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Georgian University Society

15 December, 2017
Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University (TSU) gave start to the events marking its anniversary date with restoration of Georgian University Society. Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili, Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Metropolitan Shio Mujiri, the locum tenens of Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II, as well as invited guests attended the event. The Society, whose primary goal is to promote the university development, will unite TSU alumni and its supporters.   

Georgian University Society was established in 1917 and it aimed at founding the first national university in the Caucasus region. The first gathering of the founders of the University Society was held in the apartment of Petre Melikishvili in Tbilisi on May 12, 1917. The Society that played a huge role in founding the university managed to raise necessary finances for founding the university. The work carried out by the university founders entered an active phase in autumn 1917. On October 3, 1917, Ivane Javakhishvili presented “The Regulations and Statutes” of the university to the inaugural assembly of Georgian University Society. On December 15, 1917 (old style December 2), the Transcaucasian Commissariat finally approved the regulations and eventually, 100 years ago, on December 15, 1917 (old style December 2), the Tbilisi State University was legally founded.  

The first-ever national university in the Caucasus, which laid the foundation for a European-type higher school in Georgia, based on Georgian educational traditions, was opened on February 8, 1918 (old style January 26), the day of commemoration of King David the Builder.

“Georgian University Society will, first and foremost, be oriented to identifying and supporting talented students. Student is the center of everything around which the university had been built in its time and this principle still remains firm. Today we have an opportunity to define the university autonomy in the constitution and this is just a continuation of the story, which began 100 years ago,” Rector Giorgi Sharvashidze said.

Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili pointed out that Tbilisi State University has played a major role in strengthening the Georgian state; the university has laid a foundation to the spirit that triggered restoration of independence and raising up new generations that later on would determine the country’s future. “When we speak about the merit, we should highlight Tbilisi State University that provided the key intellectual, emotional and patriotic contribution to the formation of the new Georgian state,” President Margvelashvili added.

“Tbilisi State University has always carried a much larger value and significance than that of just an educational hub - it has always been a cultural center and the pillar of our statehood during the difficult years when we were questioning our statehood,” Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili said. PM Kvirikashvili also talked about the government’s decision, according to which the cultural heritage monument, the 2nd Building of TSU will be restored; the rehabilitation works will be carried out at the Tbilisi State University Rafael Agladze Institute of Inorganic Chemistry and Electrochemistry and the International School of Economics (ISET).

“Georgian University Society has been restored today, where everyone can make a contribution to the university’s development. Let me congratulate the university alumni and entire Georgia on the today’s very important day. The Ministry of Education and Science, among other projects, will launch the construction of a dormitory designed for 3000 students. Moreover, next year TSU will host a science festival dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the university,” Minister of Education and Science, Mikheil Chkhenkeli said.

“The university’s foundation was one of the decisive and major developments in the history of our statehood. Along with an educational center, it also is the center of spiritual values, the center for survival of spiritual and ecclesiastical thinking. A lot of clerics have undergone studies within the walls of the university,” Metropolitan Shio Mujiri, the locum tenens of Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II, said.

Speaking about the importance of Georgian University Society, Professor Zaal Kokaia of Lund University, who chairs the Society, said that “the University is not simply a place, where we get established as professionals, but it is the place, where we become the members of the society. The University belongs to everyone. It has no social, national, religious, gender, political or other belongings. It belongs to the society. Naturally, we all want to make our contribution to the university in exchange for what we have received from it,” he said.    

The 100th anniversary of Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University will be held under the auspices of UNESCO in 2018.
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