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Judicial training program celebrates 10th anniversary

Judicial training program celebrates 10th anniversary; hosts a record 50 participants from Brazil

Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia School of Law’s International Judicial Training Program will celebrate its 10th anniversary this December with 50 members from the Brazilian judiciary and two from the Argentine judiciary arriving to be trained in the workings of the U.S. legal system.

“I feel privileged to have been able to co-direct this program since its inception in 1998,” Dean Rusk Center Associate Director María E. Giménez said. “It is very fitting that we will be able to mark this special occasion with a record number of participants from the Brazilian judiciary, since Brazil was the first country to participate in the IJTP.”

According to Giménez, not only is this the largest group the IJTP has hosted from any country, but it is also the most national participation for the Brazilians with members from 10 different states and the federal judiciary signed up for the program, which will take place from Dec. 1 to Dec. 12.

“The geopolitical strategic position of Brazil is considered, with India, China and Russia, as one of the future economic forces in the world, making it more important than ever for the law school to be engaged in this high-level training program,” Giménez said.

The IJTP, which is co-sponsored by the Georgia Institute of Continuing Judicial Education, is designed to introduce foreign judges and court personnel to the U.S. judicial system as a potential model for their own countries allowing participants to gain ideas and insights on how to strengthen their own judicial systems.

“We respect all judicial systems throughout the world, however, America’s system is one of the best,” said Fernando Cerqueira, a justice for the State Supreme Court of Pernambuco and coordinator of the program for the Brazilians. “So, we have come to learn from the best. We want to give the population of Brazil what they need – justice.”

Cerqueira said that since participating in the IJTP, the Brazilian judiciary has engaged in modernizing drug courts, a domestic violence program and a national council for the Code of Judicial Conduct. He added that while it is always difficult to implement new ideas into a system, the face of the Brazilian judiciary is “very slowly beginning to change.”

“These programs have helped us improve our system and improve our work with the Brazilian population,” Cerqueira said.

Since the IJTP’s inception, more than 300 judges and court personnel from Argentina, Armenia, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Egypt and Ghana have come to the United States to participate in this program.