Lazari Alexei, LFP 2012 alumnus wins Professional Fellows Distinguished Alumni Award
March, 20 2014
Lazari Alexei, LFP 2012 alumnus from Moldova, has been selected as one of the three winners of the first Professional Fellows Distinguished Alumni Award. More than 60 candidates from six continents submitted their candidacies for this award. The award will be presented May 8 during the Professional Fellows Congress, May 8-11, 2013. Mr Lazari attended the Congress and spoke to other fellows about the work he has done since he has returned home.
Alexei Lazari served as the Chief of Programs Development and Implementing Unit for the Ministry of Justice for the Republic of Moldova. He transitioned to this career from the non-profit sector in August 2011. Within this position, Mr. Lazari coordinates the unit and puts emphasis on project management development and implementation in the field of justice reforms, mainly focused on juvenile justice and prison system reform.
During his Fellowship, Mr. Lazari had the opportunity to strengthen his understanding of the U.S. legislative process, enhance his appreciation of the role of civil society and its engagement in the political process, create partnerships between U.S. and foreign institutions, and establish a common language for developing practical solutions for shared problems and concerns. In August-September 2012, he implemented an outbound project entitled "Intercultural Exchange between Judicial Systems in the U.S. and Republic of Moldova: Prison System and the Probation Office".
Previously, Mr. Lazari served as a teacher of history and ethics in Straseni, Moldova from 2002-2004. With seven other young leaders from his community, Mr. Lazari also created the NGO New Culture, where he worked from 2004 to 2008 as a project manager and as a founder of the organization. From 2008-2011, he worked as a project coordinator for Youth Generation Association.
Mr. Lazari graduated from Moldova State University, Faculty of International Relations and Political Science in 2004, and completed his Masters in International Relations at Moldova State University in 2005.
About the impact of his Fellowship, Mr. Lazari writes:
”The Professional Fellows Program was the biggest challenge in my professional career. The trainings and the exchange that took place during the Fellowship have played an important role in the reforms that we are now implementing in Moldova.The program gave me the opportunity to see and to think out of the box and now, with the help of my colleagues, we are reorganizing the prison system in our country. During the last nine months we organized theoretical courses and practical trainings based on the knowledge and materials I brought from the U.S. At present, we are in contact with the Departments of Justice in Ohio and North Carolina to make further official connections. Going forward, we intend to send 10 people each year to study at the North Carolina Academy of Justice.
After returning from the fellowship, we began organizing monthly special courses for re-qualification of the staff from the Soviet type of prison to a modern one, and regarding the inmates, providing reeducation, giving them an opportunity to study, get a vocation, and prepare them for release. Also, after an outbound project took place we started to renovate the building and changed the principles of working in the prison for youth. All these changes are based on the experience that I had through the Professional Fellows Program. We shared these ideas and changes on television, Facebook, and official sites of the Moldovan Ministry of Justice to educate the community on the role of justice system reforms in a post-Soviet country. Considering the necessity of changing the principles of working with detainees and giving them hope that the changes we started will have an important impact on our society, the rate of recidivism will decrease significantly, the rate of social reintegration of released prisoners will grow, and the prison could be a new start for an ex-inmate.”