Georgia’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Archil Gegeshidze?
Archil Gegeshidze presented his credentials as ambassador to the United States from the Republic of Georgia to President Barack Obama on April 15, 2013. It was the first diplomatic posting for Gegeshidze, although he has held the rank of ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary since 1999.
Gegeshidze was born December 9, 1956, in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, which was then a part of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. In 1985, Gegeshidze received his Ph.D. in economic and social geography from Tbilisi State University.
Georgia gained its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. In 1992, Eduard Shevardnadze, who had been foreign minister under the Soviets, took over as Georgian leader and Gegeshidze became his foreign policy advisor. Shervardnadze was officially named president of Georgia in 1995, and Gegeshidze served him as an advisor until 2000.
In 2000, Gegeshidze came to the United States as a Fulbright scholar, studying at Stanford for a year. At the end of his fellowship, he returned to Georgia as a senior fellow at the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies (GFSIS), a think tank. During his time at GFSIS, Gegeshidze wrote many scholarly papers and articles about Georgian policy, much of it about regional security and Georgia’s role as part of Europe. Gegeshidze remained at GFSIS until being sent to Washington as ambassador.
Gegeshidze sees one of his priorities as getting the United States to supply his country with some defensive weaponry. Another is the establishment of free trade between the nations.
Gegeshidze is fluent in Georgian, Russian and English and speaks French and some Asian languages as well. He is married and has a daughter.
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Interview (by Koba Bendeliani, InterPressNews)
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