HISTORY

Oxford Georgian Society

 

IN 1909 THE MARJORY WARDROP FUND AT OXFORD UNIVERSITY WAS FOUNDED BY SIR JOHN OLIVER WARDROP FOR ENCOURAGEMENT OF THE STUDY OF THE LANGUAGE, LITERATURE, AND HISTORY OF GEORGIA. THROUGH THIS FUND, THE UNIVERSITY BECAME THE BENEFICIARY OF THE UNESCO REGISTERED WARDROP COLLECTION OF GEORGIAN BOOKS AND MANUSCRIPTS, AND IT LAID THE FOUNDATION FOR THE CREATION OF OXFORD-GEORGIAN SOCIETY IN 2003
ოქსფორდის ქართული საზოგადეობა 

The Oxford-Georgian Society (also known as the Oxford University Georgian Society, OUGS, and OXGE), is the official student society of Oxford University representing the Republic of Georgia. Founded in 2003 by Oxford University student George Gigauri (registered with the University Proctors’ Office on 04 February 2003 - view the registration form of the first Oxford Georgian Society), the Society’s aim is to promote political, social and cultural developments of Georgia at the University of Oxford.


The society was founded on the legacy left by Sir John Oliver Wardrop and his sister Marjory Wardrop. Sir John Oliver Wardrop (1864–1948) was a British diplomat, traveller and translator, primarily known as the United Kingdom's first Chief Commissioner of Transcaucasus in Georgia, 1919–21, and also as the founder and benefactor of Kartvelian studies at Oxford University. In England, Sir Oliver organized the set up of Georgian Society and the Georgian Committee in London. In 1930, along with W.E.D. Allen, he formed the Georgian Historical Society which published its own journal Georgica. His sister Marjory Wardrop (1869–1909) translated the 12-century Georgian epic of Shota Rustaveli, The Knight in the Panther's Skin into English. Together they created a Wardrop Collection of Georgian books and manuscripts at the Bodleian Library. In 1909 Marjory Wardrop Fund at Oxford University was created by Sir Oliver Wardrop after Marjory's death. Through it, Sir Oliver augmented his renowned Collection. It now consists of 1,454 items, of which 215 are periodicals and 73 are series. Included are 74 MSS in the category of texts and collections of Georgian literature.


During the Soviet rule in Georgia (1923–1991), Georgian students were not permitted to study in Europe and therefore little is known about Georgian activities in Oxford. The few that did study at Oxford during that period were largely descendants of Georgian noble families (Princes Bagrationi, Princes Dadiani, etc.) who had to flee the communist invasion of Georgia in 1920s.


The founding ceremony of the Oxford-Georgian Society took place in 2003 at Queen's College, Oxford, with special guests including the Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Georgia Teimuraz Mamatsashvili, Professors and academic staff of Oxford and Cambridge Universities including the Senior Member Professor Michael Vickers, and members of Georgian diaspora in the United Kingdom. ​Since its foundation in 2003, the Society has held numerous events including film nights, wine tasting, debates and cultural outings. The society participated in university cultural festivals, including 2003 international festival where it presented different dances of Georgia, Georgia photograph exhibition and Georgian food stand. The society also held joint events with other societies in Oxford and In 2010 the society went through reorganisation to appeal to a wider audience. The society amended the constitution, rebranded the society logo and reached out to Georgians at other Oxford institutions including Oxford Brookes University.