Remembering Alexander "Alex" Rondeli 7 January 2016
Georgian Embassy at 6.30-8.00pm 7th January 2016 4 Russell Gardens, London W14 8EZ
Alex Rondeli (7th January 1942–12th June 2015) was a brilliant, charismatic and inspirational figure whose love and knowledge of Georgia was without equal. A leading political scientist and expert on international affairs, Alex founded the highly respected and influential think tank GFSIS in 1998. As a distinguished orientalist and expert on Iran, a well-known public figure, an important foreign policy adviser to Georgian governments, the first port of call for foreign journalists and politicians and a hugely popular teacher to successive generations of Georgian high-flyers his legacy and impact on Georgia’s developing western orientation through 25 years of independence are immense.
‘I was born on January 7th, during the cold and dramatic winter of 1942. My mother was like Mother Mary because, according to the Orthodox calendar, this is Christmas Day, so she delivered me into this world at a very special moment.
My mother hated Stalin and everything having to do with him. In 1937, during the Great Purge, her parents and brother had been taken away and shot. I had an older brother, but now she thought she might like a daughter and became pregnant.
Then, on 22 June 1941, Hitler attacked. My mother went to see her sister and asked her what to do. "Don't have a baby now," she said. "There's war." But the propagandists claimed that the Soviet army would never have to fight the enemy on its own territory – so she thought the war would not be very serious because the Germans would soon be pushed back. So it is thanks to Stalin's propaganda that I was born!’
The beginning of an interview for ESI September 2008
BGS Annual Rustaveli Talk November 25 2015
FROM SACRED TO SECULAR AND BACK AGAIN: A (VERY) BRIEF HISTORY OF RELIGION IN GEORGIAN POLITICAL THOUGHT
A talk by Nikoloz Aleksidze, Junior Research Fellow at Pembroke College, Oxford University, and a Research Associate with the History Faculty.
25th November 2015 at 18.30 Royal Asiatic Society 14 Stephenson Way, London NW1 2HD
Thomas de Waal 'Georgia's zig-zag Democracy' 9 December 2015
On Wednesday 9 December Thomas de Waal, author, journalist, and internationally renowned expert on the Caucasus, will give a talk to the BGS at King's College London (KCL) on "Georgia's zig-zag democracy". The talk will begin at 18.15 in the Pyramid Room at KCL.
Places are limited and interested members are asked to RSVP promptly. The first 35 to respond will be included for this event.
Thomas de Waal is a nonresident senior associate with Carnegie Europe, specializing in Eastern Europe and the Caucasus region. From 2010-2015 he worked for the Carnegie Endowment in Washington DC.
He is the author of numerous publications about the region. His most recent book is Great Catastrophe: Armenians and Turks in the Shadow of Genocide (Oxford University Press, 2015). He is also the author of the authoritative book on the Nagorny Karabakh conflict, Black Garden: Armenia and Azerbaijan Through Peace and War (NYU Press, second edition 2013) and of The Caucasus: An Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2010). De Waal has worked extensively as a journalist and writer in the Caucasus and Black Sea region and in Russia, for the BBC, The Times and other outlets. He studied Russian and Modern Greek at Oxford University.
From the Caucasus to Clifton - the Adventures of Berthold Lubetkin 3 November 2015
From the Caucasus to Clifton – the Adventures of Berthold Lubetkin. An illustrated talk by John Allan on Tuesday 3rd November, at the RIBA in the Lasdun Room, 66 Portland Place, Marylebone, London W1B 1AD. Doors open at 6.00pm for a 6.30pm start.
Berthold Lubetkin, born in Tiflis in 1901, became the leading architect of his generation to practise in England, receiving the Royal Gold Medal for architecture in 1982 with many of his buildings now being listed. Lubetkin’s early life in Russia and direct experience of the Revolution implanted expectations and an artistic vision that would sustain him for the rest of his life. His belief in building design as an instrument of social progress was expressed in a determined pursuit of technical innovation and a profound appreciation of architecture’s formal disciplines and emotive power. John Allan will tell the story of Lubetkin’s journey from his origins in the Causcasus to the vanguard of the modern movement in England in the 1930s, narrating his achievements in post-war practice and eventual retirement to Clifton in Bristol, where he died in 1990. The talk will seek to explain why Berthold Lubetkin’s life and work still remain an inspirational example to many architects and students the world over.
John Allan is a practising architect who knew Lubetkin personally for 20 years, publishing his biography in 1992. He is a leading figure in the conservation of modern architecture and has worked on many of Lubetkin’s buildings including the famous Penguin Pool at London Zoo, the Highpoint flats in Highgate and Finsbury Health Centre – all listed Grade I.
The (As)Syrian Fathers: Myth versus Reality 18 November 2015
British Georgian Society is delighted to welcome Professor Emma Loosley for this illustrated talk on the 13 Syrian Fathers, so central to the story of Christianity in Georgia and greatly venerated in Georgia to this day.
Georgian Monasticism is traditionally believed to have been founded by thirteen monks from Syria who travelled to Kartli in the early sixth century and then spread across Kartli and Kakheti with their followers founding monasteries in the remote mountains and deserts of the region. They are referred to in the sources as the Thirteen Syrian or Assyrian Fathers, but recent revisionist scholarship has tried to prove that these mysterious figures were Georgians all along. Can we find any concrete evidence for these (As)Syrian Fathers - and why are some scholars so keen to try and reclaim these monks as ethnic Georgians? Photo of the ruins of Ikalto Academy, situated a few miles west of Telavi. Part of the monastery founded by Saint Zenon, one of the 13 Syrian fathers, in the late 6th century.
Professor Emma Loosley has been Associate Professor of Theology and Religion at the University of Exeter since April 2013 and is currently the director of a European Research Council funded project entitled Architecture and Asceticism: Cultural Interaction between Syria and Georgia in Late Antiquity that seeks to explore the relationship between Syria and Georgia in the fourth to seventh centuries AD. She previously spent nine years teaching early Christian and Islamic Art at the University of Manchester and was the founder of two archaeological missions to Late Antique sites in Syria before her work in the region was suspended due to the outbreak of the Syrian Civil War.
Wednesday 18th November 2015 at 6.30pm at the Georgian Embassy, 4 Russell Gardens, London, W14 8EZ Nearest station is Kensington Olympia.
Tour of the British Library and its Georgian Collection 22 October 2015
British Georgian Society is delighted to announce a second tour of the British Library, followed by a presentation of the Georgian Collection, most kindly organised by Anna Chelidze and her colleagues. The last tour and presentation was a great success, absolutely fascinating and a privileged insight into the workings of the Library and a close examination of its Georgian Collection. It is absolutely essential to book early as the maximum number per group is 15 (on a first come first served basis and BGS members only) – though we might be able to organise a subsequent tour if over-subscribed. The British Library has most generously allowed us to come free of charge.
Singing workshop with Professor Nino Makharadze 11 August 2015
British Georgian Society is delighted to invite you to a rare opportunity to come and meet prominent ethnomusicologist Professor Nino Makharadze of the Tbilisi State Conservatoire and Ilia University on Tuesday 11th August at 7.00pm in the Georgian Embassy.
Nino is in the UK to present her paper at the Third Biennial Conference on Christian Congregation Music: Local and Global Perspectives in Ripon College, Oxford. She is the author of several publication, more then 50 scientific articles and well known for her collection of Georgian Cradle Songs.
There will be a 10-15 minute presentation on Georgian Womens' traditional folk music and afterwards Nino will teach two songs including dance. No previous singing or dancing experience required and men and women are welcome.
The workshop is free of charge but donation will be appreciated to cover the cost. Georgian wine and snacks will be provided.
7.00pm at the Georgian Embassy, 4 Russell Gardens, London, W14 8EZ. Nearest station is Kensington Olympia.
3rd Annual BGS Cambridge Seminar 12 June 2015
A Talk by Clementine Cecil on the Campaign to Save Tbilisi's Historic Buildings March 10
BGS is delighted to welcome Clementine Cecil, Director of SAVE Britain's Heritage, SAVE Europe's Heritage and Chairman of the Moscow Architectural Preservation Society, for this talk on the Campaign to Save Tbilisi's Historic Buildings. She will discuss the threats to historic Tbilisi, show how the reports of SAVE & MAPS (Moscow Architectural Preservation Society) can be used as a campaign tool, and tell us how some of the successful campaigns using such reports have been waged in Moscow, in Russia and in the UK.
Clem Cecil was the Moscow Correspondent for The Times (2001-2004) & co-founder of MAPS which she has chaired since 2012. She has written reports on the Architectural Heritage of Samara, St. Petersburg and Moscow, & writes freelance for The Times on Russia, Architecture and Conservation. She is currently working on a City Guide to Moscow and a report on rural Russian churches under threat. She is also an enthusiastic member of the Tbilisi Heritage Group. She is a tremendous advocate for the conservation of historic buildings, helped to lead SAVE's campaign to save Smithfield Market (www.savebritainsheritage.org) and is a most engaging speaker. SAVE has been described as "the most influential conservation group to have been established since William Morris founded the Society for the Protection Ancient Buildings over a century ago".
Tuesday 10th March, 7pm at the Georgian Embassy, 4 Russell Gardens, London W14 8EZ
Batumi Raptor Count present an illustrated talk on their work 24 March
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