Expert Profile

Dr David A. Chikvaidze
Position(s) Associate Fellow at the GCSP and former Chef de Cabinet of UNOG's Director General

David Chikvaidze worked for nearly four decades in the foreign service, government and the international civil service. He is an observer of great power relationships, Eurasian geopolitics, global security issues and their impact on energy security, connectivity, and strategic stability and risk. He advised five Directors-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG) as their Chief of Staff, providing “early warning radar” and back-channel diplomacy.

With bilateral and multilateral diplomatic experience in the UN, United States and across Eurasia, Chikvaidze has honed his strategic vision, judgment and political instincts. To strong negotiating, mediation, analytical, and management skills he adds a capacity for integrating political, security, humanitarian, human rights, and developmental issues into a strategic whole.

Fluent in English, French, Russian, and Georgian, Mr. Chikvaidze communicates effectively in varied formats. He is a frequent speaker before UN and other live audiences, on US TV, and UN Radio. He has written and lectured on multilateralism, taught courses on diplomacy and geopolitics, and served as thesis advisor. He is a convincing and effective negotiator in diverse cultural contexts and has extensive networks at many levels within governments, the UN system, civil society, academe, the private sector, and local government. He can establish relationships, cultivate partnerships, and travel the world without restriction.

Chikvaidze’s career has frequently involved him in some of the important issues of the day:
▪ Leading talks on humanitarian appeals and aid in North Korea, 1996/97;
▪ Assisting James A. Baker, III in Algeria, Morocco and Mauritania on Western Shara, 1997-2001;
▪ Assisting Sergio Vieira de Mello in Yugoslavia on IDP access and aid, 1999;
▪ Post-earthquake coordination of humanitarian aid in Tajikistan and Afghanistan, 1998;
▪ Press officer for the Ashkhabad International Forum on Afghanistan, 1997;
▪ Press officer for the Vienna International Donor Meeting on Tajikistan, 1997;
▪ Mission support for UN Under-Secretaries-General Eliasson, Hansen and Akashi, 1993-1997;
▪ Managed for UNOG two rounds of the EU-led P5+1 Talks on the Nuclear Program of Iran in 2013 with EU and Swiss authorities and two rounds of the Libya Discussions in 2014.

His career has also afforded him opportunities for institution building and management. As Senior Political Adviser to the Director-General, he initiated and led the mapping of peacebuilding assets in International Geneva in 2005-2006, laying the foundation for the current Geneva Peacebuilding Platform. As Director of the UN Library and Head of the UN Geneva Cultural Diplomacy program (2011-2013), Chikvaidze implemented a new strategic direction, created synergies with the Library of Congress and other world libraries, raised the library’s profile and developed new forms of cultural, and academic outreach of UNOG. In 2003-2005, he was Senior Communications Adviser to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, spokesman for the 61st session of the Commission on Human Rights, and Human Rights Treaty Bodies.

Prior to joining the UN, Chikvaidze negotiated the programs of state visits by Presidents Gorbachev and Yeltsin to the UN, US, Japan, Spain, France, the UK, and South Korea. He served as deputy Chief of the Front Office and scheduler for President Gorbachev and as presidential advance officer for President Yeltsin. He spent five years in Washington, D.C. (1985-1990) as special assistant to the Soviet Ambassador and chief of protocol of the embassy, where he worked with the White House, the Department of State, and other Executive Departments, preparing and managing US-Soviet Summits and ministerial meetings.

Chikvaidze holds a Ph.D. (1984) in political science. He is vice president of the Swiss Forum for International Affairs; Fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science, founding member of the Georgian Association of Switzerland and of the Sergio Vieira de Mello Foundation. He is a member of the Consultative Council of the Committee on Culture of the Parliament of Georgia and of the Advisory Board of the Master’ Program of Advanced Studies in European and International Governance (MEIG) of the University of Geneva.

Born in Tbilisi, Chikvaidze is a citizen of Georgia. He is married and has one son and three grandsons.