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The Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of Georgia, Mikheil Chkhenkeli participated in an online ministerial organized by UNESCO, that addressed 206 representatives from 132 countries and introduced them to the steps taken by the Georgian government to provide access to cultural services for those left at home.
The main purpose of the Ministerial was to discuss the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the cultural sector and to share the experiences of different countries to overcome the challenges in this regard.
The ministerial was opened by UNESCO Director-General - Audrey Azoulay, who spoke about the measures taken to manage the Coronavirus pandemic, leaving the cultural ecosystem in a weakened state.
Mikheil Chkhenkeli: “I would like to thank the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and Ms. Audrey Azoulay for organizing the first virtual meeting of the Ministers of Culture. I think it will be extremely useful for each participating country to overcome the challenges in the cultural industry.
The pandemic of COVID-19 has shown the whole world that art now brings us even closer than ever before. Despite the weakening of cultural life - one of the pillars of modern and progressive society - I believe that joint efforts, international cooperation, exchange of information and ideas are crucial tools for achieving stability.”
The Minister noted that owing to the initiative of the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of Georgia, a variety of interesting cultural activities are carried out online. The cultural organizations included in the Ministry’s network offer online performances, film screenings, concerts and other interesting activities to the general public.
Furthermore, 24 art institutions, which are the essential part of the Ministry have recently launched a massive online campaign: #Stayathome #cultureforyou, aimed at supporting cultural organizations and individual artists of Georgia. The National Agency for the Protection of Cultural Heritage has provided free access to 3D versions of monuments and numerous video clips of restored cultural sites on the Internet. In addition, the Minister stated the process of renovation of cultural heritage monuments (restoration, conservation, reconstruction) has not been suspended. This year, up to 60 cultural heritage renovation works are planned, thanks to the generous financial support of the Cartu Foundation.
Additionally, Mikheil Chkhenkeli introduced the new project - Teleskola to the participants of the Ministerial, launched on March 30 in cooperation with the Public Broadcaster, allowing all students to listen to interesting lessons in all subjects, including fine arts and music.
The Minister also emphasized that since March 27 (International Theater Day) a weekly calendar of cultural events has been created. The activities are actively shared on the websites of the Ministry, as well as on the websites of official organizations and their respective official Facebook pages. Notably, one of the folk concerts had amassed 50,000 online viewers. Online performances of Georgian theaters have aroused great interest both in Georgia and abroad.