President of Georgia
Giorgi Margvelashvili was elected President of Georgia on 27 October 2013. A former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education and Science in the government of Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, Mr. Margvelashvili is a committed democrat and reformer who revitalised the country’s education system after years of neglect. While he is not affiliated with any political party, he was nominated to be the presidential candidate of the governing Georgian Dream Coalition in May 2013, and was elected with more than 62% of the vote.
Mr. Margvelashvili’s background is in public policy, politics and academia. Before joining the Georgian Dream government after its victory in the October 2012 parliamentary elections, he was a well-known political commentator and served for more than a decade in senior positions at the Georgian Institute of Public Affairs (GIPA), a leading Georgian institution of higher education in government, law, international affairs and journalism.
Mr. Margvelashvili graduated from Tbilisi State University in 1992 with a degree in philosophy. He continued his studies at the Central European University in Prague, Czech Republic from 1993 to 1994 and the Institute of Philosophy of the Georgian Academy of Sciences from 1993 to 1996. In 1998, he received a Ph.D. in philosophy from Tbilisi State University.
Mr. Margvelashvili has a life-long interest in mountaineering and in the early 1990s worked as a mountain guide and for adventure travel companies, including Caucasus Travel.
In 1993, he was a junior research fellow at the Psychology Laboratory for Marginal Conditions and the Georgian Culture Research Centre. From 1996 to 1997, he taught philosophy and culture at Tbilisi Independent University. From 1995-2000, he was a local government expert in the Tbilisi office of the National Democratic Institute (NDI), the US-based organization focused on strengthening democratic institutions worldwide. For the next twelve years, from 2000 to 2012, Mr. Margvelashvili served in various leadership roles at GIPA, including as Provost from 2000 to 2006 and from 2010 to 2012, and as head of GIPA’s research department from 2006 to 2010.
Mr. Margvelashvili became briefly involved in Georgian politics prior to the November 2003 parliamentary elections, when he joined the opposition bloc led by former Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania. During the Saakashvili period, he was an outspoken critic of the government of Mikheil Saakashvili, which he viewed as corrupt and authoritarian. While remaining politically independent, he advised Mr.
Ivanishvili during the Georgian Dream Coalition’s campaign for the October 2012 parliamentary elections.
Following the Coalition’s victory in these elections, Mr. Margvelashvili was appointed Minister of Education and Science by Prime Minister Ivanishvili. As Minister, Mr. Margvelashvili’s initiatives included substantially raising teacher salaries and investing in school renovations and in the provision of free school transportation. In February 2013, he was appointed First Deputy Prime Minister and, in this capacity, worked closely with the Prime Minister, while continuing to fulfill his duties as Minister of Education and Science, until resigning from these positions in order to run for the October 2013 presidential elections.
Mr. Margvelashvili is 44 years old and unmarried, with a 20-year-old daughter, Ana, who is a student at GIPA. His partner, Maka Chichua, is an artist and actress. In his spare time, Mr. Margvelashvili enjoys hiking, tai chi, horseback riding, and spending time with friends at his country house in the Dusheti region.