Welcome to the series #EVERYDAYHEROES in which we introduce exceptional members of our network. Through pop culture, we discovered that heroes fly, have superpowers, come from another planet, and wear capes and costumes, but there are other, real heroes. Heroes we are surrounded by every day, who raise their voices in times of injustice and fight for the rights of all of us. Who look the same as us, who express their superpower by fighting every day for a better and democratic society. Everyday heroes, that we have to talk about. Follow us on our Instagram to catch the next interview among the first ones.
Another Everyday Hero is George Melashvili from Georgia.
Can you introduce yourself?
I am George… from Georgia: it’s always easy to introduce yourself when you and your country share the same name. While it’s easy to introduce myself, it’s not always simple to dive deeper into who I am. Partly because I hate to talk about myself, partly – because I’ve done a bunch of different things back then, and it’s always hard to pick the ones that are interesting for you! However, there are a few things I’m particularly passionate about – teaching is one of them. I am proud to teach brilliant IR students at the Free University and to lead the Europe-Georgia Institute, one of the leading civil society organizations in Georgia. I grew up in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, in the “Italian Yard”, a diverse neighborhood that was home to people from a variety of cultures, ethnicities, and religions. It was a tough time: Georgia was still in turmoil following the collapse of the Soviet Union and many people, including my own family, were struggling just like our country; but it was also the best period of my life thanks to my grandmother, the dearest and most important person in my life, who instilled in me a sense of optimism for tomorrow and a respect for hard work. The tragedy of my grandfather, who was a journalist and head of the press center of the government of Abkhazia, but lost his life in the war, has driven me to pursue a career in politics and international relations. I am determined to serve my country and make a positive impact on the world, in memory of the sacrifice of both my family and my country.
What do you consider your biggest success?
The Europe-Georgia Institute and the outstanding people around it is my biggest success. One of my most memorable projects we had was coordinating the largest Get Out the Vote campaign in Georgia’s history. We mobilized and organized 500 volunteers across the country, despite facing significant logistical challenges and having only one month to get everything done. The campaign was a huge success and became a model for youth engagement in the electoral process. In just five years since its creation, the Institute has become one of the most respected and influential organizations of its kind in Georgia. We have worked on a variety of projects and initiatives, including efforts to defend Ambassador Carl Hartzell during a smear campaign and our support of the COVID-19 vaccination campaign through social media. The Black Sea Security Conference and the FLEECE fellowship is probably the most important project we have done so far – amplifying voices from the Black Sea region and making sure that these voices are being heard. I am extremely proud of the work we have done and the positive impact we have had on our community.
What does the word DEMOCRACY mean to you?
This one is an easy one, and there is no better explanation of democracy and the deep meaning behind it rather than words by Abraham Lincoln – “government of the people, by the people, for the people”. This quote seems very simple, but it is very deep – and it is exactly both this depth and simplicity that we need and lack in these days.
Who do you consider your Everyday Hero and why?
The dearest and most important person in my life was my grandmother, and if there are everyday heroes among us, she was certainly one of them. Her wisdom, unwavering ability to keep optimism for tomorrow in even the darkest of times, compassion, and selflessness in supporting and aiding those in need, even when she herself was struggling, are the most important traits of an everyday hero. These are the people who remain in the shadows, but keep the world turning and restore our faith in humanity.
What does the concept of Everyday Hero mean to you?
An everyday hero is someone who consistently performs their duties to the best of their ability and is always willing to lend a helping hand to those in need. These people largely remain in the shadows, but their unwavering commitment to doing things right and making a positive impact on the world around them is a beacon of hope and inspiration. By being everyday heroes, we can create a brighter, better world for future generations.
Why did you become a member of EDYN?
Joining EDYN was a deeply personal and inspiring decision for me, driven by my passion for the organization’s values and the opportunities it offers its members. As a network of like-minded individuals, united in our commitment to democracy and a shared vision for the future, EDYN offered me the chance to connect with inspiring individuals who are dedicated to making a positive impact on the world. I was drawn to EDYN’s powerful platform for sharing ideas and perspectives, and I eagerly seized the opportunity to become a part of this dynamic community. I am proud to be a member of EDYN and am confident that my involvement will empower me to grow and thrive, both personally and professionally.