Valentyna Zasadko has 9 year experience in public policy research and is the author of more than 40 scientific publications and policy papers in this field. She co-authored the book “Cross-border Cooperation of Ukraine in the Context of European Integration” (2014). Her academic background includes a master’s degree in international economic relations and PhD in economics. Valentyna’s academic training and work experience have included both domestic and international perspectives on research and implementation of public services and local policy reform.
Since 2006 she works in a research team of Norwegian-Ukrainian projects devoted to analysis and assessment of local government policy (“Local government reform in Ukraine” (2012-2015), “Local government reform in Ukraine: Program for capacity building and research-policy dialogue” (2008-2009). The projects are joint initiative of the partner organizations – the Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities (KS), the Association of Ukrainian Cities (AUC), the Norwegian Institute for Urban and Regional Research (NIBR). Besides, she is active in a Lviv-based NGO Center for Social and Economic Research “Initiative”. Currently Valentyna Zasadko is senior researcher at Regional Branch of National Institute for Strategic Studies in Lviv. Her research interests include local governance, cross-border cooperation and urban studies.
Nino Zambakhidze is the founder of L.T.D. “LBN Line Distribution Company”, an official representative of Coffee Vergnano and Tea Ronnefeldt in Georgia. Having started farming in 2008 she founded L.T.D. “Georgian Business Zone” (Milk Processing Farm and Animal Food Production Farm) in the village Tsnisi, Akahltsikhe Region where she also acts as an Executive Director. In 2010 Nino founded “Regional Development Association” in Akhaltsikhe and since then has been leading execution of various rural development projects. She became a prize winner for “Woman Entrepreneur of the Year” at the first annual Business-Award “Mercury 2011” ceremony, and was also the first woman leader becoming an honorary coordinator of the organization “Invest for the Future” from 2012, the organization functioning under the patronage of Hilary Clinton.
While actively being an entrepreneur, Nino founded “Georgian Farmers’ Association” with her partners in 2012, where she serves as a chairwoman of the organization. She is an active advocate of the farmers’ rights and the key driving force for the success of the organization. From 2014, Nino became the founder of Georgian Entrepreneurs’ Network supporting both beginners and experienced entrepreneurs in business development. Being a proactive person by nature, Nino is a member of almost all key governmental or nongovernmental boards and committees active in agriculture and not only. Since 2013 she’s also been an advisor in agro-directions at the State Partnership Fund. Nino is an MBA Candidate in Global Management (GGSB) & International Executive MBA (CSB) at Grenoble Graduate School of Business (France) and Caucasus School of Business (CSB).
Denis Volkov joined the Levada Center, an independent polling organization based in Moscow, as an analyst and head of the development department in 2007. He is an author of several publications on civil society, protest, and political attitudes in Russia. Denis is a frequent commentator in the media, and has presented at conferences and roundtables on Russia around the world. He contributes his analysis to the Carnegie Center Moscow website. Now he is also a visiting fellow at Chatham House in London and German Council on Foreign Relations in Berlin until April 2015. He received his MA in Political Science from the Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences and University of Manchester. He was a Draper Hills Fellow Summer Fellow on Democracy at Stanford University in 2013.
Nana Tsiklauri joined Public Service Development Agency (PSDA) of the Ministry of Justice of Georgia in August 2013. Since then she is intensely involved in the design and implementation of various projects and initiatives aiming at improving public service delivery in Georgia with a strong citizen-centric approach and focus on e-governance and public service innovation. Currently she is leading the Strategic Projects and Reforms Department of the Agency, while at the same time serving as the Deputy Chair of PSDA. Before moving to the public sector realm, Nana worked with a number of international agencies and local NGOs in the field of development cooperation.
Her experience in the public sector is underscored by a Master’s Degree in Public Policy and Administration from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), along with a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the Georgian Institute of Public Affairs (GIPA). Nana also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations from the Tbilisi State University. Over the last years she has focused on Decentralization and Local Governance issues, agile governance models and citizen-centric public services. As part of the recent and ongoing projects she has been actively involved in initiatives aiming at introducing innovations into the way public services are designed and delivered, fostering e-skills development and application of human centered design to inform public policy.
Nidal Sawehli is the founder and manager of Diwan Research in Libya, a company that provides quantitative and qualitative research services to both commercial and non-profit organizations. After the 2011 revolution, he was part of the Temporary Financing Mechanism which channeled international funds to the new authority after the fall of the Gaddafi regime. He also took senior advisory roles with the Prime Minister’s office, Minister of Civil Society and Minister of Foreign Affairs. Nidal was previously awarded the Chevening Scholarship from the U.K. government and the Fulbright Scholarship from the U.S. government. He graduated with a BA in economics from the American University in Egypt, an MA in economics planning from the University of Glasgow in the U.K., and an MBA from the University of Pittsburgh.
For over fifteen years Kateryna Ryabiko has lived her passion for democratization and human rights, providing assistance and policy development in political accountability, parliamentary ethics, political participation and electoral processes throughout Central and Eastern Europe. She has worked for international organizations, private sector consultancies and government institutions. Currently, Kateryna leads Ukraine’s Civil Society Project at the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights in Warsaw. Kateryna was named a USAID Foreign Service National for outstanding achievements in promoting democratic development in Ukraine and her leadership in guiding the U.S. Government’s democracy assistance efforts. Ms. Ryabiko holds Master’s in Public Administration from the State University of New York (2002) and was honoured by a Stanford University Fellowship for Democracy, Development and Rule of Law (2009). She was recently featured in a documentary about the evolution of democracy, A Whisper to a Roar, and was published in the 2015 European Yearbook on Human Rights.
Mariam Rakviashvili was born on 6 April 1977 in Tbilisi. She has an academic degree of bachelor with a focus on Architecture and an academic master’s degree with a focus on International Relations and European Law. Mariam started her career in 2003 as a Second Secretary at the Department of Russian Federation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Then she served at the Embassy of Georgia to the Republic of Estonia as Deputy Chief of Mission and further pursued her work as a Deputy Head of Department of Asia, Africa, Australia and Pacific Rim. In 2012, Mariam moved to the Office of the State Minister of Georgia on European and Euro-Atlantic Integration where she is currently occupying the position of the Deputy State Minister.
Ms. Tamar Razmadze, MBA, is the Head of Donor Coordination Unit at the Government Administration of Georgia as of March, 2014. She has set up the Donor Coordination Unit and streamlined the process of donor coordination from the perspective of policy planning and development within the Government of Georgia. Tamara has over 20 years of work experience in donor organizations, academia and private sector, with almost 15 years spent with different development partners such as USAID, IFC and the World Bank. Tamara’s expertise covers communications and marketing management, change management and strategic planning. Ms. Razmadze used to work as a Public Awareness Manager, Head of Marketing and Sales Department, Communications Manager and Business Consultant.
She has led different initiatives targeted at the country development, such as Increase of Economic Knowledge and Business Acumen, Marketing and Branding Training Program for Government Agencies, Awareness Increase of the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report, etc. Tamara’s extensive experience covers active participation in transformation process of an organization from NGO to a commercial institution, where through well-targeted marketing efforts the bank successfully penetrated the local market. During her consultancy, Tamara consulted leading local companies active in production, media and marketing fields. Examples include Nabeglavi (“Healthy Water”), Magi Style and newspaper Georgia Today. Ms. Razmadze is an author of more than 100 articles. She also led a Public Relations course in one of the leading business schools (ESM) in Georgia.
Mr. George Nanobashvili is an Economic Development Team Leader at the UNDP Georgia Country Office. He is responsible for developing and implementing poverty reduction and economic development projects. In 2006-2009 he served on the position of the Head of Economic Analysis and Policy Department at the Ministry of Economic Development of Georgia. He was Chief Advisor on Economic Security Issues at the National Security Council of Georgia (2003-2006). In 2001-2003 he worked as an Executive Director of Civic Initiatives Center (NGO). During his leadership at the Ministry of Economic Development concepts on reform of competition regulation, national statistics and technical regulation were developed. In 2002-2009 he was an elected Board Member of the Association of Young Economists of Georgia. He has published various articles and policy papers.
Yury Nabutovski holds Bachelor’s degree of Science in Economics from Moscow State University and Master’s degree in political science from the same university. During his carrier Yury has worked as a researcher and PR-manager until 2004. In 2005 he entered youth civil movement Oborona, a non-partisan network of youth, Oborona was presented in all big cities of Russia and was famous after its actions and performances aimed at civil problems. At the same time he became a member of political party Soyuz Pravykh Sil or SPS – the Union of Right Forces. He worked as a coordinator responsible for work with district organizations of Moscow branch of the party.
As an activist and member of Moscow council of Solidarnost, Yury met December 2011 protests on Bolotnaya Square and Academician Sakharov avenue, as a member of the team of organizers of those meetings that finally led to changes in Russian political legislation. The protests started 5.12.2011 so it was decided to try to organize a liberal party with that name, Party of 5 of December, and Yury was among the team of its organizers. Now he is a member of the political council and HR group leader; he is responsible for work with newcomers, organization of internal events and communications. Yury is also a volunteer at the Center for Interethnic Cooperation, an NGO that works with national and cultural minorities in Russia.
Faniya Mussayeva is a researcher and consultant, specializing in poverty, social inclusion, social protection, public finance and democratic governance issues. For the past 8 years, Faniya has worked as a Social Policy Specialist with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Kazakhstan, The Gambia, and Jordan. In the past, she worked for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and its Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), and the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI). Faniya is a Draper Hills Summer Fellow (2010). She holds an MA in theory and practice of human rights from the University of Essex.
Irakli Laitadze has graduated with honors from the department of Economic Geography of the Tbilisi State University in 1993. He has also graduated from Diplomatic School of Madrid (Diploma in International Politics) and from the University of Cambridge (MBA). Irakli Laitadze has also studied the Fundamental Methods of Mathematical Economics at the Lancaster University. Irakli Laitadze is Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of GMT Mtatsminda, LLC. Previously he has served as the Deputy CFO of the GMT Group, which has its capital invested across four portfolio companies in several industries. He has also worked as a sales executive covering South Caucasus in Belgian ”Group Thermote & Vanhalst”, which is the trader in a heavy industrial equipment. Prior to moving to the private sector, Mr. Laitadze has worked in the Georgian Foreign Service including at the Mission of Georgia to the EU in Brussels for more than a decade.