Zaza Bibilashvili is the founder of the Chavchavadze Center, the first civil society organization in Georgia modeled after European political foundations.
Zaza has been recognized as a leading international lawyer in Georgia for the past two decades, top-ranked by every international legal directory that covers the region. He has been involved in nearly every major transaction in Georgia during that period, amassing unparalleled experience in multi-party cross-cultural negotiations and management. In 2013, following the party’s defeat in general elections, Zaza joined UNM and became a member of its board. He led the effort to reclaim the party at the end of 2016 and was elected as a vice-chair of UNM’s political council. He fully separated from the party in May 2018 and officially resigned from his position and party membership on February 6, 2020.
In 2005, Zaza founded BGI, the leading Georgian law firm. Prior to the arrival of BGI, Zaza was a director of Ernst & Young’s legal services arm, EY Law Georgia, as well as the director of its predecessor, GCG Law Office, an affiliate of Andersen Legal — both dominant players on the Georgian legal services market at the time. Before moving to private practice, Zaza worked with the Permanent Mission of Georgia to the United Nations in New York.
Zaza graduated from Tbilisi State University, Department of International Law, earning his law degree with high honors. Zaza also holds a degree in international relations from Canisius College, a Jesuit school in Buffalo, New York.
A founding member of the Georgian Bar Association, Zaza served on the Executive Board of GBA between 2009 and 2013, where he chaired the Commercial Law Committee. One of the original founders of the Association of Law Firms of Georgia, Zaza served on the Board of ALFG between 2014 and 2017, where he headed Georgia’s first ever Pro Bono initiative.
Zaza is currently serving his 4th term on the board of ICC Georgia, the National Committee of the International Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business organization, where he used to chair the Arbitration Commission. Zaza was an arbitrator at the Court of Arbitration of the European Chamber of Commerce, and has acted as ICC arbitrator in London and Vienna. Between 2009 and 2010, Zaza served as a member of the State Constitutional Commission.
At various times, Zaza has served on the boards of Poti Seaport Corporation, Teliani Valley, American Friends of Georgia (Georgian Advisory Board), a US charity, and the Georgian Vine Foundation. Zaza is a founder of the Georgian Richard Wagner Society, which unites Georgian connoisseurs of the great composer and engages in various educational activities.
A ranked chess-player, Zaza is a frequent speaker at various international fora, including business associations, professional and civic organizations. In addition, Zaza writes frequently for leading Georgian print and online publications (including Forbes Georgia magazine, Tabula magazine and azrebi.ge, a website of Ilia State University).
In 1995 he was named Paul Harris Fellow, the highest award of the Rotary International.
In addition to his native Georgian, Zaza speaks fluent English and Russian, and has a fair command of French and Spanish.
Nino Kalandadze is a founder of the Chavchavadze Center.
In 2008-2012 Nino served as a Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia overseeing bilateral relations with 45 European countries. She served as a principle liaison of the Georgian government; contributed to the elaboration and implementation of “Non Recognition Policy” of breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia; facilitated implementation of so called “Steinmeier’s Plan” aiming to integrate breakaway regions into Georgian political process; led EU-Georgia Talks in 2008; managed and supervised Consular Department, internal and external communications; served as a Parliamentary Secretary and was an official Spokesperson of the Ministry.
In 2004-2008 Nino was a Member of the Parliament and held the position of the Deputy Chairperson of the Legal Affairs Committee. In this capacity she coordinated legislative efforts to reform Georgian Administrative Law; co-authored and initiated draft Administrative Code of Georgia; represented Parliamentary delegation to the Council of Europe. She also served as a member of High Council of Justice and the Georgian Pardoning commission.
Before serving the public office, Nino was involved in a development field. She worked as a legal expert for the German International Cooperation (GIZ).
Since 2013 Nino has been actively engaged in civic and academic life. She is a Dean and Associate Professor at Caucasus University and a member of the Georgian Bar Association. She holds a diplomatic rank of Envoy Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary.
Nino is a co-author of the Manual on the General Administrative Code of Georgia and co-founder of an online analytical Magazine “Iveria.biz”.
Nino graduated from a German High School “Schule Birklehof”. She studied law at the University of Mannheim, Germany and Tbilisi State University, Georgia. She received a master's degree in International Relations at Tufts University, the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.
Nino is fluent in Georgian (native), English, German, and Russian.
Gia (Gaioz) Japaridze
A board member of the Chavchavadze Center since September 2021, Gia Japaridze is a former Georgian Diplomat, who has served as Charge d’Affaires and Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of Georgia to the Republic of Portugal and well as Charge d’Affaires and Chief of the Diplomatic Mission of Embassy of Georgia to the Republic of Cyprus. In his capacity as a board member, Gia oversees various research and educational activities as well as leads the Center’s foreign desk. In addition to his activities in the Center, Gia is a permanent academic staff member at the University of Georgia’s School of International Relations and Political Science.
Gia attended Tbilisi State University (graduating in 1996) and the University of Athens in Greece (graduating in 2007). His formal studies include: classical philology, international relations, political theory, international law, European integration and United States foreign policy. Gia Japaridze speaks Georgian, Greek, English, Russian and Portuguese (conversational).
Eka Tkeshelashvili has been the Vice Prime-Minister, State Minister of Georgia for Reintegration. In this position she was overseeing the implementation of state policy towards the occupied territories of Georgia and the national policy on minority integration. She previously served the Secretary of the National Security Council of Georgia heading the National Strategic Review Process. Earlier she held the position of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia. She also worked as the Prosecutor General of Georgia and the Minister of Justice of Georgia. Mrs. Tkeshelashvili also held the position of the Chairperson of Tbilisi Appeals Court. In this capacity she headed the work of the Appeals Court and led the ongoing judicial reform, was the member of the High Council of Justice of Georgia. At earlier stages she also served as the Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs and Deputy Minister of Justice of Georgia where she was mainly responsible for the international legal relations. Before joining the government, Mrs. Tkeshelashvili was a Deputy Chief of Party at IRIS Georgia leading the programs on the rule of law, legal aid and human rights. She also worked as a Field Officer in the International Committee of the Red Cross responsible for the programs on national implementation of the international humanitarian law. Previously, Mrs. Tkeshelashvili served as an intern at the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (Netherlands) and at the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights (USA).
Mrs. Tkeshelashvili also worked in academia, as an Associate Professor she taught the public international law and accountability for human rights atrocities at various Georgian universities.
Mrs. Tkeshelashvili has master’s degree in international human rights law from Notre Dame Law School (USA), certificate in human rights lawyering and human rights advocacy from Oxford University (UK), Diploma in Law from Tbilisi State University.
Sandro Bibilashvili is a dual-qualified international lawyer, admitted to practice law in Georgia as well as the State of New York, USA. He has been in private practice since 2002, focusing on major regional and international mandates. Since 2014 Sandro is a partner of BGI Legal, Georgia’s leading independent full service law firm, which has been top ranked since 2005 in every service area by every leading international legal directory that covers the region.
In 2012 Sandro was accredited as a mediator by the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR) and since then serves as a licensed mediator at Tbilisi City Court. Sandro is a visiting professor at Free University of Tbilisi and serves as the Chair of the Commercial Law Commission at ICC Georgia, Georgian National Committee of the International Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business organization. He also serves on the Board of the Association of Law Firms of Georgia. In 2001, while studying political science at the University of Vermont, Sandro interned for the then-Congressman Bernie Sanders.
Sandro holds professional law degrees from Tbilisi State University (JD equivalent, 2003), Central European University (LL.M. in International Business Law, 2004) and Duke University School of Law (LL.M., 2011). Sandro is the Edmund S. Muskie fellow, a fellowship program of the US Department of State.