H.E. Tea Maisuradze

Living and Working Among Friends

From right: H.E. Mr. Petr Kubernát, Ambassador of the Czech Republic to Georgia; H.E. Ms. Tea Maisuradze, Ambassador of Georgia to the Czech Republic; Ms. Nino Kochorashvili, Senior Counsellor at the Embassy of Georgia; Ms. Julieta Svanidze, Consul at the Embassy of Georgia; Colonel Vepkhvia Chalabashvili, Defense Attaché of Georgia to the Czech Republic; Cpt. Giorgi Alavidze, Police Attaché of Georgia to the Czech Republic; Ms. Mariam Orjonikidze, First Secretary at the Embassy of Georgia (Photos by Adam & Costey Studio)

Text: Martina Hošková and M.Zisso; Photo: Adam & Costey Studio

“Georgia is the land of the first Europeans, where Europe’s highest settlement, Ushguli village, is located,” says H.E. Ms. Tea Maisuradze, Ambassador of Georgia. “We are glad that a new direct connection between Tbilisi and Prague will be resumed from May 2024. Last year, Georgia welcomed nearly 14,000 visitors from Czechia, and we hope that this number will increase. As one of the oldest Christian countries, Georgia offers a wealth of magnificent experiences.”

Who is Tea Maisuradze, in one sentence?

I am a career diplomat, and a fervent advocate for women’s rights, equality, and equity.

How did you become an ambassador?

My journey towards becoming an ambassador was fuelled by a lifelong aspiration to enter the diplomatic field, a dream that took root in my early childhood. My academic pursuits in International Relations naturally led me to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia upon my graduation in 2006. Serving my country as an ambassador is a privilege, an honour, and a profound responsibility. My motivation stems from a desire to contribute to Georgia’s security, stability, and its path towards European and Euro-Atlantic integration.

It has been about a year since you arrived in Prague. Can you share your impressions?

It has been a profound honour to serve as a Georgian Ambassador in Czechia, marking my second ambassadorial assignment.

I enjoy living in one of the most beautiful capitals in the world. The enduring beauty and architectural magnificence of this capital city continue to captivate me daily.

The shared values for freedom and democracy, as well as the common history of Soviet occupation, lay a strong foundation for mutual understanding and collaboration between our countries. Moreover, it is always an advantage to represent your country in a partner country, and to live and work among friends.

Which countries have you served in before?

Before coming to the Czech Republic, I had the honour to work in Georgian Embassies in Austria and Latvia. These postings afforded me invaluable experiences and fond memories, enriching my diplomatic career.

H.E. Ms. Tea Maisuradze, Ambassador of Georgia

How do you perceive the role of ambassador?

The role of an ambassador, while rewarding, demands that personal life often must be scheduled around professional duties. The diplomatic profession requires constant commitment, but it is a commitment I embrace whole- heartedly, living by the maxim “Find a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”.

Does the constant commitment allow you to relax in your free time?

I find relaxation in music, drawing, and spending free time with my two Jack Russell terriers. Cooking and reading historical and scientific literature are also among my favourite ways to relax.

It is not new to say that Georgia wants to join the EU and NATO. Have you seen any development in this regard?

Becoming a member of the EU and NATO is a top priority of Georgia’s foreign policy. This is a value-based historical choice of the Georgian people, supported by more than 80% of the population, and enshrined in our constitution.

My country has been defending the European choice, at the expense of existential risks, throughout its history. Still struggling against the Russian military occupation, Georgia has been strengthening its democracy, and is pursuing the goal of full-fledged EU and NATO membership.

We are happy that last year, due to our dedication towards European integration and the support of our partners, the EU made a wise decision to grant the candidate status to Georgia.

At the Bucharest Summit in 2008, the Allies decided that Georgia would become a member of NATO. Since then, with the help and support of the Allies, we have significantly developed our defence and deterrence capabilities, now having all practical tools to prepare for membership.

For two decades, Georgia has been actively contributing to the common Euro-Atlantic security through its participation in NATO-led operations, being the largest per-capita contributor in Afghanistan. In many ways, aspirant Georgia is already acting as an Ally, and we have proved on multiple occasions that we are willing and able to assume the responsibility of collective defence.

Achieving membership in the EU and NATO not only aligns with our historical aspirations but essentially contributes to Regional and European Security architecture.

In light of Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine, our partners and allies are more united on the enlargement policy.

H.E. Ms. Tea Maisuradze, Ambassador of Georgia

For many Czech people, Georgia has great potential to become an excellent holiday destination. How do you promote your country?

Located on the crossroads of East and West, Georgia is famous for its oldest civilization, ancient history, and unique culture. The mix of two continents creates Georgia’s distinctive identity.

As one of the oldest Christian countries, Georgia offers a wealth of magnificent experiences. The Caucasus Mountains, the Black Sea coastline, and the vineyards of Kakheti, together with the world-famous Georgian hospitality, make Georgia a four-season destination and inspire all types of travellers. The uninterrupted winemaking tradition in Georgia stretches back over 8,000 years, and represents the central element of not only Georgian cuisine but culture as well. The ancient Georgian traditional Qvevri winemaking method is inscribed on the representative list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Georgia is the land of the first Europeans, where Europe’s highest settlement, Ushguli village, is located. Today, many of the cultural and architectural heritage of Georgia represent UNESCO sites.

We are glad that the direct connection between Tbilisi and Prague will be resumed from May 2024. “Georgian Wings” will operate flights twice a week, which will create the second direct link between Georgia and Czechia, along with the already existing Kutaisi-Prague flights. Increased air connection will be beneficial not solely for tourism purposes, but will also further tighten people-to-people connections, promote business ties, and deepen economic cooperation in many aspects. Last year, Georgia welcomed nearly 14,000 visitors from Czechia, which is approximately a 60% increase. We do hope that this number will increase even further, and that more visitors from Czechia will discover and explore Georgia.

What is the status of Czechia – Georgia relations?

We enjoy a good relationship, friendship, and partnership with the Czech Republic. Czechia is a strong supporter of Georgia’s foreign policy priorities, and, first and foremost, Georgia’s integration into NATO and the EU. Czechia has always rendered its firm and vocal support towards the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia, against the Russian aggression and the ongoing occupation of Georgia’s territories by Russia.

Last year marked the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Georgia and the Czech Republic. Our bilateral relations are intense, and continue to develop dynamically. The frequency of visits and meetings is proof of the excellent cooperation our two countries enjoy.

In recent years, Czechia has become a significant development cooperation partner, and is one of the top investor countries in Georgia.

This year, the Czech Republic marks 25 years of membership in NATO, and 20 years of EU membership. Seizing the opportunity, I congratulate Czechia on this milestone and emphasize the importance of cooperation regarding European and Euro-Atlantic integration. Czech devoted advocacy on the way to Georgia’s European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, as well as experience-sharing in the process of accomplishing our goals, is highly valuable for us.

This interview is done on the occasion of your national day. Let us use this opportunity to make a wish for our countries, will you?

Indeed, Georgia celebrates its Independence Day on May 26th. On this day, in 1918, the first Democratic Republic of Georgia was established. With this, the statehood, which dates back to ancient times, was restored after the annexation by the Russian Empire in the 19th century.

The values of European Democracy laid the foundation for the Constitution of the First Democratic Republic, which, due to the progressive ideas it embraced, was remarkable even in Europe of that time. Regretfully, the short-lived democracy fell victim to the invasion of the Red Army in 1921. Regaining freedom after seventy years of Soviet occupation did not come effortlessly, but with the enormous sacrifice of our heroes that we honour today.

My wishes for Georgia encompass full reintegration within its internationally recognized borders, and its membership in the EU and NATO.

To the Czech Republic, I extend my best wishes for continued prosperity and success, in solidarity with our shared aspirations and values.