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. 

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 (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".

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

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News

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.

Read more ...

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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Anthony Bryer OBE

A short appreciation by Professor Judith Herrin

Anthony Bryer OBE, the wonderful, inspiring teacher and promoter of Byzantine, Greek and Turkish culture, died at his home in Birmingham on 22 October, 2016. He established the field of Byzantine Studies in the UK and embodied its international significance through his work on the region of Trebizond/Trabzon in eastern Turkey.

Read more ...

Religion, Conversion and Identity among Armenians and Georgians in Safavid Iran 29 September 2016

Professor Edmund Herzig of Oxford University will give this lecture on 29 September 2016, 7.30pm. Armenian House, 25 Cheniston Gardens, London W8 6TG Tube: High Street Kensington. Admission £5 (£3 students) payable on the door, to include wine and nibbles. For full information see here

Georgian Singing Events and Dance Performed to Rustavi Choir Songs in May and June

For those of you within reach of London here are details of two concerts with Georgian singing coming up soon:

Tbilisi Opera House to Reopen

The Tbilisi Opera House is to reopen after extensive refurbishment. Through 165 years of history it has survived Tsars, Soviets and civil war. Here is a link to a recent Guardian article