Elisabeth Bagrationi-Orbeliani (1870 – 1962)

Educated in Paris; in 1919-1920 was the editor of the newspapers in French – “Free Georgia”, “Republic of Georgia”, in English – “Herald of Georgia”; wrote poetry in French; translated into French “The Knight in the Panther’s Skin” by Shota Rustaveli and other classical Georgian literary works. Was the first woman to teach at the newly opened Tbilisi State University and addressed the audience on its opening day with the following speech:

“I am greatly excited welcoming you today as I understand the glory of the moment and appreciate the honor I am granted. We are opening our own Georgian university and with this, we are renewing the knot of the split thread of the ancient culture. The culture illuminated by the Eastern sun has been beautified by the approximation to the Western thought. Europe knew us and loved us. As early as in the 13th century Rome sent out missionaries to us. In the 15th century we were approaching France. In the 18th century Sulkhan-Saba visited Ludovico XIV and later created his parables in Lafonten’s style.  The last hundred years somehow distanced us from Europe and its liberated thinking. And now it is urgent to win the lost time back. Now I consider myself lucky to be granted the obligation to teach you French in order to get acquainted with the writings of the prominent thinkers of the French revolution and enjoy their works. Please bear in mind that it is owing to the French Revolution of 1789 that we are having a free Georgian university today.”