germany. However, the occasion proved to be far more interesting, showing that our links date back to a much earlier time. The event was opened by Heike Peitsch, Ambassador of Germany to Georgia. The panelists were: Maia Panjikidze, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia and former ambassador of Georgia to Germany, Ortwin Hennig, former ambassador of Germany to Georgia, Alexander Kartozia, Frankfurt (Oder) Viadrina University Professor and Oliver Reisner, Tbilisi Ilia University Professor. At the head of the discussion was German journalist Silvia Stober, who often works on themes related to Georgia. They mentioned different aspects from history as well as prospects for the future. Notably, one of the main goals of the 'Georgian-German year' is to give a new impetus to projects focusing on future cooperation. In 1817, the first German immigrants arrived in Tbilisi, who gave a birth to diverse and intense relations with Georgians. They founded two settlements: Katarinenfeld (Bolnissi) and Alexanderdorf (Assureti). They took over agriculture, including wine-making. In the 19th century, a new wave of Germans came to the Caucasian region with artistic and scientific intentions. These included architects, painters and scientists who mainly resided in Tbilisi. These years certainly left their mark: Kirche (Church) near present Marjanishvili Square, built in 1897, was demolished in 1940. However, this name is still alive, as well as Zemel, the district adjacent to Rustaveli's Metro. It was named after the pharmacist Evgeny Zemel, whose drugstore was located here. In 1918, Germany was the first country that recognized the independence of Georgia. In 1989, Eduard Shevardnadze contributed to uniting Germany as a Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union. In 1992, Germany restored its diplomatic relations with Georgia, opening the first embassy in Tbilisi, making our relations truly unique. Related to this, Alexander Kartozia, who was Shevardnadze’s private interpreter, remembered a humorous story: “It was in 1993, during Shevardnadze’s official visit to Berlin. Burgominister said: a Georgian man took apart Germany and another Georgian restored it. Eduard was good humorous man. Without hesitation, he answered: so, you see, there is no world politics without Georgians." Later on, Zurab Jhvania, [his pupil and former PM], said: "we promise Germany that we will not interfere in their inner politics again,” Kartozia noted, provoking cheer, also by adding that “we [Georgians], have kept out word until today.” A fair amount of Georgians speak German and are familiar with German culture. As Oliver Reisner, Professor at Ilia State University, noted: “The German language has lost its popularity and is overshadowed by English. However, judging from the university I work at, the interest is increasing. We should encourage not only becoming German linguists but also learning German in general.” To

the question, what makes him connected to Georgia, he answered: “My best half [wife]. I came here as a student in Perestroika years. Then, I returned and since 2003, I live and work here. “He is a Georgian language specialist, fluent in Georgian, ruining the myth that Germans cannot learn our language. ”There are so many more opportunities now, as there are Georgian language courses for foreigners, as well as books on the language,” Reisner noted. Ortwin Hennig, former ambassador to Georgia, was extremely eloquent: “You have a wonderful nature and culture, but first and foremost, Georgia has wonderful people. The youth here are very intellectual, which will enable the country to find its place on the world map of tomorrow and to contribute to solving global problems. In numerous fields, Germans and Georgians collaborate very tightly, trustfully and respectfully. So, my five years of serving here are definitely amongst my best.” He also added that the German embassy has always been interested in spreading the German language. “We share very similar cultural identity: we, both nations, are fond of music, philosophy, science and poetry. These are the reasons why the interest towards the German language is so special. I am happy that after English and Russian, German occupies the third place, linguistically, in Georgia.” Hereby, Alexander Kartozia, former Minister of Education, translator and German linguist who is a professor in Germany mentioned that unlike Armenia, which was more linked with France, Georgia was always closer to Germany, which is shown by the translations too. Among renowned translators, he mentioned Nodar Kakabadze and Dali Panjikidze, as well as the linguistic researcher Guram Ramishvili. The panelists also remembered that even Kant and Hegel made reference to the Caucasus. In his comprehensive speech, former ambassador Hennig also remembered his meetings with Shevardnadze and noted that the late President took part in the collapse of the Soviet Union and expressed hopes that one day, Georgia will recognize him as somewhat of a patriot. As news for a lot of attendees, Mr. Hennig noted that German knights also participated in the most glorious Didgori battle back in 1121, during David the Builder’s rule, which became the Sine Qua Non for the Golden Era in Georgia. This fact is much more than sufficient to prove the German-Georgian connections date back many centuries, not just the widely known 200 years. To the pitiful remark that Germans know more about Georgia much less than vice versa, Maia Panjikidze replied: “I can tell you that for such a tiny country as Georgia, German knowledge about it is quite high.” “It was very interesting to listen to our panelists because they [discussed] the issue [from] different angles. They pointed out that German-Georgian history does not consist of the last 200 years, but dates back to medieval ages. [These links] have reflected in German literature too,” Ms. Heike Peitsch, current Ambassador of Germany to Georgia spoke to GEORGIA TODAY following the discussion, adding that there is great potential for even more of a deepening of our special relationship. To culminate this wonderful story of bilateral friendship, Georgia, with a status of an honorary guest, will take part in the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2018.

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CULTURE

GEORGIA TODAY

MAY 26 - 29, 2017

WHAT’S ON IN TBILISI THEATER

TBILISI ZAKARIA PALIASHVILI OPERA AND BALLET THEATER Address: 25 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 99 04 56 May 28 L'ELISIR D'AMORE Gaetano Donizetti Starring: Mariola Cantarero (Adina), Pablo Karaman (Nemorino), Mario Cassi (Belcore), Michele Pertusi (Dulcamara), Tamta Kordzaia (Giannetta) Tbilisi State Opera and Ballet Theater choir, orchestra Conductor- Walter Attanasi Director, Set and Costume Designer- Fernando Botero Assistant Director- Victor Garcia Sierra Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 20-180 GEL

exhibitions THE HISTORY OF MUSHTAIDI PARK AND OLD TBILISI CRAFT WORKSHOPS 21:00- Performance of Movement Theater MEETING OF PIROSMANI WITH MARGARITA– LIVE STORIES 22:00- Closing event organized by The Folklore State Center of Georgia. GEORGIAN STATE PANTOMIME THEATER Address: 37 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 99 63 14 June 1 KRIMANCHULI Directed by Amiran Shalikashvili Comedy genre novels based on Georgian motives Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 8 GEL CINEMA

GABRIADZE THEATER Address: 13 Shavtelis Str. Telephone: 2 98 65 93 May 27, 28 MARSHAL DE FANTIE’S DIAMOND Rezo Gabriadze Directed by Rezo Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10, 15, 20 GEL May 26 STALINGRAD 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 May 26 RECITATIVE IN THE CITY Kakha Bakuradze, Sandro Nikoladze, Irakli Menagarishvili Special guest- Zura Sturua Start time: 21:00 Ticket: 10 GEL May 27 MUSEUM NIGHT FESTIVAL 19:00- Public lecture MUSHTADI– LEGENDS AND REALITY 20:00- Official Opening of photo

AMIRANI CINEMA Address: 36 Kostava Str. Telephone: 2 99 99 55 www.kinoafisha.ge Every Wednesday ticket price: 5 Lari May 26 – June 1 PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES Directed by Joachim Rønning, Espen Sandberg Cast: Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Javier Bardem Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy Language: English Start time: 19:20 Language: Russian Start time: 16:15, 19:15, 22:15 Ticket: 13-14 GEL ALIEN COVENANT Directed by Ridley Scott Cast: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup Genre: Sci-Fi, Thriller Language: Russian Start time: 19:15 Ticket: 13-14 GEL KING ARTHUR: LEGEND OF THE SWORD Directed by Guy Ritchie Cast: Charlie Hunnam, Jude Law, Annabelle Wallis Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama Language: Russian Start time: 22:15 Ticket: 10-14 GEL

RUSTAVELI CINEMA Address: 5 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 55 50 00 www.kinoafisha.ge Every Wednesday ticket: 5 GEL May 29 – June 1 PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES (Info Above) Start time: 13:30, 16:45, 19:40, 22:35 Ticket: 9-14 GEL ALIEN COVENANT (Info Above) Start time: 19:15, 22:30 Ticket: 13-14 GEL KING ARTHUR: LEGEND OF THE SWORD (Info Above) Start time: 19:45 Ticket: 10-14 GEL MUSEUM

GEORGIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM SIMON JANASHIA MUSEUM Address: 4 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 99 80 22, 2 93 48 21 www.museum.ge PERMANENT EXHIBITION: GEORGIAN ARCHAEOLOGY FROM 8TH MILLENNIUM B.C. TO THE 4TH CENTURY A.D EXHIBITION OF GEORGIAN WEAPONRY NUMISMATIC TREASURY THE TESTAMENT OF DAVID THE BUILDER AND NEW EXHIBITS OF THE MEDIEVAL TREASURY September 27 (2016) – September 22 (2017) EXHIBITION STONE AGE GEORGIA May 18- November 18 EXHIBITION GEORGIAN COSTUME AND WEAPONRY OF 18TH-20TH CENTURIES May 16-27 EXHIBITION GEORGIAN ALPHABET BY NIAZ DIASAMIDZE May 17-June 15 EXHIBITION

SPACE OF DIFFUSION May 17-June 12 EXHIBITION OF ZIGA WALISZEWSKI'S ARTWORKS MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS Address: 1 Gudiashvili Str. March 6 – August 30 EXHIBITION MASTERPIECES FROM THE MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS COLLECTION GALLERY

THE NATIONAL GALLERY Address: 11 Rustaveli Ave. www.museum.ge GEORGIAN PAINTERS PERMANENT EXHIBITION May 4 – June 2 EXHIBITION DEDICATED TO 100th ANNIVERSARY OF ROBERT STURUA. May 5 – June 7 EXHIBITION BACH EXERCISES BY LEVAN LAGIDZE MUSIC

TBILISI STATE CONSERVATOIRE Address: 8 Griboedov St. Telephone: 2 93 46 24 May 28 TENGIZ AMIREJIBI STUDIO CONCERT Participants: Alexandre Julakidze, Irma Gigani, Tamar Licheli, Vakhtang Jordania, Marina Nadiradze, Manana Doijashvili, Alexandre Korsantia Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 5-8 GEL May 31 GALA CONCERT OF VOCAL MUSIC Participants: Iano Alibegashvili, Giorgi Gagnidze, Tamar Iveri, Anna Kasian, Nikoloz Lagvilava, Mzia Nioradzeand others. Zakaria Paliashvili Tbilisi Opera & Ballet Professional State Theater Orchestra Conductors- Zaza Azmaiparashvili, Gogi Tchichinadze Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 5-15 GEL

June 1 DAVID ALADASHVILI & FOUNDATION IAVNANA Charity concert dedicated to the International Day of Children In program: Pieces by Bach, Schumann, Liszt and Chopin. Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 10-35 GEL DJANSUG KAKHIDZE TBILISI CENTER FOR MUSIC AND CULTURE Address: 125 Aghmashenebeli ave. Telephone: 2 96 12 43 May 31 CONCERT OF CHAMBER MUSIC The string quartet of young Georgian musicians will perform the works of Josef Haydn and Robert Schuman Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10 GEL TBILISI CONCERT HALL Address: 1 Melikishvili St. Telephone: 2 99 00 99 June 1 BASTI BUBU IS 25 YEARS OLD Bastibubu kids and pop stars, 25 stars- 25 hit songs Start time: 22:00 Ticket: 10-35 GEL SOU FESTIVAL 2017 May 26 NATALIA BERIDZE, MONDRIAN ENSEMBLE Start time: 22:00 Ticket: 20 GEL Venue: Akhmeteli Theater May 28 NIKA MACHAIDZE - NIKAKOI Start time: 22:00 Ticket: 15 GEL Venue: Royal District Theater May 29 LAWRENCE ENGLISH Start time: 22:00 Ticket: 30-35 GEL Venue: Royal District Theater May 30 SHOBALEADER ONE Start time: 22:00 Ticket: 30-35 GEL Venue: Event Hall May 31 FRANCK VIGROUX, ANTOINE SCHMITT Start time: 22:00 Ticket: 30-35 GEL Venue: Rustaveli Theater June 1 JACOB KIRKEGAARD Start time: 22:00 Ticket: 20 GEL Venue: Akhmeteli Theater FABRIKA Address: 8 Ninoshvili Str. May 26 SHANTI PARTY A special day when healthy life, entertainment, therapy and leisure unite Program includes: a lecture dedicated to the Ayurveda feeding system, Ecstatic Dance, live music played with Asian instruments, special delicious healthy food for free etc. Start time: 09:00 Ticket: 60 GEL MTATSMINDA PARK May 27 EZO FESTIVAL Organised by Mzesumzira Community Season Opening D’JULZ, JAY SHEPHEARD, SEBO K, RATI, GABUNIA, VASKA, AKO VON UNTEN Season Ticket: 100 GEL, Ticket on May 27: 20-30 GEL


CULTURE

GEORGIA TODAY MAY 26 - 29, 2017

15

Tbilisi 10th International Student Film Festival BY MAKA LOMADZE

F

Bulgaria Celebrates Education and Culture Day at TSU BY MAKA LOMADZE

O

n May 24, in the inner courtyard of the Tbilisi State University (TSU), the Bulgarian Embassy to Georgia celebrated the Day of Bulgarian Education and Culture. The main event was the exposition of umbrellas on which all the 32 letters of the Bulgarian alphabet were painted. This is an important holiday, marked in different countries. It is celebrated in all schools, universities and cultural institutions of Bulgaria. Mrs. Dessislava Ivanova, Ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of Bulgaria to Georgia, opened the event by thanking Tbilisi State University for its partnership in celebrating Bulgarian cultural events. “It is my honor to welcome you to the opening of the exhibition of Glagolitic and Cyrillic alphabets at the premises of the Tbilisi State University. Let me start by saying that the exhibits that I have the pleasure to present have been made by the children from the Bulgarian Association “Spiritual Mirror”, dedicated to the Holiday of Bulgarian Education and Culture. On this day, we Bulgarians celebrate the creation of our scripture. May 24 is not just another national day for us. We are proud to belong to the small number of countries who have their own alphabets like Georgians. We are also proud that in the 9th century, Bulgarians created, developed and spread this alphabet. Thanks to this, today, over 300 million people write in Cyrillic. The script is used by 50 cultures of the world and is an official script in more than 10 countries. This day is celebrated in many countries.” The glagolitic alphabet is the oldest known Slavic alphabet. It is no longer used. As a sign of respect to the past, umbrellas, represented at Courtyard of Tbilisi State University, bore one letter of both the Cyrillic and Glagolitic alphabets. The ambassador noted that the alphabet has not only become a basis for Bulgarian literature, culture and national identity, but it was sign of the cultural prosperity of Bulgaria in the middles ages and cultural and political emancipation in the period of Bulgarian

Renaissance, which laid ground for the establishment of the modern Bulgarian nation and the restoration of the statehood in the 19th century. Last but not least, in the ambassador’s words, following its accession to the EU, the Bulgarian alphabet contributed to the language and cultural diversity of Europe. “We are proud of our script, language and faith.” The next speaker was the Deputy Minister of Education and Science, Tamaz Marsagashvili: “Your Excellency Mrs. Ambassador, Ladies and Gentleman, I am honored. We are attending the celebratory event for Bulgaria, which is an important ally. The main thing for us is that Bulgaria is an EU member state. Our firm will is to become a member too as soon as possible. Bulgaria greatly supports us on this difficult journey. I have visited Sofia and Varna several times at scientific conferences. I state with pride that the scientific school of Bulgaria is one of the best in Europe, which is constantly developing. I believe that the alphabet is a tool for uniting mankind, as multiculturalism is one of the most crucial points for us. We should be respecftul of foreign cultures, and mutually unnderstand that culture is something that is integral to both our countries. I am happy that Tbilisi State University named after Ivane Javakhishvili hosts this event, which is the hearth of our culture. I have no doubt that our cooperation will continue.” The vice-director of TSU, Mr. Mikhail Chkhenkeli, also addressed the audience, “This is indeed a very special day. It started as a celebration in the 19th century in Plovdiv. Now, it has spread worldwide. Enjoy this beautiful day!” Tatiana Kostadinova, Director of the Association “Spiritual Mirror” commented: “This is a non-profit association. We support childrens development in all regions of Bulgaria.” Christina, 12, from the “Spiritual Mirror” association, talked to GEORGIA TODAY: “We, a lot of girls and boys, wrote letters on umbrellas using paint. I learned in design class. I studied how to combine the colors. It was very interesting. My teacher showed me the alphabet and I chose one letter. It took me five hours. I am in Tbilisi for a week. I am very happy.”

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George Sharashidze COMMERCIAL DEPARTMENT

Commercial Director: Iva Merabishvili Marketing Manager: Mariam Giorgadze

GEORGIA TODAY

EDITORIAL DEPARTMENT:

Editor-In-Chief: Katie Ruth Davies

Journalists: Tony Hanmer, Zaza Jgarkava, Maka Bibilashvili, Dimitri Dolaberidze, Maka Lomadze, Tim Ogden, Joseph Larsen, Vazha Tavberidze, Nugzar B. Ruhadze, Nino Gugunishvili, Thea Morrison Photographer: Irakli Dolidze

rom May 31 to June 4, with the support of the Georgian Ministry of Culture and Monuments’ Protection, Shota Rustaveli Theatre and Film Georgian State University will organize the Tbilisi International Student Film Festival. This will be the 10th year that is has taken place. The event is supported by the Georgian National Film Center and Tbilisi City Hall. On May 31, the official opening will take place. The news of the festival will be represented on the background of the set of soundtracks, created especially by a DJ for the occasion. Also on this day, work by the famous Georgian director Giorgi Ovashvili, entitled “Vagoneti” will be screened. On June 4, at 8 pm, the festival’s award ceremony will include a live concert of Tbilisi City Hall’s Big-Band. The award categories will be as follows: best feature, documentary and animation films. Special prizes and certificates will also be presented to specialties taught at world film schools. These include: directing, work of director of photography, editing and sound. As a result of the selection, 38 films from 19 countries have entered the program. They are: the USA, Germany, Argentina, Italy, China, France, Finland, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Brazil, Great Britain, Israel, Romania, South Africa, Slovakia, Belgium and Georgia. The judges of 2017 are as follows: Ashwini Malik, Indian film director, script writer and teacher; producer Eitan Evan, an active member of the Israeli Film Industry; Lithuanian producer Ramunas Pavilanskas; Iranian moviemaker and founder of Karname Institute of Art and Culture Alireza Soltani, board member Nino Kasradze, Georgian actress of theatre and film. The schedule of the festival also includes master-classes of the judges on various topics: “RASA”approach to cinematic storytelling; how to develop success stories; how to create remakes of films; actors working on camera and with directors; interactions between producers and novice directors. Besides master-classes, the film club of the University of Film and Theatre will screen all movies entered into the competition,

Website Manager: Tamzin Whitewood Website Copy-Editor: Gabrielle Guerrier Layout: Misha Mchedlishvili Webmaster: Sergey Gevenov Circulation Managers: David Kerdikashvili, David Djandjgava

with English sub-titles. Entrance will be free. Address: Aghmashenebeli Avenue 40. This year, the special guest will be Jerzy Rudjinski, a Polish cameraman and professor at Lodz Film School. He has worked with such famous directors as Krzysztof Kieslowski and Anrzej Wajda. The polish cameraman will hold a three-day workshop with Georgian students about the methodology of working with color and camera, among other topics. This year, the festival will be attended by writers and camera crew from almost 10 countries, which will boost relations between Georgian and foreign students, as well as meeting their potential future colleagues. The program of the festival also consists of other cultural events such as: Vladimer Sulakvelidze’s exhibition “Chairs” on June 1 and the screening of the film “Kite”; on the occasion of the Children’s Protection Day. The International Student Festival “Amirani” was founded in the 1980s. The festival founded a number of renowned directors during their student years. The festival was restored in 2007. It has already ensured its position among the top international film festivals.

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16

SPORTS

GEORGIA TODAY

MAY 26 - 29, 2017

Georgia to Host U20 World Rugby Championship BY NINO GUGUNISHVILI

U

20 World Rugby Championships are set to start May 31 through June 18, with a massive agenda of social and educational activities planned, as announced at the press conference at the TBC gallery yesterday in Tbilisi. The Georgian Rugby Union has been actively involved in various CSR projects, which in the rugby world is an integral part of world championships, enabling rugby players and team management to become engaged in numerous social and educational actions. The U20 Legacy program, presented at the press conference by Nodar Andguladze, the SCR projects manager of The Georgian Rugby Union, consists of several components with educational and social activities incorporated. As Andguladze noted, there will be five seminars organized overall, covering topics from nutrition in sports to medicine, training in coaching and new technologies. Apart from the seminars and media tournaments planned, it’s been said that each of the teams participating in U20 World Rugby Championship, representing teams from England, Ireland, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and Wales, Scotland, Italy, France and Samoa are planning different social activities, including the participation of the Get

into Rugby festival to be held in Martkopi on June 1, the marking of World Children Day, a meeting with child refugees from Abkhazia, Samachablo, Ukraine and Syria, organized in partnership with UNHCR and Georgian Rugby Union, a visit to the first childrens hospice “Fireflies World” as well as joint events planned together with Georgian center for Para-Olympic Development and Para-Olympic committee on June 14, dedicated to the International Day of Rights for Persons with Disabilities. Elene Aladashvili, Communications and Development Director at San Diego State University in Georgia, introduced the Hackathon Rugby event, planned within the U20 Legacy program, which is organized in partnership with Georgian Rugby Union, San Diego State University and with financial support from Beeline, set to be held on June 9. Within 48 hours almost 100 students from different universities throughout Georgia will have to come up with innovative ideas and create a program to be potentially used in contemporary rugby and sports at large. As Elene Aladashvili noted, a financial prize will be awarded to the winner of the Hackathon to further develop the innovative project and ensure it gets put it into practice. The Hackathon is set to run until June 11, and according to Elene Aladashvili and Nodar Andguladze, promises to be one of the most integral events of the U20 legacy program. A ‘safe road’ campaign

will also form a part of the U20 legacy project, an event taking place on the stadium territory during match days, while the championship teams will also be participating in the actions planned for the Environment Safety Day, as well as a culinary show based gender issues under the UN Women He For She project framework amongst others. TBC Bank, Beeline, UN Women, San Diego State University, UNICEF, Para - Olympic Training Center, The Childrens Hospice, Impact Hub, State and Private

Organizations are all involved in the social events organized during the U20 World Rugby Championship in Georgia. “For us, supporting Rugby is not a sponsorship project, we will always do our best to assist the Georgian Rugby Union in promoting rugby in our country; as for TBC, it forms a part of its CSR activity. It is not a marketing project. Rugby is one of the strongest examples of the country’s success for the last 20 years if not more, and it’s crucial to stimulate the country to ensure even greater

sporting success in the future. Having a U20 World Rugby Championship in Georgia is extremely important, especially when all the teams participating will be engaged in numerous CSR projects throughout the tournament. The legacy project presented today clearly highlights that CSR direction is becoming intensively involved in the public and private sectors and in the field of sports today” - Nika Kurdiani, Deputy CEO TBC Bank said, in his speech at the end of the press conference.

Issue #949  

May 26 - 29, 2017

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