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Georgian Association’s former Board Member, Mamia Zakradze has celebrated his 100th birthday!

Mamia Zakradze’s life story is a tribute to the struggles of his generation of Georgians. Born in Gomi, Georgia, on April 10, 1920, Mamia Zakradze’s youth fell on fighting the Nazis in WWII. After the war ended, Mamia stayed in Germany where he met the love of his life, Helena Seitz. They had two children together, Alfred and Vera Zakradze. However, because of the Iron Curtain he lost touch with his parents and relatives in Georgia, who did not even know that he survived the war until early 60s.

In 1950s, Mamia got involved with the work of the Georgian Association in the United States, which sponsored his and his family’s arrival to the US. The family arrived via Ellis Island like many other post-WWII immigrants. They originally settled in New York City before moving to College Point, NY where Mamia Zakradze currently resides.

For almost 30 years, Mamia Zakradze’s life was closely intertwined with the Georgian Association in the US where he was a member of the Board and proud supporter of all Georgian causes from 1950 through 1989. Mamia supported many noble Georgian initiatives, including the creation of Camp Alaverdi in Cold Spring, NY, a summer camp for kids from the Caucasus. At the invitation of the founder of the camp, Siko Eristavi, Mamia Zakradze became Vice President of Camp Alaverdi in 1964 and served there until his retirement in 1996. Even though the camp had to close soon after his retirement, Mamia remains optimistic that one day it will open again.

Despite all the struggles, Mamia Zarkadze’s life gives us optimism and belief in bright future for Georgia and the US.

The GA Board is wishing Mamia Zakradze a Very Happy 100th Birthday! Congratulations on this amazing milestone! What an honor it is to celebrate a century of life with you. May you continue to enjoy the journey of life.

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Georgian Association Celebrates Independence Day of Georgia, May 26

May 26 is a special day for Georgians. Over a century ago, on this date in 1918, Georgians declared independence from Russian rule and the formation of the Democratic Republic of Georgia (DRG). While the Soviet invasion in 1921 put an end to it just after three years of its establishment, DRG had solid foundations of a democratic political system, with strong parties and inclusive government based on popular participation.

After regaining its independence in 1993, Georgia still faces threats with the continuing presence of Russian Federation troops on Georgian sovereign territory and encroachment in some disputed areas of the country. Despite these challenges, Georgia has prevailed in achieving significant democratic reforms and has strengthened its economy to one of the strongest in the region. With its partnership built on both shared values and common interests, Georgia is a proud and robust ally of the United States.

Lately, Georgia’s successful battle against COVID-19 has been largely credited to the cooperation between our two countries. The past years of US technical assistance, construction of the Lugar Center, a world class infectious disease laboratory, and training of Georgian healthcare professionals proved to be instrumental in Georgia’s preparedness to successfully manage and contain the deadly virus.

American business is also investing in Georgia, and tourism continues to increase due to the rich culture of the country. With its well-educated population and continued political and economic reforms, the future is bright for Georgia and its citizens.

The Board of Directors of the Georgian Association wishes all Georgians and their friends a happy Independence Day.

Veronika Metonidze Profile

Veronika Metonidze – newly elected President of the Georgian Association in the USA

Veronika Metonidze is a Georgian and US attorney with 25 years of law practice and international development experience in two countries.

After moving to the United States in 2005, she continued to advance in her professional career and obtained professional licenses in Virginia and the District of Columbia. She has built and managed a successful full-service general practice servicing a diverse immigrant community. Prior to that she practiced immigration law at Miorini Law, PLLC and the National Capital Legal Services, Inc. In addition, the Veronika specializes in White Collar Crime and Anti-Corruption investigations and litigation.

Veronika has a long history of non-profit community capacity building in both countries. While in the US, Veronika has actively contributed and promoted all initiatives aimed at strengthening Georgian Community in the US such as GeorgianDC online forum, Georgian Center, Academy of Georgian Heritage and others. In Georgia, she was one of the founding members of Georgian Young Lawyers Association, the first professional non-profit organization in newly independent Georgia.

Before her legal career in the US, Ms. Metonidze practiced Georgian law and actively participated in the legislative process of Georgia. She also steered International development efforts in Georgia and focused on Democracy Building, Judicial and Legal Profession reforms. She consulted on multiple international projects of the World Bank, IMF, EBRD, USAID, IOM and other international organizations.

Veronika earned her L.L.M degree in International Legal Studies from American University College of Law and studied European Law at Sorbonne University, Paris, France.

Bar Admissions: Virginia, District of Columbia Courts US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia

Professional Affiliation: American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA); Fairfax Bar Association

Languages: English, French, Russian, Georgian

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Thank You to Elisabeth (Elisso) Kvitashvili

Elisso Kvitashvili, president of the Georgian Association in the USA will be stepping down from this position after four years.  The Board of Directors of the Association recognizes and thanks Elisso for the many important contributions she has made while serving as president.  Since our annual celebration of the Georgian Independence scheduled for the end of April was postponed until next year due to the pandemic, the board is not able to properly recognize and thank Elisso for her leadership and commitment to the success of the association.  She has been a tireless advocate for Georgia, through her long-established relationships with the Georgian diaspora, interactions with congressional representatives, and promoting Georgia’s culture among both Georgians and others unfamiliar with the rich history of the country.  While Elisso is stepping down from the position, she will not be far away in continuing to provide her insights to the association.

Veronika Metonidze has been elected as the new president, and took over the the position effective May 1.  Veronika has been a long-term member of the board and is currently serving as the Secretary, one of the three officer positions in the association.  We wish her the best and look forward to working with her in continuing the important work of the association.

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Georgian Association statement regarding illegal detention of Dr. Vazha Gaprindashvili

The Georgian Association in the United States, Inc. is alarmed and expresses its deep concern with the rising tensions and expansion of the humanitarian crisis at the occupation line of Georgia’s Russian-controlled Tskhinvali region (South Ossetia).

On November 9, 2019, the occupation regime illegally detained Dr. Vazha Gaprindashvili, a well-known Georgian physician and president of the Georgian Association of Orthopedic Traumatologists. On November 15, 2019 he was sentenced to two months of pretrial detention. Dr. Gaprindashvili was detained while providing urgent medical help to a gravely injured local resident of the occupied Akhalgori district. The story of the patient’s condition and refusal of the Russian-controlled de facto authorities in Tskhinvali to transport the patient to Tbilisi has been widely reported. Following the arbitrary closure of the Mosabruni checkpoint by the de facto authorities in September of 2019, the local population has become totally isolated resulting in several deaths due to lack of access to adequate medical care.

The detention of Dr. Vazha Gaprindashvili while fulfilling his duty as a doctor runs counter to all internationally recognized human rights.

The Georgian Association calls on US government representatives to:

– actively support efforts of the Georgian Government and International community to achieve the prompt release of Dr. Gaprindashvili from illegal custody;
– work with all sides involved to overcome the humanitarian crisis in the occupied territories and ensure local residents’ access to qualified medical care;