David Zalkaliani

David Zalkaliani

Guest Speaker

Georgian Ambassador to the US

Areas of Expertise

On April 4, 2022, Mr. David Zalkaliani was appointed Ambassador of Georgia to the United States after serving as Georgia’s Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Soon after Georgia regained its independence in 1991, David Zalkaliani joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as an Attaché in the Department of International Organizations in 1992. In 1995, he was promoted to the Deputy Head of the Division of the department.

Zalkaliani was at the forefront in Georgia’s efforts to engage with the global community soon after regaining independence. He worked to strengthen relations between Georgia and the European Community in vital areas, including humanitarian and technical issues. From 1996 to 2000, Zalkaliani served as a Counselor at the Embassy of Georgia to the Republic of Austria and the Permanent Mission of Georgia to the OSCE and International Organizations in Vienna. He was involved in the negotiation process of the Agreement on Adaptation of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe and participated in several international diplomatic gatherings, including the 1994 Budapest Summit, the 1996 Lisbon Summit, and the 1999 Istanbul Summit. Furthermore, Zalkaliani actively participated in negotiations for the withdrawal of Russian military bases from Georgian territory.

During Zalkaliani's diplomatic tenure in Austria, the Georgian mission in Vienna was led by prominent Georgian diplomat Ambassador Levan Mikeladze. Later, Zalkaliani joined Ambassador Mikeladze in engaging with social and political activities in Georgia.

From 2000 to 2001, Zalkaliani continued to serve as a Counselor at the Department for European Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia—handling the vital task of deepening bilateral cooperation with European partners. From 2001 to 2002, Zalkaliani returned to Vienna to assume the position of Deputy Permanent Representative of Georgia to the OSCE.

From 2002 to 2004, he served as a Senior Counselor at the Embassy of Georgia to the U.S., Mexico, and Canada during which time Georgia and the U.S. significantly strengthened their cooperation in the field of defense and security.

In 2004, Zalkaliani became Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Georgia to the Republics of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. During his tenure, Zalkaliani expanded Georgia's political and economic ties with the two countries.

In 2008, Zalkaliani was appointed as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Georgia to the Republic of Belarus. He left his position as an Ambassador in 2009 to help form the Free Democrats party. Following the victory of the Georgian Dream coalition in the 2012 parliamentary elections, the Georgian dream – Free Democrats parliamentary faction was established and Zalkaliani became First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.

As the First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, David Zalkaliani helped craft the Georgia-EU Association Agreement as the Chief Negotiator for Georgia. The successful negotiations concluded with the signing of the Association Agreement between the European Union and Georgia, which included the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA)—a key milestone for Georgia's EU integration. Zalkaliani also served as Georgia's Chief Negotiator at the Geneva International Discussions from 2012-2014, and as the Co-Chair of working groups of the U.S.-Georgia Charter on Strategic Partnership.

In 2015, David Zalkaliani became founding executive director of the Levan Mikeladze Foundation where he lead the organization’s growth, research on public policy, advocacy, diplomatic, and academic and public discussions on foreign policy priorities.

In 2016, Zalkaliani returned to public service as First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs. In June 2018, He was appointed the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia and assumed duties of Vice Prime Minister in January 2021. He has since served as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Vice Prime Minister of Georgia.