Georgian Studies Forum Unites Leading Global Researchers, Linguists and Ethnologists

On November 11-13, 2015 the first international forum dedicated to the problems and prospects of Georgian Studies was held in Tbilisi, with the help of Georgian National Academy of Sciences (GNAS), the Patriarchate of Georgia and the Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University (TSU).

All major areas of Georgian Studies (language, literature, history, archeology, ethnology, history of art) were presented at the Forum, which aimed to demonstrate that Georgian Studies are still developing successfully in leading scientific and educational centers around the globe. As a mark of this, present at the Forum were representatives of leading scientific institutions of France (Paris), the UK (London), Germany (Berlin), Romania (Bucharest), Russia (Moscow, Rostov, Chachneti, Ingushetia), Japan (Tokyo), Turkey (Ankara, Istanbul, Rize, Pamukale), Israel (Jerusalem), Azerbaijan (Baku), and Armenia (Yerevan).

The foreign and Georgian participants met Honorary Chairman of the Congress Organizing Committee, Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia, Ilia II on the territories of both GNAS and TSU. Academician Roin Metreveli, Chairman of the Organizing Committee and Vice-President of GNAS welcomed the participants alongside G. Kvesitadze, Academican of GNAS; M. Giorgadze, Minister of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia; Prof. B. Meskhi, Rector of Rostov Technical University; Sh. Gapurov, President of the Chechen Academy; Academician V. Papava, Rector of TSU; and Academician Matishov, Head of the South Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

The focus was divided into three sections- linguistics, history of religion, and literature and art. 15 meetings were held and 115 reports were heard, amongst them the report of French Professor of Georgian Studies, Bernard Outtier, about the unknown Georgian manuscript that was found in Matenadaran and its importance for the history of Old Georgian. A report by German linguist Professor V. Boeder on the morphological and syntactic peculiarities of the Georgian language was discussed and Swedish linguist and ethnologist, Karena Walming introduced the diary of a Finnish Officer about travelling in Georgia in 1838-1839 which offered extremely valuable data about ethnographic life in Eastern Georgia of the time. Japanese researcher and Tokyo University Professor, Hirotake Maeda, discussed new Iranian material about G. Saakadze while Romanian researcher Professor Nicolae Duran presented the results of a long-term study of Anthimos the Iberian (17th century). The participation of foreign researchers of Georgian Studies gave the Forum international resonance. Their invaluable works for the study and popularization of Georgian language, history and culture, still continue.

The majority of the reports will be published in the ‘Scientific Almanac of Black Sea Countries’ of the Don State Technical University, as well as in the next edition of the ‘Herald’ of the Georgian National Academy of Sciences.

“It’s incredibly valuable to hear [from the international scientific community] such objective information about the historic past and contemporaneity, very controversial issues of Georgian literature and art history,” said Roin Metreveli. “It’s a well-known fact that some issues of Georgian history and culture are sometimes biased or covered inaccurately by the media. So it’s very important when foreign researchers respond to such discussions.”

During their stay, participants visited the Georgian National Museum, viewed the results of current archaeological excavations on Grakliani Hill (Kaspi Municipality) and saw the newly discovered ancient inscription (7tch century BC). They also visited Uplistsikhe, and had the chance to tour the Stalin Museum in Gori.

As well as discussing recent problems in the field of Georgian Studies, Forum participants made recommendations for the future.

“Their recommendations are vital for the dynamic growth of Georgian Studies as much in Georgia as outside the country. New ideas were born, among them the need to compile a history of Caucasus. It was decided that an international forum will be held every three years on the subject of Georgian Studies,” said Metreveli.

Sopho Taliashvili

26 November 2015 20:42