- Frederic Bachman Lieber Memorial Award (1985)
Professor Dodona Kiziria is known for her rare combination of extraordinary talents and unique abilities, which distinguish her from all of the other members of our Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures. She has demonstrated her outstanding talents in her teaching and lecturing, her work on the Georgian language (her native language), and in the fields of Russian and East European literature and cinema. Each of these fields represents an important aspect of our colleague Dodona Kiziria, who is now retiring after a productive career as student, lecturer, and professor in the IU Slavic department.
The field of Georgian is another major pillar of Dodona Kiziria’s knowledge and persona. The author of Georgian grammars and textbooks, as well as an important Georgian-language poet in her own right, Dodona has single-handedly put our department on the map in this field as well. Her renown in the Georgian field extends far beyond IU, however, and she has set up or worked on Georgian-related programs for the U.S. State Department, Yale University, and Duke University, to name just a few. Although her Russian literature and cinema courses rarely permit her to offer Georgian during the fall and spring semesters at IU, she has regularly taught the Georgian language in our Summer Workshop. Since the status of Georgian evolved from a language of just one Soviet republic to a critical language of an independent state, its international importance has risen dramatically, and now the Georgian language is a mainstay of our summer offerings. This must be a great source of pride to Dodona, since she has long served as unofficial ambassador and interpreter of things Georgian. Anyone in our department would immediately think of her culinary abilities in the preparation of the famous Georgian cheese bread khachapuri, which Dodona often contributes to departmental receptions, where it always has the distinction of being the most eagerly awaited dish, and the first to be devoured by its many faculty and student devotees.
In addition to Dodona’s vast storehouse of skills in teaching the Georgian language and representing its culture among us, mention should be made of her distinction as a Georgian poet. Legend has it that one of our colleagues once dropped the name of Dodona Kiziria in Tbilisi, Georgia’s capital, and was immediately treated to an impromptu recitation of her poetry. Another colleague reports seeing a full-page Tbilisi newspaper article on Georgian poets, with Dodona Kiziria’s portrait in the key central position on the page.
Dodona’s eminent skills as a film specialist are yet a third major area deserving of recognition. Holder of a diploma from the All-Union Institute of Cinematography of the
U.S.S.R. and author of an IU dissertation on film, Dodona has combined cinematic expertise with her outstanding teaching skills. Small wonder that her film courses on both Russian and East European film have been a mainstay of the Slavic department and the Russian and East European Institute over the years.