The first Georgian scholar woman Barbare Kipiani
05 September, 2017
The first Georgian scholar woman Barbare Kipiani
The scientific works and public activities of Georgians have always been in the center of attention in Europe. The special place among distinguished Georgians belongs to Barbare Kipiani, the granddaughter of Prince Dimitri Kipiani (a Georgian statesman, publicist, writer, translator and a leader of Georgia's liberal nobility).

Barbare was daughter of Nikoloz, one of the sons of Dimitri Kipiani. The girl was born on February 4, 1879 in Kutaisi (the capital of the western region of Imereti), but she grew up in Kvishxeti (village in Georgia, in Shida Kartli region Khashuri municipality) in his grandfather’s house.

After a tragedy took place in the family and Dimitri Kipiani was murdered, his son Nikoloz who had health problems, moved to Europe along with his family.

Education had always been top priority in Dimitri Kipiani’s family. Barbare graduated from Tbilisi St. Nino's School with honors. After finishing her studies in Georgia, she left for Belgium with his father, where she enrolled in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Brussels in 1902.

At the university everyone was surprised by the talent of Georgian lady. She was admitted at the International Congress of Physiology held in Brussels as an excellent student. The European scholars were very impressed with her speech.

The Georgian girl from an aristocratic family soon became a secretary of the magazine "Revue Psychology" of the University of Brussels.

Barbare was reading lectures at the universities of Brussels, as well as Paris and Geneva. European editions wrote about Barbara as well.

Once Georgian publicist Revaz Gabashvili wrote in the newspaper “Tsnobis Furtseli” (News-Sheet): "Professor Jotiko, a Polish lady who invited Barbare Kipiani to her laboratory , helped Barbare to become a scientist and paid her tuition fee when she was expelled from the university due to non-payment. Our society should know that the granddaughter of the founder of the Royal Bank, Dimitri Kipiani, is being supported by the foreigners while the representatives of local nobility even refused to give her the scholarship. "

Apart from her contribution to science, Barbare Kipiani was constantly searching for the pieces of Georgian art scattered throughout Europe, in order not to lose the national treasure. She founded the Georgian section of the history and ethnography at the International Museum of Brussels in 1910.

In the Georgian National Center of Manuscripts is preserved the letter by Barbare Kipiani in French and Georgian languages, in which she urges Georgian society to participate in the creation of museum exposition.

"This is the first time when Georgia has an opportunity to show Europe our achievements both in education and technology. We ask you to help us by denoting books, graphs, pictures and other items. We hope that our society will assist us in rebuilding this new institution," – Barbare wrote in her letter.

After some time Barbare returned to her homeland. She taught French language in Georgian Noblemen Gymnasium. She worked as an assistant of Akaki Shanidze, prominent Georgian linguist, philologist and member of the Artists Union of Georgia, but in 1921, when Russia reoccupied Georgia, she was forced to return to Brussels.

At the beginning of World War II, in 1940, Mikheil Tarkhnishvili, the expert of Georgian language purchased a monastery building where he gathered and kept all the important items discovered by Barbare. The prominent Georgian female scholar passed away in 1965 at the age of 85 and was buried in Brussels.

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