Georgian Studies Conference 2017
On February 7, St Antony’s College of the University of Oxford hosted the Georgian Studies Conference 2017 convened by the School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies (SIAS).
2017 marks the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Georgia and the United Kingdom. The Conference at the University of Oxford is one of the first events to celebrate this anniversary in the UK.
The conference commenced with welcome speeches given by the Ambassador of Georgia, Tamar Beruchashvili, the Warden of the St Anthony’s College, Margaret Macmillan, and the Director of Russian and East European Studies, Professor Dan Healey.
In her speech, the Ambassador focused on the importance of cooperation with the University of Oxford on different issues, representing a significant part of bilateral cooperation between Georgia and the UK. Moreover, the Ambassador announced the initial commitment from the Georgian public and private sector to co-sponsor the high profile activities planned by the Bodleian Library in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the first Georgian Republic of 1918; namely, funding a book titled ‘Georgia and the Wardrops’ about the history and culture of Georgia, researched and written by Dr Nikoloz Aleksidze, Research Fellow at Oxford, as well as other events in 2018 to complement the book’s release.
The Georgian Studies Program at the School of Interdisciplinary Studies, supported by the Shota Rustaveli National Science Foundation, represents an excellent source for research on Georgia, attracting outstanding Georgian and international scholars of humanities and social sciences to study different aspects of the country.
In general, the University of Oxford has solid experience in carrying out studies on Georgia -the largest Kartvelian cultural heritage outside Georgia is preserved at Oxford’s Bodleian Library. The rich Wardrop collection of historical and literary books and manuscripts represents a treasure of international significance. Shota Rustaveli’s classic poem, Knight in the Panther’s Skin, which was added to UNESCO’s UK Memory of the World Register in 2013, is one of the most vivid examples within this collection.
Other presentations at the conference made by the post-doctoral fellows of the Georgian Studies Program were focused on various aspects of Georgia’s history as well as on contemporary developments vis-à-vis its society, politics and modernity.