Temuri Yakobashvili

Founder, Chairman of the Board

Ambassador Temuri Yakobashvili is a founder and president of the New International Leadership Institute. Up to fall of 2014, he held position of the Senior Transatlantic Fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the US. From early February 2011 to March 2013 he served as an Ambassador of Georgia to the United States. Prior to his posting, he was a Deputy Prime Minister and State Minister for Reintegration in the Government of Georgia.  

Ambassador Yakobashvili is a career diplomat who joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia in 1991 and held various positions, including that of a Director of the Department for USA, Canada and Latin America. He holds a diplomatic rank of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary granted by the President of Georgia.

Amb. Yakobashvili is a graduate of the Department Physics from the Tbilisi State University. In 1998 he was trained on Mid-career Diplomatic Courses at the Center of Political and Diplomatic Studies at Oxford University. He is a Yale World Fellow (2002) and in 2004 participated in the Security Program at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. 2006 he was visiting researcher at the Silk Road Study Center of Uppsala University, Sweden.

Ambassador Yakobashvili is co founder and has served as an Executive Vice-President of the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies (GFSIS), leading think tank in the Caucasus region. Now he chairs the Governing Board of the GFSIS. Amb. Yakobashvili is co founder of the Atlantic Council of Georgia, as well as of the Council of Foreign Relations of Georgia. He is a member of the Governing Board of the Georgian Institute of Public Affairs (GIPA) and the Europe House of Georgia.

Amb. Yakobashvili frequently contributes to Georgian and international media on issues of regional security and transformation.

On February, 2012 Amb. Yakobashvili was decorated with Presidential Medal of Excellence.


Irakli Menagharishvili

Chairman, Strategic Research Centre

Irakli Menagharishvili is the member of the Supervisory Board and the Co-Chairman of the Center for Strategic Research at the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies since 2003. Mr. Menagarishvili has work experience in the government institutions and diplomatic corps. He started his career in early 1970s at the Tbilisi State Medical University. In 1980-82, he was the Head of Department of Tbilisi Public Health Service. From early 1990s until 2003, he held various positions in the government of Georgia: Deputy Prime Minister (1993-1995), Minister of Public Health (1986-1991, 1992-1993) and Coordinator of the International Humanitarian Assistance at the State Council of the Republic of Georgia (1992).  In 1995-2003, he served as the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia. Irakli Menagarishvili has graduated from Tbilisi State Medical University in 1974. He holds the rank of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary.

Frederick Starr

Chairman, Central Asia-Caucasus Institute and Silk Road Studies Program

Brenda Shaffer

Senior Fellow, Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center; Professor, Georgetown University

Prof. Brenda Shaffer is  an internationally recognized expert on global energy trends and policies, politics in the South Caucasus,  greater Caspian and Black Sea regions as well as Caspian and Eastern Mediterranean energy. She is a Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center in Washington, DC, and a visiting researcher and professor at Georgetown University.

Shaffer frequently provides testimony, research and expert counsel to governments, international institutions and regional security organizations, such as NATO on energy  security policies. She has given testimony to several committees of the US Congress, including the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and to the European Parliament. She frequently appears on CNBC and in major news outlets worldwide to provide insight on developments in the global oil market.

Prof. Shaffer is the author of several books: Energy Politics (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009), Borders and Brethren: Iran and the Challenge of Azerbaijani Identity (MIT Press, 2002) and Partners in Need: The Strategic Relationship of Russia and Iran (Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 2001). Energy Politics is used as a text book in over 200 university courses around the globe. She has also served as the editor for Beyond the Resource Curse (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012) and Limits of Culture: Islam and Foreign Policy (MIT Press, 2006).

She holds a PhD degree from Tel Aviv University, and was a post-doctoral fellow at the International Security Program at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. She previously served as the Research Director for the Caspian Studies Program at Harvard University.

Svante Cornell

Director, Institute for Security and Development Policy; Research Director, Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program

Jonathan Kulick

Senior Research Fellow, New York University's Marron Institute

Avinoam Idan

Senior Fellow, Central Asia-Caucasus Institute and Silk Road Studies Program

Dr. Avinoam Idan is a political geographer, with a regional focus on the Caucasus, Central Asia and Russia and the connections between these regions and the Middle East. He has led a number of studies on the impact of landlocked geography on states’ foreign policy and development.

Dr. Avinoam Idan is a Senior Non- Resident Fellow with the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute, Washington DC.  Avinoam teaches at the IDC-Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya and at the University of Haifa.

Prior to his academic work, Dr. Idan served for over thirty years in positions in Israel’s Prime Minister’s office, including seven years in the Embassy of Israel  in Moscow during the break-up of the Soviet Union. During this period, he was involved in the reestablishment of diplomatic relations between Israel and Russia, the establishment of diplomatic relations between the states of the Caucasus and Central Asia and the opening of Israeli embassies in the region. Dr. Idan also led rescue operations of Jewish communities in these regions. He holds a Ph.D. Degree from the University of Haifa in Israel. 

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