International Banking expert turned Diplomat briefs EDU Secretary-General on Georgia
Increasingly, top level diplomatic positions are being filled from the ranks of commerce and industry as governments and intergovernmental organizations seek to recruit the valuable skill sets of technical experts and capable individuals from outside of the pool of career diplomats.
His Excellency Irving Le-Vance, the Secretary-General of EDU, himself head-hunted into diplomacy from business, was pleased to meet an inspiring example of that phenomenon.
His Excellency Zurab Pololikashvili, represents Georgia as the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Kingdom of Spain, the Principality of Andorra, the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria and the Kingdom of Morocco.
His talents as a polyglot, speaking English, Spanish, French, Russian and Japanese, have helped him greatly in his career. Subsequently he rose through the executive positions at TBC Bank, eventually serving as the Vice-President of the TBC Group between July 2010 and February 20011. In March of that year, he became Director General of the football club FC Dinamo Tbilisi. The Ambassador also interspersed business career with government positions including serving as Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development.
Ably assisted by Counsellor Helen Mdivani, the Ambassador presented a comprehensive overview of the educational situation in Georgia where there have been huge changes since the “Rose Revolution”. The former Soviet system saw some level of corruption with access to higher education being granted through patronage rather than ability. The new structure has seen a liberalized, privatized, independent system largely autonomous from the Ministry of Education which provides a light touch oversight. In the post-Soviet era some 20 private universities have been established and are accredited by the Ministry of Education. This has been the result of private investment in educational services.
Primary and Secondary Education are both free and compulsory. A lot of foreign schools associated with the respective embassies have been established. Public/Private Partnership schools are encouraged and the education situation is described as “growing and dynamic”.
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