TBILISI, DFWatch – In August 2007, the U.S. embassy in Tbilisi listed twelve young women who each held special talents and one day could become powerful. DF Watch went looking for them.
The embassy cable leaked by Wikileaks in 2011 is dedicated to Georgian women who held leading positions in government. The twelve women listed are described as Georgia’s politicians of the future. These are: Eka Zghuladze, Eka Tkeshelashvili, Eka Gigauri, Eka Sharashidze, Ana Zhvania, Nona Tsotsoria, Lali Papiashvili, Irina Kurdadze, Nino Nakashidze, Maya Nadiradze, Elene Khoshtaria and Tina Khidasheli.
Nino Burjanadze is not on the list. She was Speaker of Parliament and was considered the second most powerful person in the country. But three of the women who were considered members of her team are mentioned. They are Irina Kurdadze, Nino Nakashidze and Lali Papiashvili. Today they are in Saakashvili’s government.
Irina Kurdadze is now Deputy Education Minister and has been appearing frequently on TV lately.
She was born in 1968, and is a lawyer; graduated from Tbilisi State University – faculty of international law and international relations. In 2005 she received a law degree.
Irina Kurdadze entered politics in 2004. She was member of parliament from 2004 to 2008, elected from the National Movement party list. However she was considered as Burjanadze’s quota, because the governmental list then consisted of the candidates of Mikheil Saakashvili, Nino Burjanadze and Zurab Zhvania, the three leaders of the Rose Revolution in 2003.
While an MP, Kurdadze was considered a member of Burjanadze’s team and her friend. But after Burjanadze went to the opposition in spring 2008, Kurdadze chose to stay in government.
In 2008-2009 she was head of the Analytical Department at the President’s Administration. From 2009 till today she has been Deputy Education Minister.
At the same time she has lectures at Tbilisi State University. She’s Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law.
Nino Nakashidze – Currently is Georgia’s Ambassador to the Czech Republic.
She was born in 1955. She graduated from Tbilisi Ilia Chavchavadze’s Western Languages and Culture’s State Institute; candidate of Philological Sciences.
She was also considered a team member and friend of Burjanadze. During the Georgian parliament of 2004-2008 she was head of the European Integration Committee. She also stayed in government after Burjanadze went to the opposition. First she worked at the Foreign Affair Ministry, and then was appointed as Ambassador to the Czech Republic.
Lali Papiashvili, born in 1972 is lawyer and today is judge at Georgia’s Constitutional Court. She was appointed to this position in 2007 following a decision by the president.
She graduated from Tbilisi State University, Faculty of Law.
She trained at the University of Maastricht, Birmingham University Institute of European Law, and Jean Monet European Centre for the New Orleans Public Law Legislative International Centre, Central European University, Geneva Institute of International Studies, and elsewhere.
She was a member of the well-known non-governmental organization Georgian Young Lawyers Association from 1996 to 2005 and a member of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s Human Rights and Humanitarian Issues Committee (2004-2007); Board member of organization Parliamentarians for Global Actions (USA).
From 2005 she has been a Member of Wilton Park International Association in the UK; a honorary citizen in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; and participated in UNICEF, TACIS and TraCCC projects (1997-2002).
Eka Zghuladze, Eka Tkeshelashvili, Eka Sharashidze, Elene Khoshtaria, Nona Tsotsoria and Maya Nadiradze also remain in various positions in government.
Eka Zghuladze is Deputy Interior Minister, but her biography is not to be found on the Interior Ministry webpage or from other sources. Also unknown are the biographies of Deputy State Minister in Euro-integration issues Elene Khoshtaria and Eka Sharashidze, whose current position is also unknown together with her biography. She was Economy Minister and then went to the President’s Administration in 2008.
Eka Tkeshelashvili was born in 1977. Today she is Vice Prime Minister and Georgia’s State Minister in reintegration issues.
She is educated as a lawyer and graduated from Tbilisi State University, Faculty of International Law and International Relations. Afterwards, she studied at different universities in Europe and the USA.
First, she was appointed as Deputy Justice Minister in Saakashvili’s government. Then she was Deputy Interior Minister; then head of Tbilisi Appeal Court; then Minister of Justice; later became Prosecutor General and then Foreign Affairs Minister; then she was appointed as National Security Council Secretary and at the same time she was the president’s advisor for national security issues.
Maya Nadiradze, born in 1961, is psychologist and former MP. Today she is a member of the Energy and Regulatory Commission.
She graduated from Tbilisi State University, Faculty of Psychology.
She was a MP for two periods. In 1999 she became MP for the Traditionalists Party, which was the electoral bloc of Aslan Abashidze, the strongman in Georgia’s Adjara region. She became MP in 2004 on the National Movement list and was majority leader in parliament for four years and an active supporter of Saakashvili’s policy.
Nona Tsotsoria, born in 1972, is currently a judge at the European Court of Human Rights and will remain in this position until 2014, because was appointed in 2008. Judges are elected for six years.
She was a Deputy Prosecutor General, and then went to the UK for studies.
She is a lawyer and graduated from Tbilisi State University; received a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania.
For years she had been working in private legal company and in Georgia’s court system.
Ana Zhvania, born in 1970, has a backgrond from organizations. She was the head of the foreign intelligence service in Saakashvili’s government; she has also been president’s advisor. Then she was the head of Foreign Intelligence Special Service for a while, but due to illness she left for Israel for medical treatment. Today she is director of the Central Public Health Reference Laboratory in Alexeevka near Tbilisi International Airport.
Eka Gigauri moved from the government to the non-governmental sector. Tina Khidasheli was in the opposition and remains there today.
Gigauri was born in 1978. Currently she’s executive director of Transparency International Georgia. She is a lawyer by education and graduated from Tbilisi State University, Faculty of International Relations and Law and Caucasus University. Later she was granted a Master degree in Business Administration. Then she received a Master’s degree after studying at Amsterdam Free University.
She worked at different government institutions mainly within foreign relations; including foreign affairs ministry, transport ministry and interior ministry. Until 2008, she worked as a deputy to Georgia’s border police department head, she headed the legal and international services, and coordinated the reform process at the institution.
Tina Khidasheli was born in 1973. Today she’s one of the leaders of the opposition Republican Party, which is represented in Tbilisi City Council.
She graduated from Tbilisi State University, Faculty of International Law. Then she studied at Budapest and Washington Universities. She’s Master of International Relations and Political Sciences.
She has been working at different international and non-governmental organizations, but never in Saakashvili’s government.
(Image shows Eka Tkeshelashvili, considered by the U.S. Charge d’Affaires a woman of promise in 2007.)