The grand opening of the VIII Convention of the WAC was held at the Abkhazian State Drama Theater.

Naala Chkadua

The VIII Convention of the World Abaza Congress opened in the capital of Abkhazia, Sukhum, on Wednesday, December 7. The solemn opening ceremony took place at the Abkhazian State Drama Theatre, where the further work of the Congress will take place.

The opening ceremony began with the premiere of a documentary dedicated to the 30th anniversary of the World Abaza Congress. Archival footage, interviews with delegates of the first Congress of the Abaza people, as well as WAC employees who summed up the five-year work of the Congress were shown: they told about implemented projects and initiatives. Public and political figures of Abkhazia addressed the participants of the VIII Convention from the screen and highly appreciated the work of the Congress.

At the beginning of the official part, the President of Abkhazia Aslan Bzhania made a speech. On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Congress, he addressed the Chairman, members of the Supreme Council of the WAC, representatives of the Abkhaz-Abaza Diaspora and other guests with congratulations. Bzhania noted the special role of the Congress during the PWPA of 1992-1993  period. The President also highly appreciated the achievements of the Congress in the field of preserving the cultural and linguistic heritage of the Abaza people and uniting representatives of the Abkhaz-Abaza Diaspora around the world.

"The Congress managed to unite the Abaza people with the common idea of ​​defending the Motherland during the Patriotic War of the people of Abkhazia in 1992-1993. In the post-war period, the active work of the WAC for the benefit of the Republic of Abkhazia continued: thanks to the Congress, it was possible to organize meetings to discuss key issues for Abkhazia in Russia, Turkey, Europe, Jordan and other countries. The Congress has become a home for representatives of the Abaza people from all over the world. Separately, I want to note the merits to the entire people of Abkhazia of the people who stood at the origins of the WAC: Taras Shamba, Yuri Argun, Gennady Alamia, Denis Chachkhalia, Jamaletdin Ardzinba, Bediz Kvartsekhelia, Elkhan Kvadzba, Sergey Pazov," said Aslan Bzhania.

The President of Abkhazia wished the WAC team success and prosperity.

Mussa Ekzekov, Chairman of the Supreme Council of the WAC, starting his speech, called on all those present to observe a minute of silence in memory of the departed colleagues: the Honorary President of the WAC Taras Shamba and the Head of the Local branch of the WAC in the village of Kayalar (Turkey) Erdinch Atile (Ateiba).

Mussa Ekzekov thanked the President of Abkhazia for the congratulations and spoke about the projects implemented by the World Abaza Congress and plans for the future.

"We have created conditions under which Abkhazians and Abaza from all over the world in an accessible format in six languages ​​have the opportunity to follow what is happening in their historical homeland, study the history and traditions of their people, communicate with each other and, most importantly, participate in projects implemented by the team Congress in places where representations function. Our plans are to continue the process of opening representative offices in all parts of the world where compatriots live. Thus, together we will continue to strengthen cultural, educational and sports bridges between Abkhazia and the states of residence of the Abaza people," said Mussa Ekzekov.

The Chairman of the WAC Supreme Council noted that by preserving their culture and traditions, the Abaza people enrich the world and contribute to the overall development of mankind.

"We are confidently following this path, despite all the challenges of our time, which our native language and culture are facing, and we invite everyone to join us in creating a world based on national traditions and culture together," Mussa Ekzekov concluded.

The Chairman of the Coordinating Council of Women under the WAC Ekaterina Bebia shared with the delegates of the Congress the results of the activities of the Coordinating Council of Women of Abkhazia "The Way to Consent", which began its work in September 2022 and which she headed.  Bebia told about the first event of the Council - a meeting with representatives of the movement "Mothers of Abkhazia for Peace and Social Justice", and about the significance of this meeting for the patriotic education of young people and the preservation of the memory of the soldiers who fell in the PWPA. In addition, Ekaterina Bebia noted the success of the "Аиуара иашьатоу еибабароуп" forum (in translation from the Abkhaz means "Communication is the basis for supporting family ties" - ed.), which resulted in the signing of an Agreement on the implementation of joint creative projects between the Chairman of the Council and the head of a public organization "Abaza" in the Stavropol Region by Armida Chagova.

"From time immemorial, the role of a woman in the Abkhaz-Abaza society has been exceptional: her image was considered holy, her wise words were always heeded. Today the position of a woman is also extremely high and important. In this regard, the Chairman of the Supreme Council of the WAC, Mussa Khabalevich Ekzekov, came up with the idea of ​​uniting the women of the Abaza people. This was implemented in the Coordinating Council. Despite the fact that the Council started its work recently, we have already managed to organize a number of important events," said Ekaterina Bebia.

The presentation on the interim results of the work of the Congress was presented by the Chief of Staff of the WAC, Kan Tania. He noted that 107 projects have been implemented in the regions of Abkhazia over the five years of active work of the Congress.

"All the work of local branches is based on the "Alashara" model (International Association for the Promotion of the Development of the Abaza-Abkhaz Ethnos "Alashara", which is also headed by Mussa Ekzekov - ed.), which has been successfully implemented in all Abaza villages of the KChR for more than 10 years. This model for the preservation and development of the ethnic group and the strengthening of civil society involves the opening of local branches or, as we also call them, public councils in settlements. The councils include active residents who want to create. The Congress team in close coordination with the residents of those villages prepare and put into practice programs for the development of the settlement. In the future, from these individual development programs, we will first draw up programs for the development of districts and subsequently a detailed program for the development of the whole country," Tania said.

Mukhadin Aubekov, Chairman of the Council of Elders of the Abaza people, also spoke at the ceremony. The speaker noted the role of the Congress in solving the problems of establishing communications between compatriots at all levels.

"Our people are glad and proud that the statehood of Apsny is being revived. Abaza are ready to participate in the development of Abkhazia. We will always be with you, we are ready to share  sorrow and joy with you," concluded Aubekov his appeal to the delegates and guests of the Convention.

Chairman of the Moscow Abkhazian Diaspora (MAD) Beslan Agrba highly appreciated the projects implemented by the WAC team over the past 5 years.

"The work of the Congress in the future can be an excellent tool for public policy. I congratulate all of us on the 30th anniversary of the Congress, on its successful and beneficial projects," said the head of the MAD.

Ozkan Tarba, a representative of the Abkhaz-Abaza Diaspora from Holland, Erkan Khadzhimba, a member of the Supreme Council of the WAC from EU countries, and Murat Makharia, Chairman of the Federation of Abkhazian Cultural Centers in Turkey, also congratulated the Congress team on the 30th anniversary of the WAC and wished success to the Congress team.

The official part of the opening of the VIII Convention was followed by a performance by singer Timur Tania and a theatrical dance performance staged by director Timur Kvekveskiri. The show was attended by dancers from the Abkhazian dance groups and the Dance Theater of the State Philharmonic Society of the Karachay-Cherkess Republic "Mercury". The plot of the performance was based on the history of the Abaza people and the unity of its representatives.

On the evening of December 7, as part of the events dedicated to the opening of the VIII Convention of the WAC and the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the founding of the World Abaza Congress, the film "Three Brothers" directed by Aslan Apsov was shown on the stage of the Abkhazian Drama Theater.

The working part of the VIII Convention of the World Abaza Congress is scheduled for December 8. According to the program, elections of the Chairman of the WAC Supreme Council, a plenary session and round tables within three sections will be held on this day.

Information partners of the VIII Convention of the World Abaza Congress: Abkhazian State Television and Radio Company (AGTRK), Abaza-TV channel, Sputnik Abkhazia news agency.