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Name: Yokabashvili, Temuri
Current Position: Ambassador

The ambassador of Georgia to the United States since November 2010, Temuri Yakobashvili, is a long-time senior government official who is well-known in Washington and the capitals of Europe. Unusually for a diplomat, in his youth Yakobashvili was arrested several times for political activism. 

Born September 3, 1967, in Tbilisi, Georgia, which was then part of the Soviet Union, Yakobashvili earned a B.S. in Physics from Tbilisi State University in 1990. At university, during the era of reforms initiated by Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, Yakobashvili used the new openness to help found several campus Jewish groups that united activists from across the USSR. Soon, Yakobashvili was organizing political demonstrations at home and across Europe, which gave him quite a “rap sheet,” including arrests in Moscow for dancing to “Hava Nagila” in Red Square during Chanukah and for staging a large protest outside of the Syrian embassy on behalf of Jewish causes. He was also arrested, in both France and Switzerland, for staging Jewish-oriented political demonstrations.
In another sign of the era’s new openness, in 1991 Yakobashvili was hired by the Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, despite being Jewish and a recent political activist. After several years of employment, Yakobashvili completed Mid-Career Diplomatic Courses at the Center of Political and Diplomatic Studies at Oxford University in 1998, and was appointed Director of the U.S., Canada and Latin America Department until 2001. 
In 2001, Yakobashvili left public service to co-found the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies (GFSIS), a think tank for the Caucasus region, where he was Executive Vice President until 2008. He also co-founded the Atlantic Council of Georgia and the Council of Foreign Relations of Georgia, and he is a member of the Governing Board of the Georgian Institute of Public Affairs (GIPA). 
Also during those years, Yakobashvili pursued additional educational opportunities, participating in both the Yale World Fellow’s Program in 2002 and the Executive Security Program at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in 2004. In 2006, he was a visiting researcher at the Silk Road Study Center of Uppsala University in Sweden
Shortly after Georgia’s general elections of January 2008, Yakobashvili was appointed by the President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, as State Minister for Reintegration. In that capacity, he was the architect of Georgia’s “engagement strategy” for improving relations among Georgia, Russia, and the regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which are within the internationally recognized borders of Georgia but politically dominated by ethnic groups opposed to Georgian sovereignty. Despite the new strategy, the conflict heated up in 2008, and the two regions have been occupied by Russian troops since summer 2008. Nevertheless, Yakobashvili was named Deputy Prime Minister in 2009, and in November 2010 he was named the next ambassador to the United States. 
Yakobashvili and his wife, television journalist Yana Fremer, have two children. He speaks Georgian, Russian, Hebrew, and English. 
Opinion: Georgia aspires to end Russian occupation (Temuri Yakobashvili, GlobalPost)
Georgia’s Post-Revolutionary Period Ends, Posing Challenges and Opportunities (By Temuri Yakobashvili and Johanna Popjanevski, CACI Analyst)
State Strategy on Occupied Territories: Engagement Through Cooperation (Address by Temuri Yakobashvili 799th Meeting of the Special Permanent Council)
Georgia on his Mind, Temuri Yakobashvili (by Adam Kredo, Washington Jewish Week)
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