My Leadership Journey

Nino Jibuti, FLEX alumna ’11, Tbilisi, Georgia.


In this article, former FLEX, Greenheart Global Leadership Conference and Alumni Council member, Nino, reflects on her leadership journey. From her high school exchange program, to the various leadership opportunities through Greenheart and now as an important leader in her home country, Georgia, Nino explains her leadership journey and how it led her to current work.


Met with the Mayor of Baltimore Brandon Scott

I work as a Program Coordinator for the Tbilisi-based think tank Georgian Institute of Politics (GIP). We implement the initiative “Promoting Youth Transformational Leaders in Georgia” with the financial support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). It aims at raising awareness of the youth on socio-political processes and democratization of Georgia as well as developing their leadership skills and enhancing their participation and representation in public life. I also serve as a Professional Fellows Program (PFP) Coordinator at the American Councils for International Education. I have always been passionate about social issues such as equality, justice, and helping a vulnerable segment of Georgian society. For me working in the non-government space is an opportunity to advocate for the societal changes that could prepare us, young people, to meet tomorrow’s challenges.


Looking back to my leadership journey, I have gone through a lot of transformation – understanding, seeing, and experiencing living across the ocean, exposing myself to new cultures and cuisines at an early age as a foreign exchange student. Along the way, many opportunities allowed me to see things from a different perspective, embrace diversity, and always focus on my professional growth.

To this day, I remember receiving an email from Greenheart International about the Greenheart Impact grants program, which was followed by excitement when my project was selected for funding. It leads me to the GGLC and a trip to Washington, DC in 2016, and then the Alumni Council trip in 2019 in Chicago, IL, during which I had a chance to meet different non-profit organizations that focus on bringing social justice in different communities. Both programs were outstanding which inspired me to keep doing what I was passionate about and to reach a new level in my career, develop deep insights skills, and leadership style to influence and inspire others. Participating in those programs provided me with an opportunity to see common challenges and be bold to take initiatives that alter the situation for the better in Georgia.


Recently I had a chance to co-facilitate a visit of the Georgian delegation of activists to the United States through the Open World Program under the inclusivity theme in Baltimore, MD. The program brings emerging leaders from different countries to the United States for 10 days of intensive exchange with their professional counterparts. The Congressional Office for International Leadership is funded by US Congress and administered by the Congressional Office for International Leadership Center and American Councils, through the BridgeUSA progam IVLP (International Visitor Leadership Program).


I see myself working in the development field, but my next milestone would be to focus on evidence-based policy-making and effective policy communication, as changes require political will and resources along with effective advocacy.


Tour of Washington D.C. with the Georgian delegation

I am grateful for all the opportunities that Greenheart International provided me with which contributed to my leadership journey at pivotal moments of my life and career.


We are also grateful for Nino and for sharing her story. It is not often we hear alumni stories like hers: starting as a high school student, receiving an impact grant, returning for a leadership conference, lead other alumni, develop as a leader in her home country and then return to the U.S. leading a delegation of Georgians to learn leadership development skills… it is truly remarkable. Nino and stories like hers are the reason programs like BridgeUSA, FLEX, YES and sending Americans abroad, exist. They create future leaders.



If you’d like to learn more about hosting exchange students, like Nino, please visit

Click here if you’d like to donate to help Greenheart fund the programs like the Alumni Council or Greenheart Impact Grants.

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