THE NATIONAL TRUST OF GEORGIA
In October 2016 a group of Georgian citizens and one Englishman, established a new National Trust style of organisation in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi. Under the title of the National Trust of Georgia it was set up in association with the National Trust of Great Britain’s international branch INTO and follows the successful British model.
Georgia possesses a large number of historic sites worthy of saving and promoting, either as tourist venues, or workable businesses that will pay for the structure’s (or land’s) upkeep. However the country currently has no independent national organisation that enables individuals to express their concern and affection for the nation’s heritage. A National Trust of Georgia provides this alongside a practical means of helping to preserve buildings and land. Its knowledge base and experience help show private owners many methods of saving their own properties, not as yet demonstrated by the state, plus offer a means of expressing their pride for their nation – by joining as Trust members.
Membership of the National Trust of Georgia encourages the population towards an important heritage awareness, and also link Georgians into a growing global trend of preserving historical property and landscape before it disappears. The Georgian Trust is inspired by the UK Trust and its slogan, ‘for everyone, for ever’ – which with a huge membership base of over 5 million, is open to all. More information on it and its 4000 plus properties, can be found at its large website – www.nationaltrust.org.uk. We intend the same for Georgia.
ARCHITECTURE, LAND OWNERSHIP and BEQUESTS
The Trust can own or administer buildings and land on the Understanding that it is never sold. Properties can be bought, bequeathed, and also administered by the organisation. The Trust operates like a giant, living, heritage bank, independent of governmental control. As in the UK, the Georgian Trust is seen as a reliable, non-corrupt, non-profit guardian of the nation’s heritage.
NON-GOVERNMENTAL and NON POLITICAL
The National Trust of Georgia is not a campaigning organisation and is careful to remain independent of national and local government influence, but stay friendly to all. The organisation never allies itself with any particular political party, NGO, political grouping or individual. It stands as a unit in itself, fully independent of all others. Its executive Board has been chosen purely on the basis of interest, concern and aptitude for historic preservation. This non-partisan and highly transparent structure, allows members and donors to trust that its decisions are in the interests of the nation as a whole on the long term, rather than specific groups or individuals.
WORKS on a BUSINESS MODEL
Because the Trust can own property and land, it is able to generate income from its properties – through tourism, letting, entrance fees, etc. It operates as a non-profit business aiming to make most of its properties or bequests, self sustaining. Thus it also provides employment, as well as preserves historical memory and vital aesthetic values.
VOLUNTEERS and EDUCATION
The National Trust of Georgia encourages volunteers and individuals who want to actively help in maintaining national heritage. Projects are organised and participants put to practical use. This motivates and collects individuals together for the common good. They enjoy the service, learning and camaraderie, and feel a sense of communal ownership.
ESTABLISHMENT OF THE TRUST
The international branch of the National Trust of Great Britain (INTO) have offered their guidance and experience in creating the Georgian Trust. Evidence from other countries has shown that for a new Trust to work most efficiently it should appeal to people on all levels of society. At the same time it can cooperate with, but not be a part of, any government, business or heritage NGO. Following this aim the National Trust of Georgia is registered as a Not for Profit Foundation in Georgia.
The Trust is always looking for assistance, donations and participation from all those who care about Georgia’s rich historic environment – whether in or outside the country. Our immediate tasks are to repair our headquarters in accordance with international conservation standards, mount exhibitions, host talks, organise knowledge and work exchanges, and gradually extend our activities towards other properties and landscapes.