Heidi Tagliavinijoined the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) in 1982. A Swiss career diplomat for 30 years she served in 19 bilateral and multilateral assignments. In 2008 the Council of Ministers of the European Union appointed her as the Head of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission for the Conflict in Georgia (IIFFMCG). Her first assignments were in Bern and Lima. In 1989 she was transferred to the Swiss Embassy in Moscow. At the end of 1992 she was sent as Councilor and Deputy Head of Mission at the Swiss Embassy in The Hague. In 1995, Heidi Tagliavini was deployed as a member of the first OSCE Assistance Group in Chechnya in the middle of the Chechen war. In 1998, after a second term as Minister and Deputy Head of Mission at the Swiss Embassy in Moscow, the UN Secretary General appointed Ambassador Tagliavini as Deputy Head of Mission to the UN Special Representative for the conflict in Georgia (UNOMIG).
In 1999, she returned to the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs to head the Political Affairs Division of the Political Directorate dealing with Human Rights and Humanitarian Policy. In 2000, the Austrian OSCE Chairperson-in-Office appointed her as her Personal Representative for missions in the Caucasus. From 2001 to 2002, Heidi Tagliavini was Swiss Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina. In 2002 the UN SG appointed her as his Special Representative of the UN Secretary General and Head of the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG). Back in the Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2006, she served as Deputy Political Director and Deputy State Secretary of the Foreign Ministry. After the release of the EU commissioned Report on the Conflict in Georgia in 2009, Heidi Tagliavini served as the Head of the OSCE/ODIHR election observation mission in several elections: the Presidential Election in Ukraine in 2010, the Duma elections 2011 and the Presidential election 2012 in the Russian Federation as well as the Presidential election in Armenia in 2013. From 2008 – 2012 she was also Diplomat-in-Residence at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy. Heidi Tagliavini, who was born in Basel, Switzerland, completed her studies in philology in Geneva and Moscow. She speaks eight languages and holds two honorary doctorates from the universities of Basel and Bern. In 2013 she was awarded the Human Rights Price by the International Society of Human Rights, Swiss Branch. In the same year Heidi Tagliavini received the Grand Decorations of Honor in Gold for services to the Republic of Austria.