After a busy week of intense and sometimes exhausting work of exchanging and translating experiences with their Minnesota judicial counterparts, it was time for Professor and Appellate Judge, Maia Ivanidze to thank her hosts for their hospitality.
Professor Ivanidze was one of five delegates visiting Minnesota as part of the Open World program sponsored by Congress and hosted by Justice Paul Anderson of the Minnesota Supreme Court. Functioning as an appellate judge as well as a full professor of criminal law at Ivane Javakhishvili State University in Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia, Professor Ivandidze wanted to explore the similarities and differences between the Minnesota judicial system and the system in the former satellite of the Soviet Union.
Georgia is a prosperous country that shares its borders with Armenia and Azerbaijan to the southeast, and the Black Sea to its northwest. Extremely diverse in climate and topography, Georgia’s weather ranges from cool and snowy in its vast, mountainous regions, to warm and humid in the Mt. Mtirala rainforest. Georgia’s population of approximately five million is known for many things, including its patriotism and also for its delicious wine, which is an important export.
On the second day of their visit, the delegates were taken to the State Capitol, where they were given a special tour of the Minnesota Senate Chamber. The delegates learned about the Senate’s process, and learned about what serving in the Senate is like from former State Senator, Jim Carlson. Carlson, who is running for reelection this November, has also helped host Eurasian judges with two prior visits from the Courts of Kyrgyzstan. During the remainder of their stay, the delegates enjoyed tours of the Twin Cities’ parks and historic sites, the Minnesota Judicial Center, and the Supreme Court offices. The delegates also attended the swearing-in ceremony of Supreme Court Justice Wilhelmina “Mimi” Wright.
After a very full week of cultural exchange, fun, and Minnesotan hospitality, the Georgian delegates were taken to the airport for their 3:30 departure home, for the foreseeable future, with “Minnesota on their minds.”