Our Vision & Program

WHAT DOES TRUE PATRIOTISM MEAN?

True patriotism means thinking and pondering, speaking and discussing, acting and behaving in conformity with the national spirit, which in our case is the Georgian spirit.

What does Georgian spirit mean?

Georgian spirit means dedication to the Homeland, devotion to faith in God, love for everything Georgian, and respect for our native language.

Georgian spirit is extremely tolerant: we are open to other nations and ready to adopt everything good from them, but at the same time we praise and cherish everything, which is our native Georgian.

That’s what true patriotism means.

David Tarkhan-Mouravi Chairman
Alliance of Patriots of Georgia

GEORGIAN SYSTEM OF VALUES IMPLIES LOVE!

Georgian values comprise faithfulness and self-devotion based on this faithfulness. However, self-devotion is not at all easy: a person may be faithful, but not capable to demonstrate self-devotion at some needed moment.

Georgian values also comprise courage based on self-devotion, while courage means bravery full of kindness. Bravery in itself is an ability to overcome your fear. However, at the same time bravery can also be evil. For example, the fourteenth-century Turko-Mongolian warlord Timur Lang (also known as Timur the Lame) was a very brave man, but at the same time he was very evil.

If a person is capable of faithfulness, self-devotion, and courage (i.e. bravery full of kindness) together, then these three abilities mean love. Thus, Georgian values embody love, since all of them are based on kindness.

Georgian values don’t comprise envy, hostility, and hatred. Georgian values reject xenophobia. This is why we never hate other nations surrounding us, and this is the reason why Georgia used to be the center of the Caucasus. This is why Armenians, Azerbaijanis, Jews, Chechens, and others used to find shelter in Georgia. We have always been far from any ethnic or religious hatred, and we have always been far from this exactly because of the fact that in Georgia, love is based on faithfulness, self-devotion and courage (i.e. bravery full of kindness).

That’s our system of values, that’s our mindset, and this is why we must be proud of being Georgians!

LET’S RESPECT EACH OTHER!

It’s been more than half a century since the world adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and throughout that entire time, mankind has been using absolutely new means and methods to fight for human rights, freedom of expression, and equality. This is all very good, extremely necessary and important. However, half a century ago everyone perfectly understood that our freedom ends, where another’s abuse begins. Regretfully, today people have forgotten about this.

The other sad regret is that people forgot about God, prayer, and fasting. People have forgotten that for believers, God is a Heavenly Father. For every believer, God and parents are the same. After all, we won’t allow anyone to offend our parents, and in case this happens, we will feel insulted. The same way every believer feels insulted, when someone offends God. For the believers this is the same, as if someone offended his parents.

But there’s one more, very important thing. That is that Christianity teaches us not to kill people, Judaism teaches us not to kill people, and Islam teaches us not to kill people. All the major religions teach us not to kill people, no matter how strongly someone has offended us. Thus, we should in no way kill each other, and at the same time we should in no way offend each other.

Let’s respect each other!

LET’S APPRECIATE OUR PATRIARCH!

Still, why did Satan rebel against God?

Why? Because one fine day, he looked around and said, "I shine so brightly", and this is how self-worship was born. Then he said, "I shine much brighter than others", and this was self-seduction. After this he said, "I’m better than everyone else", and this was self-aggrandizement. Finally he said, "Above the stars of God I will set my throne on high, and I will make myself like the Most High", and already this was arrogance.

Self-worship, self-seduction, self-aggrandizement, and arrogance – these all are the seeds of pride.

When Satan equated himself with God, he said, "I have to find some flaw in God". However, when he failed to find any flaw in God and realized that God has no flaws, he became envious of God. Therefore, he ascribed some flaws to God. First, he ascribed some flaws to God by himself, and then he made others also believe that God has many flaws. This is how lies and slander were born. When Satan failed to cause God any harm by his lies and slanders, he started hating God.

Don’t forget that not so long ago, during the rule of M. Saakashvili’s regime, because of the pride, envy, and hatred, people in our country constantly became the victims of slander, and were tortured and killed. But by the grace of God, our country finally escaped this disaster.

However, today we need to develop appreciation for each other and more self-criticism instead of criticizing others. Our Patriarch has often spoken about the necessity of modesty and appreciation for each other. But what are we doing instead? We think that we are wiser than our Patriarch, that we are better than him, and we often believe that we carry much a heavier burden than the Patriarch.

We should become modest, and joy will come into our lives.


WE SHOULD CREATE AND BUILD A GRATEFUL SOCIETY!

Our society and each of us are seriously ill. Each person thinks that only he or she is decent, honest and good. Each person thinks that only he or she is capable of noble deeds, or that only his or her brother, cousin, relative, or close friend is able to accomplish something noble, but no one else. Therefore, we don’t see other’s good or noble behavior, and sometimes even ignore someone’s heroism. Moreover, we look at them with suspicion, constantly trying to find something bad, when nothing bad exists. In short, we are always fighting with each other.

In reality, this is envy, and we have to free ourselves of this envy. We should look around, and we will see that there are many decent, honest and good people surrounding us. More importantly, we will see that there are lots of people who are even better than we are.

Instead of fighting with each other, we should appreciate every shred of goodness in each other. We should create and build a grateful society!

OUR VISION TOWARDS INTEGRATION INTO NATO AND THE EUROPEAN UNION

Our position is both practical and the truth. We support European Union membership for Georgia. In addition, we are positively disposed towards integration into NATO, and we welcome, if and when NATO takes a decision to accept Georgia as a full member. However, according to the statements of NATO member countries, there are a number of reasons why NATO is not able to accept us today. It is painful to acknowledge this fact, but when NATO member countries state that we are far from joining its membership ranks at this time, because Georgia doesn’t meet certain political, economic and other requirements for integration into NATO, we understand this reality. Unlike other political parties though, we will neither deceive ourselves, nor mislead Georgian society. This is because we consider the creation and promotion of unrealistic and false expectations among our population to be wrong and dishonest.

On the other hand, it’s extremely important for us to win over to our side not only those Georgians who support integration into NATO, but also those Georgians who are against NATO membership. This is why we take the practical step to inform all our supporters that since NATO is not offering us membership at this time, all of the Georgian society, including both supporters and opponents of NATO, shouldn’t make conflicts and insult each other. On the contrary, we should pull together with the aim of fulfilling the patriotic task of building a truly independent, European and democratic Georgia. We must put Georgia’s interests as our priority. Thus, the practical priority, given that Georgia is already an Associate Member of the European Union, is to work so that in the very near future Georgia will become a full member state of the European Union.


LET’S DEFEND GEORGIAN INTERESTS THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE WORLD!

For many years, many of the politicians declare themselves as "pro-American" and tell us that Washington will save us, while the other part of the politicians declare themselves as "pro-Russian" and tell us that our salvation lies in Moscow. There are even those who see this salvation in Turkey. The fact is that people have heard this for so many years that they have gotten used to such statements and already take this all as the usual chatter.

However, when more than 30,000 Turks are provided with Georgian citizenship, this is not the usual chatter, but the protection of Turkish geopolitical interests and an indication of a conflict against our state.

When the Kodori Gorge is declared to be part of Upper Abkhazia, this is not the usual chatter, but the protection of Russian geopolitical interests and a conflict with Georgia. When Georgia is forced to support Palestine at the United Nations (UN), that’s protection of Western interests, and not of Georgian interests.

Therefore to the contrary, we should protect Georgian interests everywhere!

Take for example that even the once entirely poor, backward, and Communist (!) China has attracted American money and technologies, and today is an advanced country. In contrast, we have attracted nothing so serious, although we definitely can.

Take another example: Georgia can request a quota from Brussels for at least a small amount of Turkmen gas that will reach Europe to be transited through Georgia. Unfortunately, we haven’t even tried, although we are able to do this as well.

Finally with Moscow we have an absolutely disastrous situation. For twenty-five years already, we haven’t moved forward one step. On the contrary, we are standing on the path of failure. Meanwhile, Russia is interested both in the transit of oil and gas, and in the development of the Black Sea shelf and our ports. Simultaneously we are concerned about the return of refugees and the return of Sukhumi and Tskhinvali to our native land.

We should understand that our primary responsibility is to always protect Georgian interests everywhere. Recently we have heard a totally unnatural saying, "I am pro-Georgian!" However, we live in Georgia, and we can’t be "pro-Georgian", since we are already Georgians, which means that we should always protect Georgian interests.

We are obligated to protect Georgian interests in Moscow, and not the interests of Moscow in Tbilisi.

We are obligated to protect Georgian interests in Washington, and not the interests of Washington in Tbilisi.

We are obligated to protect Georgian interests in Brussels, and not the interests of Brussels in Tbilisi.

Thus, we are obligated to protect Georgian interest throughout the whole world! That’s our Georgian responsibility!


LET’S LOOK AT ENERGY ISSUE FROM A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE

One of the world’s largest gas fields is located in Turkmenistan, which delivers its gas to China, Iran, and Europe – with the last one being of particular interest. Turkmen gas reaches Europe through Russia’s pipelines, and not as Turkmen gas, but as Russian gas. That is, Russia buys Turkmen gas, mixes it with a certain amount of Russian gas, and then this blended gas is being sold to Europe as a new product. In this way, Russia makes more profit. If Russia delivered Turkmen gas directly, then this would be an ordinary transit, while by mixing Turkmen gas with Russian gas, a new product is created, and thus, Russia’s profit becomes even bigger.

Currently Turkmenistan is only able to deliver its gas to Europe through Russia’s pipelines. However, there is a second route, whereby Turkmen gas could first pass through Azerbaijan, then through Georgia to finally reach Europe. This second route is very attractive, since Georgia keeps a key role here. European companies understand this. Therefore, they ask Turkmenistan to provide them with the right to participate in gas extraction in Turkmenistan. In case they receive this right, they will then agree separately with both Azerbaijan and Georgia to deliver gas to Europe through this route. But Turkmenistan is not interested in the participation of foreign companies in oil and gas extraction. This is because all countries are interested in gas to be extracted by their local producers.

Georgia should look at this issue from a different angle. We should begin negotiations with Europe, and request that the Europeans allocate a small quota to Georgia so that at least 10-15 billion cubic meters of gas will reach the continent through Georgia. Such an amount is not so much to irritate anyone, and even Russia would not declare war because of this. However, for Georgia this small quota will provide large state revenues. Thus, we must achieve an agreement with Europe to provide Georgia with this small, but needed quota. After this we should begin negotiations directly with Turkmenistan so that Turkmen gas will be delivered to Europe through Georgia. Our rationale for such a request to Europe is that we deserve this. For many years we’ve been continuously acting in an unselfish manner for the benefit of the common Western course. We have experienced resistance, and we have experienced a huge war. This is why Georgia deserves to be supported by Europe in receiving this small quota of Turkmen gas for transit.

Let’s also consider the Shah Deniz gas pipeline and Ceyhan oil pipeline, which are the routes for oil and gas delivery from Azerbaijan to Europe via Georgia. These pipelines are not at full capacity, as we were expecting, and Georgia is losing income opportunities because of this. We need to ask Europe’s help to fill these pipelines to the maximum.

Thus, we should work in two directions. The first objective is to receive a quota from Europe, and the second one is to fill the Shah Deniz and Ceyhan pipelines to the maximum. The fees from this transit are vitally important for Georgia.

This is the government’s job. Therefore, all the government structures in charge of this issue should be actively involved in the process, and they should work with Europe, and with our European and American partners to resolve this vital issue for Georgia’s advantage.


LET’S DEFEND OUR BORDER VILLAGES! LET’S DEFEND GEORGIA’S BORDERS!

Residents of the Georgian border villages are leaving, and due to this fact, many villages have emptied and have turned into territorial claims. Russia has long claimed and occupied different Georgian territories, and today even Turkey is eyeing parts of our territories. In addition, over many years our territories have been claimed by Azerbaijan and Armenia too. Therefore, Georgia should immediately develop and implement a comprehensive plan in this direction.

The government must engage residents of the border villages on a mass scale in border protection activities, as well as pay them salaries for this important work. In addition, the government must rebuild damaged houses for the residents of the border villages and for those who want to return back. All Georgians who wish to settle in border villages must be provided with needed housing.

It is also important for the government to provide residents of the border villages with the necessary food, medicines and essential seasonal clothing from the state budget. Finally, the government needs to build kindergartens, schools, sports complexes, medical clinics and hospitals within easy access for the residents of the border villages. This is the only way to effectively defend our land and the territorial integrity of our country.


ALL THE PEOPLE LIVING IN OUR COUNTRY SHOULD BE ROOTING FOR GEORGIA!

Representatives of various nationalities and ethnicities live in our native Georgia. These include Jews, Azerbaijanis, Armenians, Greeks, Kurds, Yezidis, Ukrainians, and Russians, as well as many other nationalities.

Like all successful countries, we must think about how to integrate these different nationalities and ethnicities into our Georgian society. For example, Jews living in Georgia are a shining example of such integration: they have maintained their nationality, faith and their own language, but at the same time, they have assimilated into the Georgian culture and speak Georgian language. In the same way, we must be careful to ensure that all the people living in Georgia maintain their nationality, faith and their language, but at the same time we must take steps to ensure that Georgian traditions, our mindset, and most importantly, our historic and beautiful Georgian language become as valuable for these different ethnicities, as their native language and culture. Thus, the full integration of these ethnic groups into our society is necessary. Everything Georgian should be as compatible for every member of our society, as his or her own.

How then can we achieve this?

The doors of the Georgian schools and universities, as well as the public institutions and state services should be widely opened for everyone. All of our voices should be heard both in the City Council and in the Parliament. We must care about the future of our country’s ethnicities and nationalities so that every member of our society will be rooting for Georgia to succee

THE PEOPLE SHOULD BE ABLE TO CONTROL
THE GOVERNMENT’S ACTIVITIES AND THE STATE BUDGET!

Every year, all the ministries and government structures should be required to publicly present the list of tasks, which it plans to fulfill in the coming year, and these tasks should become the subject of public discussion.

Within such public discussions, all the tasks, which should be completed throughout the year, should be arranged in the order of priority and should turn into a joint action plan for the government and the people.

As a result of such an approach, all of the highest priority tasks for the country will be organized and fulfilled most optimally. Most importantly, this will enable the people to control the formation and expenditure of the country’s annual budget.

THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD SERVE THE PEOPLE, NOT VICE VERSA!

How we plan to organize the government to serve the people:

All the districts, cities, and towns of Georgia should be divided into micro-districts, and a state representative should be appointed by the government to serve the people living in each of them.

For example, the average size of each of the micro-districts will be approximately 2,000 families, and it will have a state representative appointed. For the small villages, a state representative can be appointed to serve 300 - 400 families.

The state representative should be personally acquainted with each of the families living in the micro-district under his or her responsibility. The state representative should be in constant contact with these families, and he or she should be aware of their hardships. In this way, the state representative can properly solicit the local self-government, the mayor office and/or the ministries for a solution to the problems of each of the families in the micro-district.

Most importantly, the state representative will be a specially authorized person, and the residents will be able to request him or her to provide them with a concrete response about the government’s and his or her activities and work being done.

Every 6 months the state representative should publish a public report, detailing both the resolved and unresolved problems of the residents in the micro-district. All such reports should be reviewed by the Georgian government, a Special Committee of the Georgian Parliament, and by a public defender. And as a result of such reports, irresponsible local self-governors, mayors or ministers could be removed from their posts.

Such an approach will force the government to serve the people. We must always remember that the government should serve the people, not vice versa!

GEORGIAN PEOPLE SHOULD BE ABLE TO RULE GEORGIA!

The people should be able to dismiss any government official, including the President, the Prime Minister, or the Cabinet Minister.

The people should be able to recall deputies and to dismiss mayors and governors.

The people should be able to cancel unacceptable laws and to change destructive decisions.

For this purpose, a special structure should be established, which will be in charge of holding referendums in our country. This structure should have its branches at all the existing polling stations of Georgia, and if enough people apply to such branches with a demand to dismiss an official, then a referendum should be immediately initiated. Of course, we must first agree on a reasonable quantity of people, which will be necessary to put forward such demands that will lead to a referendum.

Thus, through this way the Georgian people will finally become able to rule Georgia!


THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD CARE ABOUT ITS PEOPLE!

How we can overcome homelessness and lack of housing:

Every year the state should allocate 2% from the state budget and use this money to build apartments. These apartments will then be gifted annually to approximately 4,000 families, which live below the poverty line.

For families not below the poverty line, but at an average level or below the average level (and for newly married couples), the state should create a program of low interest loans so that they will be able to pay a mortgage of approximately $100 per month and, thus, can pay the cost of the apartment within 30-40 years to become its owners.

How we can improve healthcare:

Paid clinics, paid hospitals and a private health insurance system should all be developed, but at the same time we should establish free municipal clinics and hospitals throughout the country. These free municipal clinics and hospitals will serve the population even without any medical insurance.

How we can help poor families:

Poor families should receive necessary food for free from the government. These poor families should also receive most medicines and essential seasonal clothing for free, as well as be able to use municipal transport for free.

The people should feel that the government is interested in their future and cares about them.

GEORGIA SHOULD OVERCOME POVERTY - AND OUR PEOPLE SHALL FINALLY REJOICE!

How we can help our people to create small businesses:

Every year the state should allocate 4% from the state budget and use this money to help approximately 8,000 families to start a business from scratch.

For this purpose, the state should set up a special credit fund, which will provide medium-term and very low-interest loans for amounts ranging between $8,500 to $33,500, with limited collateral and guarantee requirements. But the activities of this fund should not be confined only to giving out loans for the property and equipment of small businesses. In addition, if a person has a prospective and promising business plan, money will be available for key services, including lawyers, accountants, and key staff. This will allow the small business owner to focus his or her full attention on building the business to make it successful. To make this program work, the government will provide guarantees to the local banks to lend the money. In this way the government will ensure that the interest rates are low to allow borrowers the opportunity to repay the loans once their businesses start to make money. The American Small Business Administration (SBA) will be a model for this program. These government-subsidized and guaranteed loans will allow banks to lend money to new businesses and ultimately increase the number of jobs in the economy.
As a result of such state investment in creating small businesses, in only less than 4 years, we will put tens of thousands of families on their financial feet. Then Georgians will begin to have hope for the future, and they will change their mind about leaving their Homeland to look for work abroad. In this way, Georgia will overcome poverty, and our people shall finally rejoice!


OWNERS OF SMALL AND MEDIUM-SIZED ENTERPRISES (SME) SHOULD PAY A FIXED FEE!

Owners of small-sized enterprises should pay only a fixed tax based on 4 indicators:

First – where does the entrepreneur operate his or her business (in what village, city, town, or district of the city or town);

Second – what kind of business does he or she operate (for example, are they engaged in agricultural work, are they entrepreneurs who provide services, or are they involved in sales, etc.);

Third – what kind of working space does he or she keep;

Fourth – how many people are involved in this business.

According to these 4 indicators, the government should determine the amount of the fixed tax, which should be paid by the owner of small-sized enterprise. Most importantly, the owner of small-sized enterprise shouldn’t be obligated to complete any legal or financial documentation, they shouldn’t be forced to use the cash-register, and in general he or she shouldn’t be obligated to complete any unnecessary business paperwork, which would later allow complaints and fines to be made against the business.

Owners of medium-sized enterprises should also be provided with exactly the same conditions. But in addition to the previously named four indicators, there should be a fifth indicator. That is, when determining the amount of the fixed tax for such entrepreneurs, the key indicator is quantitative. For example, how many cars are served regularly at his filling station, or how many people are served at his dental clinic, etc.

Such an approach to SME will help us to overcome poverty very quickly.

THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD CARE ABOUT ITS PENSIONERS!

Currently the retirement age for men is 65, and for women it is 60. We have to lower the retirement age for both men and women by 5 years so that it becomes 60 years for men, and 55 years for women. However, it is also important that retirement should be voluntary and non-binding. If a person has a desire to work, the state should not prevent him or her from legitimate opportunities to work up to 75 years or older. This is especially important for people working in educational and scientific fields, as there is often a shortage of real experts. Why should our wealth of Georgian professionals be prevented from sharing their knowledge and skills with the public as long as they are able and willing?

The other key issue is that the pension amount should never be lower than the average minimum necessary for living in Georgia, i.e. less than $100 per month. Unfortunately, the current average pension is just $65 per month. Such low pensions are disrespectful to our older population, who has made numerous sacrifices for our country and their families. Thus, the government must take better care of its pensioners.


WE HAVE NO FUTURE WITHOUT EDUCATION AND SCIENCE

Education is inconceivable without science, and thus, it should be considered in a single basket with science. Pre-school and school education should be compulsory for every citizen and provided for free. A three-year course of general higher education should be established, and it should also be compulsory for every citizen and provided for free. Then Baccalaureate and Masters programs should follow.

Scientific-research institutes should be restored, and connection between science institutes and universities for education should be revived, since science is inseparable from education. Teachers should be engaged in scientific research activities, and they should be provided with the highest salaries.

Today France is stating that it will make a significant contribution of global importance to seven different fields. Thus in turn, we should make a contribution of global importance at least in one field too. At the same time that France is stating that it has its national priorities and names 300 fields as such, we in turn should have at least 50 fields as our national priorities. Also France is stating that it has several thousand fields as priorities on the educational level, and we in turn should identify at least 100 fields as priorities on the educational level. We should be able to tell our children and grandchildren that a "newly rich" Georgian is a well-educated man.

There should be a 24-hour propaganda campaign that only a person who is well educated will be able to govern the state. The campaign should also say that the person who is well educated will be able to live well in this country. In addition, the campaign should say that the person who is well educated will be able to become rich and successful, and that the person who is well educated will be happy. Most of all we should remember that education doesn’t exist without science, and that we have no future without education.

WE MUST CULTIVATE THE GENERATION OF WELL-EDUCATED PEOPLE!

For 25 years already, there have been held championships in mathematics, physics, and computer programming throughout the world. Every year Georgia brings home gold, silver, or bronze medals from these championships.

Unfortunately, we experienced a decline in these fields during the period of Saakashvili’s rule, when he was assuring us that the country is in need of welders, but not of a well-educated person.

We would like to remind you that about 50 years ago Mexico, Argentina and Brazil began developing heavy industry. Today these countries produce buses and cars, but their buses and cars are not offered for sale in Europe.

Also 50 years ago South Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan began developing computer technologies, and today mobile phones, computers and TV sets by Samsung or LG are sold around the world.

Georgians have a special talent for mathematics, physics, and computer programming, and in general, we are characterized by strong creative thinking.

We should cultivate our specialists in scientific technologies; we should cultivate the generation of scientists, and we should cultivate the generation of creative and well-educated people! This objective should turn into a major, large-scale and mandatory job for everyone, since this is the shortest way towards becoming a highly developed country. Don’t forget that in Japan and the United States, scientific technologies make up more than 30% of the state economy. Georgia should embark on that same path, and our country’s macroeconomics should be oriented this way.


LET’S APPRECIATE KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE! LET’S APPRECIATE PROFESSIONALS!

We should agree that the state must have in all of its governmental structures officials of the first, i.e. of the highest rank, as well as of the second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth ranks, and finally of the lowest, ninth rank. In other words, professional civil servants with different levels of experience and responsibilities.

We should agree that only high-ranking officials (i.e. officials of the first rank) can be appointed as Ministers, and only as a last resort, this post can be held by a second rank official. Henceforth, only the third rank officials can be appointed as Deputy Ministers. Only the fourth rank officials can be appointed as the Head of State Services. Next, only the fifth rank officials can be appointed as the Heads of Departments, and so on.

The next higher rank can be assigned to an official depending on his or her professional contributions, social activities, and service to the state.

As a result of such an approach, random and illiterate people will no longer become ministers, experts won’t be fired from their jobs, and people will hold their positions not on the basis of their family or friendship ties, but depending on their knowledge and experience.

Such a personnel reform is a guarantee of Georgia’s political and economic stability, as well as the most important issue of social justice.

GEORGIAN SINGING – ONE OF THE WONDERS OF THE WORLD

There are lots of states in the world; in fact the United Nations (UN) comprises more than 190 official member states. However, no one has ever managed to count the exact total number of ethnicities, peoples, or nations existing in the world, although there are at least 4,000 of them. It should also be noted that currently there are many countries with a population of more than 3 million people, but not all of them have provided mankind with some major cultural heritage.

Almost everyone knows about the "Seven Wonders of the World", which are seven material miracles, such as the Great Pyramid of Giza (also known as the Pyramid of Khufu or the Pyramid of Cheops), the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Lighthouse of Alexandria, the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, and the Colossus of Rhodes. Some even name 8 material miracles, and others even name 9. In general though, it’s commonly considered that there are "Seven Wonders of the World", since 7 is regarded as a divine number.

Surprisingly, only very few people know that in the year 2000 UNESCO announced a competition for the "19 Intangible Wonders", which focus on the cultural heritage of humanity. Despite the fact that there are 190 UN member states, most countries, which took part in the competition, had populations of more than 5 million people. During the time of the competition, a distinguished scientist and public figure Gocha Chogovadze was the Georgian Ambassador to France and representative to UNESCO. Chogovadze made a significant contribution after spending lots of efforts on this competition.

As a result, Georgian polyphonic singing (which we usually call "seven men’s singing") was recognized as one of the "19 Intangible Wonders of the World". Then in 2001 UNESCO proclaimed polyphonic singing as one of the "Oral and Intangible Masterpieces of Humanity". This is the biggest confirmation of the fact that Georgia has already provided mankind with an important contribution to its cultural heritage.

Georgian singing is unique. It’s a refined and very sophisticated male singing without the use of musical instruments, and it deeply reflects moods and feelings. Many specialists, who are not aware that this is Georgian singing, frequently ask about the instruments, which accompany it, if they do not see the process of the singing itself. At the same time, all Georgians perfectly know that there are no musical instruments used during the singing - only voices.

Our Georgian song "Chakrulo" was even carried into the cosmos in a space capsule as a shining example of musical abilities of mankind. Thus, we must be proud that we created one of the world’s miracles, which is Georgian singing!

GEORGIAN FOLK DANCE – A HUGE TREASURE IN THE WORLD’S CULTURE

Georgian folk dance is one of our biggest achievements and contributions to the world’s cultural diversity in addition to Georgian singing. Georgian dance is, on the one hand, imbued with great courage and bravery. On the other hand, it possesses absolute purity and doesn’t contain any sexual elements.

Many of nations dance well. For example, Spanish dance is brilliant, but unlike Georgian dance, it contains sexual elements. In Georgian dance, when a man is dancing, he never touches a woman and even her dress!

The Georgian "Khevsuruli" dance, which is a battle dance from the region of Khevsuri, includes a sword-fighting scene between the two men and their supporters. In the midst of the battle, a woman takes off her headscarf and throws it on the floor. This brings an immediate end to the fight, because in Georgia a woman is a symbol of peace. Imagine the level of respect in Georgia towards women that if a woman could merely throw her headscarf on the floor, and this could instantly stop a battle, separate the fighters, and sometimes even reconcile enemies to make them friends.

Today gender equality is an important issue. However, Georgians were practicing gender equality as early as 3000 years ago! Since that time, a Georgian woman has been solving many problems in the country, and this fact is well reflected in Georgian folk dance.

As for courage and bravery, the warrior spirit is clearly evident in many Georgian folk dances, including the horseman scene in the "Adjaruli" dance from the region of Adjara, and the Georgian "Mkhedruli" dance. The word "Mkhedari" means a horseman or a mounted warrior. "Mkhedruli" is therefore a dance of horsemen, where the legs of the dancers imitate the fast movements of the horse, and their body and arm movements impersonate a battle with the enemy.

Americans and Europeans usually call Georgian dance a "Georgian ballet", because it is danced on toes. However, it should be noted that, unlike classic ballet, Georgian dance is not simply danced on tiptoes, but on bent toes (i.e. on the phalanges of the toes, and without the aid of any "block" shoes, but in very thin, soft leather boots).

Georgian dance has no analogue in the world, and absolutely deserves its unique status of a huge treasure of the world culture. This is one more reason to be proud of being Georgians!

GEORGIAN FEAST – A UNIQUE MECHANISM FOR THE TRANSFER OF KNOWLEDGE AND INFORMATION

If love is a condition for the protection of the Homeland and preservation of state integrity, then love is also a fundamental basis of life for Georgians and all other nations with similar histories. Through love, they have always managed to restore and revive what was destroyed by feud and hatred.

From the novel "Data Tutashkhia" by Chabua Amirejibi

A Georgian "supra" (feast) has always been accompanied by toasts. The toasts were necessarily expressions of reciting lines of poetry and the Biblical parables of Jesus, as well as narrating legends with philosophical meaning or proverbs containing moral lessons and knowledge. The Georgian "supra" is famous precisely because of these toasts.

In ancient times, a child may not know how to read and write, but within his life he was receiving an education every time he was present at a "supra" and learning from other’s wisdom. In the period from 7th to 12th century for example, more than 99% of the world population didn’t know how to read and write, and there was no book printing yet. And imagine that in those hard times, when there was no even any mechanism for the transfer of knowledge and information, Georgians already invented an absolutely unique mechanism for this, which is the Georgian "supra".

Over the centuries, young people have learned poetry, parables, proverbs and legends through participation in Georgian "supras".

Unfortunately, in Soviet times this tradition was almost destroyed, and Georgian "supra" was reduced into a primitive "Cheers to you – Cheers to us". However, the "supra" by definition is the opposite of primitive.

We need to revive our ancient form of the Georgian "supra", when we used to transfer wisdom during a feast. It should be noted that the ancient "supra" didn’t involve drunkenness, and it has never been anything offensive. These were absolutely different times, and it was a great shame for a man to get drunk during a "supra". This is why at classical Georgian "supra" everyone used to drink moderately. The aim of Georgian "supra" was not to get drunk, but to gain knowledge by keeping moderation.

Thus, the Georgian "supra" was first a way to gain and transfer wisdom, and second, a way to reconcile enemies and strengthen friendship.