Details of the Panel Members:

H.E. Tamara Beruchashvili, Georgian Ambassador to the UK

Tamar Beruchashvili has been the Georgian Ambassador to the United Kingdom since March 2016. She was previously was the Minister of Foreign Affairs (2014-2015), Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs (2013-2014), Minister of Euro-Atlantic Integration (2004), Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs (2000- 2003) and Minister of Trade and Foreign Economic Relations (1998-2000). In addition, from 2000 to 2010 she was a professor at Tbilisi State University.

David Lee

David has an MBA from Warwick Business School, qualified as a Chartered Accountant with KPMG and speaks Georgian and Russian. A former Royal Navy Officer, he has led companies in developing markets since 1990. He was the CEO of Magticom, the largest telecommunications company in Georgia (2004-2016) and President of American Chamber of Commerce (2008-2012). He is currently the CEO of Lee LLC, the CEO of the European Business Association Georgia, Chair of the Europe Foundation and of the Caucasus Research Resource Centre.

Mark Pritchard MP

Mark has been the MP for The Wrekin (a semi-rural seat in Shropshire) since 2005. He studied theology, holds two Masters Degrees (in International Diplomacy and in Marketing & Management) a Post-graduate Diploma in Marketing and a Diploma in Public Relations. He currently serves on the Chairman's Panel of the House of Commons, which chairs and oversees Bills and Debates. He was appointed by the Prime Minister to the UK delegation to the Council of Europe in 2015. In 2017 he was appointed as the UK's first Trade Envoy to Georgia and Armenia.

David Howarth

David is a British academic and politician. He was the Liberal Democrat MP for Cambridge from 2005 to 2010. He is currently Professor of Law and Public Policy at the University of Cambridge. He is theauthor of “Textbook on Tort”, “Law as Engineering: Thinking about What Lawyers Do” and variousarticles in academic journals and chapters in academic books. He has also been the Leader of Cambridge City Council and a member of the Liberal Democrats' Federal Policy Committee.

Kornely Kakachia

Kornely is Professor of Political Science at Tbilisi State University and Director of the Tbilisi based think-tank The Georgian Institute of Politics. His current research focuses on Georgian domestic and foreign policy, security issues of the wider Black Sea area and comparative party politics. He was arecipient of IREX and OSI fellowships and was a visiting fellow at Harvard University’s Black SeaSecurity program (2009–2010), the Harriman Institute, Columbia University (2011) and The JohnsHopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies.

Hubertus Jahn (Chair)

Hubertus is Reader in the History of Russia and the Caucasus in the Faculty of History at the University of Cambridge, a Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge, and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. He holds a PhD from Georgetown University and a second higher doctorate from the University of Erlangen in Germany. He has taught at universities in the USA, Germany, and the UK. His research covers much of Russian history, with a focus on social and cultural aspects, as well as the history of Georgia and the South Caucasus.

The Book of TbilisiWednesday, May 23d. Doors open at 5.45 for a 6.00pm start

Georgian Embassy, 4 Russell Gardens, W14 8EZ

The British Georgian Society is delighted to welcome Becca Parkinson from Comma Press with  Zviad Kvaratskhelia and Bacho Kvirtia, two of the young writers featured in  the Book of Tbilisi. The book is published by Comma Press and the publisher, Becca Parkinson, will talk about the project.

As Gvantsa Jobava writes in his introduction to the book: “The ten stories selected for this book offer a kind of literary guidebook to an outside world that used to be very remote. They tell you about the human challenges of living in a small country struggling to maintain its place on the map…..The stories selected  are from a generation that grew up in decades of hardship but managed to adapt to an almost endless series of changes; a generation that contributed to the collapse of the old system, coped with the consequences of that collapse and invested all its energies in the building of a new one.  Furthermore, these authors in particular struggled and survived as representatives of a new, open society, in order to hold a mirror up to the city and the country they live in.”

Comma Press has kindly offered the book to all BGS members at a massively reduced price! £8 inc P&P. Please indicate your BGS membership.

Payment can be made by cheque to ‘Comma Press’ and posted to Studio 510a, Hope Mill, 113 Pollard Street, Manchester, UK M4 7JA. Or by BACS. Make payment to: Comma Press. Account holder: R K Page. Bank: Santander. Commercial Bank PLC. Branch address: Bridle Road, Bootle, Merseyside L30 4GB. Account number: 0 249 4817. Sort code: 090150. BIC: ABBYGB2LXXX

With many thanks to the Georgian Embassy for their kind hospitality, British Georgian Society is delighted to welcome back Peter Skinner, author of Georgia, The Land Below the Caucasus, to talk about his newly published Twenty five Years in the Caucasus by Arnold Zisserman

Georgian Embassy

Tuesday 20th February 

4 Russell Gardens, London W14 8EZ Doors open 6.30pm for 7.00pm start 

(Georgian wine will be served)

Zisserman’s Travels are a fabulous addition to the growing body of work about Georgia now available in English. Full of detail and insights into the culture, politics, ethnography and history of that fascinating country, enlivened with personal encounters and observations of life at all levels, this is essential reading for anyone with any interest in the Caucasus, Russian colonial expansion, and travel writing of the most immersive kind. Written with considerable narrative flair and wit, Zisserman’s account is especially valuable: an eye-witness to - and participant in - the Russian Conquest of the Caucasus, a Russian himself, still a teenager when he first arrived in Tbilisi as a lowly clerk, he was seized by the spirit of adventure. His book, written over his 25 years in the region, is filled with marvellous encounters and descriptions: of nobles & peasants, of soldiers and officials, of Russians and Georgians and as many tribes of mountain Tush, Khevsurs, Lesgians, Avars & Daghestanis, Chechens, Kists, Azeris and Tartars, as will delight the most demanding of ethnophiles.

The book has been fluently & vividly translated by Inna Kiziriya, and brilliantly organised & introduced by its editor, Peter Skinner, with the addition of many marvellous maps and illustrations and a plethora of fascinating appendices and notes: without doubt one of the most important, engaging and entertaining publications about Georgia to have appeared in many years. Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you would like to attend.

After graduating with a degree in Oriental Studies from Cambridge University in 2007, Joseph Alexander Smith pursued a brief career in Middle Eastern Studies Librarianship in London. A chance trip to Georgia in 2011 changed the course of his life, and he settled in Tbilisi in 2012. Through working as a multi-media journalist on environmental and cultural heritage issues, Joseph became involved in the flourishing urban activism scene in 2014-2015, particularly through the pedestrian-rights organisation Iare Pekhit. On the basis of this experience in civil activism, Joseph made a bid for a seat in Tbilisi's City Assembly in October 2017, becoming the first British-born Georgian citizen to run for elected office. Despite losing the election, Joseph has continued to be active on urban issues, hosting a weekly radio show specifically on urban development on Radio GIPA. 

A farewell party  ‘Tamada at Tamada’ for Mr. Kakhi Kenkadze, Minister Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Georgian Embassy to the UK

While performing the role of the Tamada (Toastmaster) Mr. Kenkadze will take us through the origin, value and format of the Tamada Institute. He will also perform Georgian songs and read his translation of some pieces of the British and Georgian poetry.  

The format: the Georgian Supra

Price: £25 per person including Georgian wine (wine provided from the BGS cellar) 

Location: Tamada, 122 Boundary Road, London NW8 0RH 

Time: 11th of January at 19.00.pm.  

RSVP by 9th January 2018 to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Tamta's World: The Life and Encounters of a Medieval Noblewoman From the Middle East to Mongolia

Friday 6th October 2017, 6.30pm, Research Forum,

Courtauld Institute of Art, Strand, WC2R 0RN

Tamta's World tells the compelling story of a Christian noblewoman in the thirteenth century. Born to an Armenian family at the court of Queen Tamar, Tamta was ransomed in marriage to nephews of Saladin, after her father was captured during a siege. Her tale stretches from the Mediterranean to Mongolia and reveals the extraordinary connections across continents and cultures that one woman could experience.

Anthony EastmondAntony Eastmond is A. G. Leventis Professor of Art History and Dean at the Courtauld Institute of Art. He has published extensively on the world of eastern Christianity and its connections with the Islamic world around it, especially in Georgia and the Caucasus, and Trebizond. 

Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you wish to attend.

The 4th revised and expanded edition of Peter Nasmyth's classic book first published in 1998.

Peter Nasmyth is a writer, photographer and former arts journalist published in most major UK magazines and newspapers, along with American publications such as the Washington Post. He has lived between Tbilisi and London for the last thirty years and co-founded the first English-language bookshop, Prospero, in Tbilisi. He is currently involved in forming the National Trust in Georgia.

BGS is delighted to support this special event being held at the British Library (96 Euston Road, NW1 2DB) on Saturday 30th September 2017. The world famous Rustavi Choir will perform in a concert at 7.15pm preceded by a series of illuminating talks from Professor Rezo Kiknadze, Rector of Tbilisi State Conservatory and Professor Anzor Erkomaishvili, the prominent singer and musicologist who helped establish the Rustavi Choir nearly fifty years ago. They are joined by British Library curator, Will Prentice, who tells the surprising story of the Gramophone Company and its recording expeditions in the Caucasus and Central Asia in the early 20th century and plays extracts from recordings now housed at the Library. Other presentations will be given by the British Georgian Society and the Georgian Chanting Foundation. For further details and how to purchase tickets please follow this link http://www.bl.uk/events/rustavi-choir

Tbilisoba 2012The 2017 BGS Annual Georgian Supra will be held at Tbilisi Restauarant (91 Holloway Rd, London N7 8LT) at 6pm on Sunday 8th October. A charge of £25 per person (excluding drinks) will be collected on the evening. You are welcome to order your drinks individually.  A special theme  for the Supra will be Tbilisi and ’Tbilisoba'. Please let us know if you are planning to join.

News

2018 Annual Rustaveli Day and AGM - 27th November 6pm at the Royal Asiatic Society

The BGS Rustaveli Day and Annual General Meeting will be held at 6pm on the 27th November 2018 at at the Royal Asiatic Society. The AGM will be followed by a talk 'The British-Georgian actress Miki Iveria – the story of Princess Gayane Mickeladze' by Dr Henry Sanford and a book presentation by Professor Elguja Khintibidze. The event will be followed by Georgian wine & canapes provided by Tamada Restaurant.

British Author Katie Ruth Davies New Book Set In Georgia

According to HE Tamar Beruchashvili Katie Ruth Davies "is a prominent author, journalist and supermum. She’s an expert in many things, including vampires!’’. Editor-in-Cheif of Georgia Today, Katie now lives in Georgia with her partner and 3 children. She is author of the Blood Omen books and is on a publishing tour of the UK (next week she will be in Bristol) promoting her first young adult book set in Georgia Angel (book one of the new Dark Wings series). Robert Edgar was at her London book launches at the Georgian Embassy and Primrose Hill Library and wrote in Georgia Today

Discovering Places: Georgia at Royal Geographical Society

The Royal Geographical Society is having an event on Georgia, on Wednesday 21st February 2018, 7pm - 9pm. It is part of their Discovering Places series and has an expert panel of Donald Rayfield (writer, historian and regular BGS speaker), Olia Hercules (chef and author of Kaukasis), and Marta Hills (a sustainable tourism expert and regular backpacker). Follow this link for further details.

Colour Of Pomegranates Limited Edition Blu-ray And Special Screening At ICA

Sergei Parajanov’s celebrated masterwork The Colour Of Pomegranates paints an astonishing portrait of the 18th century Armenian poet Sayat Nova, the ‘King of Song’ and now arrives on Blu-ray for the first time, presented in a stunning new restoration by Martin Scorsese’s Film Foundation World Cinema Project and Cineteca di Bologna/L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory, in association with the National Cinema Centre of Armenia and Gosfilmofond of Russia.

The film arrives as The Colour Of Pomegranates Limited Edition Box Set, a luxury two-disc collector’s set on Blu-ray complete with a 112-page perfect-bound book, a host of brand new special features, archive material, short film, documentaries and both the Armenian and Russian versions of the film. It arrives on 29 January 2018.

There will be a special screening of the film on January 27th at 4.15pm at the ICA, introduced by Daniel Bird.Please see the link here.

BBC Radio 4 Food Programme on Georgia

Two excellent programmes presented by Dan Saldino are available on BBC iPlayer Radio. Feast Like a Georgian: A Food Guide to the Caucasus., first broadcast on 4th September, features food writer Carla Capalbo, author of Tasting Georgia (published earlier this summer), guiding Dan through a supra. Zero Compromise: A (Georgian) Natural Wine Story., broadcast on 11th September, has Dan Saladino travelling into the Caucasus in search of "zero compromise" natural wine makers. He finds them in Georgia, thought to be the birthplace of wine, and home of the qvevri.

Armand Wang's photos of BGS events available on Facebook

Photographer Armand Wang, a BGS member, wonderfully captures the atmosphere at BGS events in his descriptive photos and regularly posts them on the BGS Facebook page. Here are links to recent events Conversation with the two Ambassadors and Second Annual Charity Festival hosted by Tamada

Cancellation of 12 June event at Pembroke College

On behalf of the British Georgian Society, the board would like to update you about this year's BGS Cambridge Seminar at Pembroke College. The event at Pembroke on Monday 12 June is now cancelled. The keynote speaker, Georgian Defence Minister Levon Izoria, had to call off his visit to the UK in mid June. We apologise for any inconvenience - and hope you will understand the organisers' decision in the circumstances to put the event off for a future occasion.

A Poet Is Born: Nikolaz Baratashvili 27th April 2017 Asia House

As the first month of spring slowly comes to an end, on Thursday 27th April, 18.45 at Asia House Donald Rayfield remembers Georgian poet Nikoloz Baratashvili  (1817-1845). On the occasion of his 200th birth anniversary, Donald Rayfield Emeritus Professor of Russian and Georgian at Queen Mary University of London will give a talk, A Poet Is Born: Nikolaz Baratashvili. For further information and tickets go to the Asia House website.

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Direct Flights From London To Georgia

There have been recent announcements that various airlines will operate direct flights from London to Georgia. The Hungarian owned low cost Wizz Air will commence bi-weekly flights from Luton to Kutaisi from 18th June 2017. This will be followed by Georgian Airlines (Airzena) flying directly from Gatwick to Tbilisi, also twice a week. Start dates to be confirmed. There is also an article on the online outlet commersant.ge that Ryanair will also commence flights from London to Tbilisi. 

Anthony Bryer OBE

An obituary by Bruce Clark

PROFESSOR ANTHONY BRYER, who has died aged 78, was an exuberant, charismatic historian and lecturer who did more than anybody in his generation to stimulate the study of Byzantium in Britain and beyond.

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