Culture
"3000 delegates from 150 countries applauded the Georgian Alphabet"
22 August, 2018
In 2017, a very important thing happened for Georgia – UNESCO entered the ancient Georgian alphabet onto the list of the World's Intangible Cultural Heritage. Thus, the ancient Georgian nation was again in the spotlight.

In the midst of constant political debate within Georgia, unfortunately, there was no great reaction about this event in Georgia itself. Despite this, the occasion turned out to be of international interest: 3000 delegates from 150 countries applauded the Georgian Alphabet.

“This is a moment when
you are so proud, "said Nikoloz Antidze, Head of the Agency for Georgian Cultural Heritage Preservation, who attended this event in Ethiopia.
- Georgians have some tremendous treasures which have now been recognized by UNESCO. For example polyphony and Qvevri wine making methods- which were added to the UNESCO list in 2001, and 2013 respectively.
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Three variations of Georgian alphabet: khutsuri, nuskhuri, mrgvlovani, Photo courtesy: www.intermedia.ge

Now the Georgian alphabet has been added to this list - our oldest wealth, all three versions (mrgvlovani, nuskhuri, khutsuri), are still in use, and can be learnt by future generations. This is one of the essential elements that UNESCO looks for when they receive submissions. Any of the world's people might have a great culture, but if it does not exist anymore, it will not be included in the World Heritage List.

The Georgian alphabet was submitted to UNESCO for consideration a few months ago, accompanied by a ten-minute film and then there was a nervous wait for the results.

- When a submission is made to UNESCO, what happens behind the scenes?

- Applicants worry, await the outcome, and speculate about the kind of decision that will be taken by the 21 members of the UNESCO Committee.

- At this time some applicants have been known to try and add more information about their projects outside the formal submission. Did the Georgians try this?

- Georgia has submitted other items for submission onto the list in the past but there are always small nuances that could be taken into consideration. For instance, when submitting to UNESCO, neighbouring countries’ evaluations and opinions have great value. Before the UNESCO Committee on this occasion was a representative from Georgia’s neighbouring country Armenia, who had kindly agreed to send an expert on the Georgian Alphabet to make representations before the Committee as to its unique quality and its worthiness for inclusion on to the prestigious list . The representative had previously been asked by Georgia to examine the alphabet in depth so as to be able to speak knowledgeably about it before the Committee. The representative made an excellent presentation.
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გამარჯობა (gamarjoba) means Hello in Georgian, Photo courtesy: www.intermedia.ge

The issue of bringing the Georgian alphabet onto the list was confirmed in Ethiopia. The Armenian Representative presented the Georgian alphabet in such glowing terms that Nikoloz Antidze, Head of the Agency for Georgian Cultural Heritage Preservation was filled with gratitude.

The assistance of Armenia occurred despite there still being disputes between Georgia and Armenia over the ownership of certain cultural items.

- A second importance thing that happened at the Committee meeting was an announcement made by the Ethiopian member of the Committee .Georgia’s submission was to be discussed and debated on the 7th day of the meeting. However on the 1st day of the meeting the Ethiopian Member stood up and said: “Such issue that has been presented to us is proof that Ethiopia can also do the same. Though Georgians were the first, I hope that when we do the same, everyone will support the entry of the Ethiopian alphabet onto the World Cultural Heritage List just like the Georgian alphabet!

- Thus, he appreciated the value of the Georgian alphabet...

First photo courtesy: www.cadenagramonte.cu

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