Anna Zhvania is a Head of Social Research Lab at Ilia State University and Senior Research Fellow at the Georgian Institute for Strategic Studies (GISS). Social Research Lab aims to conduct research and facilitate public discussion on topics related to self-reflection of Georgian society, statehood building and institutional development, understanding public policy and reforms, their dimensions, development and transformation of society, other issues, which are essential for understanding of the current dynamics and perspectives.
Anna has a diverse work experience in non-governmental organizations, international donor institutions, academia and the government. She started with the Georgian national NGOs working in field of human rights and media freedom, public education and policy analysis. From 2005 Anna worked for different governmental institutions in fields of security and peace building, intelligence, CBRN preparedness and response, education and science, human rights and civic education. As a part of a government team, in close cooperation with partners and stakeholders at domestic and international level, she was involved in needs assessment, evaluation and planning, policy design and actual implementation of different reform elements.
During 2005 – 2013, Anna acted as Deputy Minister of Education and Science, Head of Foreign Intelligence Service, special adviser to the President in field of civic integration and Director of Richard G. Lugar Center for Public Health Research. The latter meant to be the unique international center of excellence in field of biomedical research. From 2002 Anna was pursuing her academic carrier, through carrying out different researches as well as teaching and mentoring future social researchers at Ilia State University.
Tina (Tiko) Tsomaia is a Professor at the Caucasus School of Journalism and Media Management (CSJMM) of the Georgian Institute of Public Affairs (GIPA), where she is completing her PhD in Mass Communications. She has a BA and MA in Medicine and an MA in Journalism and Media Management.
As a recipient of a Global Faculty Grant of the Open Society Scholarships Program, she was a postgraduate research fellow NYU’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute. She is a MC member of the Cost Action IS-1206 Femicide Across Europe and a board member of the Georgian Psychotrauma Society.
She is a Chairperson of the Baltic to Black Sea Alliance – Georgia, a nongovernmental organization with the aim to facilitate consolidation of free, democratic, socially and politically vocal society in Georgia. As a human rights activist she is involved in different campaigns in mental health, women movement, access to medicine, palliative care.
Her research topics are: pre-natal sex selection, trauma and addiction, ethical decision making and health communication.
In May 2015, Vera Tkachenko assumed her duties as International Programme Manager of Sub-Programme 2 “Criminal Justice, Crime Prevention and Integrity” of the Programme for Central Asia 2015-2019 that represents the overarching strategic framework under which United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) provides technical assistance within the Central Asian States. From 2010 to 2015 she served as UNODC International Project Manager leading criminal justice project in the Kyrgyz Republic aimed at strengthening the rule of law through enhanced multi-agency coordination and policy development on criminal justice, crime prevention and penal reform.
From January to August 2015 Ms. Tkachenko served as an Officer-in-Charge of UNODC Programme Office in Tajikistan. From 2008 to June 2010 she led the work of a non-political, independent research institute Legal Policy Research Centre (LPRC) based in Almaty that promotes legal reforms through research and pro-active engagement with policy makers in countries of Central Asia. From 2001 to 2006 she served as a Regional Director of Penal Reform International (PRI) for Central Asia.
From 1999 to 2000 she worked on implementation of human dimension projects of the OSCE Centre in Kazakhstan. In 2006-2007, as a Chevening Scholar, Ms. Tkachenko has received the degree of Master of Science in Criminal Justice Policy in the London School of Economics and Political Science. In 2007 she was a fellow at Stanford Summer Programme on Democracy, Development and Rule of Law. She also has bachelor degree in Law.
Giorgi Vashakidze has more than ten years of experience as a manager and researcher in good governance, institutional reform, public administration design and democratic development. Throughout his professional life, he has worked extensively with national governments and international organizations. Until recently, he worked as a program manager in the democracy and governance office of the United States Agency for International Development in the South Caucasus.
His portfolio encompassed programs to assist the Government to reform public administration, to help the Ministry of Education transform civic education culture in Georgia and to establish Centers of Civic Engagement to support democratic engagement between the local authorities and the population in ten regions in Georgia. Prior to that, he worked with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the United Nations Development Program to implement public administration reform in Georgia.
He was also engaged with the Netherlands Institute of Multiparty Democracy to design political party capacity building projects. Currently, he is an external researcher at the Swiss Graduate School of Public Administration (IDHEAP) at the University of Lausanne where he pursues his doctoral studies. Simultaneously, he works as an international consultant for the United Nations Development Program. He holds master degrees in Peace and Conflict Research from Uppsala University in Sweden and in Advanced Studies in Public Administration Design and Development from the Swiss Graduate School of Public Administration.
Maia Sidamonidze is the former Head of Georgian National Tourism Administration. After obtaining her BBA and MBA Degrees in Tourism and Hospitality from Swiss and UK educational institutions, she pursued her professional career in hospitality industry in Georgia and in the UK. In 2010, she won an open competition to become the Head of Georgian National Tourism Administration at the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development. She led for three years the tourism industry in Georgia that was determined by the Georgian government as one of the top priority sectors to develop the country.
Under her leadership, Tourism became one of the fastest growing industries in Georgia and achieved the highest growth of international tourism in the region according to the UNWTO report. Maia is currently the owner of a hotel and a leading tour operating business in Georgia. Before starting her own business, she was for two years the Dean of the Tourism Faculty at the Caucasus University in Georgia. Recently, she became tourism and hospitality consultant at the Channel Georgia investment consultancy firm and has been elected as the Head of tourism commission at ICC (International Chamber of Commerce) Georgia.
Nikoloz Rurua is a Georgian politician, and a former member of the Cabinet of Georgia in the capacity of Minister of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia. Mr. Rurua previously served as the Deputy Chairman of the Committee for Defense and Security of the Parliament of Georgia. Mr. Rurua has graduated from Rustaveli State Institute of Cinematography and Theatre in 1992. Also he holds a JD degree from Georgia State University College of Law (Atlanta, USA) in International Law.
On his return to Georgia, he worked for GEPLAC (Georgian-European Policy and Legal Advice Centre), where he headed the project on harmonizing Georgian commercial legislation with that of the European Union. In addition, he has established the daily-newspaper 24 Hours (24 Saati), where took up a job of legal observer and editor of the newspaper’s weekly addition The Law. In 2003 published The Law of Freedom, a collection of essays and articles. Mr. Rurua is co-founder of the Web Newspaper ,,Iveria.biz”.
In the leadership of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine (2014-2016) Oleksandra Pavlenko curated regulatory work for the sectors of pharmaceuticals, medical services, market of medical products, etc. She headed direction associated with the management of the state corporate rights in health sector, developed the area of public – private partnership in medicine, and also provided communication with the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, The Administration of President of Ukraine, law enforcement agencies, the public and other authorities.
As a lawyer she has been practicing in the field of law since 2000, accompanying business in the resonant litigation, working with politicians and well-known businessmen. In different years Oleksandra held the position of authorized representative of the candidate in President of Ukraine and of the CEC of a political party in the Central Election Commission (CEC). Among the well-known and the resonance projects of Oleksandra Pavlenko – judicial protection of the Russian airline company “Siberia” in conflict with the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine; protection of assets of the open joint stock company “Nikopol Ferroalloy plant” in the process of “re-privatization”; consulting and legal support of the President of Ukraine at the signing of international agreements etc.
After residing and working in Ukraine, Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, and Russian Federation, Pavel Panasjuk has an extensive international business experience and understanding of international and local business contexts in this region. Pavel began his international career as an Assistant Director to Timur Bekvambetov in the Czech Republic.
He worked for several international companies, starting from entry-level positions and working his way up to the senior management. Pavel established and successfully launched private companies in Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, and Ukraine, ensuring fast profitability and sustainability of newly established ventures. Currently, Pavel leads Central and Eastern European operations for a prominent advertising company, as well as invests in development and research of new energy efficient technologies in Ukraine, working in partnership with the Institute of Semiconductor Physics (ISP) of Ukraine.
Pavel holds a Master´s degree of Business Administration from Ternopil Academy of National Economy, Ukraine (1998) and a Bachelor’s degree in Financial Management from University of Utrecht, The Netherlands (1998).
Giorgi started his professional career in 2003 when he joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Very soon he was promoted to the position of the Assistant to Minister where he worked almost a year till Autumn 2004. At MFA, Giorgi covered international organizations, Russia and the conflict regions of Georgia. He served as the MFA representative at Joint Control Commission –international negotiation format over the conflict in Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia.
In 2005 Giorgi moved to the National Security Council to serve as a Senior Advisor with the same area and regional focus. In September 2005, when he was invited to join the foreign policy team of the Prime Minister Nogaideli. Giorgi worked as an Assistant to Prime Minister (for 2 Prime Ministers) till 2008. Giorgi’s areas of competencies included support of Prime Ministers in their foreign policy activities, but also, at some point he was entrusted with PR activities of the Prime Minister’s office.
In 2009, when Giorgi returned from a year-long study break he joined another Prime Minister’s team as a Senior Advisor and worked there till 2011. This time, Giorgi’s portfolio was larger and apart from foreign relations it included participation in planning of various structural and economic reforms. Some of his accomplishments include participation in successful negotiations and coordinating relevant reforms for opening DCFTA negotiations with the EU, negotiations on Russia’s WTO accession, and successful negotiations and background work for US Millennium Challenge Corporation’s 2nd Compact (USD 120 mln grant) for Georgia.
In 2011 Giorgi was invited to serve as the Deputy Ombudsman at the newly established office of the Business (Tax) Ombudsman, where he basically contributed to the formation if the institution. In 2013 Giorgi left public sector for business and joined a local IT and consulting company Onyx Consulting. There he contributed to attracting a strategic investor – Asseco – the largest IT company of Central and Eastern Europe, and apart from being a Deputy Director, was made a partner with minority shares.
In early 2015 Giorgi joined Transparency International – Georgia – one of the largest and most active local NGOs, and a local Chapter of Global Anti-corruption movement. Giorgi graduated from Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO – University) and holds BA in Regional Studies/International Relations and MSc in International Relations/Political Science. Giorgi also holds MA from UCL in Comparative Business Economics. Giorgi is married and has a daughter.
Giorgi Noniashvli has a diverse, decade-long experience in private, public and non-governmental sectors, including being a start-up entrepreneur of the company that still runs with success. He is Founder and Director of LTD “Kingsfer Georgia” (distribution company) since 2007. The company is a subcontractor of Georgian Oil and Gas Corporation and Ministry of Internal Affairs. Having its own business, throughout 2012 and 2014, he simultaneously worked as Corporate Banker in Corporate Business Department of JSC “BTA BANK” – developing banking products.
In 2015, Giorgi moved to the public sector, to manage a 20 Million Gel entrepreneurship project in Entrepreneurship Development Agency, which subsides under the Georgian Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development. After 2016, he joined Georgian Farmers Association (GFA) and holds the position of Deputy Chairmen, mainly leading new youth wing of GFA – GFA Junior. Giorgi is an MBA candidate at International Black Sea University
Ana Natsvlishvili is a lawyer with 8 years of practical experience in protecting and promoting human right and rule of law reforms in Georgia. Her particular fields of interest include women’s rights and gender equality, justice-system reforms, rights of victims of human rights violations and the issues of transitional justice. Ana holds a BA degree from Tbilisi State University (Georgia) in Public International law and LLM degree from Essex University (UK) in International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law.
Currently she serves as an elected chairperson of Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA), the oldest and the leading human rights watchdog in Georgia. She also chairs national coalition of more than 30 NGOs working on judicial reforms and is the member of a newly established Constitutional Commission of Georgia.
Ketevan Nadirashvili has been working for the National Bank of Georgia since 2000, where she occupied various positions as the deputy head of Financial Markets department, chief specialist at Financial Risk management division, Project manager of Investment Management system implementation and Project manager of Business Continuity implementation.
Since 2014 Ketevan is heading Centralized Risk Management Department which supports and enhances the good governance principles in the bank. In her role, Ketevan is responsible for providing the overall leadership and direction for the department as well as implementing an integrated operational risk management framework and Business Continuity planning across the Bank. Ketevan has been participating in number of international projects and successful reforms followed by consultancy work delivered for knowledge transfer purposes for the Central banks of Post-Soviet countries.
In addition to abovementioned, Ketevan has been involved in academic life since 2009- teaching and supervising students in various Georgian Universities. Currently she is a doctorate student and researcher at Ilia State University. Her research interests span broad range of topics including management and leadership theories, enterprise risk management and business continuity concepts. She holds a master’s degree of Business Administration from Maastricht School of Management, master’s degree in Public Administration from Georgian Institute of Public Affairs and Bachelor’s degree in Science from Tbilisi State University.