Leri KHUPENIA, Georgia
PROJECT: Engaging Georgian Youth to Prevent Brain Drain and Irregular Migration

Leri Khupenia is a researcher and geopolitical risk analyst from Georgia. He brings a wealth of professional experience in governance, diplomacy, international affairs, and education. His academic journey includes multiple academic degrees in European Politics and Security from renowned institutions such as Columbia University (US), Groningen University (Netherlands), Jagiellonian University in Krakow (Poland), Palacky University (Czech Republic), and Malmo University (Sweden). Throughout his career, Leri has held various key positions, including serving as a leading analyst on the Eurasian Geopolitics Task Force at the European Institute for International Affairs, Program Manager at DBEF, Policy Advisor at the EU Delegation in Georgia and a Senior Specialist of the International Affairs Department at the National Defense Academy in Georgia. Additionally, he worked as a Security Policy Analyst at the OSCE YPP in Vienna, an International Affairs and Protocol Specialist at the Administration of the President. In 2023, Leri founded the non-profit organization – ‘Action for Community Transformation – Georgia (ACT Georgia)’ with an aim to address the most challenging topics related to socially and economically vulnerable communities, IDPs and refugees, ethnic minorities, youth and people directly affected by crises. Currently he serves as an executive director at ACT Georgia.

Leri’s dedication and contributions have earned him numerous merit-based scholarships, fellowships, and awards, including the Davis Fellowship, Erasmus Academic Scholarships (Eminence and EMJMD) CUDS Fellowship, and IEC scholarship. In 2023, he received the prestigious Forbes “30 under 30” prize in the category of Education and Science. Notably, Leri is a refugee from occupied Abkhazia, Georgia, which adds a personal dimension to his work at ACT Georgia. He is also an accomplished author with several published papers on international politics and security, and he has been a speaker and delegate at over 50 high-level international conferences and events.

‘In recent years, Georgia has faced a critical challenge: a growing exodus of its youth and skilled workers. This trend poses a direct threat to our nation’s socio-economic vitality. With a population of just 3.7 million, every departure diminishes our collective potential. My mission is to spearhead a participatory research initiative aimed at dissecting the intricacies of this phenomenon—identifying key factors, demographics, and patterns. By understanding the root causes and pathways of brain drain, we can craft a strategic roadmap to counteract it. This analysis will lay the groundwork for policy entrepreneurship, guiding us toward effective solutions to retain our most valuable asset: the youth.’ – Leri KHUPENIA

Engaging Georgian Youth to Prevent Brain Drain and Irregular Migration

Fellowship Summary: The Fellow will use participatory research methods to explore the root causes of youth ‘brain drain’ and urban migration, and support debate among key stakeholders and policy-makers.

Updates coming soon!

Fellowship Programs 2023
Country Georgia
Areas of Interest Advocacy
Topics Youth empowerment
Project duration January - August 2024