Education: Master of Political Science
Position: Senior Program Officer, National Democratic Institute
Research Interests: Women’s political participation, women rights, political polling, political party building, corporate social responsibility.
Languages: Georgian, English, Swedish and Russian
Biography: As a Senior Program Officer of the Georgia office of the National Democratic Institute, since 2011, Teona Kupunia has managed and implemented a multi-year, multi-faceted program aiming at building more responsive political institutions in Georgia. Teona has over 10 years of experience of working in civil society and knowledge of all aspects of management, international development, politics and gender issues. Teona is very passionate about women’s rights and considers herself to be a feminist. Raising attention and designing approaches to combating gender-based violence is a lifetime commitment for her, beginning with her master’s thesis in Sweden which covered the issue of human trafficking and how policies in Georgia were made to address it. Working across Georgia, Mongolia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Romania, she has the international experience and on-the-ground perspective to take the many lessons she has learned on this issue.
Teona is also an experienced trainer. She has led trainings and provided consultations on grassroots organizing, women’s political participation, public opinion polling, human trafficking and social work in Georgia and Armenia for the last 8 years. She has also trained women candidates and women campaign organizers for five major political parties in Georgia. As a strategy to increase the political will to increase women’s political participation, Teona was charged with establishing and overseeing a Task Force on Women’s Political Participation bringing together a number of international and local NGOs as well as various state institutions and political parties. The Task Force is designed for setting the tone for a more intense women’s participation in Georgia with a focus on advocating legislative quotas. The group is currently working on drafting a legislative initiative proposing quotas as a temporary measure for increasing women’s political participation in Georgia.
Teona is a political scientist by training holding two Master Degrees in International Relations from Tbilisi State University and a Master’s Degree in International and European Affairs from Linkoping University in Sweden.