Georgian alphabet added to the UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage Representative List
01 December, 2016
Georgian alphabet added to the UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage Representative List
“Living culture of three writing systems of the Georgian alphabet” was inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
This decision was taken in Ethiopian capital city of Addis-Ababa, during the 11th session of the UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage convention’s inter-governmental committee (November 28-December 2).

The Inter-governmental Committee supported the nomination submitted by Georgia and found that it fully complies with all the criteria of the Intangible Cultural Heritage Convention.

The nom
ination was submitted to UNESCO in 2015 and its main goal was to emphasize that the evolution of Georgia’s written language has produced three alphabets – Mrgvlovani, Nuskhuri and Mkhedruli as well as their harmonious co-existence in modern reality.
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Here is what the UNESCO official website says about Georgian alphabet:

“The evolution of Georgia’s written language has produced three alphabets – Mrgvlovani, Nuskhuri and Mkhedruli – which all remain in use today.

Mrgvlovani was the first alphabet from which Nuskhuri was derived and then Mkhedruli. The alphabets coexist thanks to their different cultural and social functions, reflecting an aspect of Georgia’s diversity and identity. Their ongoing use in a cultural sense, also gives communities a feeling of continuity. The alphabets Mrgvlovani and Nuskhuri are practised and taught informally predominately by the community of the Georgian Apostolic Autocephalous Orthodox Church. For example, the alphabets feature in texts used by church worshippers such as the psalms and hymns and on inscriptions of display items used in the church, like the icons.
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Traditional craftspeople (goldsmiths, embroiderers, icon-painters and sculptors) who create pieces for the church can also be considered as practitioners and transmitters of the alphabets, as well as some theological schools, tertiary institutions, linguists, scholars and historians. Georgia’s educational system, however, is based on the Mkhedruli alphabet. Taught in primary and high school, the Mkhedruli alphabet is also transmitted informally in the home from older to younger generations. The Mrgvlovani and Nuskhuri alphabets are taught in schools in Georgia but at a basic level.”
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From the day this nomination was submitted, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia and the diplomatic missions accredited abroad, organized special thematic exhibitions and were actively working with representatives of other countries in terms of promoting and supporting the nomination.

‘Living culture of three writing systems of the Georgian alphabet’ is the third Georgian nomination which was inscribed into the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
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Georgian delegation took active part in the work of the Committee. The delegation included the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary in France and the Permanent Representative of Georgia to UNESCO Eka Siradze-Delaunay, as well as the Director of the International Cultural and Humanitarian Relations Department of Georgian Foreign Ministry, the Secretary General of the National Commission for UNESCO Ms. Ketevan Kandelaki and the Director General of Cultural Heritage Protection Agency Nikoloz Antidze among others.

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