By Kateryna Denysova
“Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get,” Erekle Koplatadze, the Communications Officer at the Embassy of Georgia in The Netherlands, describes his life journey. Pursuing a career in international affairs and diplomacy, Erekle has already had a chance to work and study in Turkey, the UK, and The Netherlands. He shares his story with us.
“At the age of 13 years old, my parents and I moved to Ankara, because my father received a new posting. It was a big change for me.Luckily, I attended an international school, which helped meto quickly integrate into a new setting. I remember there were a lot of students coming from abroad…We were all in the same boat… all internationals, so it made it easier for me to settle. I believe it also played a crucial role in the formation of my international identity.”
Growing up in a diplomatic family, Erekle was exposed tothe notion of receptions and formal dinners from an early age: “I unconsciously learned the principles of diplomatic etiquette and currently, it is something that I feel very comfortable with.” Interest in international affairs and desire to explore the world also contributed to his decision to become a diplomat. He acknowledges, “Now, I cannot think of a place where I want to stay more than four years. I encourage everyone to travel abroad and experience new places.”
What else has sparked your interest to pursue a career in this field?
“I moved to London to study Politics and Eastern European studies for my bachelor’s degree. I was very interested in international relations, especially after the war in Georgia in 2008 that further deepened my interest to study security aspect in specific. After I had finished my master’s degree in London as well, I haphazardly got accepted for a position at the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Turkey. Then, I decided to try something new, so I moved to Groningen to pursue my second Master’s in International Relations and Organizations.”
Can you name one characteristic that would distinguish a person who spent most of their life abroad?
“Sense of home. For instance, once you start talking to a son or a daughter of a diplomat you immediately realize it. They can very easily adapt to new environments and have multiple ‘homes’. You also become open-minded. Experiencing a new culture allows a person to see the world from different perspectives, which makes them less judgmental about things. Having spent a long time abroad, upon return to my home country, I notice sometimes things Georgians take for granted.”
Have you experienced a challenging situation at your work?
“My work in Turkey coincided with the ongoing migration crisis in the country. I was responsible for overseeing the situation with Syrian refugees. Many terrorist explosions were happening across Turkey along with failed coup d’état attempt. It was challenging to work in IOM at that time, but I learned a lot. Without any doubt, political instability affected daily life as well. I remember how one day I decided to go out with my friends and the next day that place was bombed. I couldn’t believe that I had been sitting there just yesterday.”
What advice would you give to young people who embark on a career path in diplomacy?
“My best advice for them is to learn languages and avoid staying in a comfort zone for too long. Just always push yourself, always develop yourself. Being a diplomat means to move frequently, so you must be ready to accept these challenges.”
Erekle’s mission in The Netherlands is coming to an end, thus very soon he’ll return to his home country to start a new job in the Parliament of Georgia. We wish him good luck in mastering the fine art of diplomacy and all the best in his future endeavors that are yet to come!