Irakli Kakabadze

Activist Type
Human Rights

Irakli Kakabadze is a Georgian writer, performance artist, and advocate for peace and human rights. He gained prominence in the late 1980s as a key leader of the student opposition against the Soviet government in Georgia. Despite his young age, he became a member of the National Forum of Georgia, the country’s leading national liberation movement. Kakabadze is known for his political and satirical writing, having published five books and over 50 short stories in Georgian, Russian, and English publications. He worked as a correspondent for the Voice of America’s Georgian Service at the United Nations and as a language and culture instructor for the Foreign Service Institute. He also played a significant role in organizing peace conferences and forums for the South Caucasus region of Eastern Europe during his tenure at the National Peace Foundation and the Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy in Washington, DC.

In 2007, Irakli Kakabadze had to leave his homeland due to death threats he received following an editorial he wrote. The editorial called for the government to apologize for the persecution of the people of western Georgia during the 1992-94 conflict. His courageous stance on this issue led to him being awarded the Lilian Hellman/Hammett grant from Human Rights Watch in 2007 and the Oxfam/Novib PEN Freedom of Expression Prize in 2009.

Artwork by
Anne Di Lillo

Irakli Kakabadze’s portrait is a take on his "Polyphonic Discourse” performances. In music polyphonic refers to “a musical texture that features two or more equally prominent melodic lines played at the same time”. For Kakabadze’s poetry, this entails a performance in multiple languages, narratives, and styles that combine into a beautiful harmonic piece. It speaks to the commonality of human nature, and how there must be an effort to understand and accept one another as equals.


Georgia Flag
May 26, 1918
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