First Degree Ceremony at Kutaisi State University

The first ever degree ceremony at KSU was held on 21. The civic and academic representatives were the Rector of the University, the Vice Rector, Professor of Tbilisi State Unoversity M. Natadze, Professor of Tbilisi University of Languages and Culture G. Lebanidze, the Rector of the Kutaisi Technical University, the Principal of the International Diplomacy Institute, the Head of the Research Department of Education and Training, John Roberts, the University of Wales, Newport, Learning Technology Coordinator, Mr. Richard Clarke and the Head of Human Resources, Mrs. Bethan Cooper.

The order of proceedings for the ceremony was carefully observed. The assembly was requested to stand whilst the civic and academic processions entered. Then the Chair invited the staff of the English Studies Department into the hall. The teachers wearing red and mauve gowns appeared before the congregation in the Assembly Hall to congratulate the graduates on their achievements. The assembly met the staff members standing and applauding.

Then the graduates dressed in gowns entered the hall to the sounds of music. The Chair invited the KSU Rector to admit the graduates to degrees of the University. The Rector and Newport guests John Roberts, Richard Clarke and Bethan Cooper were requested to present the diplomas to the graduates. They performed that honorable mission with great pleasure. After receiving the diplomas the graduates pledged themselves to apply their knowledge to the prosperity of our nation. The pledge was followed by the 200 students’ choir performing the students’ anthem “Gaudeamus”.

The civic and academic representatives congratulated the graduates on receiving honorable awards with applauds. Poet Zurab Kukhianidze greeted the graduates and presented each of them with his own book of poetry with his autograph.

Among those who congratulated the graduates were: MP D. Goirkhelidze, TSU professor M. Natadze, Vice Rector of Tbilisi University Foreign Languages and Culture University, Professor G. Lebanidze, the Head of the Fine Arts Lycee R. Ramishvili and graduates Irma Grdzelidze and Tamar Grigalashvili.

On behalf of the parents the graduates were very warmly addressed by Mrs. N. Gvilava, a teacher of High School #3, a parent of one of the graduates. Her speech was interpreted by her daughter Helen Berekashvili, a young teacher of the Department.

John Roberts couldn’t help expressing admiration and delight with event. He congratulated the English Studies Department on its achievements and wished them success in future activities. In his speech he expressed his surprise at not seeing men studying at this Department. Mr. John Roberts was mistaken here as there were men, but unfortunately, only two. He said: “How do the Georgian men miss this wonderful chance to study with so many beautiful ladies. I wish I were a student of this Department”.

Other Newport guests highly appreciated the event and expressed their hope that the great tradition, which has been an inseparable art of the British University life for centuries, will be adopted by this University.

The ceremony was accompanied by beautiful music. At the end of it national anthems of the UK, the USA and Georgia were performed.

In conclusion the floor was given to the Head of the ESD Professor Madonna Megrelishvili who thanked the congregation for attending the ceremony.

Speech Made by Professor Madonna Megrelishvili at the Degree Awards ceremony English Studies Department Kutaisi State University

Georgia is now moving towards entering into the European group of countries with all that that entails – the sharing of its culture, traditions and values. The generations to come will be proud of this stage in our country’s history since we are about to realize a longed for ambition that has been held by our people.

Entering Europe will not mean the loss of our traditions and special national identity which has been developed and nurtured over many centuries – indeed we are looking to continue in their growth and this step will indeed help to enrich our outlook.

The Georgian people have many talents and much to offer. With this in mind the English Studies Department has made a decision to look carefully at educational systems in a variety of countries across Europe. Some traditions of the western education system have already been adopted. The style of this Academic Awards Ceremony or Convocation, which we are presenting to you today is one such example.

This is the first time that such an event has taken place at this University and it helps to demonstrate that much work has been done before any reward has been gained.

A few words about the graduates:

Twenty students completed a five-year course during the last academic year. Ten received diplomas gaining a Distinction. Fourteen gained a top grade in English. Twenty-six students gained a Bachelor of Arts Degree. Eleven of these received Diplomas with Distinction and nineteen students attained excellent grades in English.

This is an unprecedented result in the history of out University and if I am not mistaken in the history of our country.

Ten graduates within one group have been invited to remain with us as teachers in the English Studies Department. Five others have been successful in post-graduate entrance examinations – two will be studying here in Kutaisi and three at Tbilisi State University.

The event today was scheduled to take place at the end of September. The date was agreed upon at the time we were visited by our new gowns was proposed and after consultation as to shape and style it was agreed that the gowns would be made up here in the Fine Arts Lycee under the direction of fashion designer Maka Kakhidze. You can see that she has done a wonderful job. We greatly appreciate everyone who supported our initiative and arranged this great event.

Today’s ceremony is particularly special since it is being attended by honoured guests from the University of Wales College, Newport:

Mr. John Roberts, Head of the research Department for Education and Training,

Rochard Clarke, Learning Technology Co-ordinator,

Bethan Cooper, Director of Human Resources.

They are on an official visit to our University aimed at sharing their experience with us. This is one of the major programmes initiated by the Newport-Kutaisi Twinning Associations.

The Convocation was to be attended by representatives from the Newport-Kutaisi Association but due to our elections we had to postpone their visit till November, a date that they were unable to keep. Nevertheless we have received messages of heartfelt greetings from them. Here they are:


I am very pleased to hear from Professor Madonna Megrelishvili that the Kutaisi State University is to hold its first ever Awards Congregation. Such ceremonies are now a regular part of British university life although newer institutions such as the University of Wales College, Newport with which KSU is in ever closer co-operation, only started organizing their own awards ceremonies a decade or so ago.

As one of the founders of the Newport-Kutaisi Association, and now in my role as Secretary for Education in the new National Assembly for Wales, I am delighted to be able to congratulate the staff and every graduating student at KSU on achieving such outstanding levels of academic excellence.

As has often been observed, Wales and Georgia, although at opposite corners of the European continent, have much in common. Both have proud histories and unique cultural traditions. Both now face the many challenges of the new millennium with revitalized confidence.

In addition, I am sure that both Wales and Georgia recognize that education must be given a top priority if the people of our two nations are to realize their potential and, together, contribute to a happy, peaceful and prosperous new world order. With this in mind may I wish future success to every student at today’s Award Ceremony in Kutaisi.

Best wishes

From Rosemary Butler AM

Secretary for Education and Children National Assembly for Wales 

Professor Madonna Megrelishvili

Kutaisi State University

Congratulations from the members of the Newport-Kutaisi Association to all the staff and students at the Kutaisi State University, particularly every one in the English Department, on the occasion of your first ever Award Ceremony.

We hope the day will be a happy and memorable one for everybody involved; we wish the graduates every success in the future. We also wish happiness, peace and prosperity for all the people of Kutaisi.

Vera Brown

Newport-Kutaisi Association

Dear Madonna, 

Thank you very much for your invitation to the Awards Congregation at the Kutaisi University. As the Ambassador is away at the moment, unfortunately, neither he nor I are able to attend this important event. But I wish you and your colleagues all the best and wish the graduates further success.

Yours sincerely,

Paul Welsh    

Deputy Head of Mission

British Embassy

To be delivered to the Graduates of the English Department KSU on the occasion of their Degree Ceremony

It is with great pleasure that I have the opportunity through Professor Madonna Megrelishvili to express my most sincere congratulations to the students that today are receiving their awards.

I had the very real privilege last year of being received into the English Deartment where I met the staff and many of the students and learnt of their views, hopes and ambitions. I remember very well their bright and positive outlook on life, also and especially their humour and kindness.

My one real regret is of course that I am not here with you today to speak to you personally. Many miles divide us but with the amazing advances in technology there are times when I feel that the distance between Wales and Georgia has truly shrunk. We are indeed close neighbours.

The world at large is opening up and the future for each of you will be exciting. There will be opportunities arising that I hope you will be able to grasp with both hands. The skills that you have in the use of languages will qualify you to extend understanding across the nations. This is a most important challenge and one I know you will meet.

So my very best wishes go out to each and everyone of you and I say WELL DONE!

Catherine Philpott, NKTA

Dear Madonna,

A message formally congratulating your department and students is to be faxed to you from the Association. However, I wanted to send personal congratulations. The initiating of the degree ceremony is a great tribute and testimony to both you and your staff and a recognition, not only of the drive, enthusiasm and hard work of you all, but of the vision of possibility which you have for all your students.

It is a very real sadness that I and others cannot be with you on such a memorable occasion but our hearts will be with you. I think that I once said (at one of those wonderful feasts I have enjoyed with you!) that, when I stand in Caerleon and look at the sky above and you in Kutaisi do the same, it is the same sky that we see and so we are united once more.

Love and congratulations to you, Madonna, all your staff and especially your students (I’m sure that I would know some of them).

Caroline McLachlan