ATLANTA, Jan. 9, 2017 — Hall Booth Smith, P.C. hosted a group of delegates from the country of Georgia in partnership with the Georgia to Georgia Foundation (GA2GE) cultural exchange program and in conjunction with the government-sponsored Open World program.
During the weeklong visit that culminated shortly before Christmas, HBS arranged a series of meetings, presentations and conversations with U.S. political and business leaders to give the Georgian delegates an inside look at how state and federal legislative bodies operate and interact. HBS together with GA2GE has hosted more than 20 groups through the Open World program, which has enabled more than 120 current and future foreign leaders to meaningfully engage with their counterparts in the U.S. to promote secure and democratic societies.
The Georgian delegation included:
- Khatuna Uznadze, Head of the Chancellery for the Georgian Parliament responsible for managing all documents and official communications between Parliament and government ministries.
- David Churadze, Head of Finance for the Georgian Parliament who manages the annual budget and daily funding activities.
- Nikoloz Natenadze, Chief of Staff for the Georgian Parliament who oversees more than 1,200 staff and ensures smooth day-to-day operations.
- Salome Samadashvili, who was elected as a Member of Parliament in 2016 to represent the United National Movement (UNM) party and also serves as UNM’s international secretary after 20 other MPs left that party to create a separate faction.
- Otar Kakhidze, who was elected as a Member of Parliament in 2016 via the UNM party and was previously a partner at a Tbilisi criminal and administrative law firm and a lecturer at the Free and Agricultural University.
- Nino Vardosanidze, a Senior Legislative and Oversight Manager with USAID Good Governance Initiative (GGI) in the country of Georgia, who facilitated the visit.
The group had in-depth discussions and asked many questions while meeting with distinguished local leaders including Roger Tutterow, Director of the Econometric Center at Kennesaw State University’s Michael J. Coles College of Business; Dr. Bradley Wright, Chair of the Department of Public Administration and Policy at the University of Georgia; Dr. Ed Kellough, Distinguished Professor in the Department of Public Administration and Policy at the University of Georgia; Deborah Carroll, Associate Professor in the Department of Public Administration and Policy at the University of Georgia; and Rusty Brooks, Associate Director of the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia.
The delegation also had personalized discussions about political policies and government affairs with Hall Booth Smith leadership including Matt Towery, Chairman of the Government Affairs and Public Policy Practice at HBS who also served in the Georgia House of Representatives and was the Republican Nominee for Lieutenant Governor at age 30; Chuck Clay, who served in the Georgia State Senate for six terms and was the Senate Republican Leader and the Chairman of the Republican Party of Georgia; and Brad Carver, a Partner and Senior Managing Director of Government Affairs at HBS, who served as a strategist in numerous national and state campaigns and is Vice-Chairman of the Fulton County Republican Party and serves on the Georgia Republican Party’s Board of Governors and State Executive Committee.
The group also had a detailed discussion with HBS Partner Robert “Bobby” Shannon about cyber security and the rising threat of hackers in political processes and elections. Shannon is a Major General and the highest ranking African American in the Air National Guard, serving as a dual-hatted Special Assistant to the Director of the Air National Guard and Mobilization Assistant to the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance at the U.S. Air Force headquarters at the Pentagon.
“We are so pleased to be part of this important exchange program, which expands and enriches our understanding of other cultures and political systems just as much as it shows others how our system works,” said John Hall, a founding partner of Hall Booth Smith who is also an Honorary Consul to the Country of Georgia and Co-Chair of the Atlanta Tbilisi Sister City Committee.