Georgia/ 3.4 International cultural co-operation
3.4.2 Public actors and cultural diplomacy
The Department of International Relations at the Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport is responsible for international cultural cooperation. The issues of cultural heritage, in the context of international cultural cooperation, are mainly addressed by the Department of Cultural Heritage and, in the context of UNESCO programmes, within the remit of the National Committee of UNESCO (see chapter 3.4.3).
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also has a responsibility for international cultural cooperation which is administered by its Department for Foreign Economic and Humanitarian Relations. This Department is responsible for some aspects of cultural policy and the protection of Georgian cultural heritage abroad.
As an example of such cooperation – in the framework of the Participation Programme for 2007-2008 - seven projects are financed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia in the total amount of 120 000 USD. In addition, two large projects are in the process of implementation under the aegis of UNESCO:
- protection of the collection of ethnographic films of the National Museum of Georgia – implementation of Phase II of the Project started in February 2007 with a total budget of 175 000 USD. This project is funded by the UNESCO member-country USA; and
- restoration and rehabilitation of Giorgi Chitaya Ethnographical Museum of the National Museum of Georgia – started in May 2007 with the budget of 76 000 USD funded by UNESCO member-country Norway.
Important features of the Foreign Policy Strategy of Georgia for 2009-2012, in particular, the 6th priority, are:
- the security environment for Georgia;
- a safe, democratic and developed state;
- Georgia in the international systems;
- Georgia in the region and in the world;
- citizens of Georgia and Georgian diasporas abroad (see chapter 3.4.6); and
- promotion of Georgia;
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is intensifying its activities in the sphere of culture (see: http://www.mfa.gov.ge/).
The State Minister for Georgian Diaspora is responsible for sustaining relations with the compatriots abroad, for cultural contacts with the diaspora and support of Georgian culture abroad.
Following parliamentary elections on 21 May 2008, a new position of State Minister for Georgian Diasporas was created, with a budget of 888 400 GEL; which is a new actor in the field of international cultural relations.
On the municipal level, there are examples of international agreements between cities and regions, e.g. between the Culture Service of Tbilisi Municipality and respective services of Moscow (2000), Kiev (2001), Didim (2001), Yerevan (2003), Rome (2004) and Florence (2004).
The main instruments in international cultural relations are:
- the framework of the interstate agreements and bilateral agreements on cooperation between the ministries (e.g. the agreement between the Ministry of Culture of Georgia and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth Affairs of Armenia in 1999 and the Ministry of Culture of Georgia with the Georgian Cultural and Tourist and Trade Centre in Japan in 2000);
- agreements between the departments and the respective partner organisations in the sphere of culture; and
- agreements on joint projects between the cultural institutions (e.g. cooperation between the Mtskheta Archeological Museum-Reserve and the Travel Agency of Dublin (Ireland's tourism promotion board). Source: Ministry of Culture of Georgia.).
There are several examples of transnational cooperation in culture, education and science but, so far, there are few examples of trans-national cooperation in cultural education and training. For some years, such cooperation has been initiated by international organisations or by governmental programmes of countries that have a close relationship with Georgia e.g. Italy.
Each year, the Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport provides travel grants for young artists to attend international competitions or training courses etc. It also co-finances a grant for a competition with the Government of Italy – the Rome Award. Within the framework of the project STAGE, a group of librarians and 9 young musicians attended training courses in Frankfurt in 2005 (3 musicians in 2006).
Traditionally, the state has not made a big contribution to the organising of international projects. However, the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection has succeeded to arrange a number of large international events in the period 1996-2003, such as:
- 1st Tbilisi International Biennale of Modern Art (1996);
- Days of Georgia in the UK (2001);
- Georgian Art Festival "TABLA" in Vienna (2002); and
- Days of Ukrainian Culture in Tbilisi (2003).
Since 2003, the state has increased the financing of international events gradually and large-scale projects have become a high priority:
- Days of Georgian Art in Moscow (2004);
- International Festival of Georgian Wine (2004);
- Days of Russian Culture in Tbilisi (2005);
- Participation in EXPO 2005 (Nagoya, Japan) (2005);
- Participation in the Ministeriale within the frames of the STAGE project (2005); and
- Tbilisi Culture Days in Istanbul (2006).
However, in 2006 this trend was suspended.
According to the data of the Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport of Georgia, the sum allocated for foreign cultural cooperation in 2006 was 327 000 GEL, or 0.6% of the Ministry's budget (51 177 100 GEL). This figure decreased 7.5 times in comparison with 2005 (2 482 370 GEL). Some financing of international cultural cooperation was provided by national private companies and funds (no exact data is available).
Since 2007, one-off projects have been combined with regular long-term programmes and the support for international cultural cooperation from the state has been increased.
The President's Administration also participates actively in the planning and co-financing of international cultural activities, including an allocation of GEL 150 182 towards the opening of Georgia's Year in Ukraine in 2005 and the Tbilisi Culture Days in Istanbul (2006).
Since 2007, the "Georgian Seasons" programme has been organised and is financed from the presidential and governmental reserve funds at the Ministry of Culture and Monuments.
The state undertakes liability for the regular participation in such prestigious international events as the Venice Biennale, Prague International Festival, Frankfurt Book Fair, Berlinale, Istanbul Biennale, Edinburg Festival and others.
In the framework of the programme, exhibitions and concerts are organised in Europe and the USA such as:
- Enamel Cloisonné from the Country of Golden Fleece – Exhibition Strasbourg. Council of Europe;
- Exposition of Gold Fund of Georgia "Medias' Gold" (New Discoveries from Georgia in Berlin, Nice, Paris, Washington);
- Ancient Georgia at the crossroads of Europe and Asia (Jewelry and History Exhibitions in Brussels);
- Niko Pirosmani – Exposition of the National Museum of Georgia, Istanbul;
- Symphonic Music Concert. Soloists: Eliso Bolkvadze (piano) and Giorgi Kharadze (Cello), Paris;
- Georgian State Ensemble of Folk Singing and Dancing "Erisioni" Concert, Paris;
- Iliko Sukhishvili and Nino Ramishvili Academic National Ballet Troupe Concert in Spain; and
- Fund "Iavnana" - Gala Concert Madrid, Paris.
In 2008, the state continued to provide financial support for international cultural cooperation through the reserve funds of the President and Government of Georgia. Together with funds from the Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport of Georgia, it provided co-financing for the programme "Georgian Seasons" http://www.georgianseason.ge (2 000 000GEL). International project support was also offered by the Ministry under its programme "International Cultural Cooperation Support Activities", totalling 379 277 GEL (158 032 EUR) in 2007, 250 000 GEL (119 425 EUR) in 2008 and 200 000 GEL (80 000 EUR) in 2009.
It should be mentioned that the share of presidential and governmental reserve funds in the programme "Georgian Seasons" has been increasing while in the programme of international cultural cooperation and support of the work of the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection has been decreasing.
In 2008, in connection with the Georgian-Russian military conflict, the budget was modified and the assignment for culture was reduced. However, in 2009, in spite of the world financial crisis, in the framework of the programme "Georgian Seasons", (http://mcs.gov.ge/georgianseason/?lang=eng) the following events were financed:
- 10th anniversary of Georgia's membership in the Council of Europe-Sukhishvili and N. Ramishvili National Academic Ballet cast gave a concert at the Congress Palace in Strasbourg;
- Exhibition of modern Georgian painters at the Cobra Museum, Amsterdam;
- Eliso Bolkvadze's concert in Paris;
- Venice Biennale - 53rd International Art Exhibition (24 May to 1 December 2009) Georgia took part in the exhibition for the second time;
- "Magnum Journals"- High class photo-catalogue of "Magnum Photo" about Georgia was published;
- Georgian Cultural Days in Yerevan;
- Georgian Pavilion at Cannes International Festival;
- Georgian theatre at the 50th International Festival of Israel;
- Liana Isakadze's concert in Paris;
- Georgian stand at Frankfurt Book Fair;
- "Artisterium 2009";
- The 10th Film Festival "Prometheus"; and
- British Film Festival
In 2010, in the framework of the programme "Georgian Seasons", the following events were financed (http://mcs.gov.ge/georgianseason/?lang=eng):
- Georgian Culture Days in Oslo;
- 3rd Cannes Film Festival;
- Conference at Columbia University- Modernism in Georgia;
- Georgian Gallery in Madrid;
- 9 international prizes to Georgian Macbeth, (V. Abashidze Musical Comedy and Drama Theatre)- 17th Small Stage International Theatre Festival was held in Rieca, Croatia;
- Kremerata Baltica orchestra, led by Gidon Kremer, visited Georgia and gave a concert at Tbilisi State Conservatoire;
- The Argonauts' Gold;
- The sculpture of Shota Rustaveli was placed at Villa Borghese in Rome. The bust was erected on 9 April 2010 at Homeros street in front of the Gallery of Modern Art; and
- Georgian Cultural Days in Egypt.
In 2012, the main activities implemented by the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia in the framework of the international programme were:
- The International festival "Chveneburebi";
- The Georgian culture days in Madrid (Spain) (with participation of LEPL National Academic Folk Song and Dance Ensemble of Georgia "Rustavi");
- Participation of the Georgian Association of Book Editors and Distributors at the International Leipzig Book Fair in Leipzig, Germany;
- Black Sea Jazz Festival in Batumi, Georgia;
- The anniversary gala-concert devoted to the 30 years on stage of the artistic director of National Ballet Ensemble of LEPL Tbilisi Z. Paliashvili Opera and Ballet State Theater with participation of the world ballet stars;
- Swiss-Cuscus Festival "Convergence" at Tbilisi V. Sarajishvili State Conservatoire;
- Georgian winemaking documentary for UNESCO programme;
- Photo festival "KOLGA TBILISI PHOTO";
- Tbilisi International Photo Festival "Tbilisi Photo Festival 2012";
- Business trip of Georgian scientists to Palermo, Italy for the research of the materials about Georgia stored at the Vatican Secret Library and other libraries;
- The Caucasus Jazz Festival in Tbilisi, Georgia;
- Architect-Inventors Exhibition in London, England;
- Georgian Culture Days in Amsterdam, the Netherlands;
- The concert of LEPL Tbilisi State Chamber Orchestra at Konzert Begau in Amsterdam, the Netherlands;
- Participation of the State Shadow Theater at the 2nd Intrenational Cartoon Festival in the village Nikozi at the occupied Tskhinvali Region territory;
- Georgian Culture Days in Amsterdam, the Netherlands;
- Opening of the Georgian House in frames of the London Olympics Games;
- Charitable concert held by Iavnana Foundation in Paris, France;
- "Art Gene" Festival of "World Music" artists;
- International Classic Music Festival in Kutaisi"
- International Festival "Travelling Notes" in Tbilisi arranged by the Music Arts Support and Development Foundation";
- In 2012 in the context of the London Summer Olympic Games 2012 the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia arranged the Georgian House where the samples of Georgian cultural heritage and works of Georgian modern artists were presented;
- in context of the visit of the minister of culture of Ukraine in Georgia on May 29-31, 2012, was drafted the agreement on the film coproduction between the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine and the Government of Georgia;
- March 11-15, 2012 the Swiss Culture Days in Georgia;
- December 17-21, 2012 the China Culture Days in Georgia. The Chinese theater "Giansu" presented its performance in Tbilisi, Kutaisi and Batumi; and
- Throughout 2012 various international tours (music, theatrical) have been systematically financed.
International public cultural agencies, institutes and funds also operate in Georgia.
Significant financing and support of international cultural cooperation was implemented through the international funds and institutions, such as the Open Society Georgia Foundation (Soros Foundation), South Caucasus Regional Office of the Heinrich-Boll-Foundation, the British Council Georgia Office, and the Alexander Dumas Centre of French Culture. As there are minimal funds allocated by the state for international cultural relations, the role of the above listed universally recognised cultural agencies and institutes are very important. Each of the listed funds contributes to the development of public participation and cultural diplomacy according to their priorities.
Examples of projects in the fields of education and culture are:
- Goethe Institute Inter Nations Tbilisi – this programme provided for the development of an education system for adults (2006) named "The Peoples' University in Samtskhe-Javakheti - a Chance for Integration of National Minorities";
- British Council Georgia Office – provides support for projects such as: "Development of Cultural Industries in the South Caucasus countries through the introduction of UK experience" - a new project under the British Council's "Creative Collaboration" programme); ART CAUCASUS 2005; D&AD Students' Competition; Culture Managers Training - Caucasus University, Tbilisi; International Culture Fair (ICF) - Caucasus 2003; Tbilisi International Theatre Festival; "Theatre+Video", Tbilisi, 2002/03;
- Heinrich-Boll-Foundation – provides support for: meeting between Tbilisi and Istanbul Offices for Cultural Activities on the topic of conflict resolution (2005);religious seminars whose goals are to engage in educational work to prevent religious extremism;
- Open Society Georgia Foundation – provides an annual programme of support for culture and fine arts as well as for cultural heritage. It runs a cultural programme network; and
- French Institute - financed the International Art Forum of Visual Art "Karavan Sarai" (2003) including video art. The participants of this Forum came from countries such as Bulgaria, Greece, Macedonia, Moldova, Serbia and Slovenia.
In 2010, the Open Society Georgia Foundation (Soros Foundation) Programme for Culture and Arts was renewed.
Recently the list of Georgian international cultural events has increased. Especially important actions are those activities organised by the Georgian Arts and Cultural Centre, such as the International Symposium of Georgian Arts, held in June 2008; and The Cultural Heritage of Georgia - Abkhazeti and Shida Kartli, February 2009, Tbilisi. Other important events were Georgia on the Crossroads of European and Asian Cultures, November 2009, Florence, Italy; and Georgian Culture-Past and Present April 2007, USA (see chapter 3.4.4, chapter 4.2.6 and chapter 4.2.9).
Chapter published: 21-06-2013