TEDxTbilisi 2013 -- Speaker Biographies

David Gogichaishvili
David Gogichaishvili is a TV entrepreneur as well as a teacher of Media Management, Cross-Cultural Communications and Global Negotiations.  He is also to the General Manager of "The Night Show Producuctions", home for critically acclaimed sitcoms, late night comedy talk shows and the Georgian versions of American TV programmes (single and multi-camera sitcoms, late night comedy talk shows, business-reality, etc.)  Prior to this, David hosted a Georgian Jay Leno/David Letterman style late-night comedy talk show from 2003 - 2006. 

David teaches Media Management at Tbilisi State University and GIPA (Georgian Institute of Public Administration) and is a lecturer of Cross-Cultural Management and Global Business Negotiations at Webster University in Leiden, the Netherlands.

He holds a Master's degree in Media Management from Ohio University, Athens, Ohio (2003), an Executive Global OneMBA from Erasmus University, Rotterdam School of Management in the Netherlands (RSM (Netherlands), UNC (USA), EGADE (Mexico), FGV (Brazil), CUHK (Hong Kong).

Before beginning his MA studies, David graduated with studies in finance and banking, journalism, English language and literature for his Bachelors.

Bishop Rusudan Gotsiridze
The Reverened Rusudan Gotsiridzeis an ordained bishop of the Evangelical Baptist Church of Georgia and is the first woman bishop in Georgia. She is a longtime researcher of womens ordination practices in different Christian traditions. Rusudan holds a Master‘s degree in Christian Theology from Tbilisi State University. In her Masters thesis, Rvd. Rusudan explored the history of womens ordination.

From 2000 until 2006, she was an elected leader of the womens ministry within the Georgian Baptist Church. Since her Ordination in 2009, Rusudan has been responsible for the Kartli region as well as the Ecumenical relationship . In 2010, Bishop Rusudan was elected Chair of the Synod of the Evangelical Baptist Church of Georgia.

In her secular work, Bishop Rusudan is mostly involved in gender advocacy. She is a gender expert and trainer for the International Center on Conflicts and Negotiations (ICCN).

Fleur Just
Fleur Auzimour Just is Director of the Peaceful Change Initiative, an NGO that works on change management and peacebuilding initiatives in the South Caucasus region as well as Libya and Syria. Over the past decade, Fleur has worked on reconciliation and peacebuilding initiatives in many parts of the world ranging from Liberia and Sudan to Kyrgyzstan and Timor Leste. Before moving into the peacebuilding field, Fleur worked first as a trainee psychologist and subsequently as a human rights lawyer. Fleur holds a B.Sc in psychology, an LL.B with a focus on international law, and an MA in international relations.    www.peacefulchange.org

In 2010 a former refugee that Fleur met in Ghana returned to Liberia and set up a school for underprivileged children in the capital, Monrovia. A lack of access to education was one of the contributing factors to Liberia's 14 year long civil war. By providing children with a basic education and a sense of hope in their future, the school is doing its bit for peacebuilding and conflict prevention in Liberia. The school is named after Fleur: www.fleurschool.org

Vladimir Lozinski
Vladimir Lozinski is a journalist with more than 30 years experience in international television news coverage. He is a founder of the Georgian radio station GIPA radio (94.3 FM).  Along with the family, he was also a founder of the Roddy Scott Foundation, a charity in the memory of a British journalist killed in the Chechen conflict in 2002. He has been providing innovative education and support to children and youth in the Pankisi Valley since 2007.

Khatuna Mshvidobadze
Khatuna Mshvidobadze is an Associate Academic Fellow at the Potomac Institute Cyber Center in the USA and a Senior Associate at the Georgian Security Analysis Center. She has been Deputy Director of the Information Center on NATO and Adviser to the Ministry of Defense of Georgia. She has recently been studying social media in Russian politics.

Already holding an MBA, she is a PhD candidate in political science at Georgian Technical University and is also working toward her MS in Cyber Forensics and Intelligence at Utica College, NY. During 2011, she was a Rumsfeld Fellow at the Johns Hopkins University. She holds a Bachelors degree in English from Tbilisi State University. 

Ms. Mshvidobadze has spoken at many international conferences and is widely published on an array of defense and security issues in English and Georgian.  Her presentation, “New threats: Energy Security, Cyber Defense, Critical Infrastructure Protection,” at the Conference on NATO and the New Strategic Concept in Bucharest is listed as a source in the official bibliography of the new NATO strategic concept.

As a member of the Cyber Security Forum Initiative, she recently co-authored a training course, “Russian Cyber Capabilities, Policy and Practice.”

Douglas Osborne
Douglas Osborne was born and raised in St. Petersburg—the other one, on the west coast of Florida. As a child he was bothered by the arbitrariness of words and wanted to know why, for example, “water” means water. He was prone to exasperation trying to visualize either a finite or an infinite universe. And at 14, he had his first experience of existential nausea. But mostly, he was a typical American suburban kid who spent a ton of time on his bike and too much time watching TV.

He went to college and graduated without ever seriously considering what sort of career he wanted and 25 years later still has no idea whether that was fortunate or unfortunate. He stumbled into teaching early on, found he really liked it, and spent the next nine years in secondary school education, the last four as the principal of a small private high school.

Hungry for an intellectual challenge and finally realizing that he was a philosopher at heart, he accepted a University Fellowship from the University of Florida and later transferred to the University of Connecticut because of his admiration for the work of Ruth Millikan.

From 2005-2009 he ran the office responsible for human research protection at a US Army research institution. In October, 2009 he took a job as a consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton and moved to Tbilisi. Since October, 2011, he has had a dual appointment at Free University of Tbilisi and the Agricultural University of Georgia.

Nata Pirtskhalava
Nata Pirtskhalava is a conceptualist Artist and her works include different mixed media project installations using photography, sculpture & painting to name a few of the mediums she works in.  She is also an interior decorator, a public space designer, design developer and architect. She has been involved in the concept development and implementation of big scale restoration-reconstruction projects. Nata is also an author and a patent holder of innovative technology which incorporates glass and video transparent screens that are used in high-rise glazed buildings and other transparent constructions.

Donald Rayfield
Born in 1942, educated at Dulwich College and the University of Cambridge, for most of his life Donald has been a lecturer and a Professor of Russian. In 1973, he first visited Georgia and has since written a history of Georgian literature, edited a Comprehensive Georgian-English Dictionary and, recently, published a history of Georgia.

He is also the author of a biography of Anton Chekhov and a study of Stalin and his Hangmen, both of which have been translated into other languages, including Russian. He has translated a number of Russian and Georgian poets, playwrights and prose writers. He is now an emeritus professor, but continues research. He lives in Kent and has a passion for horticulture, especially exotic trees.

Mark Rein-Hagen
Mark Hagen is a game designer, with roleplaying game, card game, board game and video game credits. In addition to designing the worlds first collectible action figure game, he was a writer and co-producer of the American television series Kindred: The Embraced. He is an advocate for the use of games as teaching tools and their integration into academic curricula and corporate training. Mark is a resident of Georgia where he designed his most recent game - Democracy - that models political decision-making.

Jay Ulfelder
Jay Ulfelder is an American political scientist whose research interests include democratization, political violence, state collapse, and forecasting. He received his Ph.D. in political science from Stanford University in 1997 and his B.A. in Comparative Area Studies—USSR and Eastern Europe from Duke University in 1991. From 2001 until 2011, Ulfelder served as research director for the U.S. government-funded Political Instability Task Force. He now works as a consulting researcher from his home near Washington, DC.

He can be found on Twitter as @jay_ulfelder and blogs as the Dart-Throwing Chimp.

Tamar Vashakidze
Tamar (Tatia) Vashakidze currently serves as Gender Policy Program Manager at Oxfam GB. Having earned her LL.M. degree in Democratic Governance and Rule of Law from Ohio Northern University in the US, she has extensive experience working on womens rights issues. Throughout the past years, her work has been focused on designing advocacy strategies and awareness-raising campaigns on gender equality, violence against women and womens empowerment. Tamar also has experience in designing and conducting thematic trainings on womens rights both locally and internationally and is an author of a series of published articles on gender issues.