Meet the TEDxTbilisi 2015 Speakers

We are pleased to welcome the following speakers to TEDxTbilisi 2015:

Aleksandre (Sandro) Jejelava is the chairman, co-founder and lead trainer of the Management Academy, a nonprofit training centre providing certified courses in areas such as human resources, information technology, and time and project management. Sandro has 18 years of experience in both functional and project management, including as deputy CEO of TBC Bank, deputy CEO of leading Georgian IT company UGT, and deputy CEO of Intellectbank. He has also worked as a strategy consultant on political parties through the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy. Sandro is an educator with nine years of experience in academic teaching and professional trainings in a number of subjects, including project management, time management, management information systems, entrepreneurship and general management. He holds a Master's in Mathematics, an MBA in General Management and Project Management Professional certification.

Andrés José Cruz Torres is the director of the Guivy Zaldastanishvili American Academy in Tbilisi. He is originally from southern Spain (Andalusia), where he attended the “Escuela Superior de Arte Drámatico” and taught drama for a few years. He moved to the United States in 1992. There, he taught Spanish, history and art history and became the vice-principal of two schools in the Boston area. In the summer of 2001, he was invited to Tbilisi to help with the preparation of a school that was to open its door on that fall: The American Academy in Tbilisi. He returned to Tbilisi in 2014 to head the same school, now renamed The Guivy Zaldastanishvili American Academy in Tbilisi.

Jonne Catshoek is a social entrepreneur who specialises in applying mobile technology solutions to the field of international development. He is the founder and director of Elva Community Engagement, an organisation that provides development organisations and governments with mobile solutions to collect community-driven data on local needs, thereby allowing them to deliver more effective and accontable assistance. Jonne has supervised development and conflict management projects in ore than a dozen countries, and has overseen the establishment of Elva's country offices in Georgia, Indonesia and the Netherlands. Priod to founding Elva, Jonne carried out carried out extensive research and field work for organisation including the International Crisis Group (Senegal), the Eurasia Foundation (Georgia), the Crisis Management Iniative (Brussels) and the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (The Netherlands).

Keti Zazanashvili is a winner of Georgia's Got Talent and the president of the Georgian National Wheelchair Dance Sport Federation. Formerly a professional ballroom dancer, Keti is a licensed ZUMBA fitness instructor and runs a dance studio in Tbilisi. Keti has a BA in humanities and an MA in political science. In 2013, she was a delegate to the UN from the NGO sector at the 57th Session on the Status of Women, which focused on the elimination of all kinds of violence against women and girls, as an expert on gender issues and domestic violence. In the April 2015, Keti and her dance partner won second place at the Kazakhstan Open, an international wheelchair dance competition.

Lasha Bakradze is a professor at Ilia State University of Tbilisi and the director of Giorgi Leonidze State Museum of Literature. Lasha has studied German literature, linguistics and theology in Germany and Georgia. He worked on his dissertation in modern and contemporary history at the Humboldt University of Berlin and received his doctorate from Tbilisi State University in 2002. Lasha has worked as a cultural and scientific program-referent at the Goethe Institute in Tbilisi, covered international relations issues at Rustavi 2 TV, and headed the film preservation and archive department of the Georgian National Film Center.

Natalia Antelava is an award-winning journalist and a co-founder of Coda Story, a web platform for covering crises. She started her career freelancing in West Africa but has since been BBCs resident correspondent in the Caucasus, Central Asia, Middle East, Washington DC and most recently India. She has reported undercover from Burma, Yemen and Uzbekistan, and her investigations into human rights abuses in Central Asia, Iraq and the United States have won her a number of awards. Natalia has most recently reported for the BBC from Eastern Ukraine and has also written for the Guardian, Forbes magazine, Washington Post and the New Yorker. In 2014, Coda Story won the Best Startups for News competition at the Global Editors Network annual summit. Follow her on Twitter: @antelava.

Natia Gvianishvili is a program director at Women's Initiatives Supporting Group and a former board member of Identoba. She recently completed research on internalized homophobia in Georgia's LGBQ community (yet to be published), with support from the South Caucasus regional office of the Heinrich Boell Foundation. Natia has studied Italian language and literature and Gender Studies at Tbilisi State University. She began to collaborate with Womens Initiatives Supporting Group as a volunteer in 2009 and became a member of the first Georgian LBT initiative group LBTika in 2010, which focused on publishing non-academic educational materials about gender and sexuality. In 2011, alongside other activists, she founded the Independent Feminist Group.

Nick Davitashvili is a cybersecurity professional, an educator and a member of Guerilla Gardening. Since joining the IT industry in 1998, he has built and fortified numerous computer networks in the region and trained more than 200 students. Davitashvili has now turned his attention to the world of social media and the use of technologies to solve social and environmental quandaries in Tbilisi. Follow him on Twitter: @nickda.


Mariam Tabatadze was born in Georgia, but grew up travelling with her family. She graduated from Connecticut College in 2013 with a degree in Economics and International Relations. Currently, she's working at the Public Service Development Agency of the Ministry of Justice and enjoys singing, as well as, composing original songs in her free time.

Speakers for 2013 are listed here, and those of 2012 right here

TEDxTbilisi 2013 - "It Was A Great Day - I Am SO Glad I Came!"

Compared to the snow storm that took place on event day for the first TEDxTbilisi in 2012, this year's event occured on a perfect and calm spring day.

Guests started arriving at 12 when we opened the registration - amazingly on time by Georgian standards.  We opened the doors at 1 and the show started a few minutes later.  The day was long - running until a little after 7 - but the audience stayed full until the end, which was a good thing, since we had a few strong speakers slated to close the day. 

We had 300 attendees, Georgians, expats living in Georgia, visitors, a few miltary people stationed in Georgia, diplomats, as well as a few people who came from Armenia and Azerbaijan.  It was a great cross section of people to hear about Georgia and her myriad of cross roads.  

The first three speakers set the tone for variety - something we strove to reach with the speaker selection.  A balance between men & women, foreigners & Georgians, speaking on a variety of topics pertinent to Georgia and the broader on line live stream audience. 

The 2nd session opened with TSU ART - the amazing band that had everyone talking at the event and beyond.  7 college guys, 12 instruments, 1 DJ mix station, big imagination and even bigger talent.  The best part was, they had been out on a gig the night before until 6 am and when the TEDxTbilisi staff came in at about 9 to get things moving that morning, all the guys were strewn across the stage and audience seats, catching a few winks of sleep while they could.  By the way they played, no one could have guessed they were running on less than 2 hours of sleep.  Ah, the resilience of youth!

The sessions continued, with our variety of speakers, each presenter different and topics unique.

Throughout the day, we posted to Facebook and sent out tweets trying to keep eveyone updated and engaged.  


We are still waiting for survey results but the preliminary feed back was really encouraging.  We are already thinking ahead to 2014 ... and if you have anyone to suggest for future speakers, please let us know!