The FINANCIAL — Great Britain, France and Germany are the most active in promoting their cultural relations with Georgia, according to The FINANCIAL’s study. British Council, Goethe- Institute Georgia and A. Dumas Centre conducted the majority of cultural awareness events since 2008. Germany generally spends the most.
Alexander Dumas is spending up to 200,000 EUR annually, out of that the cultural budget is 30,000 EUR, the book edition and mediatheque functioning – 20,000 EUR, language spreading – 40,000 EUR, plus students visits to France: approximately 12-13 students per year, with a monthly scholarship of 700 EUR, in total 100,800 EUR annually.
DAAD, the German academic exchange service, spend on average a million EUR a year on sending Georgian students to Germany. The centre is most active in providing opportunities for Georgians to study in Germany at different language programmes and obtain degrees from universities.
“DAAD is fostering German language indirectly through promoting study offers of German universities, through the scholarship programme, through seminars and conferences,” declared Gebhard Reul, Director of DAAD Georgia.
“DAAD is offering a dozen scholarship programmes for students, university teachers and scientists. Last October we got 371 applications, 94 applicants will get a scholarship.
The amount for a scholarship depends on the status of the scholarship holder, it goes from 670 EUR per month for students to 2,240 EUR/month for professors, as well as that DAAD is paying travel costs and insurance fees.
This year DAAD is financing a summer school for students from Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia in Batumi, some regional seminars in Georgia, Germany and third countries within the programme “Conflict prevention”, summer school in Germany about the topic “Environmental protection and resources management” for participants from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran and Turkey, seminar (continuing course) for medical doctors from Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia in Germany, and continuing courses and seminars for university teachers for German language from Georgian universities (1 in Batumi, 2 in Tbilisi) (organized by DAAD Information Centre Tbilisi),” said Gebhard Reul.
“Germany is the favourite country for Georgian students to visit; in 2008 2,700 students out of 7,130 students studying abroad were enrolled at German universities (nearly 40%). The total expenditure of DAAD in Georgia and for Georgians in 2008 was 1.3 million EUR,” Reul added.
The British Council
The British Council has financed 5 students to travel to Great Britain, through the Chevening Scholarship programme, for one year Master’s degree programmes at British universities for those who have the greatest potential to be future leaders and who have the capacity to benefit the UK and Georgia and the John Smith Fellowship Programme, an intensive five-week programme in the UK on good governance, democracy and social justice. The organization says that it is aimed at the next generation of leaders in independent republics that were formerly part of the former Soviet Union – young people working in politics, local government or civil society with an established interest in promoting democratic reform and proven ability.
“The British Council is the UK’s international cultural relations body established in Georgia in 1993. Our activities – whether in the arts, science, English teaching, climate change or education – nurture greater trust and understanding between different countries and cultures. They also build strong international links to and from Britain, opening doors for the UK onto the rest of the world and for the world back to the UK,” said Paul Doubleday, Director of the South Caucasus British Council.
The British Council offers a wide portfolio of exams from IELTS and other language and professional examinations. Each year up to 2,300 people take English certificate exams.
“There are two main aims of the English Language programmes in Georgia: to build capacity amongst teachers and learners for using British Council teaching and learning products and to develop English networks in the region,” said Doubleday.
“Through our proactive work we have managed to increase the number of users of the English portfolio by to over 1,200 people and we are aiming at doubling this figure. To help this we have conducted market research to explore teachers’ and learners’ use of web based products. We will reach hundreds of teachers and thousands of learners of English in the capital as well as the regions of the country and we will continue to work with them more on the promotion and use of the web and support teacher networking for across the Black Sea though a dedicated Sharepoint site. Most of our work in teacher development is free for the end user, although there is a charge for international certification.”
“We will train 1,500 teachers of English in using the www.teachingenglish.org.uk online resources and organize meetings at regional educational institutions for the promotion of the www.britishcouncil.org/learnenglish site. We will have a continuous rolling programme of teachers being trained through ETTO, a blended learning teacher development programme as well as continued support for teachers undertaking the key teaching qualification TKT offered by UCLES. A new product, Steps to Success – on line training for newly qualified teachers will be launched. We will work with the Minister of Education to get all programmes recognized by their professional development centre,” said Doubleday.
“The British Council works in arts and culture to develop mutually beneficial ties between Georgia and the UK. The core of our work is the presentation of British work across all art forms in response to audience demand. We will work on three arts forms in the coming year – theatre, opera education, visual arts and the promotion of contemporary music on the radio and web.”
“We also have some continuing projects – of which is the theatre partnership between the National Theatre UK and the Rustaveli Theatre Tbilisi. Funded through BP sponsorship, this project aims to increase international collaboration between the theatre sector in Georgia and that of the UK.”
This year we have partnered with the Goethe Institute and the Norwegian partners we have developed a programme exploring the issues of urban heritage in Tbilisi,” declared Doubleday.
The Goethe Institute
“The Goethe-Institute has three tasks, first is to take care of the German language – not only to offer German courses but to train teachers and improve the methods of German language teaching in Georgia for teachers at school and at universities this is our most important task. Second is to give out information about Germany and this is our library, the library is supporting people with books, CDs and videos with up-to-date information about Germany. The third task is to work together with Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan I am responsible for these three countries, to work together with cultural institutions – national museums, national theatre, and Ministry of Culture and Sports here in Georgia and to work together on interesting cultural programmes,” said Werner Woll, Director of Goethe Institute Georgia.
“This year we are concentrating on urban heritage which means the spirit of old Tbilisi, how we can keep this old Tbilisi in the best way, so we bring experts here from Germany and discuss with Georgian experts what to do. These are the three main tasks here in Georgia,” said Werner Woll, Director of Goethe Institute Georgia.
“Each year we have a special kind of important topic, last year it was 1989-2009 – how has Georgia changed during these 20 years and how has Germany changed during these 20 years?. For Germany 1989 was a very important year, the Berlin wall came down and unification followed. In Georgia it was a very turbulent time; the civil war in 1992 and August War in 2008. We did a lot of projects, I gave two young Georgian film directors a subject to make film about it, I invited 5 Georgian writers to write texts about these 20 years and we had an exhibitions.”
“This year we have urban heritage, to preserve old Tbilisi and to show how we do it in Germany, how we restore the old centres of our cities, and how we are combining new and old in a very good aesthetic way.”
“Next year we will do a lot of public art, art in public spaces, which is new, and we are trying to do a project in Tbilisi to make a modern sculpture here. So next year we want to look to the future, we want to discuss how life will change in the next 20 years,” said Woll.
The Goethe Institute conducts 200-300 projects annually. The majority of these projects are cultural exchange programmes as well as lots of seminars.
“Each year the centre translates 3-4 books from German to the Georgian language. At present we are starting the translation of Georgian books into the German language. We have invited some people from editions in Germany to discuss what kind of chances Georgian literature has in Germany. What are Germans eager to read out of Georgian literature, Georgian history, modern Georgia, culture, ancient Georgian tradition, beautiful nature. We will discuss what is interesting and then translate the books into German. Next year we plan to get the book supported by us translated from Georgian into the German language. We want to have at least 3-4 books from Georgian to German,” declared Woll.
Goethe Institute has around 600 students for the semester, Woll says that before the August War it was even more and they had even 1,000 students. The centre provides the language courses for the fee of 270 GEL per standard course.
“We are offering all the examinations starting from the lowest level, Start Deutsch 1 up to the highest level Deutsche Sprachdiplom. Start Deutsch Eins is very popular because all the girls who go to Germany to work need to pass this examination to get a visa for Germany. This examination is very popular. 1,200 people apply for the examinations, in a year we have around 1,000 people who get this diploma,” said Woll.
Alexander Dumas Centre
A. Dumas, French cultural centre has three main directions: language courses, cultural activities and French Mediatheque.
“The language courses are for all age categories and the price varies from 125 to 200 GEL, depending on the time of the lectures. The language programmes are divided into 9 levels and are attended by approximately 300 students per semester,” explains Adeline Sang, the course manager at A. Dumas Centre.
“The only courses that are free of charge at Dumas Centre is the theatre workshop, learn French with different means. The first session was attended by 100 pupils in November-December and at present 80-100 students are attending the course. The individual needs basic knowledge of French to attend the courses, which are conducted by French volunteers, who arrive in Georgia and live with Georgian families,” said Adeline Sang.
“The French language exams Delf and Dalf are of high demand at the centre. The certificates are an obligation to be passed for those who want to continue their studies at university in France. This year there were 660 people passing the exams. The fee for the exam is pretty low – 25 GEL.”
“One of our directions is supporting students to depart to France. The scholarships are provided in such fields as political sciences, architecture, medicine, which are supporting country development and increase in professional qualification,” says Sang.
“One of the goals of the Dumas Centre is supporting translation. We support obtaining rights for books translation, up to the present we have already translated 80 books from French to Georgian,” declared Sang.
“Each year the centre is conducting approximately 10 large-scale projects. The cultural projects are varied, including film shows, music concerts – classic, jazz or polyphony, and exhibitions of modern painters. Moreover each week there are small projects conducted in the centre. All the activities done within the framework of the A. Dumas centre are non-commercial.
The Francofonia, the most important event is the incorporation of all those who speak the French language. We conduct competitions for pupils, students, teachers and the winner departs for France,” says Mariam Kveselava, Head of the Cultural Department at Dumas.