BGS Annual Rustaveli Talk November 25 2015

BGS Rustaveli Talk at RAS


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 'Georgia's zig-zag Democracy' 9 December 2015

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.

The (As)Syrian Fathers: Myth versus Reality 18 November 2015

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.


From the Caucasus to Clifton - the Adventures of Berthold Lubetkin 3 November 2015

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.


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.

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.

Singing workshop with Professor Nino Makharadze 11 August 2015

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. 

3rd Annual BGS Cambridge Seminar 12 June 2015

A Talk by Clementine Cecil on the Campaign to Save Tbilisi's Historic Buildings March 10

The Academy of ArtsBGS 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 ( 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".

Georgian wines will be served! Please RSVP to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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

Nikolai Marr - a talk by Donald Rayfield 17 February

Nikolai Marr 1905BGS is delighted to invite all members and friends to a talk by Professor Donald Rayfield, on the fabulous genius of Nikolai Marr, Stalin's favourite linguist, a man whose theories, particularly about the Georgian language, had the most extraordinary and unexpected results within the field of linguistics and far beyond.

Professor Rayfield is Emeritus Professor of Russian & Georgian at the University of London. He is the author of seminal books on Russian and Georgian Literature, & on Stalin; he wrote the definitive History of Georgia, "The Edge of Empires", and is the editor-in-chief of the Georgian-English Dictionary. Not only an extremely distinguished academic, Professor Rayfield is also a most entertaining and erudite speaker, whose great knowledge - & personal experience - of Russian and Georgian history & politics adds immeasurably to all his reflections.

Georgian wines will be served!

Where: The Georgian Embassy, 4 Russell Gardens, London W14 8EZ

When: Tuesday 17th February at 7 pm

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

Donald Rayfield has kindly supplied a printed version of his talk which can be read below.

Read more: Nikolai Marr - a talk by Donald Rayfield 17 February

More Articles...

  1. The Healing Power of Georgian Polyphonic Music – Nana Mzhavanadze 24 February
  2. Christmas Party 9 January 2015 Georgian Embassy
  3. Special Lecture on Rustaveli and Shakespeare by Professor Elguja Khintibidze 13 November
  4. Women's Fund in Georgia screen Women From Georgia (Qalebi Saqartvelodan) 21 November
  5. Influence of Georgian Ancestry and Traditions Abroad 26 November
  6. BGS Annual General Meeting 2014 5 December
  7. Jonathan Djanogly Reflects on the APPG Georgia Visit 2014
  8. Book Launch at Georgian Embassy November 4 2014
  9. BGS Annual Supra 2014 at Little Georgia October 22
  10. Meet the famous Georgian Pianist Khatia Buniatishvili 3 June 2014
  11. The Colour Of Pomegranates (Sayat Nova) 4 June 2014
  12. UK Ambassador to Georgia Briefing to BGS 16 May 2014
  13. Second Annual BGS Seminar at Cambridge 20 June 2014
  14. Herbs and Spices - The Flavours of Georgian Cuisine 28 April 2014
  15. In Bloom (Grdzeli nateli dgheebi) 2013 UK Premiere 8 April 2014
  16. Roy Reeve "Conflict Resolution - Georgian Style: A Look Back." 24 April 2014
  17. Sandra Roelofs talk to BGS members 17 March 2014
  18. The Girl King: from fact to fiction Meg Clothier 24 March 2014
  19. The Mountains of Georgia - Illustrated Talk by Vano Vashakmadze 25 March 2014
  20. Memories Without Borders - film screening and discussion 5 December 2013
  21. BGS AGM 19 November 2013
  22. Medieval Georgia: Researching and Preserving the Royal Wall Paintings of Vardzia 13 October 2014
  23. Maia Naveriani and Maya Sumbadze Exhibition 26 - 30 September 2013
  24. BGS Annual Supra 24 October 2013
  25. Architectural Gems Amid Georgia's Fragile Urban Cultural Heritage 28 February 2014
  26. 3rd London BGS Georgian Film Festival 2013
  27. The Dash Café with BGS special screening of "Lucky Village" July 3 2013
  28. BGS Inaugural Georgia Day at Pembroke College Cambridge
  29. "Georgia - Political Challenges and Constitutional Solutions" address by Speaker David Usupashvili, Chairman of the Parliament of Georgia
  30. "Georgia - Halfway Through Cohabitation" a talk by the UK Ambassador to Tbilisi 20 May 2013
  31. The Banner Of The Passing Clouds by Anthea Nicholson 25 April 2013
  32. Safavid Iran and Georgia: How the Dominated Came to Dominate 12 March 2013
  33. BGS members visit to the British Library Georgian collection 26 February 2013
  34. Will There be a Theatre Up There? (Netavi iq Teatri aris?!) 12 February 2013
  35. Giorgi Levashov-Tumanishvili and David Rose 23rd January Georgian Embassy
  36. BGS Christmas Event at the Georgian Embassy 8 January 2013
  37. Logic In Georgia 11 December 2012
  38. Keep Smiling (Gaigimet) Embassy Screening 5 December 2012
  39. Epic Poetry East and West: Rustaveli & His Contemporaries 30 November 2012
  40. Robert Parsons Royal Asiatic Society 30 October 2012



Makhmalbaf's The President released in the UK

Mohsen Makhmalbaf's latest film The President was shot in Georgia with Georgian actors. It is being released in the UK on August 21st and here is a pdf with the details. 

Tbilisi named in top ten of European Holiday Destinations

TimeOut has named Tbilisi as number 6 in Top Ten European destinations in 2015

Articles in the Guardian in July 2015

This month there have been various contrasting articles on Georgia in the Guardian:

The Tragedy of Tbilisi Zoo

William Boyd's Holiday Read translated by Donald Rayfield

Georgia accuses Russia of Territorial Violation

Nikoloz Basilashvili's Wimbledon debut

After a successful Wimbledon debut, Georgia's Nicoloz Basilashvili is likely to break into the top 100. Georgia Today

Emergency Appeal for Funds after June 13 Tbilisi Floods

Following hours of rain on the night of June 13th and 14th, a major landslide dammed up the Vere river 20 kilometres southwest of Tbilisi. The resultant floods caused severe damage to Tbilisi Zoo and nearby houses and roads. There were significant fatalities and injuries, many families were left homeless and animals who escaped from the zoo were seen loose on the streets of Tbilisi. There are various events taking place to help raise money for the massive clean up operation after the disaster.

UCL Aid For Tbilisi Floods on 25th June at 6.30pm  

Katie Melua and Friends in Aid of recent Tbilisi Flood Victims on 26th June at 7pm  

Tamada Restaurant on June 28th from 1pm 

There is also the specially formed Tbilisi Hippo Fund 

Alexander Rondeli 7 June 1942 - 12 June 2015

Dr Alexander Rondeli was one of Georgia's most respected figures and much admired in Georgia and throughout the world. He was a leading political analyst and foreign policy adviser, academic and writer, mentor and ambassador for those who came to Georgia since independence, and an inspiration to so many who took his influential and popular classes at the Tbilisi State University. In 1998 he helped found the highly respected think tank, the Georgian Foundation of Strategic and International Studies (GFSIS) with the aim of "helping improve public policy decision-making in Georgia through research and analysis, training of policymakers and policy analysts, and public education about the strategic issues, both domestic and international, facing Georgia and the Caucasus". He was a man of charisma and passion and his insights, wisdom and humour will be sorely missed. Condolences

David Dondua to give Keynote Address at BGS Cambridge Seminar 2015

The First Deputy Foreign Minister of Georgia, H.E. David Dondua will give the keynote address - Georgia-Regional Challenges and Opportunities - at the 3rd Annual BGS Cambridge Seminar to be held in the Old Library, Pembroke College on Friday, 12th June 2015 (2pm - 6.30pm). For further details look at 3rd Annual BGS Cambridge Seminar 12 June 2015 or here is a pdf

Tangerines (Mandariinid) screening 30 April

After the screening of the OSCAR nominated film Tangerines directed by Zaza Urashadze, there will be a short discussion about the film and also about Corn Island. Screened last month, Corn Island directed by George Ovashvili and was on the short list of 9 films considered for the best foreign language OSCAR nomination 2015. BGS Embassy Screening Tangerines 30 April

Maia Mania's Historic Tbilisi

A number of Maia Mania's evocative prints of beautiful and historic 19th century Tbilisi buildings, are on sale through the BGS website. Please look at the Maia Mania historical Tbilisi prints for sale in the Gallery for some examples and more details. 

Women's Fund in Georgia 21 November event update

BGS is pleased to announce that BBC journalist Natia Abramia will moderate the discussion following the screening of Levan Koguashvili's Women From Georgia. We will also have a short talk by Bella Radenovic on the creation of the myth of Tamara Mepe (Tamar the King), Queen of Georgia from 1160 - 2013. Bella will speak about the discrepancies between the way Tamar Mepe is presented in historical writing and in visual culture. She will touch upon the folk traditions pertaining to Tamar as well as how Georgians see her today in relation to gender identity. Women's Fund in Georgia screen Women From Georgia (Qalebi Saqartvelodan) 21 November