Irakli Kakabadze is one of the leading contemporary Georgian writers. He is an author of five books and scores of short stories and poems. In 1990 Kakabadze was awarded an award by “Tsiskari” magazine for his novel “Allegro”. He was one of the first writers in Georgia to focus on painful issues of drugs and violence. Since 1990 he has published more than 50 short stories in Georgian, Russian and English publications. His play “Candidate Jokola”, which was published in 2005, became one of the controversial stories of love between Georgian man and Abkhaz woman. In his country, he is well known as a writer and political activist, who has engaged in social life since the late 1980s. In 2000-2004 he was an editor in chief of “Peace Times” literary magazine, which was one of the most readable literary publications in Georgia. He is also one of the founders of “Shmazi” poetry club together with Daniel McFarland. He has done Shmazi performances since 1997. IN Georgia, together with his colleague Zurab Rtveliashvili he has created anew style of multi-cultural performance, Polyphonic Blues. He has collaborated with different musicians, including late Irakli Charkviani, Ketato, Salome Korkota, and most of all, Gogi Dzodzuashvili. He is the author of the lyrics to “Postindustrial Boys”, his collaboration with Gogi Dzodzuashvili, that was published by Max Ernst in 2004.

Born in Georgia, in 1969, Irakli Kakabadze is a founding member and Chairman of the Egalitarian Institute, well known human rights advocacy organization in Georgia.

Kakabadze was one of the founders of the Civic Disobedience Committee and Theater for Change in 2003, which significantly contributed to the Rose Revolution. Kakabadze has been active in the civil rights movement in Georgia and has written numerous articles on the need for democratic reform. In 2007 Irakli Kakabadze was awarded Hellman/Hammett prize by Human Rights watch.

Graduate of the Philosophy Department of Tbilisi State University, Kakabadze also holds Master of Science Degree in Conflict Resolution from the George Mason University. In addition to his public activities, he was an Adjunct Professor of Conflict Resolution at the Georgian Institute of Public Affairs. He is now a visiting fellow at Peace Studies Program of Cornell University.

Kakabadze grew up in Soviet Georgia and was part of the family that has fought the Soviet Empire from its very inception. Many of his family died during Stalinist purges in 1930s. He started to write at the age of 12. At his teenage years he was involved in gang life and participated in the street fights very often. In 1984 he was almost killed by stabbing. From 1984 to 1986 he had multiple concussions that have seriously damaged his health. That is when he first started to have first hand experiences with the violence.

In 1988 Irakli Kakabadze became involved in student political movement for liberation of Georgia from the Soviet rule. He was a chairman of one of the biggest youth organizations that officially opposed communist party. He was also a youngest member of the National Forum of Georgia – leading body of the National Liberation Movement of Georgia in 1989-90. In April, 1989 he was severely beaten by the Soviet army and he had another second degree concussion. He continued his social activism and was close to the first democratically elected Georgian leader Zviad Gamsakhurdia. He participated in the first nationally televised debates between the members of opposition and young communist party leaders in 1990. But after this, and several persecution by KGB he was forced to leave the country and request a political asylum in the United States of America. During his first stay in America he has worked for Voice of America, National Peace Foundation and the Institute for Multi Track Diplomacy.

In the year 2000 he returned to Georgia and started to teach conflict resolution at the Georgian Institute for Public Affairs. At the same time he became an editor in chief of “Peace Times” magazine. He also was leading literary meetings in the cafe “Sardapi” in 2001-2002. That is when he started to practice the polyphonic blues and non-violent arts movement in Georgia.

Kakabadze was one of the initial members of “Civil Disobedience Committee” during the “Rose Revolution” in 2003. After the revolution, he has pursued the work for non-violent state and human rights with his organization “Egalitarian Institute of Georgia”. He has also written highly controversial play “Candidate Jokola” that earned him government animosity. In September 2005, unidentified people have beaten him severely and the government was not able to determine who was the perpetrator of this crime. In 2006, Kakabadze was arrested and jailed by Georgian authorities 4 times for expressing his views about war and human rights.

Since January 2007, Kakabadze lives in exile in the United States again and is now a guest writer for Ithaca City of Asylum and works at the Peace Studies Program at Cornell University.