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January  2012
A Happy Georgian Christmas and a Peaceful and prosperous New Year.
Go to story

January 2012

Early in 2012 the Association was threatened by a major reduction or total loss of its £3000 funding from the Newport City Council. The Association initiated a campaign to persuade the Council of the value of the twinning backed by supporting letters from many individuals and organisations together with a submission document prepared by the Association itself. The campaign succeeded in persuading the Council to reverse its previously stated policy. The eventual outcome was a manageable 20% reduction in funding and a greater awareness by the Council of the work the Association undertakes on its behalf.

ATSU student Vitali Donghvani arrived at UWN to study for a master's degree in Computer Science.

Following a request from Kutaisi City Centre, conveyed through the KNIA, the Deputy Mayor of Kutaisi and the Head of  International Relations at the City Centre visited Newport to study the City's planning and consultation procedures and the management of contracts. The request results in large part from the heavy construction programme presently underway in Kutaisi as a result of transferring Georgia's Parliament from Tbilisi to the city. Meetings were held with Newport's City Leader and senior councillors and officers. The visitors also met officers of the National Assembly for Wales to discuss regional planning issues and this was arranged by Newport West's Assembly Member Rosemary Butler. We were later informed that important changes were made in Kutaisi's planning procedures as a result of these consultations. The issue of Waste Management was also studied with great interest during the visit.

Spring 2012

The Newport Kutaisi Twinning Association introduced a programme of workshops in Newport's Malpas Court Primary School,. The workshops are led by Katie Rock, a Kutaisi born Association member now resident in Newport together with other Association members many of whom are ex-teachers, and inform the children about Georgian life, history and culture. The introduction of the workshops was welcomed by the School's governors and they have become an integral part of the School's curriculum. This project is ongoing and it is hoped to introduce a similar project to other schools in Newport.
The Association is investigating the possibility of establishing a computer link between schools in Newport and Kutaisi.

April 2012

The Association organised a visit to Kew Gardens where members were met by two Kew  botanists who specialise in the flora of the Caucasus. After a lecture on the subject, members were taken on a guided tour of  Kew  Gardens to see its wide range of plants which originated in Georgia.

June 2012

The Association's Vice Chair Derek Butler and Executive Member and long serving Association member Caroline Mc Lachlan visited Kutaisi. During their visit they had further talks regarding the formation of a Rotary Club in Kutaisi and they also discussed the close relationship between the two Universities (both are ex UWN lecturers) with Rector Giorgi Gavtadze. The Association has given Caroline the responsibility for liasing with the UWN on developing links between the two universities and, together with University staff, encouraging Newport students to examine the possibility of studying in Kutaisi.
Derek and Caroline met Kutaisi's doctors and discussed with them the further development of the already strong links between the doctors of the two cities.
They also discussed the possibility of an exchange of journalists and Newport based journalists teaching in the Journalism Department of ATSU.

The funding having been agreed by the British Council, Peter Landers, the Director of Newport YMCA, visited Kutaisi to make final plans for a visit to Newport in August by twenty Kutaisi youngsters. This project has been funded by the British Council and organised jointly by the Newport YMCA and the KNIA headed by Professor Madonna Megrelishvili. A committee was formed to interview the young applicants for suitability with both Madonna and Peter on the interviewing panel together with members of the teaching staff of the University's English Language Department. 

June 2012: Education visit by Caroline McLachlan and Derek Butler:

When Derek Butler was awarded an Honorary Professorship by Kutaisi’s Akaki Tsereteli State University it came with an obligation to teach there once in a while. Caroline Mc Lachlan, (Newport University) also an Honorary Professor, has taught at ATSU so often she probably has her own tea mug in the staff room. So, this year he decided to accompany Caroline. The PDF diary of the visit with photographs is available. Click here to see more.

August 2012

The two week youth exchange visit took place under the supervision of Peter Landers and the Newport YMCA staff and it was an outstanding success. The Georgian youngsters met many Newport young people and followed a highly structured programme which included several days in both London and West Wales and a week in Newport where they stayed in UWN student accommodation. 
Although not directly involved with this project the Newport Kutaisi Twinning Association gave it its full support and provided some financial aid. Peter tells us that the British Council has now agreed to fund a return visit to Kutaisi by Newport youngsters in 2013


Maka Khetsuriani, the Chair of the Women's Regional Club for Development (WRCD) visited Newport to study gender equality issues in the City. The visit was organised by Sonia who also planned a full social programme for Maka. Our guest was introduced to women in various positions of responsibility in Newport including the City's Managing Director and female councillors and Rosemary Butler AM, the Welsh Assembly's Presiding Officer. Rosemary took Maka on a guided tour of the Assembly and Cardiff Bay.

Trip to London: Maka Khesuriani, Nana Doghonadze, Aana & Pati Chankvetadze Go to story

October 2012

Oliver Bullough, possibly one of the UK's leading experts on the Northern Caucasus region and author of `Let Our Fame Be Great` gave a talk to Association members in the UWN Lecture Theatre. It was well supported with around fifty people present.

November 2012

Sonia and Vera Brown, the Association's Secretary, attended the annual Georgia Study Day in London and Sonia presented a report on the Association's work over the previous year. They had a conversation with the Georgian Ambassador during which he praised the work of both the KNIA and the KNIA.

Caroline and Vitali held a series of meetings with academic staff at UWN to discuss the range of opportunities open to the University's students for study in Kutaisi.

Rosemary, Caroline and Derek were invited to Tbilisi to attend the wedding of Nick Okreshidze, a past exchange student who studied Energy Management at UWN in 1997 - 8. While there they held discussions with the H.E. the British Ambassador Judith Gough who spoke of her wish to strengthen links between the National Assembly for Wales and the Georgian Parliament. She also expressed her admiration for the joint achievements of the NKTA and the KNIA over the past twenty two years

Other Matters

Matters presently under discussion in both twinning associations include the setting up of a Rotary Club in Kutaisi (still an unresolved issue) and advising the UWN on the finalising of arrangements between UWN and ATSU to initiate a two way exchange of students.
Discussions are still underway with our colleagues and friends in Kutaisi on the possibility of an exchange of journalists
Next year the Newport Kutaisi Twinning Association hopes to organise a visit to Kutaisi by a group of its members, largely comprised of those who have not yet visited Georgia. 

It looks forward to the return exchange visit to Kutaisi by a group of approximately twenty young people from Newport.
The idea of establishing a computer link between schools in Newport and Kutaisi is also being investigated.

NKTA Executive Committee and Officers

Sonia Fisher, Chair
Derek Butler, Vice Chair and Events Organiser
Vera Brown, Secretary
Colin Mason, Treasurer
Caroline McLachlan
Cllr. Gail Giles

NKTA Non Executive Officers

Sylvia Mason, Membership Secretary
Catherine Phillpott and David Mayer, Website Managers

Sonia Fisher made a four-day visit to Kutaisi between14th – 17th November. She was accompanied by Martin Edwards, Learning & Information Services, University of Wales, Newport.

Meetings took place with:

ATSU Library Staff to discuss possible new electronic library system.

Members of KNIA

Initiative Group of Rotary Club Kutaisi 

Rector of ATSU Professor Giorgi Gavtadze

Students of ATSU 

L & J Clinic with Zaza Lomindadze

Mayor of Kutaisi Giorgi Tevdoradze

English Language Centre

BREATH-qar Tveli  (Children’s Home) 

Women’s Regional Club

Local Democracy Agency 

Georgian Dance Group ATSU


The Annual Georgian Studies Day was held on 2nd November at the University of Westminster, Regent Street, London and attended by Sonia Fisher and Vera. Brown. Read more
Keynote speakers were H.E. Ambassador Giorgi Badridze and Mr. Tornike Gordadze - Deputy Foreign Minister of Georgia.

Teach & Learn with Georgia programme.A presentation was given on 20th October at the Caerleon Campus, University of Wales, Newport.  Maia Siprashvil and Beka Dvali from the Georgian Embassy attended together with Irina Dakhundaridze who had the responsibility for disseminating the TLG project.

NKTA AGM held at the Civic Centre where the following officers were elected: 
Chair: Sonia Fisher 
Vice-Chair: Catherine Philpott                                                                                      
Secretary: Vera Brown                                                                                                          
 Colin Mason                                                                                                               
Events Organiser
 Derek Butler                                                                                                
Russell Travenen-Jones                                                                                           
Membership Secretary: Sylvia Mason                                                                                  
Webmaster: David Mayer                                                                                                                
Press Officer: Liz Luck                                                                                                                
Independent Examiner
: Joyce Steven

Librarian Giorgi Chichinadze from Akaki Tsereteli State University came to the University of Wales, Newport to study the library systems; a similar system is now being installed in Kutaisi’s University - 
See more               

Social Event

NKTA members and friends attended a concert given by the Bristol Georgian Choir at St Aidan’s Church, St George’s, Bristol.

Newport City Council appointed three councillors to the Association - Cllr Val Dudley; Cllr Charles Ferris; Cllr Les Knight.

Greetings were sent to the Mayor of Kutaisi and to members of KNIA on the occasions of Kutaisi Day.
26th May - Sonia Fisher, Derek Butler and Russell-Travenen Jones attended the reception given by the Georgian Ambassador in London to celebrate Georgian Independence Day.

David Megrelishvili returned to Kutaisi after seven years studying and working in Newport.  NKTA members met at the home of Rosemary and Derek Butler to say goodbye and presented him with a farewell gift of a leather wallet.

March 22nd Sonia Fisher, Catherine Philpott and Vera Brown made a presentation to the Scrutiny Committee of Newport City Council of a review document covering all past & present activities of Newport’s twinning with Kutaisi. Two city officers also attended. The meeting was called because of the reviewing by council of the annual twinning grant.

Social Event

March 22nd A talk and slide presentation was given by the travel writer and photographer, Peter Nasmyth, called ‘Emotion in Georgia – an update for 2011’. It was held in the new University building and was well attended - See more

Sian Hartstill took up the position of University of Wales, Newport’s Associate Director, Commercial & External Services and will be their representative at NKTA meetings.

NKTA members met Lyalya Kobeshavidze and her daughter Tamriko during her stay with Caroline McLachlan. A certificate signed by the NKTA Chair and the Mayor of Newport congratulating Professor Madonna Megrelishvili on becoming an honorary citizen of Kutaisi. This was given to Lyalya to take back to Kutaisi.

Jack Henry, a Newport student, travelled to Kutaisi to spend three months with a Georgian family. This was initiated and organised by Peter Landers and Professor Madonna Megrelishvili.

Social Events
The NKTA Christmas celebration, cancelled in December 2010 due to bad weather, was held at the home of Sonia Fisher coinciding with the Georgian Christmas Day.

Fourteen NKTA members were invited by Bristol Twinning Association to join them in a celebratory Supra, a feast of delicious traditional Georgian food held at Westbury-on-Trym’s village hall. The event was attended by His Excellency the Georgian Ambassador Giorgi Badridze, his wife, the Lord Mayor and Mayoress of Bristol and Newport’s Mayor and Mayoress, Cllr and Mrs Bill Langsford as guests of honour. see ArielOnline Pictures insert.

The 23rd Annual Georgian Studies Day was held on the 3rd November at the Caerleon campus site of University of Wales, Newport. The day’s theme was ‘Building Bridges’ with the key speaker being Mr. Temuri Yakobashvili, Deputy Prime Minister of Georgia. 
Read more

A visit to Kutaisi by Chair Sonia Fisher, Rosemary & Derek Butler to celebrate the twenty years of twinning between Kutaisi & Newport.
Read more

Carolyn Murphy, representative of University of Wales, Newport on NKTA committee announced her leaving the area and would be stepping down from her position as liaison officer. NKTA thanked her for her help with the Association and wished her well for the future.

Arranged by Kevin Barry of South Wales Fire and Rescue Service, 250 fire protection kits were shipped by Coyne Airways to Tbilisi together with 2 boxes of football kit from Peter Landers of Newport’s YMCA. The Mayor of Kutaisi arranged transportation to Kutaisi.

From the 6 – 12 September a visit to Newport by the Governor of the Imereti Region, Grigol Shushania, the Mayor of Kutaisi, Giorgi Tevdoradze, Professor Madonna Megrelishvili, Chair of Kutaisi-Newport International Association with Giorgi Tsurtsumia as interpreter.

The opening of Kutaisi Walk in Newport - See YouTube footage

Two Nations United – on a walkway in Newport

On the 8 September, in celebration of twenty years of the twinning agreement between the two cities, the Mayor of Kutaisi Giorgi Tevdoradze & the Mayor of Newport, Cllr. Bill Langsford opened KUTAISI WALK, a pedestrian path along side the River Usk in Newport.

For those of you taking a stroll this summer along the river path, from the old

bridge to the new pedestrian bridge, take a moment to consider Newport’s

most recent city landmark, KUTAISI WALK.

Last autumn Newport welcomed a group of visitors from the Republic of Georgia to celebrate 21 years of twinning activities between Newport and Georgia’s second city of Kutaisi.  Read more

They had been invited by Newport Kutaisi Twinning Association to officiate in the naming of the walkway. Newport’s Mayor Cllr. Bill Langsford and the Mayor of Kutaisi, George Tevdoradze, both joint presidents of NKTA, together unveiled a plaque inscribed in English, Georgian and Welsh, which now can be seen on the wall of the Riverfront Arts Centre.

Ten years ago Kutaisi designated one of their most fashionable and important streets Newport Street. Now the compliment has been repaid.

In the early days of the twinning Georgia underwent harsh times. After gaining its independence from the old soviet regime they experienced a civil war and an Earthquake.

It was considered somehow quite miraculous that Newport Kutaisi Twinning Association kept the link and by the middle of the 90’s was able to build even stronger ties of friendship. All so present from Georgia were the Deputy Georgian Ambassador to the UK, Mr. Beka Dvali, the Deputy Governor of the Imereti Region, Mr. Grigol Shushania, the chair of the Kutaisi Newport International Association, Professor Madonna Megrelishvili and Giorgi Tsurtsumia as interpreter.

As guests of Newport Kutaisi Twinning Association they toured Caerleon’s Roman baths and the museum, met with the Chamber of Trade and Commerce and Rotary representatives, visited WasteSavers, YMCA, an engineering company and attended a rugby match at Rodney Parade, Georgians are great rugby fans.

Over the past 21 years opportunities have opened up for doctors, fire officers, teachers, lecturers, social workers, young people, football supporters and others to experience life and culture in both countries.

BA graduate Ana Chankvetadze from Kutaisi arrived on the 16 September to take up a place at University of Wales, Newport on the MA Course- Educational Leadership and Management. It will involve:
Teaching, learning and assessment.
Strategic management and accountability. 
Research methodology. 
Developing people in organizations.

Kutaisi Walk on Big Splash Map: August 2010 Click here to see map.

Meeting between NKTA executive members and Antonella Valmorbida, Director of the Association of Local Democracy Agencies.
Catherine Philpott attended a meeting of CATBIG (Central Asia Trade and Business Investment Group) in London.

AGM of NKTA held at the Civic Centre Newport
Executive committee elected:
Chair: Sonia Fisher 
Vice Chair: Catherine Philpott 
Secretary: Vera Brown 
Treasurer: Colin Mason
Membership: Sylvia Mason
Social Events: Derek Butler
Web Editor: Catherine Philpott
Russell Trevenen-Jones

H.E Denis O’Keefe UK Ambassador to Georgia moves from Tbilisi to a new post in Moscow.

Greetings sent to the Mayor of Kutaisi and to members of the Kutaisi Newport International Association on Kutaisi Day.

Sonia Fisher attended the Georgian Independence Day reception in London on 26 May. 
Derek Butler made an honorary citizen of Kutaisi.

Vera Brown and Caroline McLachlan made honorary members of Kutaisi Newport International Association.

Social Event: Twenty members & friends of NKTA made a visit to the Hippodrome Theatre, Bristol to see Riverdance, the Celtic based dance production.

Kevin Barry of South Wales Fire and Rescue Service confirmed the intention of the Service to keep up support for the Kutaisi Fire Service, following the initial training given to Kutaisi Firemen and the willingness of South Wales Service to donate 250 kits (tunic, helmet and leggings) from the London Fire and Rescue Service.

Social Event: A trip to Oxford to hear Professor Michael Vickers give a presentation with slides on his work on the excavations in Kutaisi & Vani. This event resulted in several new members joining NKTA.  
Read more

Georgian Twinned Cities Celebrate Together: See story


The 22nd Annual Georgian Studies Day was held on 4 November at the University of Westminster entitled ‘Georgia Carries On’. The event was attended by six members of NKTA.
Read more

Social Event
Peter Landers of the YMCA gave a talk on his visit to Kutaisi in the summer. He outlined his ideas for an exchange scheme between the youth of Newport & Kutaisi planned for the coming year.

ALDA Partnership meeting held at Newport Civic Centre. Sonia Fisher and David Mayer attended as NKTA delegates. A reception was held at the Riverfront in the evening for members to meet GLDA’s manager Ioseb Khakhaleishvili and other members of the delegation from Kutaisi.

Georgian Poetry at Cardiff University on 25th September 2009. 
NKTA member, 
Russell Travenen-Jones, attended. Read more

Unique find of gold treasure in Kutaisi.
Archaeologists find a tomb filled with gold artefacts whilst excavating in Kutaisi’s Bagrati Cathedral.

AGM of Newport Kutaisi Twinning Association.
Chair Sonia Fisher 
Vice Chair Catherine Philpott 
Secretary Vera Brown 
Treasurer Colin Mason

Revised constitution dated 8 June 2009 approved and adopted at the AGM.

Social Event
A talk given by 
Tim Hartley on the football tour made by GOL to Kutaisi and Baku. It was held in the Belle Vue Park conservatory. Attended by NKTA members and friends.

Five doctors from Kutaisi arrived to attend a medical symposium at the Post Graduate Medical Centre in Newport as guests of Dr. John Davies of the Gwent Health Trust. They were surgeon, Dr. Mirian Cheishvili, cardiologist, Dr. Zaza Lominadze, oculist, Dr. Shalva Jikia, Gynecologist, Dr. Mamuka Mikadzea and surgeon, Dr. Zurab Abuladze, 
They attended also post-graduate activities and contributed to continuing education projects at the Royal Gwent Hospital Newport.
Read more

A post-graduate conference was organised to highlight particular interesting aspects of each individual specialty and to share of activities between post-graduate medicine in Georgia and Wales.

The Wales football supporters’ charity, Gôl make an epic trek to Azerbaijan.
On the way they stopped off in Kutaisi to give kit and presents including books donated by the Amber Army and the Newport Kutaisi Twinning Association. The County shirts were donated to schools and children’s homes and the supporters also left their cars to charities in the city. The twinning committee in Kutaisi and the youth section of the local ‘Torpedo’ football team both received cars.

Social event
Members of the NKTA were invited to a lunch organised by 
Dr John Davies and his medical team to give an opportunity to meet the visiting medical delegation from Kutaisi.

 Dr Nana Dzidziguri arrived in Newport with interpreter Ekaterina Archvadze. They attended a medical conference at Exeter College, Oxford organised by Dr. John Davies of the Gwent Health Trust.

Dr. Nick Clark of Southampton University visited Newport to look at Association records and meet members informally as part of his research into twinning in Britain since 1945.

A visit by the British Ambassador to Georgia, Denis Keefe to honour the achievements of Newport City Council and the Newport Kutaisi Twinning Association. 
See February for photographic exhibition.
Read more

Exhibition of Onnik Krikorian’s photographs held in the foyer of Newport Civic Centre from 23 February to 6 March. Transferred to Central Library until 20 March. Afterwards transferred to University of Wales, Newport for a further two weeks.

Irakli Machitadze, manager of an independent Kutaisi radio station, came to Newport to gather material for series of programmes on overseas contacts.

Closure of Action for Kutaisi Appeal Fund. NKTA raised £1,444.28 and together with a further 1000 euros added by ALDA. The total sum of 2,652 Euros was transferred to GLDA in Kutaisi to purchase 117 domestic heaters for Internally Displaced Persons in Kutaisi.


Newport Kutaisi Association held a Christmas social gathering of members at the home of 
Sonia Fisher. Members had the first opportunity to meet Rusa Murusidze from Kutaisi, a postgraduate student in the Education Department of University of Wales, Newport. She was welcomed to Wales, to Newport and everyone wished her well for the coming year. A toast to Georgia and its future was made with fine Georgian wine. 

Rosemary Butler AM made a short two-day visit to Kutaisi after attending a British Council conference in Tbilisi. She met with the Mayor of Kutaisi, University Rector, Professor Madonna Megrelishvili, Kutaisi YMCA, the Local Democracy Agency delegate, Ioseb Khakhaleishvili (Soso), two trustees and the new Youth Infopoint Coordinator Maka Tsertsvadze.

The 21st Annual Georgian Studies Day took place in Bristol, in the prestigious surroundings of the Wills Memorial Building of Bristol University as part of the Bristol Tbilisi Association's celebration of 20 years of twinning. The day was varied and informative and particularly poignant in view of the catastrophic events that occurred in Georgia during August. Read more 


NKA received an Invitation to chair the Annual General Meeting of Association of Local Democracy Agencies held in Malfacone, Italy.

David Mayer, representing Newport Kutaisi Association, was nominated to attend and he agreed to chair the meeting. 

Visit by Eka Topuria, Head of Department and Zinaida Chachanidze, teachers from the English Studies Department of Akaki Tsereteli State University. They were hosted by University of Wales, Newport’s Education Department. Whilst in Newport they travelled to Liverpool with Education staff to present a joint paper at a conference held at Liverpool University. 

A reception to meet with members of NKA and University staff was held in the Board Room of the University’s Caerleon Campus. 

September - October 
Koba Lomidze stayed in Newport following the fire fighters’ visit to again act as interpreter but for Levan, representative of the Orthodox Church of Kutaisi. He was invited to Newport as the guest of St Woolos, Newport Cathedral. This followed from the visit made by the Newport Cathedral delegation earlier in the year. 
Read more


The Mayor of Newport, Cllr. Noel Trigg, joint President of the Newport Kutaisi Twinning Association, headed a fundraising* initiative to provide aid for the Internally Displace Persons (IDPs) that fled to Kutaisi after the Russian incursion in August. 

NKA would like to thank all donors for their generosity in contributing to the fund.

*By January 2009 a sum of £1,444.28 was eventually raised and contributed to the cost of installing heaters in the new accommodation established for the homeless refugees still remaining in Kutaisi. The Association of Local Democracy Agency added a further sum of 1,000 Euros to NKA’s final total.

• NKA received this report from Ioseb Khakhaleishvili - Local Democracy Agency Kutaisi
‘In the last couple of weeks the situation in Georgia has dramatically changed. Currently Georgia is in state of war.
In violation of the principles enshrined in the UN Charter, the Russian Federation has used force against the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia, forcing Georgia to act in self-defence in accordance with requirements given in article 51 of the UN Charter’.

• By the end of August events were calmer. The improved situation allowed 5 fight fighters from Kutaisi, Gia Razhadze; Zurab Tsertsvadze; Kakhaber Mumladze; Grogoli Bregadze; Besiki Nebrieridze with Koba Lomidze, acting as interpreter, to come to Newport to undertake an intensive training programme organised by the South Wales Fire & Rescue Service headed by Deputy Chief Fire Officer Kevin Barry. Read more


• Three consultant doctors from Gwent Health Trust, Dr. John Davies, Dr. Brian Stephenson, and Dr. Stephen Hunter travelled to Kutaisi under the auspices of the Newport Kutaisi Association. They met staff of city hospitals & clinics and were interested to see how future medical links could be established between Newport & Kutaisi. They and NKA members were indebted to KNIA and their members for the support given in organising a wide and challenging programme. Read more

Social Event 
• A very successful wine tasting evening was held at the Conservatory, Belle Vue Park, Newport. A talk was given and wine offered for tasting by Leicester wine merchant, Simon March. 

• Drs Shirley Egley, Lynne Foulston and Caroline McLachlan, Education Department staff from University of Wales, Newport visited Akaki Tsereteli State University, Kutaisi to deliver seminars & lectures on developing language skills & confidence of both teachers & students in the learning of English as a foreign language. Later in the year it is planned for staff from Kutaisi to visit Newport.

• Visit by Professor Giorgi Oniani, Rector and Professor David Gegechkori, Head of International Affairs both of Kutaisi State University to University Of Newport, Wales to sign a Memorandum of Understanding confirming the long established links that have existed between the two Universities of Kutaisi Newport. They had the opportunity to see the facilities and speak to staff of the University.

• A visit to Kutaisi was made by a delegation from St Woolos Cathedral, Newport that included:
Rev. Fr. Mark Soady – Minor Canon
Catherine Hayman – Cathedral Warden
Brian Cox – Cathedral Administrator 
As guests of KNIA they enjoyed a wide and varied programme making a visit to Bagrati, Gelati and other places of great interest as well as meeting with members of the religious orthodox group of Kutaisi. 

Social Event 
• Another interesting talk this time given by Tony Anderson called ‘A Cultural Journey through Georgia’ took place in the Conservatory, Belle Vue Park, Newport and was well attended.

• Vika Pochkura successfully gained a M.Sc. in English & IT at University of Wales, Newport, under the agreement drawn up under the Memorandum of Understanding between the Universities of Kutaisi & Newport.

Social Event 
• Walking in Georgia: an interesting talk given by Peter Naysmith, well known as a photographer, a walker, Tbilisi bookshop owner & author. The event took place at the University of Wales Newport. Members travelled later in the week to view an exhibition of his own photographs showing in Bristol’s Grant Bradley gallery called, ‘Different City – 20 Years of Tbilisi’.
Read more


A presentation & dedication of the icon of St Luke in St Woolos Cathedral Newport took place.  Service conducted by Dr & Fr Mark Soady and attended by members of Newport Kutaisi Association, the congregation and friends.
Issue of Arielonline
Read more

14 November - Georgian Studies Day held at the University of Westminster on. 
See more reportNKA represented by Catherine Philpott, Claire Watkins, Cllr. David Mayer & Veronika Pochkhua.  Report on NKA activities given by Catherine Philpott and supported by Antonella Valdmorbida Director Association of Local Democracy Agencies.
Issue of Arielonline

Carolyn Murphy joins NKA committee as representative of University Wales Newport

4 September - Presentation to Mayor of Newport Cllr. Alan Morris of civic exchange gifts from the Mayor of Kutaisi following NKA visit to Kutaisi in May.

David Megrelishvili gained his Masters Degree in BMA from University Wales Newport

Social events:
Informal visit to Newport by Kutaisi Newport International Association member Dr. Maggie Mandaria.
NKA members invited to Gwerinwyr Gwent buffet and social evening with Heindenheim Schwazbische Trachtengruppe: 
NKA members attended a Georgian Evening organised by Bristol Tbilisi Association.

Catherine Philpott Chair and Penny Lloyd Evans NCC Social Services Training Manager attended reception at Georgian Embassy as guests of HM Ambassador to meet members of Georgian government and representatives of EveryChild NGO.

3 June - NKA members attended ‘Feast’ at the Millennium Centre Cardiff.  This was a community project led by the Welsh National Opera where the public had previously been invited to join members of the WNO in forming a choir to learn and perform Georgian songs. 

2 May - Wine and Cheese evening for NKA at the Mansion House hosted by the Mayor of Newport Cllr. Miqdad Al-nuaimi and his wife Lindsay. This event raised funds for the photographic project covering Child Welfare in Kutaisi.

Visit to Kutaisi by members of Newport Kutaisi Association.
Derek Butler, Sylvia & Colin Mason and Liz Luck.

Association of Local Democracy Agencies meeting in Strasbourg with the partners of Georgia LDA.  Cllr.David Mayer attended on behalf of Newport City Council.  Newport accepted the position of lead partner.

Visit to Kutaisi by Photojournalist Onnik Krikorian to cover the work being done by the Child Welfare team in Kutaisi Social Services.
See more

28 Feb - Talk by Dr. Manana Vickers on Christian Images in Georgian art attended by NKA members & friends. This event raised funds for the photographic project covering Child Welfare in Kutaisi.

3rd January - Members of NKA attended the funeral of Dorothy Summers, widow of Reverend Cyril Summers, one of the founding members of NKA. (
NKA Founded August 1989

Talk given by Archimandrite Father Deiniol, of the Wales Orthodox Mission at St Woolos Cathedral on the spiritual and liturgical significance of icons in the Christian Orthodox tradition. Read more


Georgian Studies Day held at the University of Westminster on December 4th. NKA represented by Catherine Philpott, Vera Brown, Sylvia Mason & Veronika Pochkhua). Report on NKA activities delivered. Read more

Launch of NKA’s first newsletter ARIELonline 
An evening talk given on the 9th November by the leading Georgian archaeologist Dr. Darejan Kacharava on her work in VANI Georgia at The National Roman Legionary Museum, Caerleon.
Read more

LDA Meeting held in the Newport Civic Centre on the 6th October & opened by the Mayor of Newport Cllr. Miqdad Al-nuaimi. Read more
Representatives attending:
Antonella Valmorbida (Director of ALDA) 
Joseph (Soso) Khakhaleishvili the newly appointed delegate of Kutaisi’s Local Democracy Agency 
Chiara Valdesolo (Monfalcone Italy)
Drago Djekovic (LGIB) 
NCC: Cllr David Mayer 
Clare Evans NCC European Affairs Officer
Sarah Armstrong NCC Dept. European Affairs
NKA: Catherine Philpott and Bernard Tyson

Opening of the first Local Democracy Agency in the Caucasus, Kutaisi, 8th September 
Arrival of postgraduate student Veronika Pochkhua from Kutaisi State University to study for an MSc. in the IT Management at University of Wales, Newport under the Memorandum of Understanding.

First Local Democracy Agency launched in
Georgian September 2006 - Read more

Arrival in Newport on the 2nd June of five key social workers in Child Welfare from the city of Kutaisi to take part in a 9 day training programme organised by Newport City Social Services Training Team. Read more

Newport Kutaisi Association. AGM.

Launch of NKA Website.

Lecture at Jesus College, Oxford on the 13th May given for Association members and friends by Professor Michael Vickers on excavations at Pichvnari in Georgia. He also received a copy of a Georgian English dictionary on behalf of the Bodleian Library.

Social Evening & illustrated talk on Georgian Music by Michael Bloom held at Fwrrwm in Caerleon, Newport.

Representatives of NKA attend Georgian Studies Day at the Commonwealth Institute in London. Bernard Tyson NKA Chair gave an update on the twinning affairs in Newport.

Honorary Degree from KSU conferred by the Mayor of Newport on Geoff Edge, Vice Pro Chancellor of University of Wales Newport, in recognition of his personal support for the development of Higher Education in Kutaisi.

Presentation made by EveryChild Aid Agency at a public meeting held in University Of Wales Newport by NKA & attended by the Mayor of Newport, representatives of Newport Social Services and members of Newport International Soroptimists. This followed from the initial visit to Kutaisi by members in April
Arrival of Georgian postgraduate student Vitali Simsiv to study at University of Wales Newport under the Memorandum of Understanding with KSU an MA in Information Technology & English. 

Visit by three representatives of NKA to Kutaisi.
Aims:Catherine Philpott and Sonia Fisher to establish links with EveryChild Aid Agency staff & to hear of their work in Kutaisi on a pilot project concerning children in care.
Sonia Fisher to establish a link with the Soroptimists International group in Kutaisi in order to form a partnership plan with them & Newport & District International Soroptimists organisation
Michael Singleton visited to teach in the English Studies Dept of Kutaisi State University.

Issue of the journal Ariel 9 published. CD sent to Kutaisi to allow for local printing

Georgian Studies Day held for the first time in Newport

NKA Chair Bernard Tyson as delegate to meeting in Georgia with Association of Local Democracy Agencies/Council of Europe to discus possibility of opening the first Georgian LDA office in Kutaisi.

Establishment of Young Writers’ award sponsored by NKA .

Mariam Melkadze awarded MA degree from University of Wales Newport in Information Technology & Media.
Read more

Welsh National Eisteddfod opened in Newport and attended by representatives of Kutaisi local & regional government together with members of Kutaisi Newport International Association
Issue of Ariel 8 published

January - March
Hospital Equipment
Equipment delivered to Kutaisi hospital


University of Wales College Newport
Memorandum of Understanding on the Kutaisi Scholarship Programme was set out in collaboration with University of Wales College Newport, the Association and KNITA. This is to provide a framework for a three–year programme. It sets down the different roles of the three collaborating organisations in an open method for the selection and support of students from Kutaisi studying at University of Wales College Newport.

Hospital Equipment
Royal Gwent agreed to help a Kutaisi clinic by supplying them with equipment they no longer needed. The Association, through Bernard Tyson, supported this offer of help by arranging and co-ordinating the packing & transportation. 

Ariel 6 published

Ariel 5 published
University of Wales College Newport
Maka Melkadze commenced an MA course in Information Technology & Media.

Newport Soroptimists
A joint meeting with dinner to listen to the experiences of the work of Dr Kay Richmond with the Red Cross in Georgia.

NKA join the Gwent Association of Voluntary Organisations
The Museum display of Georgian artefacts continues to be updated

A civic delegation led by Kutaisi’s Mayor Mr. Ramaz Mkheidze and Professor Madonna Megrelishvili together with other members of KNITA came to celebrate the Twinning Association’s ten-year span. The visit coincided with that of Queen Elizabeth II’s visit to Newport as part of her Golden Jubilee celebrations. Her Majesty conferred city status on Newport, thus giving equal status to that of Kutaisi.
David Mindiashevili ended his course of studies at University of Wales College Newport.

Ariel 5 published
Two editions of the sister journal Land of Colchi published in Kutaisi were circulated here.
Contributions made in each other’s journals by supporters of the twinning programme. Each publication sets out to give an overview, personal comment and observations on the culture, life and times of each country.

Ariel 3 published
Professor Kenneth Overshott, longstanding friend and supporter of the NKTA retired from his position as Principal at University of Wales College Newport. The new principal, Professor James Lusty expressed his interest in NKTA and has stated his wish to continue the support given by his predecessors

Georgian Studies Day Guildhall London
NKA Chair, Bernard Tyson spoke on the work of NKA in recent years. These occasions provide a good opportunity to make contact with other organisations that are associated with Georgian affairs.

A ceremony celebrating the 10 years Rosemary Butler gave as Chair of the Association took place attended by the Association’s president, the Mayor Cllr Graham Daly.
The Newport Council decision to invite a civic delegation from Kutaisi to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the twinning resulted in an invitation being sent in May to the Governor of the Imereti Region and the Mayor of Kutaisi. The Association sent a similar invitation to KNITA.
The establishment of a permanent museum display case of Georgian artefacts and other material promoting the work of the Association.

David Mindiashvili commenced a year of study at University of Wales College Newport
Visit by Maka Melkadze to spend 8 weeks shadowing staff in the Urban Development & Planning Departments in the Civic Centre in Newport. She attended an interview for a place at University of Wales College Newport for a postgraduate course to start next year.

Ariel 4 published

University of Wales College Newport
Visit to Kutaisi for the final Dissemination Conference of the TEMPIS TACIS project with Kutaisi State University attended by staff John Roberts - project co-ordinator and Paul Relf - European Officer.

First publication of the NKA journal Ariel 1. To celebrate the twinning of Newport and Kutaisi edited by Catherine Philpott & Mike Singleton.

The Rector of Kutaisi State University, Adtandil Nikoleishvili made a visit to University of Wales College Newport.
The TACIS project between University of Wales College Newport and Kutaisi State University continued. A programme of visits to Georgia by UWCN staff took place during the year one coinciding with KSU’s first Awards Convocation ceremony held for English graduates

Georgian Studies Day – Lloyds Building London – 
Brian Adcock Director of Development & Transport for NBC addressed the meeting outlining the TACIS project

Association Visit to Kutaisi -
Nine members of the Association visited Kutaisi to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the twinning agreement. The Mayor of Newport, Fred Sweeting and a council officer, Alf Ropke also visited at the same time. The Mayor formally opened ‘Newport Street’ in Kutaisi in honour of the occasion.

University of Wales College Newport

Honorary Professorship awarded to Dr Ken Overshott Principal of UWCN in recognition of his personal support for the development of Higher Education in Kutaisi. Final instalment of grant money was made to Georgian music student Patti Jinjikhadze.
Nikolas Okreshidze successfully completed his MSc degree and returned to Kutaisi to take up an appointment with the Rioni Hydro-Power Station.

Three Kutaisi students stayed in Newport for 2-3 months studying on an intensive language course at the Charles Street Education Centre.
This year saw further developments:
• Links were established between the Kutaisi State Museum of History and Culture and Newport Museum & Art Gallery. Exchange visits were made and a four-year development project set up to further cultural understanding.
• Visit by NKTA member Catherine Philpott to the English Studies Department to deliver lectures to staff and students. She, together with Derek Butler ARCA, was honoured by being elected Honorary Professors of the Kutaisi State University.
• Kutaisi rugby coaches visited Newport for one month to study training techniques with the Newport Rugby Club. 
• Ties between the Universities of Newport and Kutaisi were further strengthened by the establishment, of the TEMPUS project with European aid of 200,000 Euros. This is a scheme to help reorganise and enhance the management of the K.S.U.

Media & Communication
Both Associations in Kutaisi and Newport regularly produce newsletters that cover in detail the events that have taken place.

Within the British press, articles are written covering Georgian affairs and are collected and distributed among Newport’s Association members. Newport Museum staff member, Dr. Kate Hunter had her report of her visit to the Kutaisi State Museum published in an issue of the international magazine “The Museum Journal”.
The Newport Kutaisi Association provides books, audio and video-cassettes for the schools, lycées and Universities of Kutaisi. Through the Association both universities receive the “International Guardian” newspaper.

The English Studies Department has a variety of journals e.g. Reading; Journal Research in Reading; Past Times; Lasting Memories and Transitions delivered to them.
An accredited language course suitable for young students from Kutaisi at Newport Community Education Centre was been established providing students from Georgia with an opportunity to improve language skills and gain first hand experience of life in Britain.

On the initiative of the Newport Council an area has been set aside for a large mosaic pavement depicting a map showing the sites of Newport’s twinned cities. Kutaisi is shown here, represented by the Association’s logo, designed by Derek Butler. One of the main streets in the centre of Kutaisi is now named ‘Newport Street’ and Newport in turn is looking for a suitable major area that will commemorate Kutaisi.

The Ambassador of Great Britain in Georgia, Mr Stephen Nash and each of his successors, has become aware of the links with Newport during their visits to Kutaisi. Each have expressed great interest in the work being done and have always been ready to offer their support.
The members of the Newport Association have received the Georgian Ambassador in London Mr Teimuraz Mamatsashvili and his staff. He, too, was greatly impressed by the links that had been forged and the cordial relations that exist between the Georgian Embassy and the Association when meetings have taken place on Georgian Study Days that take place annually in London.
Mr James Beadle, an officer of the Local Government International Bureau in London and Director of the ‘Know How Fund’ Technical Links scheme, was so impressed by the NKA activities that he observed that the friendship between Kutaisi and Newport should become an “…international model of twinning from which others could learn…….”.

A new style and tradition was established with the help of Catherine Philpott during her period working in Kutaisi. In discussion with the lecturer in Fashion from the Arts Lycée, Maka Kakhidze, she advised on a new style of gown to be worn at graduation ceremonies. The English Department was the first to hold a degree ceremony wearing the new gowns.
Rosemary Butler, by now Assembly Member of Wales and Minister responsible for Children’s Education in Wales, was made an Honorary Citizen of Kutaisi for her work in establishing the strong cultural, educational and business links between Newport and Kutaisi over the past ten years. Her letter thanking the Mayor and the Association was published in the newspapers and broadcast on Georgian TV.

Young pianists from Kutaisi had previously participated in the Newport International Competition for Young Pianists Nos. V, VI & VII for which they were awarded a diploma in each of these years. They also gave concerts in Tredegar House.
Patti Jinjikhadze was awarded $1000 by the Newport-Kutaisi Twinning Association to further her music studies in Tbilisi.

A second project, that of an energy and development programme supervised by the University of Wales College Newport, developed from an initial exchange of technical and scientific staff of the universities.

Nikolas Okreshidze came to UWCN to study for a MSc in Electrical Engineering.
An exhibition of Georgian handcrafts and jewellery was organised in Newport Museum & Art Gallery.
Poetry readings and lectures on Georgian literature were a great success.
Over the ten years there has been an ever-growing collaboration between Newport and Kutaisi in the economic sphere. A number of agencies from both the public and private sectors based in Newport and Cardiff came together under the Newport Borough Council to prepare and implement a technical assistance programme for small business initiatives. The European Community provided 1.5 million Euros for this purpose and a TACIS office was set up in Kutaisi. With this assistance 19 heads of Kutaisi enterprises were sent on study visits to South Wales.

Gia Xhenti came to take a one-year’s course in Business Studies and Computers.
New and successful initiatives were established which involved visits being made to Newport by:
• Sportsmen
• Kutaisi teachers of English
• Staff from Kutaisi Police Force
• Representatives of Tourism & Hotel Management
• Doctors
• Students on Business Management Course

Return visits to Kutaisi were made by representatives from:
• University of Wales College Newport
• Gwent Health Service
• Newport Transport Department
• Welsh Tourist Board
• Education
As well as harpist & singer Moira Lewis
Members of the Newport Council and the Newport-Kutaisi Twinning Association with Harry Jones, the Council Leader, attended the celebration of the 1000th Anniversary of the establishment of the State of Georgia and the proclamation of Kutaisi as its capital.

The Newport-Kutaisi Twinning Association donated $1000 to the Bagrati Cathedral Foundation after the cathedral and its environs were designated as a World Heritage site. 

Video equipment was presented to the English Studies Dept of Kutaisi State University and the Newport Council presented fax and computer equipment to the Mayor’s office. The Royal Gwent Hospital supplied new medical supplies and equipment to Kutaisi Clinical Hospital.

January - December initiative completed. 
March The European Action Plan for Georgia under the TACIS programme was ratified by the Council of Ministers. The Action Plan contained proposals for:
• Establishment of an SME Development Agency for Kutaisi in 
co-operation with the locally based association of new entrepreneurs.
• Establishment of a business Communication Centre involving the setting up of computerised database facilities and communication links with Western European and other foreign markets.
The approved project cost was 1.8 million Euros (£1.4 million) over a 2-year period.

Following invitation of tenders by the European TACIS Managers, the delivery of the project was awarded to a partnership between Cardiff and Vale Enterprise International and NICO of Northern Ireland. Newport Borough Council participated as technical advisors in the implementation process.
NB The project was delivered during the 2-year period April 1995 to April 1997, extended to July 1997.1993

TACIS Project for support in Kutaisi
Newport Borough Council prepared a Technical Assistance Programme for Kutaisi for submission to Brussels and Georgia. It contained three components:
• Business and Enterprise Support
• Agriculture production and distribution
• Human and democratic resources

The TACIS Manager for the Enterprise Support arranged for a consultancy study (selected from Greece) to draw up a detailed specification for an SME Development Agency. 
September Brian Adcock visited TACIS Managers in Brussels together with technical experts from South Wales to present the proposals and establish how best to take them forward.
The children’s folklore troupe “Imedi” took part in the Ebbw Vale Garden Festival and performed in Newport before a large audience.

The paintings left in Newport by the artists from the previous year were shown at the Newport Museum and Art Gallery. 
Visit to Kutaisi by Cllr. Rosemary and Derek Butler.
Organised by Caroline McLachlan, a party of children from Kutaisi made a first time visit to Newport staying with host families. This initiative led to the very first links that were made over the following years between the people of Kutaisi and Newport.

Three of Kutaisi’s most prestigious artists visited Newport. Their paintings were shown in the Gwent College of Higher Education where they gave a lecture to the students and visited galleries in London and South Wales.

Dimitri Kopaliani came to the Gwent College of Higher Education to take a course in Business Studies & Computers.
The Principal of the Gwent College of Higher Education, together with a group of artists from its Faculty of Art and a representative from the South East Wales Arts Association, visited Kutaisi to take part in an International Plenary Session.
A month later a group representing Newport’s church leaders and journalists, together with Newport’s Director of Housing, a representative of the Townswomen’s Guild, a specialist in teaching adult literacy and the President of the Newport branch of the Women’s League for Peace and Freedom were hosted in Kutaisi.

A return visit was made in to Newport of a civic party led by the Mayor of Kutaisi, Mr. Teimuraz Shashiashvili, in order to confirm the Agreement. The party included Professor Madonna Megrelishvili and other distinguished dignitaries.

The inaugural visit to Kutaisi of a civic party led by the Mayor of Newport, Rosemary Butler that included the Leader and the Deputy Leader of Newport Borough Council and the Chief Executive. A formal signing of a Twinning Agreement between the City of Kutaisi and the town of Newport in South Wales took place. Click
here to see the signed document.

1989 - 2013 Archive: What we have achieved



The traditional celebration of the Georgian Christmas Day took place at the home of the Chair. It was well attended by members and friends, including the Mayor and Mayoress of Newport.

The Chair and Secretary NKTA attended the Newport City Council Cabinet meeting in order to hear a debate on the forthcoming 2013-14 budget. 

Lydia Clark, Keith Dodds and Joyce Steven, members of NKTA - visit to Kutaisi See story

Meeting held with University of South Wales to discuss the possibility of student exchange between Newport & Kutaisi Universities. Akaki State University can offer suitable free accommodation and staff support. Newport's University staff support the scheme and agree to provide the students with regular tutorial advice via Skype. Work in progress.

Mr. Dimitri Kopaliani briefly held the post of Mayor of Kutaisi. He was the first student to be offered a scholarship place on a Business Studies & Computers course at the Gwent College of Higher Education 1991-92 following the twinning of Newport and Kutaisi in 1989.

15th July NKTA Annual General Meeting held. The following were elected:
Sonia Fisher (Chair); Derek Butler (Vice-Chair); Colin Mason (Treasurer); Vera Brown (Secretary): Dave Mayer (Webmaster); Catherine Philpott (Press and Publicity Officer and Editor of Website): Sylvia Mason (Membership Secretary).


Youth Exchange to Kutaisi organised by Newport YMCA under the leadership of Peter Landers. Supported by British Council and Newport Kutaisi Twinning Association.  Read Report by Stephen Marshall


Social evening at the YMCA attended by Mayor & Mayoress of Newport to hear of the successful exchange made between the youth of Kutaisi and Newport.

Vitali Dongvani successfully gained an MSc in Computing from University of South Wales. Read more
A tour of Caerleon with Maka Khesuriani, Nana Doghonadze, Aana & Pati Chankvetadze. Go to story

Struggle & Survival in the Caucasus
Read more


NKTA agree to send medical journals, no longer needed by the Royal Gwent Hospital, to Kutaisi. 
13th November talk given by Peter Landers on the recent Youth Exchange to Kutaisi in August.
Rosemary Butler, first chair of NKTA was granted the 'Devolved Parliament or Assembly Member of the Year' Award.

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2001  |  2000  |  1998  |  1997  |  1996  |  1995  |  1994  |  1992  |  1991  |  1990  |  1989    

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A Georgian-English Dictionary was presented to Geoff Edge, the Pro Vice Chancellor of University
of Wales Newport for the University’s library by Bernard Tyson on behalf of Professor M. Megrelishvili KNITA. Another copy was presented to the British Library.

Local Democracy Agency in Georgia – LDA
Bernard Tyson, representing NKA, attended meeting in Bristol to start negotiations for the establishment in Kutaisi of the first LDA office in Georgia. 

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David Megrelishvili commenced his MBA studies. Maka Melkadze continues her studies till February 2004. She has successfully gained employment in the offices of a large Newport firm of architects. This will continue throughout the duration of her studies.


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