Speeches & Statements

President Saakashvili awards winners of international academic Olympiad

I welcome you all!

A Georgian secondary school student who won gold a gold medal at the World Math Olympiad is here with us today, as is one silver medal holder and four students who took home the bronze. Georgia's youth are very good and very talented.

I want to congratulate Giorgi Naidradze, Giorgi Arabidze, Giorgi Lekviashvili, Irakli Chitaia, Akaki Mamegeishvili, Davit Tvalchrelidze and Rati Gelashvili, as well as their teachers, on their great success.

It is encouraging that these students come from across the country - some of you are from Tbilisi while others are from Kutaisi. Everyone in Georgia, including people from rural regions, is actively joining in this perkhuli [Georgian round dance] that is study and education.

This has been made possible by the fact that Georgia has begun to value people and their talents.

The most important criteria for people today are talent, merit and hard work, not family origin, social ties or money.

Not long ago I was told that not a single child from a certain very rich family was able to enrol in university after taking the national standardized entrance exams. Proportionally, the most school-leavers enrolled in university from Oni District, where there had been no electricity for the past 12 years and where students lacked a number of other resources.

This is justice. This marks the establishment of a Georgian society where young people like you are given the means to utilize your talents.

I want to tell each one of you that I myself could never have achieved this. I took party in many such competitions when I was a child, but only within Georgia.

Victory at the World Math Olympiad was an unattainable dream for me and many other Georgians.

I thank you very much because what you managed to do is an achievement not only for yourself, but for each and every one of us.

I also want to thank your teachers.

The most important people for me were my teachers. I am sure that this is the case for you too.

I have decided to award each of the teachers gathered here today - Giorgi Bareladze, Zaza Gamezardashvili, Leri Gogoladze, Ivane Kvitashvili, Ivane Mandaria, Genadi Margvelashvili, Emzar Otkhozoria, Guram Kotolashvili, Maia Tsilosani and Bachuki Khizaneishvili - the Order of Merit, which is the highest civilian honour in Georgia.

Also, each one of you students will receive a presidential stipend: Rati Gelashvili will receive a monthly allowance of 800 lari throughout the course of his studies at university; Giorgi Arabidze - 500 lari and the rest of you - 400 lari.

This stipend is being awarded to you as a sign of appreciation and in order to allow you to study better and achieve even more success in the name of the homeland.

As for the teachers, each of them will be allotted a monthly stipend of 500 lari for the next year as a reward for their students' achievements.

We must expand the olympiad movement here at home. We have increased funding for olympiads tenfold; it now exceeds 1.3m lari.

This sum will continue to increase because I want all students in Georgia to always have the means to distinguish themselves and compete with each other. We must give everyone equal opportunities, though only hard-working and talented children should receive special incentives to achieve.

I want to thank you once again for everything.

press Office
of the President of Georgia

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