Ambassador of Georgia Tamar Beruchashvili recounts a visit to her country from an important group of diplomatic guests from London this spring
FOLLOWING THE SUCCESS of our diplomatic trips to Slovakia in May 2017 and to Slovenia the following year, organised by each country’s ambassador, I was thrilled when Georgia was chosen as the next destination. Taking place in early May, the Embassy of Georgia in the UK organised the trip to Georgia for 30 prominent guests including acting and former heads of mission from eight countries (Costa Rica, Cyprus, Ecuador, Germany, Honduras, Slovakia, Slovenia, Uruguay), plus members of the UK Parliament, as well as representatives of business, academic and religious organisations and their spouses.
The Embassy of Georgia crafted a comprehensive programme for the visit providing the visitors with an opportunity to sample Georgia’s nature, rich culture and history, explore its attractive economic and business environment, and learn more about the country’s achievements and current challenges.
The official part of the diplomatic trip included a reception hosted by Georgia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and a presentation on economic diplomacy from ‘Enterprise Georgia,’ as well as a meeting with His Holiness, the Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II. Guests visited six different cities and in each, they were welcomed by the local authorities with well-known Georgian hospitality. They explored the best historic and architectural sights listed by UNESCO, visited successful businesses and became acquainted with Georgian traditions. The wine tour in Kakheti was a popular part of the programme that included various masterclasses, which were a great opportunity to explore the culture and 8,000-year-old tradition of Georgian winemaking.
This visit was an excellent example of successful public diplomacy, promoting Georgia as an attractive tourist destination. Our diplomatic guests gave us some wonderful feedback on #DiploTripGeorgia2019, and I’ve outlined a few of their impressions below:
- “Thank you for a memorable trip and hospitality!”
– Carlos Abad Ortizand Patricia Cornejo Rojas (Former Ambassador of Ecuador and spouse)
- “Wherever we went on our trip to Georgia, we saw the European flag flying proudly side by side with the national standard, the cross of St George. We discovered Georgia to be a truly European country with thousands of years of tradition and outstanding hospitality.” – Peter and Marliese Ammon (Former Ambassador of Germany and spouse)
- “The pilgrimage to Georgia, which included an audience with renowned peace-building Georgian Patriarch Ilia II, surpassed all my expectations. The numerous UNESCO-listed active monasteries, cathedrals and churches visited illustrated so well the historic roots of faith and of its importance to Georgia’s national identity as a European, open-minded, democratic and tolerant society.” – Anthony Bailey OBE (Secretary General of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St George
- “Georgia is a beautiful country and its richest asset is its people – hard working, intelligent and proud of their nation that has a great future.” – Lord Brennan
- “Georgia was an amazing revelation. Full of history, culture and great potential as yet not fully developed but on course. Beautiful countryside, an ideal place for a holiday and for investment.” – Lady Brennan
- “Thank you for a wonderful experience in a beautiful country with such magnificent landscapes, together with precious friends.” – Enrique Castillo-Barrantes and Olga Escheverria Murray(Former Ambassador of Costa Rica and spouse)
- “DiploTripGeorgia2019 was an educational and enlightening experience. Georgia is an ancient country at the crossroads of Europe and Asia. Its people are imbued with spirituality and have generosity of heart and spirit. ‘Madloba’ to Ambassador Beruchashvili and her team for all the perfect arrangements.” – Euripides and Anastasia Evriviades(High Commissioner for Cyprus and his spouse)
- “Thank you all for such a wonderful experience.” – Paul Farrelly MP and Victoria Perry
- “We found the people charming, friendly, enthusiastic and proud of their country with a keen desire to both integrate and engage with the West, the EU and NATO. We were taken to the occupation line. Twenty per cent of their country is occupied by a foreign power – this is totally unacceptable and unjustifiable in the twenty-first century. Pressure must be kept up for a withdrawal back to their internationally recognised borders.” – Peter LR and Fidelma Hewitt (Master of Guild of Entrepreneurs and his spouse)
- “The strength and depth of Georgian people is perhaps most evident in their beautiful cathedrals and ancient monasteries. They have maintained their faith identity as the second oldest Christian nation.” – Dr Michael and Gay Ann Leary(Executive Director of Christian Embassy and his spouse)
- “We came back with an amazing story to be told, full of rich traditions, proud history, solid principles and, above all, the kindness and fruitful attitude of a lovely people.” – Fernando Lopez-Fabregat and Carolina Silveira (Ambassador of Uruguay and his spouse)
- “Ambassador Beruchashvili and her team have shown the London travellers the best of their country. We have reciprocated Georgian people with the assurances of our appreciation, friendship, support and all that our public diplomacy toolbox can offer.” – Lubomir Rehak and Dana Rehakova (Ambassador of Slovakia and his spouse)
- “The trip to Georgia was extraordinary. We learned a lot from its rich history, its culture and traditions and especially from its people. Thanks to Ambassador Tamar Beruchashvili for such excellent coordination, hospitality and the warmth with which each one of us was received.” – Ivan Romero Martinez and Mirian Nasser (Ambassador of Honduras and his spouse)
- “Georgia, a proud European country, was presented to us in all its natural beauty, showcasing enterprising, active, innovative, touristic, gastronomic and winemaking cultures, with friendly and amazing people.” – Tadej and Valentina Rupel(Ambassador of Slovenia and his spouse)
- “The visit to Georgia was confirmation that countries of the former Soviet bloc have made enormous progress in shaking off the remnants of the Soviet shackles and carving their own independent future.” – Tatiana Snabl (Formerly of the BBC)
- “Going to Georgia – with its rich history, culture, wonderful landscape, excellent food and wine but above all its truly welcoming people – was the most amazing experience that I could have hoped for.” – Elizabeth Thornborough (Liveryman and Freeman of The City of London)
- “Our sincere thanks to the Ambassador and her team for this memorable week. Among others, the local culture was endearing in its richness, revealing the Georgian love of art, dancing and wonderful polyphonic music. We’ll keep splendid and unforgettable memories of Georgia.” – Guilda Navidi-Walker(Ambassador for WWF) and Dr Graham Walker
Further impressions of the trip can be found on Twitter – #DiploTripGeorgia2019.