You are warmly invited to the Annual Rustaveli Day 2019 on 11 November 2019 at 6.30pm at the Royal Asiatic Society. 
 
H.E. Ambassador Tamar Beruchashvili will do an introductory talk to mark the 150th birth anniversary of  Marjorie Scott Wardrop, a pioneering scholar and translator of Georgian (celebrated by UNESCO in 2019). 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 Tbilisian industrialist & philanthropist 
The illustrated talks will be given by Princess Tamara's daughter Nino Strachey and M. Aramyants' g-grandson Alec D’JanoeffAlec will be joined by his daughter, the singer-songwriter Katya, who has recently returned from living in Tbilisi and will talk about her experiences of discovering her roots and travelling in the Caucasus.
 
The event will take place on 11 November at 18:30 at The Royal Asiatic Society 14 Stephenson Way, London, NW1 2HD 
 

You are invited to a talk by Edward Marr to be held following our AGM on 20 November at the London Scottish House (95 Horseferry Road, SW1P 2DX). Doors open at 6.15 for a 6.30 start. Georgian wine and nibbles will be provided. 

Nicholai Marr, Stalin’s Favourite Linguist & his Father’s British Roots Or Who was the Real James Montague Marr?


During the first decades of Soviet Russia the brilliant Georgian linguist, Nicholai Marr, was famed for his Japhetic Theory on the origin of Caucasian languages. He gained many Marxist followers, including Stalin, until his ideas fell out of favour in the 1950’s.

Nicholai Marr was born to a supposedly 86 year old Scottish man, James Montague Marr and 25 year old Georgian mother in Kutaisi in 1865. James Montague Marr had gone out to Georgia in 1822 and to this day there are many of his descendants in the country all, rightly, proud of their unique ancestor.

But who was the real James Montague Marr, what were his roots and why did he emigrate to Georgia?

Through a chance encounter online, amateur family historian Edward Marr connected to his Georgian relatives and found his paternal family history to be far more compelling than he ever expected, uncovering possible answers to an old family myth.

Following on from Prof. Donald Rayfield’s talk in 2015 at the British Georgian Society on Nicholai Marr, Edward Marr has researched the family’s history in order to understand more about the origins of James Montague Marr.

Please RSVP: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

You are warmly invited to the London launch of the latest publication from Save Europe's Heritage in collaboration with The Tbilisi Heritage Group entitled,  "Tbilisi Preserving a Historic City." The launch will take place on 30th October at The Gallery, 70 Cowcross Street, London EC1M 6EJ 6-8pm.

The new report shines a light on the incredible architectural beauty of the Paris of the Caucasus revealing surprises such as a strong constructivist and post-war modernist legacy as well as art nouveau and art deco of great majesty and delicacy.

The launch will be accompanied by a mini exhibition of photographs by Richard Davies from the report, as well as other high profile Save Europe campaigns.

Numbers are limited and booking is essential: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/save-europes-heritage-book-launch-tbilisi-tickets-72388559129

 

 

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. 

This years supra will be in a format of a quiz night. We will let you know a special theme for this year’s BGS Annual Supra very shortly.
 
Please let us know if you are planning to join and register by emailing to info@britishgeorgiansociety.org by 20th October 2019.

      

 

Unveiling Vazha Pshavela

Stories and Artworks Inspired by the Poet


1 March 2019, 18.45 - 21.00
Asia House, 63 New Cavendish Street, London W1G 7LP

Asia House, the British Georgian Society and the Embassy of Georgia to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland present Talk and Book Launch followed by Poetry Reading and Georgian Polyphonic Singing, inspired by the 19th-20th century renowned Georgian poet Vazha Pshavela

The new publication 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, Georgian fashion designer Manana Antelidze, and the artists Leonid Semeiko and Andro Semeiko, which give a many-sided vision of the poet’s work.

  • The event will be opened by the Ambassador of Georgia to the UK, HE Tamar Beruchashvili. 
  • Donald Rayfield will give a talk about the poet’s work followed by a discussion about the book with Andro Semeiko.
  • A surprise distinguished guest will read selected poems from the book.
  • Maspindzeli Choir will sing Georgian polyphonic songs.
  • The artworks featured in the publication will be on display in the gallery.
  • The book will be available to purchase during the event.
  • Complimentary Georgian Wine and Canapés will be served to the guests.

Publication of the book was made possible by the generous support from Georgian National Book Center and Arts Council England.

General Admission: £10, Concession (60+): £8, Students: FREE 

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/unveiling-vazha-pshavela-stories-and-artworks-inspired-by-the-poet-tickets-53682654264

If you are unable to attend the launch but would like to purchase the book, you can find it on Andro Semeiko’s website: https://www.androsemeiko.com/vazha or from Foyles, Waterstones, Amazon and many art-specialised bookshops in the U.K.

The BGS Rustaveli Day and Annual General Meeting will be held at 6pm on the 27th November 2018 at at the Royal Asiatic Society. 


Introduction by David Gigauri (British Georgian Society)

The British-Georgian actress Miki Iveria – the story of Princess Gayane Mickeladze
A talk by her nephew Dr. Henry Sanford.

The presentation will consist of extracts & photos from the memoirs of Gayane Mickeladze, a British-Georgian actress who came to England after the death in Menton of her father, Prince Iverico Mickeladze. Her family were hunted by the Bolsheviks, but escaped against all odds. Betrayed by a trusted Chinese servant, then rescued by a Jewish family, she was present at some of the pivotal moments in the history of the 20th century. When a child, Gayane was in the middle of the bombardment of Feodosia by German warships, attached to the Turkish navy, that brought Turkey into the first world war. Her Father’s encounter with Rasputin is extraordinary. Was football at her home the first to be played in the Russian Empire? Her account of the voyage on the SS Saratoff and ensuing boarding by Georgians and fight at sea is perhaps an unrecorded event. Her Father, who had been the youngest judge in the Empire, teamed up with a Circassian brigand to run arms to General Wrangel’s army in the Crimea. In England he met Churchill at the Central Asian Society having been entrusted with a plan to prise Georgia away from the USSR by making it a British Protectorate. Princess Gayane’s passion was acting and Maltese dogs. Under a stage name Miki Iveria, her career in theatre encompassed several decades and dozens of supporting roles in the UK. Iveria made her screen debut in The Adventures of Tartu and went on to play in over 30 films.

Medieval Georgian Romance The Man in a Panther-Skin & Shakespeare's Late Plays
Book presentation by Prof. Elguja Khintibidze.

Prof Khintibidze, Head of the Institute of the History of Georgian Literature at Tbilisi State University, will present his new book, translated into English in 2018. It’s an amazing story and a brilliant piece of academic research which aims to establish, for the first time, a fascinating connection between Elizabethan theatre and the great Georgian national 12th century epic. Based on the most rigorous textual analysis, he shows how remarkable similarities in theme, setting, plot, action and character - way beyond any mere coincidence of archetypes – demonstrate the clear influence of the Georgian epic upon both Shakespeare and Beaumont & Fletcher, particularly in Cymbeline, A King and No King and Philaster.

The event will be followed by Georgian wine & canapes by Tamada Restaurant. 

 

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.

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