HE: The United Kingdom
DS: Most interesting place in South Africa
HE: I cannot single out one. South Africa is full of interesting and unique places, having their own fascinating character.
DS: Your impression about South Africa
HE: It is truly a Rainbow Nation. South Africa seems to me so diverse, dynamic and engaging, combining the best from every part of the world that I have seen so far.
DS: One place you would like to be posted to or visit
HE: In terms of posting, I do not have any special preferences. Any new posting assigned by my Government will be my call of duty - the mission to accomplish successfully. In terms of touristic visit, I have a lot of countries on my bucket list. I would gladly start with China.
DS: Most memorable appointment thus far
HE: I think, for a diplomat, the very first posting abroad is always memorable. My first diplomatic assignment was in Washington DC, United States. Great memories from my first Ambassadorial posting here, in South Africa, will also always be unmatched.
DS: Most challenging situation that you had to handle thus far
HE: In August 2008, I was counting the final days of my posting in Washington DC. In that August, Georgia was attacked by Russian troops, parts of Georgian territory illegally occupied; thousands of Georgians became the victims of ethnic cleansing. Those days were the most challenging in my career so far. It is difficult to concentrate on work, when your country, family and friends are under a real existential threat and you are thousands of miles away from them.
DS: My inspiration is/comes from.
HE: My country – Georgia, its history, the resilience and the optimism of my people in the most challenging times.
DS: Place in your country that you love to visit.
HE: Tbilisi – the capital of Georgia and my hometown. Also Racha, beautiful mountainous region of Georgia. For foreigners, Racha still remains a hidden gem on the Georgian slopes of the Caucasus Mountain Range in Europe.
DS: Most interesting place to visit elsewhere
HE: I would never get tired of visiting Italy.
DS: Favourite dish of your country
HE: Khachapuri – a kind of cheese bread. We have many more excellent and gourmet dishes. Georgia’s cousine, food and unique wine are extraordinary. Recently, thrilllist.com rated Georgian cuisine as No. 4, among 48 European dishes and drinks, after Italian, French and Spanish cuisines.
DS: Tastiest dish of another country.
HE: I became a huge fan of South African braai.
DS: The best book I have ever read.
HE: The world of books, including those I have read so far, is a treasure cove. From my side, it would be “diplomatically incorrect” to pinpoint “the best book”.
DS: At the moment I am reading
HE: “Political Order and Political Decay” by Francis Fukuyama
DS: I spend my leisure time
HE: Mostly with family and friends, going to gym, reading.
DS: One sentence describing a lesson that you have learnt from being a diplomatHE: “It always seems impossible until it is done” as Nelson Mandela coined it.