On 16-20 December of 2019, within the Erasmus+ ICM program Sabauni hosted prof. Piotr Siemiatkowski from Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun, who gave the lectures for the students from the faculties of Humanities and Social Sciences (BA of International Relations) and Business and Tourism about the: “External financial security of the European Union member states outside the Eurozone” and “The Eastern Partnership Policy of EU Room”.
In addition to the lectures, the Polish professor had meetings with the Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, prof. Gocha Barnovi and Dean of the Faculty of Business and Tourism, prof. Tamta Mikaberidze. During the meetings there were highlighted the great wish of deepening of cooperation between the two institutions, in the framework of Erasmus+ and Joint project.
“The Erasmus + program is a great opportunity to bring institutions, colleagues and nations closer together. From this mobility I have acquired new colleagues with whom we have already planned future plans. Such projects promote career development of participants and increase employment opportunities (for students).”- mentioned Prof. Siemiatkowski at the end of the mobility.
Prof. Siemiatkowskis’ visit was productive for the faculty of Business and Tourism, since polish colleague Professor has big experience in economics and is a member of several scientific journals, he promised the support in this regard. After the meeting, the Memorandum of understanding between the faculty of business and tourism of Sabauni and the faculty of Political Science and Security Department of the UMK was signed aiming to deepen the partnership in scientific direction. The MoU envisages the cooperation between the institute of research development of Sabauni and Polish journal “International research of Torun” as well as our involvement in the editorial staff and the Evaluation Panel of it" – said prof. Mikaberidze
During the meeting with prof. Gocha Barnovi, the establishment of cooperation with the faculty of Theology of UMK was discussed.
Sabauni with the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun cooperates from 2018. In the frame of ongoing Erasmus+ ICM program, one professor of Sabauni will visit UMK in April.
Giorgi Meskhi, affiliated professor at Sabauni visited Catholic University of Lyon (France) within Erasmus+ KA107 program on 2-6 december of 2019, where he gave 3 lectures for french students on „Transformation of Sivil Law in the Post Soviet Countries. Beside the lectures, he hold meetings with the dean of the Faculty of Law and at International Relations Office of UCLy.
During the meeting with the faculty members, the parties expressed the great will of deepen of cooperation between the Law faculties and realization of international projects.
“Mobility promote the participating universities convergence generally and my mobility was one more step forward in this direction. As a result, we have sharing the opinions in terms of identification of the problems and its solving. The mobility brings together the academic staff of two universities closer.
The aim of the mentioned visit was discussion the active problems of Georgian (general post-soviet) legislation with host colleagues, who expressed their will to extend the discussion in more details, in order to receive more information. There future activities between the institutions were planned: French professors and students will visit Sabauni soon.”- mentioned prof. Giorgi Meskhi after his mobility.
Catholic University of Lyon is one of the main strategic partner of Sabauni, we cooperate with them since 2017 year under different project.
His Eminence, Cardinal Peitro Parolini, secretary of the State of Holy See has visited Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani University on December 29th 2019. The meeting was attended by professors, students and administrative staff of the university.
The honorable guest was welcomed by Msgr. Giuseppe Pasotto, Apostolic Administrator of Latin Caucasus in Georgia and Armenia, founder of the university, who presented the University “Sulkhan-Saba University is one of the greatest treasures for us, which, in my opinion should be a place of free thought, understandings and building of the bridges between the cultures” – mentioned the founder.
University rector, Prof. Dr. Vaja Vardidze thanked the honorable guest for visiting the university despite of overcrowded agenda „Your visit is special event for us, helping us to better understand our distinctiveness and our special responsibility”. In his speech, rector has emphasized four dimension where is seen the importance of the University and its mission. Striving for Georgia's Return to the European Family, The hard legacy of the atheist Soviet Union, after this Soviet period Orthodox Church’s re-reviving and communicating with the Catholic Church, and fourth, establishing our self-identity and identity for the Catholic Church. “Our university is trying to contribute to Georgia's return to the European family through the Georgian and European academic spaces and through the experience of the Catholic Church in this country. (...) All this is a difficult and interesting way, as there are many biographies on this path as a witness of Christ and a devotee of Christ. All the support and support on this road is important to us ... Your welcome here is a kind of encouragement and a sign of unity for us, for which we thank you once again. “Please, pray for us! "
Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Professor Gocha Barnovi, emphasized the relationship between the Christian faiths and the role of the Sabauni in this dialogue. “The years 2019-2020 are so busy, in terms of relations between Georgia and the Holy See, that it is difficult to separate any particular event. ... Allow me to focus only on the aspect that, in my opinion, has served Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani University since its inception, and we will see better results in the future.
As you know, a few time ago, the delegation of Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani University was in the audience with the Ecumenical Patriarch, his all Holiness Bartholomew. After we introduced to him the environment, history, curriculum and other details of theUniversity, he was pleasantly surprised and noted how welcoming and appreciative such a warm and productive environment among Orthodox and Catholic believers, theologians and students is, which, of course, is not accidental. All this proves the idea of our university as a kind of bridge between the confessions, a model of friendship,” the professor noted.
The cardinal thanked for the invitation and spoke in a welcoming speech about the importance of the university. “I think this university should become a real laboratory of dialogue. Dialogue with whom? First of all, with culture, dialogue with modern culture. (...) We must clearly demonstrate outstanding academic-scientific activity, which goes far beyond the criteria of science, that faith and mind do not contradict one another, they are not opposites. And I want to end my words with the saying of the Pope Benedict XVI and the Pope Francis "Faith and science are two wings that help us to come to the truth ... this university (Sabauni) should continue to serve as a bridge between cultures in dialogue" -summarized cardinal and bring to the attendants Christmas Greetings and blessings from Pope Francis
At the end of the meeting the Rector of the University and The Secretary of State exchanged commemorative gifts.
During the meeting the folk choir of Sabauni performed a traditional Georgian Christmas song
23 November, Sabauni staff were hosted by Ecumenical Patriarch, His All Holiness Bartholomew at the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Fanari.
After the official presentation of the Sabauni delegation, ecumenical patriarch expressed his satisfaction, that sabauni is a place where Catholics and Orthodox people can cooperate together “I am very glad that you have very friendly cooperation with our Catholic brothers at your University. I would like to say, that the cooperation with other Christian churches and especially with Catholic Church of Rome is one of the priorities of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. We believe that in light of the challenges and passions of today, we, the Christian churches, must come together and witness the truth of our faith before the whole world.
I have my personal sympathies towards the Catholic brothers, as I studied for three years in Rome, with Jesuit brother in the Eastern Christian University, where I defended my thesis on Canon Law. I have been prepared as the teacher for the Spiritual Seminary of Halki, but as you know, this seminary is closed until now. I have very close ties with Pope Francis, with whom I met quite often and discuss the current actual issues, such Social and environmental issues. In one of his letters, "Laudato si," the Pope writes of the patriarchy's work in environmental matters.
The Ecumenical Patriarch also touched upon the relations of Georgians and Greeks from ancient times and separately mentioned the respect and brotherly love of the Patriarch of Georgia, His Holiness Ilia II. "Ilia II is a very bright person not only for the Georgian nation, but for the whole Orthodox world," he said. He also expressed a great desire and support for the establishment of a Georgian community in Istanbul, where would be a Georgian priest there, alike Russian, Romanian and Bulgarian communities.
At the end of the meeting, the Patriarch presented the newly released book "Meeting with Secrets" translated by Shota Kintsurashvili, adding: "I give you this book not only because it is written by me, but because the position presented here represents the position of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Please, read it and distribute it to your surroundings because I know that there are a number of erroneous views about the Ecumenical Patriarchate".
Mons. Giuseppe Pasotto, a founder of Sabauni and Apostolic Administrator of Latin Catholics in Caucasus, thanked the Patriarch for the acceptance and noted that for him, as the founder of the Sabauni, the harmonious cooperation of Catholic and Orthodox brothers and sisters is very important "Our university aims to create a free space where the employers have the possibility to develop not only professionally, but spiritually as well, regardless of religious beliefs. We want to look ahead and not overlook only the present. Our visit today is also linked to this goal and we would like to ask you for your blessing for our future joint work. "
At the end of the meeting, the Rector and the founder of the Sabauni presented memorable gifts to the Ecumenical Patriarch.
After Fannari residence, Sabauni staff visited the island of Khalki, where the residence of the Ecumenical Patriarch is located with the Trinity Monastery (IX century) and also Khalki School (1841) with the richest library. This residence has been held for many years and still holds various important meetings and Holy Synods.
The visit to Istanbul turned out to be very interesting and impressive for everyone. Irma Tsulaia, Sabaunis’ human resources manager, appreciates this visit: “On November 23, at St. George's Day we visited the Ecumenical Patriarch, His All Holiness Bartholomew, who hosted us at his residence and gave us symbolic gifts. The same day we visited the Hulk Academy, even though it is currently closed, it was still very interesting to see the study audiences and the ancient library, which holds more than 45,000 books. It was also very impressive to see the halls where the Holy Synod was and still is.
I think our visit to Istanbul was very successful. In a very short time, we were able to see many interesting places and get useful information.
I would like to thank the Sabauni administration for this opportunity and I hope we will be able to make similar visits in the future. "
On 22-23 November 2019 Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani University staff paid a visit in Istanbul, where held two important meetings with Ecumenical Patriarch His All-Holiness Bartholomew and the Georgian Catholics society at Ferichoe region (central region of Istanbul).
On 22 November Sabauni staff visited Georgian Catholics Sanctuary located in the central region of Istanbul (Ferichoe), where the family of Simon Zazadze, Paul, Paulina and Natali Zezadze hosted us. In the beginning of the meeting, Mr. Paul thanked the Georgian delegation for their interest and visit at the Georgian sanctuary. He provided short history of the sanctuary and the church of Notre Dame de Lourdes, he spoke about the past difficulties and current challenges. “My sisters and myself, we are very happy that we have the honor to continue the great work of our grand-father, Pavle Zazadze and Father, Simon Zazadze and take care on the treasure that left our ancestors here. My grand-father and my father had huge work to protect the library until now, the library where are kept thousands of books and manuscripts in several languages. Today we cooperate with the Georgian state and National Library of Georgian Parliament, we are working on the digitalization of the books and soon those books will be available online for the wide audience. I think it is really good job and present for the Georgian people”. While speaking about the history he mentioned how difficulties had his father and grand father to keep some manuscripts safety. “Besides all the difficulties, we have kept this treasure safety and this is all due to the patronage of the Virgin Mary, we always feel her glory and bless” - mentioned Paul.
Prof. Vaja Vardidze, rector of Sabauni thanked the hosts for their time and the protection of the Georgian sanctuary during the years the Zazadze’s family did. “I have had an honor to visit Georgian sanctuary several times and meet with Mr. Simon Zazadze. I have to confess that all the time I come here, I always have a sense of pride and admiration, as I feel a great work of our ancestors. It is a great pleasure to visit and get to know the traces of immediate ancestors. Thank you very much for this flawless work and dedication you are doing for the Georgian people. I would like to express our readiness and support in your endeavors. We will be happy to host you at our University and our country”-said the rector.
Thankful words were said towards the Zazadze’s family from Mons. Giuseppe Pasotto, the founder of Sabauni and the apostolic administrator of Latin Catholics in Caucasus and father Gabriele Bragantini, who visit often the Church of Notre Dame de Lourd and serve the Holy Mass (11 February each year).
Sabauni staff had an opportunity to visit Library where the thousands of books and manuscripts are kept in Georgian, French, Italian, Greek, Latin, Slavic, Turkish and other languages (17 languages ). Among them, there are the first Georgian Grammar published in 1670 in Rome by catholic priest, Francisco Maria Maggio and dictionary of Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani (Manuscript). Here are also the XIX, XX century’s Georgian newspapers and periodic published in France and in Georgia. Among the valuable books, there are the books published in the printing house of the sanctuary (since 1870).
After the archive, we have visited the Church of Notre Dame of Lourdes and Monastery. At the end of the meeting, holy mass dedicated to St. George’s feast was celebrated by Msgr. Giuseppe Pasotto.
Here are the brief History of the Sanctuary and Monastery:
The Founder of the Church, Catholic priest Petre Kharischirashvili was born in 1818 in Akhaltshikhe. 24 years old he was consecrated as a priest in St-Petersburg. He was teaching at the Kutaisi Theological Seminary. In 1857 he went abroad to pray, praying in the holy places of Jerusalem, Italy. He came to Istanbul in 1859 and began caring for the church. The same year he received the Pope's permission to establish a Georgian Catholic community in Istanbul. It was impossible to have the legal right without the monastic place. According to the archives a nobleman had donated 1230 arable land to the community for the construction of an apartment and a chapel. Then Father Peter and his disciples bought more than three times more land. In a will written by Father Peter in 1863, it is known that the land of the Tabernacle, the chapel, the immovable property, was the property of all members of the Catholic parish after his death.
In the 1861 father Peter laid the foundation for St. Mary's Church and sanctuary, where he died on October 9, 1890. His heart is still stored in special alcohol cans. He is buried inside the church. Father Petre Kharischirashvili has ordained a liturgy in Georgian at the Georgian Catholic Church in Istanbul.
In 1869-1871 he founded a convent of mothers and fathers, Georgian-French, Georgian-Greek women's and boys' schools, and a Georgian printing house. In addition to the religious subjects, the school taught medicine, pharmaceutical work, foreign languages and pedadogy. Prominent Georgian scientists and writers Mikheil Tamarashvili, Mikheil Tarkhnishvili, Ivane Gvaramadze, Benedicte Vardidze and others were brought up in this school.
The Ferricope Georgian Reserve was not only a religious institution but also a large cultural and educational center. In 1911 a Georgian club was established here, where meetings and evenings were held, with at least 150 Georgians attending each meeting. The abode of Fericheo was the home of the Georgians, a reliable refuge. From 1921 many Georgians who had been persecuted by the Bolsheviks had fled Georgia before arriving in France. The members of the First Government of the Independent Republic of Georgia, chaired by Noe Zhordania, had lived here for three months.
Father and son Pavle and Simon Zazadze have greatly appreciated the care of the Sanctuary. Pavle Zazadze was originally from Akhaltsikhe, from the village of Ude. In 1913, priest Benedict Vardidze took him to Istanbul to study as a clergyman at the Ferricoye Monastery School. But soon World War I broke out and life got mixed up. Many Georgian students went to Germany to study, but Paul stayed in Istanbul, studying commerce and becoming a celebrity. In 1966, when the monastery was emptied and the last nun died, Pavle Zazadze became the patron of the Georgians Sanctuary at Ferrichoe, he even went to church deeply elderly and cared for this holy place. After his death - since 1989, his son Simon Zazadze has continued this noble cause under his father. At present, the work of the ancestors is led by Paul Zazadze’s, son of Simon, along with his sisters, Paulina and Natalie Zazadze.
22-29th October 2019, within the Erasmus+ Ka107 ICM program, Sabauni hosted French professor, Br. Eli Ayroule’s mobility on the faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, who delivered lectures for Theology students in the Field of Patristics. The main topic of the lectures was the life of the St. Maximus the Confessor (VI-VII s.) and the significance of his work for the Christian Churches (both Eastern and Western Churches).
French professor had meetings with the university administration: rector, vice-rector and dean of the faculty, where there were discussed the future cooperation ideas. During the meeting, the international conference about the life of Maximus the Confessor was planned, which will be held at Sabauni in the next year. Prof. Ayroulet is a researcher of Maximus the Confessor, so for him, it was very nice to speak about this idea. “Being a specialist of this author, I will be able to solicit my network of specialists in connection with the network of the dean and that of the rector. The challenge of this symposium, besides its scientific aspect, would also lie in its capacity to promote in Georgia the catholic-orthodox dialogue.
Personal project envisaged with the Dean of a cooperation for the critical edition and the commentary of a medieval manuscript discovered recently in Greece.
Project to send students of theology of Tbilisi to the Catholic University of Lyon for the Ph.D., especially to train in patristics because of the pole of excellence in this area developed in connection with the Institute of Sources Chrétiennes” shared his opinion prof. Ayroulet.
Erasmus + KA107 project provides the short-term mobility for the student and academic/administrative staff and aims to promote not only professional development of the staff, but the bringing closer the cultures and raise awareness about the EU.
What was the main impact from this mobility, prof. Ayroulet underlined the professional development (ability to teach in English) and raised awareness about Georgia.
“This type of mobility for a teacher makes it possible to prepare in advance with benefit the arrival of Erasmus + students in his university in pregnant time to get to know them and identify the issues for them of their mobility”. I would like to underline the quality of the welcome of the entire team of the Catholic University of Tbilisi not only from the academic point of view but also from the point of view of the discovery of Tbilisi and Georgia. The Tbilisi team organized with great dedication my cultural discovery of Georgia through many visits not only to Tbilisi but throughout the country. I became more aware of the importance of this country in the history of Christianity in Europe and the development of European culture on the basis of its Christian roots. I have also better realized the current challenges for this country to promote its contacts with the countries of Western Europe. I was able to meet the maximum of people with academic responsibility at Sabauni: Rector, Vice-Rector, Dean of the Faculty of Theology. This allowed me to discover that they were the major sources for the creation and the first development of a young university. I was also able to discover the issues facing a Catholic university in a social and ecclesial context different from that of France and Western Europe”.
French professor’s visit was held within Erasmus+ KA107 ICM project between Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani University and Catholic University of Lyon (France), there are number of mobilities realized and plan within this project. Sabauni has been involved in Erasmus+ KA107 program since 2015-2016 academic year and each year there are mobility flows from and to Sabauni with partner universities from different countries.
On 10 October 2019 training “Learner Centered Teaching “was held at Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani University, organized by Center of Professional Development of Sabauni. In the beginning of the training, Shorena Parunashvili head of International Relations Office and Erasmus+ programs coordinator made a brief presentation about the Training module and STAR (sustainable learner center teaching – advanced recourses for Georgia and China) project financed by Erasmus+ KA2 program. The training module is based on Manual on LCT which was elaborated within the project, edited by prof. Tsvetelina Harakchiyska (University of Ruse, Bulgaria). The manual is available in Georgian and in English on the university website.
The training was divided into three parts, the first part was presented the theoretical information about the LCT, its needs, the difference between traditional teaching paradigm and modern teaching. During the second part of the training, the participants got detailed information the Student/learner centered teaching methods, as the following: Task based Learning (TBL), Problem Based Learning (PBL), Project Based Learning, Discovery Learning and Learning Contract.
The final part of the training was used for the workshop, where the participant worked in the groups according to the handouts, given by the trainers.
The training was leaded by STAR project trainers, prof. Ekaterine Natsvlishvili and Gvantsa Abdaladze.
There are several trainings planned by Center for Professional Development in this academic year not only on LCT.
The STAR project has been started on 2016 and will end this year. The consortium members are: Masaryk University (Coordinator, Czech Republic), University or Ruse (Bulgaria), University of Coimbra (Portugal), University College Copenhagen (Denmark), 3 Georgian Universities (Sabauni, UG and Zugdidi state University) and 5 Chinese Universities.
On 29th September 2019, Training on “Academic Presentation” and “ Citation Techniques and standards” for academic, administrative and invited staff was held at Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani University, which was organized by Center for Professional Development of Sabauni. Trainer, University Vice-rector, Associate Professor Dimitry Gegenava.
During Training were discussed citation methods, their necessity and academic presentation standards.
At the end of the training , participants were given certificates. Training was organized within University CPD unit training cycle.
CPD unit was created within the Erasmus+ KA2 project “Sustainable learner centered Teaching – Advanced Resources for Georgia and China (STAR)”.
On 1-5 July of 2019, Shorena Parunashvili, head of International Relations Office paid a business trip at the Catholic University of Lyon (France) within the Erasmus+ KA107 ICM program. During the visit she had important meetings with French colleagues from different structural unit.
Shorena Parunashvili: “During a week I had intensive meetings with French colleagues, where we exchanged our good experiences and discussed the ways for further cooperation.
Meeting with Mr. Franch Violet, head of IRO of UCLy, was the most important, as we talked about our Institutions’ internationalization policies and our roles in them. Also, we discussed the ways and perspectives for deepen our cooperation in the future. I have to mention, that Sabauni is in the VIP partners list of UCLy, that push our cooperation become more intensive.
Meetings with the representatives of different schools/faculties were very fruitful, as from the new academic year our students from faculties Law, Business and Theology will be able to participate in the exchange program and study at UCLy for free.
Erasmus+ Staff Mobility gave me possibility to get to know my colleagues in personally and exchange /share the best practice in our field. Beside this, after this mobility, cooperation between our Institutions has moved to more active phase and many new joint projects await us ahead”.
The Catholic University of Lyon is strategic partner of Sabauni and there is running Erasmus+ KA107 ICM program since 2018-2019 academic year. Within this project, Sabauni two student, Neli Goginava and Mariam Kutaladze spent Spring semester at UCLy and one more student will be sent for the new academic year. Beside the students, there are planned academic and administrative staff mobility between the Universities.
Sabauni is involved in Erasmus+ KA107 ICM project since 2015-2016 academic year and many students and staff have received benefits from it.
Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani University hosted delegation of the Pontifical University of John Paul II in Krakow, presented by prof. Josez Stala, Vice rector in Internationalization, Mrs. Iwona Bak, Head of the center of Scientific Research and International Relations and Prof. Elzbeta Osewska.
During one weel (13-22 May 2019) colleagues from UPJP2 had meetings with Sabauni administration: with rector, vice rector, deans of the faculties and representatives of other structural units. During the meetings the development of strong cooperation and challenges were discussed. “Erasmus+ is the good possibility to establish and deepening the cooperation between the universities, also, for sharing new ideas and prospective for further partnership”- Josez Stala mentioned during the meeting.
In framework of the visit, prof. Elzbeta Osewska, delivered public lecture for Sabauni students.
Sabauni has good cooperation with UPJP2 for years not only within Erasmus+, but within joint project. Last year (2018) with cooperation UPJP2 and Sabauni, student conference about migration was held. In frame of this project Sabauni students spent one week in Krakow and another one week, Polish students visited Sabauni. The thesis of the speeches were published as a in English language.