Levan Mikeladze

Levan Mikeladze is known in Georgia and beyond as a diplomat, scientist and public figure.He was born in Tbilisi, 1957, in a family of intellectuals. Levan’s interest in the future profession has evolved in the years 1973-1978, when he majored in economic geography of foreign countries at the Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University. He was particularly fascinated by studying population and culture, as well as the geography and economy of the Middle East countries. The possibility of studying the Persian language further ignited the interest in the region, which Levan put to good use with his linguistic talent and an inherent work ethic. 


Top quality education facilitated Levan’s successful academic career. In the years 1978-1992 he was a fellow at the Institute of Geography and from 1989-1992 - Scientific Secretary of the Department of Geography of the Georgian Academy of Sciences. It is noteworthy that during this period, particularly in the years 1979-1980, Levan Mikeladze was on a mission in Afghanistan, and in 1987 he successfully defended his thesis on current topics of Afghanistan's economy. 


Restoration of Georgia's independence has become an important milestone in Levan Mikeladze’s professional field. Contribution to the building of a new Georgian statehood became his top priority, which actually influenced his decision to apply the knowledge and experience in the field of foreign policy. In 1992, after working in the Foreign Ministry as Head of the European Affairs Department, he continued to work in the Group on Foreign Policy Support to National Security at the Office of the Head of State. At that time, due to the ongoing ethno-political and civil confrontation in Georgia, securing foreign policy and diplomatic support for the country was extremely difficult. Levan, with his high competence and dedication, handed an excellent personal example to colleagues that did not remain unnoticed by superiors. 


In 1994 Levan became a Fulbright Fellow and received an excellent academic training at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University. Shortly after the completion of the program, Levan was first appointed as a senior advisor in the Embassy of Georgia in Washington, and in 1996 continued his work as an ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of Georgia to Austria as well as the official representative of the country in the Vienna-based international organizations. This was a beginning of Levan Mikeladze’s active, and as it turned out, very successful diplomatic career. Among many other achievements, in the first place, we note his personal contribution as a career diplomat to the successful conclusion of negotiations in the framework of the OSCE, whereby it was decided to withdraw Russian military bases from Georgia. 


Since 2002 Levan Mikeladze continued diplomatic career as ambassador to the United States, Canada and Mexico. He had made a significant contribution to the further deepening of partnership relations with these countries, however, the most important, all the same was to strengthen bilateral relations with the United States, including in the field of military cooperation. Just during his ambassadorship the cooperation in this area was qualitatively transformed. In particular, the Train and Equip Program, launched in 2002, gave birth to a new stage, in which the results achieved to this day are the cornerstone of the strategic partnership between the two countries. 


Also noteworthy is Levan’s role in ensuring the continuity and the friendly nature of the partnership relations between the two countries during the Rose Revolution. From this perspective, Levan’s professionalism and credibility were significant factors in providing US partners with comprehensive information about ongoing political processes in Georgia. It was not accidental that Georgia was soon included in the Millennium Challenge program, whereby multi-million dollar project was carried out aimed at upgrading road infrastructure in the Samtskhe-Javakheti region. 


Since 2006 Levan Mikeladze was appointed Georgia's ambassador to Switzerland and the official representative of the country in the Geneva-based international organizations. Due to the rich diplomatic experience, Levan had ambitious plans for the new role, although before long, he gave up his post voluntarily. Levan took this step as a sign of protest against the violence by the Georgian government against its own people on November 7, 2007. 


Life and professional experience gave a wide range of job opportunities both in academic career and business sector. For some time, he even worked as a valuable partner in the Tethys Petroleum Limited, but the internal political processes taking place in Georgia concerned Levan more. He believed that without proper changes, further progress of the country would come to a standstill. It is these circumstances that prompted him to actively engage with a group of like-minded peers in the internal political, to certain extent the opposition processes. Although his meaningful public activities, unfortunately, proved to be short-term: in 2009, at the age of 52, Levan Mikeladze passed away unexpectedly. 


On November 4, 2016, Levan Mikeladze was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Excellence for his special contribution to the development of Georgian diplomacy, the successful implementation of foreign policy and strengthening national statehood.


In 2010, family members and friends established a foundation in Levan’s name. Today, The Levan Mikeladze Foundation is engaged in the promotion of Levan’s rich academic and diplomatic legacy, bringing to life some of his ideas and projects. Quite a few of Levan’s friends and colleagues serve on the managing and advisory boards of the Foundation. These are well known individuals in professional circles of Georgia and foreign countries. At the MFA training center, also named after Levan Mikeladze, young diplomats attend refresher courses. Additionally, every year, Levan Mikeladze Scholarships are given to students of international relations and social geography of the Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University.