Written by Ketevan Vashakidze, PFP Spring 2018 Alumna from GeorgiaLawyer at the Prosecutor General’s Office of Georgia, Human Rights Division
I am very happy that I managed to visit United States in February 2020, before the Covid -19 pandemic broke out. I had two reasons to go back.
First, I took the Washington DC Jurisdiction Bar exam. A lawyer needs to pass this exam in order to be allowed to practice law in the United States. I successfully passed it and this achievement significantly extends my professional capacity. I will try to make the most of this opportunity and have a larger impact with my work.
Second, after taking the bar exam, I went to Colorado to visit my PFP Spring 2018 host organization – Colorado Department of Public Safety Division of Criminal Justice.
I was also looking forward to see my host family: Joe Thome, Cynthia Huerta -Thome and our new family member the Golden Retriever Oscar. The reunion in the Denver airport was emotional. Even though, my life is full of adventures and joy, I have not been that happy very often. It felt like returning home. The fact is, my host family has really become my second family.
Over these two years my host organization Colorado Department of Public Safety has become a strong professional ally, meeting my colleagues was exciting as well. Some of them have been promoted to higher positions, some retired, while others have stayed in their previous occupations. They invited me to attend Colorado Criminal Justice Forum, where 500 stakeholders gathered to plan ways to adopt best Criminal Justice practices, as long as Colorado Justice System has fair ambition to be prominent and highly responsive to contemporary challenges. I had a chance to meet prosecutors, defence counsels, legislators, community representatives, the governor, and many other specialists involved in justice reform. We were all happy to share our stories, exchange our experiences and plan future activities.
I want to thank the American Councils team, PFP program team, Colorado Public Safety Department, my mentor Meg Handel Williams, and my host family Cynthia and Joe for giving me the opportunity, and supporting and inspiring me to work with my United States colleagues who remain my reliable contacts when it comes to professional advice and support.