Members of the Supreme Council and the Presidium of the WAC met on December 24 to discuss the results of 2020 and outline the work plan of the Congress for the near future.

The World Abaza Congress summed up the results of 2020 at the meeting of the Supreme Council and the Presidium of the WAC on December 24. The meeting was held online. It was attended by members of the Presidium and the Supreme Council from Abkhazia, Germany, Turkey, Adjara, and Russia (KChR, KBR, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Stavropol). For the first time, Vadim Kharazia, Chairman of the State Committee for Repatriation of the Republic of Abkhazia, took part in the presidium. Kharazia became member of the Presidium of the Congress automatically, since, according to the charter of the WAC, the Chairman of the State Committee for Repatriation of Abkhazia becomes a member of the Presidium.

Results of 2020: charity events, pandemic, unification of Abaza

According to the Chief of Staff of the WAC Kan Tania, today there are more than 1,500 people in the Congress from 14 regional branches.

Speaking to the participants in the meeting, Tania noted that the opening of local branches continued during the year: for example, 31 local branches were added to the existing ones in Abkhazia, and 8 in Turkey.

28 events were organized and implemented in 2020 thanks to the efforts of the Congress team.

WAC employees were actively involved in the fight against coronavirus: assistance was provided to all repatriated compatriots who asked for help from the Congress - and this is 126 people.

"We provided them with food for the quarantine period," explained Kan Tania.

He recalled that Mussa Ekzekov purchased equipment and medical supplies according to the list of the Operational Headquarters of the Ministry of Health of Abkhazia for the fight against coronavirus.

The regional office in Turkey has provided the payment of quarantine cash benefits to Abkhazian students studying in Turkey.

Kan Tania presented the results of other events. Therefore, the tradition of lighting a memorial candle "Aschamak" on the Day of Remembrance of the Victims of the Caucasian War was restored.  3 children's parties were organized - in Sukhum, Atara and Pakuash. The project "We speak Abkhazian / We speak Abaza" has been launched - 80 online lessons on learning the native language with subtitles in Russian, English, Arabic and Turkish.

The WAC team actively participated in the organization of the holiday dedicated to the Flag Day.  On the same day, Mussa Ekzekov presented the people of Abkhazia with the song "Apsny Abirak", sung by Anri Tsulukia and recorded by Anri Gunba.

In 2020, a large-scale project "Asthtra" was launched in cooperation with the public youth organization "AMCh" - these are tours around Abkhazia for students of rural schools. The project will continue in 2021.

For the Day of Knowledge, the Congress team distributed specially ordered exercise books in the Abkhazian language to 76 schools in Abkhazia, as well as sports equipment provided by the regional branch of Turkey - 650 different balls and 15 volleyball nets.

During the year, the WAC Discussion club worked actively, which held 20 meetings on environmental conservation, ecology, maternal and child health and psychology.

As part of the work of the local council in Baslakh, the construction of a residential building by the villagers for the family of a local school teacher continues. The building materials were donated by friends and partners of the Congress. Moreover, the reconstruction of the school sports hall in the village of Dzhirkhva by the local population with the active participation of the Congress team is underway.

Kan Tania touched upon the topic of working trips. In 2020, Executive Secretary Inar Gitsba and member of the Supreme Council Inver Alshundba traveled to Syria to meet with the Abkhaz-Abaza and Circassian Diasporas in order to discuss the prospects for establishing a regional branch of the WAC in Syria and concluding a cooperation agreement with the Circassian charitable organization in Syria.

In the past year, the WAC and "Alashara" launched the "Amazara" project to preserve and develop the intangible cultural heritage of the Abkhaz-Abaza people. Videos of dancing, folk music and a film about traditional knives were made.

At the end of his speech, Kan Tania added that the Chairman of the Supreme Council Mussa Ekzekov recently signed a cooperation agreement with the Forestry State University in St. Petersburg. As a result of this cooperation, applicants from Abkhazia and all countries where the Congress and the Abkhaz-Abaza Diaspora are represented, had an excellent opportunity to get an education on a budgetary basis at one of the prestigious universities in Russia.

"For those who have not seen the information on the Congress portal - keep in mind, and if you find anyone interested, please contact us directly," said the head of the WAC staff.

He also announced the amount of funds spent in 2020 for the implementation of events, business trips, souvenirs, implementation of projects, current expenses and the maintenance of employees - this is 13,312,000 rubles.

"Sources of funding are voluntary donations in the amount of 13,312,000 rubles from Musa Khabalevich Ekzekov," said Kan Tania.

2021 in the spirit of main ideas

The Executive Secretary of the Congress, Inar Gitsba, in his turn, said that in 2021 the work of the Congress will continue in accordance with the activity plan approved by the Chairman of the Supreme Council of the WAC Mussa Ekzekov. According to Gitsba, it is clear that the work will be carried out with adjustments due to objective circumstances related to the development of the epidemiological situation.

Inar Gitsba said that in 2021 the main efforts of the organization will be aimed at continuing the activities to open the Local branches of the Congress in the settlements of Abkhazia. This activity involves the formation of an active civil sector in the localities in order to address the key needs of the population.

Following the establishment of Local branches and joint activities to address the key needs of residents, it is planned to hold - tentatively next fall - an expanded meeting with the Heads of these Local branches.

Work with youth will be of great importance.

"The World Abaza Congress attaches great importance to attracting young people to the activities of the Congress. In this context, we consider it important to search for new communication channels that are interesting for the younger generation," he recalled and said that the Intellectual and Creative Club "Dune" is actively functioning in Abkhazia. Through the efforts of its members, the intellectual games championships in Abkhazia gained momentum: "ChGK", "Brainring", "Jeopardy". According to Gitsba, using this accumulated experience, the WAC plans to organize and conduct an intellectual TV game "Izakui?  Iaba?  Ianba?"  (What? Where? When? - translated from Abkhazian - ed.)

"This project will make it possible to immerse young people in a playful way in a vast array of historical, ethnographic and folklore information about the Abkhaz-Abaza people," said the Executive Secretary of the WAC.

He also said that in March-April 2021, in accordance with the agreement concluded between the WAC and the St. Petersburg State Forestry University, a delegation of teachers is expected to conduct entrance exams for applicants from Abkhazia.

That very traditional charity event timed to September 1, which involves the distribution of specially designed notebooks and diaries in the Abkhazian language to first-graders of all schools in Abkhazia is approved by the Chairman of the Supreme Council, Mussa Ekzekov for the next year.

Traditionally, courses on the study of national dances, the study of the Abkhazian and Abaza languages ​​will continue in the Moscow, St. Petersburg, Karachay-Circassian and Kabardino-Balkarian regional branches.

"The Congress will be presented at such well-known venues as the International Festival of Culture of the Peoples of the Caucasus, at various literary evenings. In case of a favorable international epidemiological situation, work will continue on the development of multi-level interaction with the Diaspora in the countries of its compact residence," Inar Gitsba said.

Ideas and thoughts. Proposals from members of the Supreme Council of the WAC

Beslan Kobakhia, a member of the Supreme Council of the Congress, spoke at the meeting.  Starting his speech, he honored the memory of the first President of the Congress, Taras Shamba, who passed away in 2020. Taras Shamba remained the honorary president of the WAC until the last days of his life.

"I would like to express my deep gratitude to Musa Khabalievich Ekzekov, Armida Chagova, Oleg Etlukhov, Robert Arshba and many of our other Abaza brothers, who responded very quickly to this sad news and came out with the initiative to perpetuate the memory of Taras Shamba. As you know, the KChR has already made a decision to name a new sports complex after him. Abkhazia is also pleased with the decision to perpetuate his memory," Kobakhia said.

A member of the Supreme Council of the WAC, Akhmet Khapat, also expressed gratitude to Mussa Ekzekov and the entire team of the Congress for the work done in 2020. He spoke about the work of the regional office of the WAC in Turkey.

"We created our own small budget. As part of this fiscal year, we collected about 20 thousand liras, half of which was directed to support students from Abkhazia studying in Turkey, and the other half to deliver sports equipment to Abkhazia for distribution in rural schools. These funds, of course, are not enough to meet all the needs, but we are trying to do our best," said Akhmet Khapat.

He also noted that it is necessary to jointly develop a project for the return of repatriates to their historical homeland.

Armida Chagova, a member of the Supreme Council of the WAC, in turn, said that, despite all the difficulties, in 2020 they managed to shoot a documentary about the Abaza of Staropolye.

"In this difficult year, we tried to do a lot of good things for people. The most important thing that we did was a film about the Abaza of the Stavropol Territory. We filmed the material for four hours, and now we have prepared an hour-long film that tells about how the Abaza got to the Stavropol Region, how they settled down, how they lived, what they are doing today. We spoked to all the famous Abaza people of Stavropol and told about them," Chagova said.

She said that she plans to translate the film into the Abaza language, as well as distribute it in Turkey.

Chagova also spoke about the successes of the language school of Stavropol, in which 30 people have been studying the Abaza language for more than three years.

"We have developed our own methods, and now, during a pandemic, they saw us on the Internet in the Association of native and state languages ​​- "Slovo (Word)", which was organized by the deputy of the State Duma of Russia from Dagestan Murat Kadzhaev. They provided us with an educational platform, and they also technically support all our classes, so we can study online. We have students from Moscow, Kislovodsk, Nevinnomyssk and Stavropol. This is a good job. We want to cooperate with everyone who is studying their native languages," she said.

One hundred thousand exclusive users

The results of the work of the Information portal of the World Abaza Congress were briefly summed up by the publishing editor of the Information portal Izolda Khagba. She recalled that 2020 began for the WAC Info Portal "as usual."

"We reflected all the events that took place with the help of the WAC, until a pandemic came into our lives. However, the work of the portal did not stop for a single day. Changes have been made to the format of publications. We switched to a news format and informed, mainly our foreign Diaspora, about what is happening in connection with the coronavirus pandemic in Abkhazia. We have a block on our website that reflects in figures what is happening in the Caucasus, including Abkhazia, KChR," said Khagba.

According to her, despite the fact that most events in the country were canceled, including some events of the Congress, 155 materials were published on the site in 2020, which translated into five more languages ​​is 930 publications in different formats: text, video, photo.

"The website traffic has increased by almost 90 percent compared to 2019. We have over 100 thousand unique visitors. Again, it is very pleasant to note that the geography of visits to the website is so vast. Naturally, Russia, Abkhazia and Turkey read us, but we are also consistently read in the USA, Ireland and in 150 other countries," said Khagba.

"We are going to implement them"

After listening to all the proposals and speeches, the Chairman of the Supreme Council of the World Abaza Congress Mussa Ekzekov noted that the WAC team will consider each proposed idea in detail.

"We have written down all the proposals. We will detail and study them carefully. We are going to  implement them coherently with you," Mussa Ekzekov stressed.

Mussa Ekzekov responded to Beslan Kobakhia's speech dedicated to Taras Shamba, noting that the first President of the Congress "will be in every event, in every action and in every idea of ​​the World Abaza Congress."

Meetings of the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the World Abaza Congress for summing up and discussing plans are held regularly.