Cherishing Georgian Multiculturalism As Country’s Main Asset
15 March, 2012
Cherishing Georgian Multiculturalism As Country’s Main Asset

Interview with the Ambassador of Armenia to Georgia

Mr. Hovhannes Manoukian the ambassador who represents our sister country of South Caucasus. Let’s meet him and find out what he thinks about our national peculiarities; what he ascribes to the Caucasian phenomenon; what he likes and dislikes in Georgian political culture, etc… 

 

G.J: When did you arrive to Georgia?

H. M: The decree of my appointment was signed by the President of Armenia on February 26, 2011. I arrived in Tbilisi on April 11

and assumed my duties.

G.J: What were your first impressions of Georgia?

H.M: My first impressions of Georgia have developed long before I arrived here as an Ambassador. The fact is that my mother was born and raised in Tbilisi. I have been frequently visiting Georgia in my childhood, although I can hardly remember my first impressions now, but one thing is obvious to me, I have a lot of kind memories from my early childhood related with unforgettable times spent in the capital of Georgia, Tbilisi.

G.J: What can you say about this country in general as a person, not as a diplomat?

H.M: Probably one of the most striking phenomena for any foreigner arriving in Georgia is the multiculturalism of its society, which is certainly the greatest asset any country can have. And Georgia, in this regard, is a special phenomenon.

Additionally, Georgia has unique scenic beauty and rich nature, particularly its capital Tbilisi stands out in this regard. It offers its residents and tourists a unique experience by combining modern architecture such as the Peace Bridge, with historic sites such as Narikala.

G.J: What can you say about Georgian cuisine? Please, compare it to the cuisines of other  countries you have visited as a tourist or as a diplomat or even to your homeland.

H.M: I am fond of cooking myself and consider myself to be a good cook, which is why I can firmly say that most Georgian dishes can satisfy the most dainty taste.

I am pretty familiar with the cuisine of many countries, as I love to travel. However, Georgian cuisine is unique among the cuisines of other countries, which I have come across. Georgian national cuisine can cater to the needs of even the pickiest of eaters because it is rather diverse. Some dishes focus heavily on poultry and others are more or less vegetarian dishes. Moreover, some dishes are rich of spices and others are milder in taste. Hence, I would like to say that by the wealth of dishes and their identity Georgian cuisine probably deserves to be among the world’s top 10 most delicious cuisines.

G.J: What is your favorite sphere of Georgian culture?

H.M: Perhaps the most prominent aspect of Georgian culture is its achievements in various fields of art; particularly, in the cinema and national dance. Georgian folk dances are globally recognized as being captivating and keeping audiences at the edge of their seat as the dancers perform dances with daggers and the female dancers show more reserved and serene performance.

As for Georgian cinema, I am one of the numerous admirers of its charm, romanticism, brilliant humor and self-irony.

G.J: Who is your favorite Georgian artist/writer?

H.M: I admire Niko Pirosmani’s talent. It is hard for me to grasp the atmosphere of Old Tiflis of the end of XIX, beginning of XX century, but the impression I get from his paintings takes my breath away. It seems that I completely understand the mentality and the way of life through the citizens living in Old Tiflis during those times.

I must also mention Shota Rustaveli, whose immortal aphorisms are filled with centuries-old wisdom. His statement “Everyone deems himself a strategist, while watching the battle from far away” still motivates me to gain deep insight into different issues of politics, society, and most importantly, humanity.

G.J: How does your day schedule look like? Is it very busy? Please, describe one ordinary day….

H.M: A typical working day for me looks like this: I get up at 7:30 am. At 9:00 I am already at  my office. But my working day does not always end at 18:00, because most of the receptions or other official events, which I normally attend, may extend further than the planned time. Therefore, end of my working day depends on different events.

Despite my busy schedule, I manage to find time for going to the gym and swimming pool to keep fit, both mentally and physically.

Mostly, weekend evenings are devoted to my friends and family, and particularly my 3-year-old son Alexander.

G.J: How different are your weekends from your weekdays?

H.M: My favorite way of spending the weekends is going for the trips to nature or to resorts with my friends. Alternatively, I can be happy by resting at home with my family, enjoying the evening with the delicious supper prepared by me.

G.J: What is your favorite pastime in Georgia?

H.M: It gives me a great pleasure to travel around Georgia. This is the best way to get to know the country and its people. I had already visited Kakheti, Ajara and of course, Samtskhe-Javakheti. Georgia is a real paradise for tourists and I believe, Georgian authorities are using this advantage very efficiently.

G.J: Let’s touch upon Georgian political culture. What are its main vices and how would your recommendations sound?

H.M: Well, I must admit that Georgia has rather high political culture. Above all, I appreciate the diversity of viewpoints on different political and social issues. I believe, it is an achievement for the Caucasian peoples and states, because they historically and psychologically are inclined to paternalistic models of political organization of their societies.

As for the disadvantages, I would like to mark the lack of ability of perception through opposing viewpoints, regardless of which arguments they were based on. All these can be explained by the Caucasian temperament, but cannot be justified by it.

What can one recommend in this regard? Perhaps this is not the case when you should look for original ideas. My advice will be simple: it should be explained to the community how important it is, in terms of building a successful state, to be able to listen to your opponent and reach consensus through compromise.

I think that such training should cover all layers of society, regardless of age, social status or other differences which divide us.

On a side note, every vice mentioned can also be applied to the Armenian community, perhaps it is a Caucasian vice.

G.J: What is your opinion about Georgian media? What are its week points?

H.M: I believe that Georgian mass media deserves to be called democratic, although, in relation to mass media, I could also repeat my answer to the previous question about political culture. However, in general, Georgian media deserves my respect and attracts my genuine interest thanks to their publications, except for some obvious tabloids, which I certainly will not name.

Recently, my attention certainly was riveted to the report of President Mikhail Saakashvili to the Parliament. And I should note that my interest towards this particular issue is not only professional, as I am personally very much interested in political ideas of your outstanding President and his assessment of performed job.

Print
Other Stories
US ambassador to Georgia Kelly Degnan sworn in
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Georgia Kelly Degnan has taken an oath.
Raul Khajimba resigns, publishes official letter
I want you to know that I am stepping down to maintain stability in the country, - reads the statement of Raul Khajimba, former de facto leader of the occupied Abkhazia.
Raul Khajimba signs decree on his resignation
De-facto president of occupied Abkhazia Raul Khajimba has signed a decree on his resignation, "Sputnik" agency has reported.
Anaklia Consortium will be fined $ 115000, Infrastructure Ministry says
The amount of the fine to be paid by Anaklia Consortium is up to $ 115,000, - representative of Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure said.
Unrest in Abkhazia, de facto parliament asks president to resign
MPs of the de facto parliament of occupied Abkhazia adopted a draft resolution calling on Raul Khajimba to resign from the post of "head of state."
How USA-Iran tensions may affect Georgia?
After the death of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani many in Georgia ask how tensions between the United States and Iran may affect the region and Georgia specifically.
Protests renew in Georgia in front of the Parliament
A clash has occurred between activists and law enforcers in front of the Parliament building.
Unprecedented number of NATO-Georgia joint exercises seen in 2019, Georgian PM says
Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia summed up 2019 in terms of Georgia's cooperation with NATO.
Georgian doctor Vazha Gaprindashvili released from prison
Doctor Vazha Gaprindashvili has been released.
US provides $132 025 000 aid to Georgia
US budget law provides increased financial assistance to Georgia and still contains a record on non-recognition of Georgia's occupied regions.
Georgia, Turkey, Azerbaijan sign Action Plan for Tripartite Sectoral Cooperation
oreign Ministers of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey held the 8th trilateral meeting in Tbilisi today, December 23.
Georgian doctor Vazha Gaprindashvili sentenced to 1 year and 9 months in prison in occupied Tskhinvali
Tskhinvali occupation regime sentenced illegally detained Georgian doctor Vazha Gaprindashvili to 1 year and 9 months of imprisonment, Davit Asatiani, the lawyer of the Georgian Bar Association, wrote on his Facebook page.
Congressmen Kinzinger, Connolly send letter to Georgian PM
Georgians want a government of, for and by the people, want a government that is more aligned with the West and they aspire to join NATO and the European Union.
Third round of meetings between diplomatic corps and opposition parties ended without result
On Sunday another meeting was held between the leaders of the opposition parties and the representatives of the diplomatic corps accredited to Georgia.
PACE rapporteurs express serious concerns over appointment of 14 judges to Supreme Court of Georgia
The co-rapporteurs of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) for the monitoring of Georgia,
Georgia’s PM, Ukraine’s President meet in Kiev
Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Gakharia, together with the heads of the GUAM countries, has met with President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky.
Parliament approved Supreme Court justices amid protests and clashes
Today the Parliament approved candidates for the Supreme Court in Georgia. Opposition parties claim that 20 candidates are politically biased.
Five Georgian soldiers injured in terrorist attack in Afghanistan
Five military servicemen of the Georgian contingent's rapid response unit were injured as a result of a terrorist attack at the Bagram Air Base in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.
Georgia chairs the Council of Europe: Why is it important for Eastern Europe?
The new PACE session beginning in January 2020 will be an arena of serious confrontation. The interests of Western and Eastern European countries are to confront.
Euronest Parliamentary Assembly calls on international community to use all available means to ensure release of illegally detained Georgian doctor
The Euronest Parliamentary Assembly has adopted a special statement regarding Vazha Gaprindashvili, the Georgian doctor who is in illegal detention in occupied Tskhinvali region.
Tbilisi hosts 8th ordinary session of Euronest Parliamentary Assembly
The 8th ordinary session of the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly - "Future Visions of the Eastern Partnership" has opened in Tbilisi.
Unrest in Mtskheta – Georgian dream activists attack opposition
During the opposition rally outside Mtskheta City Hall, supporters of the opposition and the Georgian Dream clashed with each other several times.
Surrounded Parliament and demonstrators – Police distracted protesters from picketing parliament in Tbilisi
Police had been blocking entrances to the parliament with metal structures since morning. Patrol Police Chief Vazha Siradze said the metal barricades have been installed due to security reasons.
Riot police used water cannons to disperse protesters in front of Parliament
The riot police used water cannons against the protesters gathered in front of the Parliament building in Tbilisi.
Parliament picket planned on November 26
Picketing is certainly not the best solution. Like what is happening in the streets is not good,
PHOTO OF THE DAY
GEL Exchange Rate
Convertor
18.01.2020
19.01.2020
USD
1
USD
2.8781
2.8781
EUR
1
EUR
3.2002
3.2002
GBP
1
GBP
3.7556
3.7556
RUB
100
RUB
4.6888
4.6888
Other Stories
On 26 May, Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, joined celebrations in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi
Violation of Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity by Assad regime has been strictly criticized
Exactly one year ago, Georgia was granted visa-free travel with the European Union.
Georgia’s ex-president president Mikheil Saakashvili's supporters managed to free detained Mikheil Saakashvili in the center of Kiev.
The US Ambassador to Georgia Ian Kelly congratulates Georgia on Independence Day.
The regulations on the introduction of visa-free travel for citizens of Georgia have been officially signed in Brussels.
The entire Georgia is involved in Secret Santa game, which means that people are sending gifts to each other secretly
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia is taking part in NATO Ministerial underway in Brussels, Belgium.
A special squad has been mobilized at the 48th polling station in Marneuli, Kvemo Kartli region.
Two politicians in Georgia have come to blows during a live TV debate ahead of the country’s parliamentary elections, Euronews reports.
GEL Exchange
USD
1
USD
2.8781
EUR
1
EUR
3.2002
GBP
1
GBP
3.7556
RUB
100
RUB
4.6888
January 2020
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31