Letters & Wine - The International League of Antiquarian Booksellers encounters the Beauty of Georgia
Presidents of ILAB’s member associations certainly felt equally inspired after a week of meetings in the capital, Tbilisi.
Georgia, one of Europe’s emerging tourist destinations, sits at a crossroads of Europe and Central Asia.
With the fall of the Iron Curtain and since its Rose Revolution in 2003, a new chapter opened in the history of modern Georgia. The post-revolution government achieved a number of successes fighting corruption, increasing transparency (as our host pointed out, the inner-city police station is entirely built of glass screens), and building relationships with international financial institutions and businesses.
September is a perfect time to visit this country with its vast landscapes including the Caucasus mountains, monasteries dating back to the early days of Christianity, and its vibrant capital Tbilisi spread across the banks of the Mtkvari river.
Presidents of ILAB’s national member associations were fortunate to gather in such a dramatic setting for the 2019 ILAB Presidents’ Meeting.
The meeting started with a warm welcome by the organiser Pavel Chepyzhov and his team with Georgian food and wine. Georgian wine, traced back 8000 years and widely seen as the birthplace of winemaking, was declared as UNESCO Cultural Heritage in 2013 as was the Georgian alphabet in 2016.
The Presidents and the ILAB Committee, headed by ILAB President Sally Burdon, then met for a day of workshops during the “ILAB Presidents’ Forum”, an innovation by President Burdon to encourage less formal exchanges on trade issues, this year including security and theft, provenance, book fairs and a presentation by Olga Tarakanova, President of the Russian Guild of Antiquarian Booksellers (GAK) and her colleagues on the development, current state, and structure of the Russian rare book trade. The presentation was highly appreciated by all participants.
The following day was the formal 2019 ILAB Presidents’ meeting at the iconic National Parliamentary Library. Presidents of member associations, ILAB Committee Members, Presidents/Members of Honour, the Immediate Past President of the League, as well as guests of the host Association are allowed to attend the annual ILAB meeting. ILAB Presidents Meetings follow a formal protocol allowing presidents to represent their national trade body and share information and concerns from their members with the international community. A highlight of the meeting is the update by each president about activities and latest information in their respective country as well as the update by the ILAB committee on its activities throughout the year.
A long day ended with a visit to the National Parliamentary Library's Special Collection and again, an evening of heartfelt Georgian hospitality.
ILAB's thanks go to Pavel Chepyzhov and his team of Bookvica Tbilisi for the excellent organisation, to Olga Tarakanova and her colleagues of the Russian Guild of Antiquarian Booksellers (GAK) for the support and input, to the Georgian National Parliamentary Library for hosting the Presidents' Meeting and to all presidents for their invaluable contributions.
The days in Georgia in September 2019 will be warmly remembered by the presidents and their companions who were able to attend.
All ILAB booksellers are invited to register for the 44th ILAB Congress in Amsterdam from 29 September – 1 October 2020, which will be followed by the Amsterdam International Antiquarian Book Fair on 2 & 3 September 2020.
AMOR LIBRORUM NOS UNIT.
Text & Images: Angelika Elstner