Georgia’s Path to Europe

December 01, 2023
10:00 am - 12:00 pm

About the Event

The European Commission’s November recommendation that EU candidacy status be granted to Georgia is the latest in a string of hard-won victories the Georgian people have achieved in recent months. In March, hundreds of thousands of Georgians took to the streets and forced the government to abandon a draconian Russian-style NGO law. In October, a controversial partisan gambit to impeach President Salome Zurabishvili failed after vocal opposition both in the parliament and throughout civil society. The loudest voices pushing back against democratic decline in the country belong to youth, civil society, and parliamentarians such as the women on this panel. Women from different political parties are coming together to highlight the importance of expanding political participation and keeping European integration the nation’s top priority.

NED and the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center hosted a conversation with distinguished panelists and Georgian parliamentarians to discuss Georgia’s political trajectory and their work at the forefront of the struggle for Georgia’s European future.

About the Speakers

Ambassador Daniel Fried (opening remarks) is currently the Weiser Family Distinguished Fellow at the Atlantic Council and a member of the Board of Directors of the National Endowment for Democracy. In the course of his forty-year Foreign Service career, Ambassador Fried played a key role in designing and implementing American policy in Europe after the fall of the Soviet Union. As special assistant and NSC senior director for Presidents Clinton and Bush, ambassador to Poland, and assistant secretary of state for Europe (2005-09), Ambassador Fried crafted the policy of NATO enlargement to Central European nations and, in parallel, NATO-Russia relations. 

Ana Buchukuri is a member of parliament from the “For Georgia” party and an Associate Professor at “New Vison” University. She has served in a number of positions in the Georgian government over the years, including in roles such as: Deputy Chief of the Prime Minister’s Office and Head of the Administrative Rights Secretariat of the Georgian Government in 2020; Deputy Head of the Administration of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (2018-2020); Deputy Director of the Legal Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs; Head of the Department of Parliament Relations at the Ministry of Economics and Sustainable Development (2017); Chief Specialist of the Analytical Department of the Public Defender (2014-2015). 

Khatia Dekanoidze is an independent member of parliament. She has served as an expert for the United States Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (2018-2019); OSCE expert on police reform (2017-2018); Marshal Security Center fellow (2017-2019); Chief of the National Police of Ukraine (2015-2016); Advisor to the International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program of the U.S. Department of Justice (2014-2015); Minister of Education and Science of Georgia (2012); and Rector of the Police Academy of Georgia (2007-2012).

Tinatin Khidasheli is a visiting lecturer at Georgian Institute of Public Affairs (GIPA) and Ilia State University. She has previously served as: Defense Minister of Georgia (2015-2016); MP, Chairperson of European Integration Committee, Chairperson of Temporary Investigative Commission at the Parliament Georgia (2012-2015); Vice-president, Political Committee (2012-2015); Vice-President ALDE, PACE, Parliamentary Assembly, Council of Europe; President of Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (1997-1999); World fellow at Yale University (2004); Human Rights fellow at American University Washington College of Law (1999).

Ana Natsvlishvili is a member of parliament from the “Lelo” party and an associate professor at the Institute for Public Affairs. She has served as the Parliamentary Secretary of the President of Georgia (2018) and was named “Human Rights Defender of the Year.” She was the Chairman of the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (2014-2017) and has worked at the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights of the OSCE (2013); Center for Human Rights (2008-2010); and the NGO, “Article 19” (2007-2008).

Miriam Lanskoy (moderator) is Senior Director for Russia and Eurasia at the National Endowment for Democracy. In 2003 she was awarded a PhD in international affairs from Boston University for her dissertation on the Russian presidency, the Chechen wars, and social and political problems of the North Caucasus. She has fourteen years of experience in political analysis and democracy promotion in post-Soviet Eurasia and in 2005 became a term member in the Council on Foreign Relations. She has published articles in Journal of Democracy, SAIS Review, and The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs and has appeared on numerous panels and conferences to discuss political developments in Russia and Eurasia, testified in Congress, and appeared on the PBS Newshour.

Header Photo by Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images