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Republic of Georgia and Prosser Exchange Program

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PROSSER-- The City of Prosser is participating in an exchange program sponsored by the US State Department called the Legislative Fellows program.  Prosser is hosting a Legislative Council man from the Republic of Georgia to intern for the city for a month.

Giorgi Ivaniadze is 33 years old.  He has a Master's Degree in International Relations and Law and has served for his region's council for 12 years for Vani and Georgia Local Council.  Ivaniatze says, "I think it's great to be in the United States. In Georgia,.  Most Georgians like Americans, America's culture and America's democracy ."

Prosser City Administrator, Charlie Bush says, "the reason for the funding is so that the state department can promote democracy in places where democracy is emerging such as the former countries that used to be a part of the Soviet Union.'  Ivaniadze is one of seven Georgians in the US learning about American life.  " They are in different cities.  Some work for senators, some are engaged in elections, some are in state legislatures in different cities, different states," says Ivaniadze.  Russia and Ukraine are also partaking in the program, sending 27 people here to learn about democracy.

Georgia also has a similar climate to Prosser and wine is big industry there as well.  "Georgians are credited with inventing wine, invented the word wine for certain, but have been making wine for about 7,000 years.  It's a huge part of their culture, so because Prosser has become the birthplace of Washington wine industry and has a centralized wine culture that's very new, we want to learn from Georgia's ancient wine culture as well."

Ivaniatze's goal is learn about how democracy works and bring that knowledge back to Georgia.  "we had many problems which was a result of the collapse of the Soviet Union.  There was civil war, there was a war with Russia.  So we had many problems, but now the new president of Georgia has improved many things and our democracy is somehow getting stronger than it was and we try to develop that," says Ivaniatze.

City Administrator, Charlie Bush is working with Ivaniatze on a project as well.  When that is completed, Bush will travel to Georgia in the spring for two weeks on a similar exchange to help Georgians.