Tribute to Tamaz Gamkrelidze
Celebrating a life and career dedicated to nature conservation in the Caucasus.
The Eco-Corridors team lost a cherished and valued team member in June, 2018. Tamaz Gamkrelidze was the Operational Director of WWF Caucasus and an integral part of the ECF team.
Tamaz was with WWF Caucasus from the beginning, starting in 1992 where he contributed a wealth of knowledge from his PhD in Biology from Tbilisi University. After a brief foray in the private and corporate sector he returned to WWF as a Funding and Communications Manager before becoming the Operational Director where he was responsible for all operations actions of the office as well as two large-scale projects; ECF and TJS (Transboundary Joint Secretariat). His kind and yet professional demeanor made him a natural at the position where he coordinated everyday cooperations between partner organizations and linked consultants with projects. He was a great source of knowledge and huge supporter of the ECF program.
“I’ve never met anyone who was more positive,” says Giorgi Sanadiradze, WWF Caucasus Director. “Everyone in the office came to him for support. He was very well educated, speaking Georgian, German, Russian, English and French.” Tamaz was an important bridge between WWF and its consultants. “We can say, from the WWF side, that he was the heart of both projects; from strategy to everyday operations to budgeting,” says Girogi. “As a coordinator he made everyone’s job easier as he supported everyone resolved issues.
Coworkers remember him as being open and understanding, helpful and very polite. He loved Jazz music and Frank Sinatra and a shared his warm smile with all. The success of the ECF program acts as an everyday tribute to Tamaz as we recognize the work he contributes to making this project what it is today.
A commemoration presentation was held on June 19th, the opening day of the ECF Annual Forum in Batumi, Georgia. The legacy Tamaz has left lives on in the continuing success of ECF. He will be greatly missed.