Georgia Celebrates 15 Years of Muskie Fellows
The United States Embassy in Georgia, in association with IREX, recently hosted a celebration in honor of the 15th anniversary of the Edmund S Muskie Graduate Fellowship Program in the country. Since 1992, the Edmund S Muskie Graduate Fellowship Program (Muskie) has been sending professionals from the countries of the former Soviet Union to the United States for graduate study. The program promotes democratic principles, supports local leaders, and forges lasting friendships. More than 300 Georgians have been or are currently studying in the United States on the Muskie Program. The program includes 11 fields of study and more than 90 US universities have hosted Muskie fellows from Georgia. In addition to their studies, fellows also participate in practical internships and volunteer in their communities. The Muskie program has trained prominent leaders from all sectors of Georgian society – from those in the upper echelons of government to business leaders, medical professionals, and social activists.
The celebration acknowledged the contributions that Muskie fellows have made in all areas of Georgian society and was attended by approximately 75 Muskie alumni currently living in Georgia and other honored guests, including the first lady of Georgia, Sandra Roelfs. The celebration opened with remarks by US Ambassador to Georgia John Tefft and was followed by a video produced by Alexander Kvatashidze (Muskie ’05) in which alumni shared their reflections on the impact the Muskie program has had on their lives as well as advice for future Muskie fellows. For Eka Paresashvili (Muskie ‘03), this gathering “was a great moment for meeting up with IREX, the Embassy staff, my friends, others that I did not know before. Also, it was an excellent moment for thinking back, for being proud and grateful, and more importantly, for looking forward to further contribute to the special mission we Muskies are to accomplish for the betterment of our country in our respective fields of expertise.