Sandra Roelofs

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Sandra Elisabeth Roelofs
Sandra Roelofs (April 15, 2007).jpg
Sandra Roelofs in 2007
Born Sandra Elisabeth Roelofs
(1968-12-23) 23 December 1968 (age 48)[1]
Terneuzen, the Netherlands[1]
Term 25 January 2004 – 25 November 2007, 20 January 2008 – 17 November 2013
Spouse(s) Mikheil Saakashvili
Children Eduard Saakashvili
Nikoloz Saakashvili
Sandra Roelofs Signature.svg

Sandra Elisabeth Roelofs Saakashvili (born 23 December 1968) was the First Lady of Georgia from 2004 to 2013, when her husband Mikheil Saakashvili was president of the country.


Sandra Roelofs was born in Terneuzen, Netherlands. In 1991 she graduated in French and German languages from the Erasmushogeschool in Brussels and in 1993 attended courses at the International Institute of Human Rights in Strasbourg. She met Mikheil Saakashvili in 1993[2] in Strasbourg and later that year moved to New York City where she worked at Columbia University and a Dutch law firm. In 1996 the couple came to Georgia, where Roelofs worked for the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Consulate of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Tbilisi.[1]

From 1999 to 2003, Roelofs was a visiting lecturer French language at Tbilisi State University and was a radio correspondent for Dutch radio. Beyond her native Dutch, Roelofs speaks French, English, German, Russian, and Georgian.[1]

Roelofs acquired Georgian citizenship in January 2008 and is now a dual Dutch-Georgian citizen.[3]

Roelofs ran as a candidate for the United National Movement in the Georgian parliamentary election, 2016. She ran in the Zugdidi district and was number two on the party list.[4][5] The United National Movement won 27 (nationwide) party list seats.[6] The initial Zugdidi district vote of 8 October 2016 was nullified in several polling stations and a repeat vote was held (there on) 22 October 2016 and again Roelofs placed second (in the district).[7] Roelofs refused to participate in the Zugdidi district 30 October 2016 second round run-off election claiming the official results were falsified (adding not only in this election district but in the whole country).[7] On 7 November (2016) she also gave up her party list seat and thus did not became an MP in the Georgian parliament.[8]

Roelofs and Saakashvili have two sons, Eduard (b. 1995) and Nikoloz (b. 2005).[2]

Her autobiographical book The Story of an Idealist (2005)[2][3] has been translated into Georgian, Russian, Ukrainian, Polish, Turkish and English.

Charity work[edit]

In 1998 Roelofs founded charity foundation SOCO which has the primary focus of implementing the programs funded by western European and Georgian companies and individuals and is aimed at supporting low income families.[3] Since setting new targets in 2007, SOCO has been actively taking care of reproductive health and child welfare in Georgia. In 2007 Roelofs founded Radio Muza, the first Georgian radio dedicated solely to classical music.[1] which functioned until 2014.

During her period as first lady of Georgia, she was Stop TB Partnership Ambassador as well as a Goodwill Ambassador promoting Millennium Development Goals for WHO Europe. She was serving at the Board of the Global Fund fighting Aids, TB and Malaria from 2012-2015.

Roelofs set up breast and cervical cancer screening programs in Georgia, as well as prenatal screening and promoted palliative care and awareness about rare diseases, safety belts and healthy lifestyle.


External links[edit]