BGS Cambridge Seminar 2016

Please register with Eventbrite to guarantee a place

The presentation at the 2016 BGS Supra will be by Peter Nasmyth and about the proposed National Trust of Georgia. Please note that tickets are available through Eventbrite and need to be obtained in advance. https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/annual-bgs-supra-at-the-little-georgia-tickets-23178902722  

The 2016 British Georgian Society Annual General Meeting will take place on Monday 15th February in the Georgian Embassy, 4 Russell Gardens W14 8EZ, at 6.30pm. All members will have been emailed the Notice, 2015 Accounts and biographies of the 4 candidates that the board is proposing as new directors. This is an opportunity for members to meet with the directors and candidates Natia Abramia, Maximilian Hess, Bella Radenovic-Tsulukidze and Thomas de Waal. There will also be two very interesting talks by H E Revaz Gachechiladze and Peter Dodge. The ambassador will give a valedictory talk and Peter Dodge will recall the exploits of the Georgian rugby team in the 2015 Rugby World Cup. There will be wine and nibbles to follow.

Revaz Gachechiladze      

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 

In 1976-77 Alex Rondeli was a research fellow at the London School of Economics, staying with his mother’s cousin Tamara Osborn (nee Amirejibi). UK Ambassador HE Revaz Gachechiladze (who was a close childhood friend), HE Natalie Sabanadze (EU Ambassador and one of Alex’s favourite students) and Jason Osborn invite you to raise a glass... Please contact Jason Osborn on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you would like to attend.

BGS Rustaveli Talk at RAS

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

Followed by a Georgian wine reception. If you wish to attend please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Thomas de Waal

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.

If you would like to attend please contact Keti Kalandadze on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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.

John Allan with Lubetkin, 1989From the Caucasus to Clifton – the Adventures of Berthold LubetkinAn 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. 

RSVP essential due to numbers to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Ikalto Academy Ruins 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.

please confirm if you are attending by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

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.

Thursday 22nd October at 4.00pm. RSVPs essential by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Nino MakharadzeBritish 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.

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

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News

The Rustaveli Day at the Royal Asiatic Society, 11 November 2019

The Rustaveli Day will be held at 6.30pm on the 11 November 2019 at the Royal Asiatic Society (14 Stephenson Way, London, NW1 2HD). This year we continue with the Anglo-Georgian connection series and discover the fascinating stories of Princess Tamara Imeretinsky, a Bagrationi of Imereti in exile; and Michael Aramyants, a prominent Tbilisi industrialist and philanthropist. The event will be followed by Georgian wine and canapes. 

BGS Annual General Meeting, 20 November 2019

British Georgian Society is holding its AGM on 20 November at the London Scottish House (95 Horseferry Road, SW1P 2DX). Doors open at 6.15 for a 6.30 start. After the business part of the meeting our speaker will be Edward Marr who will present a talk on his ancestor and Nicholai Marr and his Scottish roots. Georgian wine and nibbles will be provided. 

The 2019 BGS Annual Georgian Supra, 22 October 2019

The 2019 BGS Annual Georgian Supra will be held at the Tamada Restaurant (122 Boundary Rd, London NW8 0RH) at 7pm on 22nd October 2019. A charge of £25 per person (excluding drinks) will be collected on the evening. You are welcome to order your drinks individually. Please let us know if you are planning to join and register by emailing to info@britishgeorgiansociety.org by 20th October 2019.

Talk and Book Launch of 'Unveiling Vazha Pshavela' on 1 March 2019 @ Asia House

On 1 March 2018 Asia House, the BGS and the Embassy of Georgia to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland will host a an evening of events inspired by the late 19th and early 20th century century Georgian poet Vazha Pshavela. This will a book launch of 'Unveiling Vazha Pshavela', poetry readings, talks and Georgian polyphonic singing. 'Unveiling Vazha Pshavela' is the most comprehensive book to date of the poet's works in English. The publication is initiated by Georgian/British artist Andro Semeiko as part of his project investigating notions of self and motherland - through landscape, ethnography, and language of Vazha Pshavela. The poems in the book have been selected to illustrate the poet's powerful, tragic, often Shakespearean force, as well as the development of his ideas and approach to nature, very relevant to ecological politics in the world today. They have been translated by Donald Rayfield OBE. The book includes specially commissioned works by the contemporary Georgian writer Ana Kordzaia-Samadashvili.

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