March 2014

by Nina Bendukidze

Sevdia Ugrekhelidze First Deputy Mayor of Tbilisi Nino Beglarishvili Tbilisi City Hall International department Officer

The presentation of the book dedicated to the 25th Anniversary of the twinning links between Tbilisi and Bristol took place in the City Hall in Bristol on the 7th of March 2014. The Acting Mayor of Tbilisi, Sevdia Igrekhelidze said: "The purpose of this book featuring the longlasting friendship between our cities is to take a brief look back over the past years. The book is based on the reminiscences of those people who have been involved in twinning and successfully maintaining links of friendship between the cities. Thanks to their dedication, we have such a remarkable friendship and tight links; especially I would like to single out the links between the Tbilisi State University and the University of the West of England, and also those in cultural exchanges, public health and matters concerning the environment. I am extremely grateful towards the people who contributed to the development of our mutual cooperation and for their valued friendship. Thanks to their personal determination, relationship between Bristol and Tbilisi goes far beyond formal cooperation and encoutages communication between a variety of professions."


Mayor presents BTA contributors with copies of book celebrating 25 years of friendship between Bristol and Tbilisi


by Rebecca Megson


Colstan HallThe Acting Mayor of Tbilisi, Sevdia Ugrekhelidze, celebrated the publication of Tbilisi City Council commissioned book on Saturday 8 March with a presentation ceremony at the Colston Hall in Bristol. The book ‘A Bridge of Friendship – Between Mtkvari and Avon’ is filled with the personal stories of a number of people who have been involved in twinning links between Bristol and Tbilisi.    

At the presentation the mayor met with a number of people who have contributed both to the relationship between the two cities over the past 25 years and to the content of the book.

Speaking to the group Mayor Ugrekhelidze said: “The most important thing is the friendship between the citizens of these cities…..the personal relationships are the spirit and soul of the connection. It is very hard for any book to adequately reflect such friendship.”

The mayor explained the book is an attempt to catalogue the projects and initiatives between the two cities over the past 25 years.  

IMG 0301 webShe said: “I was personally keen to meet all the people involved in twinning links between Bristol and Tbilisi. The book is as a result of the contributions of all of you present and a number of other people who could not be with us today.” Mayor Ugrekhelidze highlighted the work of Professor Henry Parry and Paul Garland. She described them as: “pioneers….who laid the solid foundation for what has become a 25 year long relationship.”

The mayor concluded: “My hope is for many more good pages and chapters to be added to this friendship in the future.”

IMG 0320 webThe book presentation occurred during the Bristol Jazz Festrival, after a busy couple of days in which the Tbilisi delegation had met with, amongst others, Bristol elected Mayor George Ferguson. Ferguson has said he is very enthused about the relationship and has in principle committed to a return trip in October to Tbilisi when the city hosts their own jazz festival. 


The delegation met with Andrew Kelly Director of the Bristol Festival ideas and John Hirst Chief Executive of Destination Bristol as well as key people involved in the Harbour Festival, Balloon Festival and the Arts Council. Ideas were shared and discussed about potential cultural and economic collaborations between organisations in Bristol and Tbilisi.

Mayor Ugrekhelidze’s words were translated by Nino Beglarishvili, Chief Officer of the Department of International Relations in Tbilisi’s City Hall.

Rebecca Megson is a freelance writer. She is in the final year of her MA in Journalism at the University of the West of England.