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 Giorgi Agirbaia from Georgia.
Can you introduce yourself?
“Hello, I’m George from Georgia”, that’s how I usually introduce myself since I started participating in various international events, so people remember me easily. I was born in the rural area of Zugdidi, Georgia, and later moved to the capital city Tbilisi for my studies, despite of I always keep ties and organize different events in Zugdidi, Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti region. At that time, in my hometown, I didn’t have many opportunities for personal growth and development, which later positively influenced my career and professional development. As I was very much motivated to try different things, have worked and been involved in a bunch of international programs in various fields, such as youth work, activism, policy designing, non-formal education, entrepreneurship, academic life, a year ago obtained Doctorate in Public Governance.
However, I’d love to highlight the main things I am passionate about: Currently, I am leading one of the most proactive civil society organization “ProActive Group Georgia” and head of Internationalization Development at “International University of Management and Communication – Alterbridge in Georgia. Moreover, I have been Young European Ambassador to Georgia and currently Youth Delegate of the Council of Europe Conference of INGO’s.
During my leisure time, I try to use it proactively as well, my work allows me to travel a lot and I am usually staying in new countries few days after work. Not always easy to find, but it’s important to relax and recharge. Essential to take care of yourself mental well-being and avoid burnout. Pursue hobbies, and spending time with friends and family.
What do you consider your biggest success?
“ProActive Group Georgia” which I built from scratch 7 years ago with like-minded outstanding people, who share the common values and principles of proactivity. This became a platform of opportunities for young people who seek for self-development projects, international exchange programs, want to try new things, practice project management, activism, democracy, public speaking. In a very short period of time, Proactive became one of the most respected organizations in its field. We have this saying too: “Proactive Connecting People & Opportunities”, as our slogan is “We Create Opportunities” and we do it!
We have been co-organizer of “EaP 10th Anniversary – Youth Perspective”, which gathered in Tbilisi nearly 40 young professionals, EU delegation and Georgian authorities. Designed recommendations as youth perspective of EaP beyond 2020 sent to Brussels DG Near. We have organized diverse activities to promote civic activism, youth participation in democratic processes, and advocated for youth organizations participation right during the creation of the new ministry of Culture, Sport and Youth.
Proud to share that all my activities, which we organize or involved as a trainer in international programs are focused to promote inclusion, democracy, to bring positive changes in my community, empower youth leaders from rural areas, people with fewer opportunities, support youth spaces, non-formal education clubs. With the support of ProActive Group Georgia more than 500 youth & adults from Georgia have discovered Erasmus+ world, benefited from limitless possibility of developments, exploring new cultures and travelled across Europe.
One of my favorite quote is: ”Love the life you live, Live the life you love”, and I am very happy to share what I love to do and engage others, spread the concept of proactivity, which means to be captain of your life, promoting proactivity more than 10 years, while visited over 30 countries. I strongly believe that proactive leaders, who actively participate in democratic processes, proactivity overall can bring lots of benefits for individuals, community, and country.
What does the word DEMOCRACY mean to you?
The meaning of democracy can vary greatly, as it is often shaped by one’s personal perspective. During my childhood my parents were explaining what consequences my actions might follow, showing me different options, from which I should analyze and make my conclusions. This very simple principle many of us sometimes forget nowadays. Politicians and different interest groups make it complicated, which usually nothing has common with democracy and real politics. They only talk that their ideas are brilliant, life changing, but usually very few demonstrate what might be specific consequences, how this can affect our life, society, country positively. It’s always important to tackle grass root issues from various angles, have a thematic debates, and look for different options, solutions. Otherwise, it is ordinary populism.
Democracy has a power when elections are fair and free, we have to work on it a lot.
Overall, Democracy is all about inclusion, diversity, equal rights, opportunities to make informed decisions, have your voice and can express freely, citizen oriented system. Diversity is our asset, if we understand how to manage and match to the needs. Democracy needs to be practiced and defended daily.
Whom do you consider your Everyday Hero and why?
The most precious and important people for me are my parents, who raised me in the most democratic manner. Despite many difficulties during and after the Soviet occupation, they were and are always full of optimism, they believed that kindness wins over evil and that everyone should do what they are good at to contribute and accelerate building a better country. Their diplomatic and business skills, approach towards people from which I learned a lot, friendship, the art of communication with people, and how to be more resilient and stay rational in critical situations. Both my grandfathers with totally different stories and backgrounds, one as the farmer and the other one as the local authority with strong political links, could be one of those everyday heroes indeed! Every person who lives with kindness believes and fights for their ideas that bring good to them and society and never compromises on values, and principles at any price is my everyday hero.
What does the concept of Everyday Hero mean to you?
Everyday heroes are not defined by their uniform or title, but by their actions. These heroes come from all walks of life and work in a variety of fields, including law enforcement, healthcare, education, public services, and more. They are often unsung heroes, working behind the scenes to keep us safe, healthy, and informed. Everyday heroes manifest the values of courage, integrity, and selflessness, and they inspire us all to be better. It’s about recognition and gratitude towards the contributions of those individuals who work tirelessly to make our lives and communities better.
Why did you become a member of EDYN?
During the last year of my Ph.D., after returning from the Spain doctoral exchange program, the pandemic of 2021 helped me to think more, about which direction needed capacity building and to expand horizons. As in of the famous quote: “If you’re the smartest person in the room, then you’re in the wrong room” – Here I am, as an EDYN member to strengthen my proficiency in the area of my interests, such as International affairs & transatlantic issues, democracy, politics, policy-making, and relevant fields.
Moreover, the diversity of the network and its core values, having opportunities to enrich my professional network with like-minded democracy activists, politicians, and journalists accompanied by a wide range of expertise, and unique experiences across Europe & U.S. boosted my motivation to be one of the EDYNers.
This network and members will play an exceptional role in shaping a better, more inclusive, and resilient democratic society, as we commit to Liberty, Justice, and Equality.