National Foundation for Culture to Be Established in Georgia

Afew days ago, Georgia’s Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sports Mikheil Batiashvili announced that soon the country will have a National Foundation for Culture, which will be set up on the initiative of the ministry.

“The culture management system and funding model need real reform and not one-time fragmented changes. We are starting a complex reform in this direction. The reform is based on EU recommendations and suits our country's needs. Our goal is to make the system more flexible, making processes more open and transparent,” he said.

He explained that the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports will define the policy and strategy for the culture field, while the foundation will be responsible for the implementation of this policy.

“The Ministry performs the joint functions of managing the institutions in the field of culture, and in the process of managing and funding the competitions, events and project planning. This model is changing, and as a result of the reform, the ministry will define the policy, priorities and strategy of the cultural direction, while the new foundation will implement the policy and priorities set by the Ministry,” Batiashvili said.

He also noted the foundation aims to support the development of Georgian culture and cultural economy, popularization and internationalization of culture.

“The Foundation will implement targeted programs and projects in the field of culture, will administer state grant competitions and other competitions planned for cultural priorities, and organize and monitor issuing grants for people working in the field of culture,” he added.

The Minister said the National Foundation for Culture will start working in January 2020, while preparatory works will be carried out until the end of the year.

He added that the budget of the fund will amount to GEL 50 ($17.05) million and Irma Ratiani is to be appointed as the head of the foundation.

Ratiani is a literary theoretician and translator, Doctor of Philological Sciences (2003), Full Professor, at Tbilisi State University. She also is a Head of the Department of General and Comparative Literary Studies; Director of the Shota Rustaveli Institute of Georgian Literature; Editor in Chief of annual scientific journals Sjani (Thoughts) and LitInfo; and member of a number of international scientific organizations and associations.

Nikoloz Vacheishvili, a former director of the National Agency for Cultural Heritage Preservation, and a member of the Tbilisi City Council, believes the creation of a National Cultural Fund may be a good idea, but it is not excluded that it will increase bureaucracy and nepotism.

He noted the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport itself is one of the most bureaucratic agencies.

“It is possible that funding will become more centralized, and more nepotism and more subjective decisions will be seen. If it does not happen so, it will be good, but there is a high probability that it will happen,” he said.

Vacheishvili explains Irma Ratiani might be a good professional but in the fund her work can turn out to be ineffective.

“There is a high probability that with such planning, the results will not be very good in the end,” he said.

By Thea Morrison

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08 August 2019 18:58