In May 2015, after spending two years as an assistant professor of international law at the University of Western Ontario, Anna Dolidze, JSD '13, has taken a leave and returned home to the Republic of Georgia to take up the post of deputy minister of defense, with a portfolio that includes human rights, veterans' rights, education, international law, and cooperation with NATO.
"The request was unexpected," says Dolidze, who graduated from Tbilisi State University Law School in 2002, received a master's in international law from Leiden University in 2004, and served in the Georgian Young Lawyers' Association, the National Constitutional Commission, and the Commission for Georgia's European Integration before her arrival at Cornell Law School. "It is a great opportunity to give back to my country through policymaking, to contribute my knowledge and experience to help Georgia become a prosperous, peaceful, democratic state based on human rights and the rule of law. As a legal academic, I am thrilled to have the chance to impact public policy."
Ever since the country's 2003 Rose Revolution, Georgia has been pursuing admission into NATO, with Minister of Defense Tina Khidasheli calling for a membership action plan at the alliance's 2016 summit in Warsaw. As one of three new deputy ministers appointed by Khidasheli, Dolidze is tasked with continuing to make demonstrable progress on political and military reforms to support Georgia's candidacy.
In one current project, Dolidze is working to establish a more objective system for granting scholarships to study abroad; in another, she's creating an increasingly transparent program for distributing benefits to military personnel. As Dolidze describes it, the post is enormously dynamic, challenging her to translate ideas into policies and legislation, and demanding she apply her legal skills on a daily basis.
"During the past seven years, I have been immersed in the academic life," says Dolidze, who credits her professors at Cornell-Gregory Alexander, Valerie Hans, Mitchel Lasser, Muna Ndulo, Steven Shifffrin, and Sydney Tarrow-with preparing her for the demands of government service. "Although this position involves a very different degree of responsibility, power, resources, and pace, the underlying idea is the same. I remain committed to serving the public good, which provides the inspiration and driving force for me and the people with whom I work."