12-18 June, 2000
The International Napoleonic Society held its third International Congress at Tbilisi State University from June 12-18, 2000. Scholars from Georgia, Israel, and the United States gave a series of excellent papers that covered a variety of Napoleonic topics. This congress was also the first meeting of the Napoleonic Society of Georgia. It was organized by their President, Alexander Mikaberidze, who is to be congratulated for the outstanding success of both the congress and his new organization. Mikaberidze has been accepted into the doctoral program at the Institute on the French Revolution and Napoleon at Florida State University.
As always, the papers dealt with several approaches to the study of Napoleonic history. Napoleon's image in literature was considered by Innes Merabishvili, who is President of the Byron Society of Georgia, as well as by Ivane Menteshashvili. Alexander Mikaberidze discussed the various factors that led to the rise of Napoleon, while Dimitry Tsiskarishvili presented a paper on Napoleon as a psychologist.
Military matters are always a primary topic at these congresses. Some papers were presented on Napoleon's successes such as Marengo (Mikheil Gachechiladze), Toulon (Amiran Nikuradze) and the Battle of Cacoon (Allon Klebanoff). The less successful 1812 campaign was discussed by David Markham and Jerry Gallaher, and Gega Khubashvili and Gabriel Shaliashvili discussed the campaign in the middle east.
All the papers were presented in English and Georgian with simultaneous translations available in both languages. One of the high points of the congress was the excellent, often passionate, discussion of issues raised by the papers. There were many people in the audience, including students from the university, and the knowledge and interest exhibited was truly outstanding.
INS Executive Vice-President J. David Markham awarded Fellowships to Innes Merabishvili, Dimitry Tsisharishvili, Ivane Menteshashvili, Merab Kalandadze and Giogi Demetradze. All the new Fellows are professors at Tbilisi State University. Mr. Tsiskarishvili wrote the first biography of Napoleon in the Georgian language. Several students were given special awards for their outstanding paper presentations. Some of these awards were books provided by David Markham, who also contributed several books and journals to the University Library.
After the conclusion of the papers, the international participants were given a tour of important museums and other historical sites in Georgia, including a death mask of Napoleon and other Napoleonic artifacts at the Ethnological Museum of Zugdidi. They also had an opportunity to meet with Governor Mirza Korkashvili of the Tskaltubo Region, and Governor Teimuraz Shashiashvili of the Imereti Region.
The media took a great interest in this Congress. Articles appeared in three newspapers in Georgia, including the official newspaper of the government, one in Georgian and one in Russian. In addition, there were two television programs on the official channel that broadcast information about the Congress.
This congress was a tremendous success. Visitors from outside of Georgia were delighted with the generous hospitality, excellent food and wine, and beautiful and historically interesting countryside. Our thanks go to Alexander, his family, and all others who made this congress an exceptional memory for all who attended.
List of Papers Presented to the INS Congress in Tbilisi, Georgia
Tbilisi State University
By J. David Markham
Mayor Zodelava of Tbilisi, distinguished scholars and guests, ladies and gentlemen. On behalf of the International Napoleonic Society, I welcome you to our Third International Napoleonic Congress.
I also bring you the personal greetings and best wishes of our President, Ben Weider.
It is a great honor and pleasure to be here today. I am pleased to have brought with me two very dear friends: the distinguished Napoleonic scholar Jerry Gallaher and the Wisconsin Secretary of State Doug La Follette. I am also pleased to welcome another dear friend and Napoleonic scholar, Allon Klebanoff of Israel.
Three years ago, I had the pleasure to open a congress in Italy. Last summer I had the same pleasure in Israel. In September, I attended a conference in Borodino, Russia. Today I am in Tbilisi, and next week I will be at Austerlitz in the Czech Republic. At all of these locations, I have met with people from around the world who share my interests in history.
One person brings all of these people together: Napoleon Bonaparte. This extraordinary man has brought together people from across the globe to study and honor him, including people from nations such as England and Russia who used to fight against him. This week we will learn more of his accomplishments, of his mistakes, and of his influence in many non-military areas such as literature. Few people in history have had that kind of influence, which continues even 200 years after his time on earth.
Today I want to recognize another very special young man. Several years ago, Alexander Mikaberidze and I became friends through email. I was so impressed with him that I insisted he attend the INS Congress in Israel. This congress here today is justification for my faith in him, and I thank him, and all those who helped him, for all of their fine efforts. I am pleased to tell you that Alexander has been accepted to the doctoral program at the Institute on Napoleon and the French Revolution at Florida State University.
Ladies and gentlemen, through the efforts of many people, we are assembled for what I am sure will be an excellent Congress. I thank you for your attendance and for your attention, and hope that you will all enjoy the program in the days to come.
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