2016More Than 20 Latvian Schools from Diaspora to Send Christmas Cards to Elderly People in Latvia
This autumn, the Latvian Institute has invited Latvian schools from all around the world to take part in a project that strengthens links among generations of Latvians. The idea is to design and create Christmas cards for elderly people who live in Latvian social care centres, the aim being to bring happiness into seniors' lives and to strengthen the sense of belonging that children have to Latvia.
So far, more than 20 schools from all around the world have announced that they will take part in the project, and several other schools have been demonstrating an interest in this. “I’m very happy to see the vast interest and heart-warming letters that we’ve been getting from these schools,” says the director of the Latvian Institute, Aiva Rozenberga. “We would like to thank every child, parent and teacher for the desire to bring happiness into the lives of our senior citizens.”
Christmas cards for the elderly are coming from the “Kamolītis” Latvian school in Bonn, Germany, the Boston Latvian School in the United States, the European School of Brussels II in Belgium, the “Daugava” school of the Melbourne Latvian Society in Australia, the “Kamenīte” school of the Latvian Society in Ireland, the “Pūcīte” school from the Leeds Latvian Centre in England, a school in Bashkortostan, Russia, the Latvian school in Berlin, Germany, the “Pūcītes” Midlands Latvians school in Ireland, the Seattle Latvian School in the United States, the Brisbane Latvian School in Australia, the “Bergausis” Latvian school in Bergen, Norway, the Latvian school in San Diego in the United States, the Sunday school in Strasbourg, France, the Latvian school in Hamilton, Canada, the “Auseklis” Latvian language school in Switzerland, the Norrkoping Latvian school in Sweden, the Latvian school in Moscow, Russia, the Latvian school in Rome, Italy, the New Jersey Latvian school in the United States, and the Nova Odessa Latvian school in Brazil.
As has been reported in the past, the Latvian Institute has launched the #GribuTeviAtpakal (I Want you Back) initiative with the aim of strengthening links between Latvians abroad and Latvia. The Christmas card project is part of this initiative. The Latvian Institute would like to thank the Latvian Language Agency and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for taking part in the project.
Photo: Ieva Luka/ LETAread_more
This week, at the invitation of the Latvian Institute, publicist and film critic Donald Dewey, who is working on a monograph about Latvia's film industry, is visiting Latvia. He plans to meet with and interview representatives of the industry, to visit the Cinevilla film studio, and to present a public lecture, "From Europe to Hollywood and Back Again."
Dewey lives in New York and has written more than 30 novels and volumes of documentary prose. He is the author of a monograph about the film industry in Scandinavian countries and has worked with such film industry figures as John Stuart, Marcello Mastorianni, Lee J. Cobb and James Stuard Blackton. Dewey has also written some 30 plays that have been staged in the United States and Europe, worked on TV and film screenplays, and published articles about the film industry in various magazines in the United States.
Donald Dewey's presentation will be about the role of European actors and other professionals in the development of the global film industry, particularly focusing on Scandinavians in this regard. The lecture will be held on Thursday, September 22, at 4:00 PM at the Latvian Institute. The visit is being organised by the Latvian Institute, the Latvian National Film Centre and the US Embassy in Latvia.
Photo: Česlavs Gržibovskisread_more
This Friday, the director of the Latvian Institute (LI), Aiva Rozenberga, will visit Ireland to take part in the Latgale Regional Days event that is being organised by the Irish Latvian Chamber of Commerce, the "LatWest" Latvian association in Ireland and the Latvian Embassy in Ireland. Rozenberga will speak to those who have left Latvia, calling upon them to keep close ties with people in Latvia, think about new possibilities for co-operation and partnerships, and to think about returning to Latvia when they are ready to do so. Rozenberga will also inform participants in the event about the initiatives of LI, including collaboration projects with Latvian municipalities and employers. The purpose of these projects is to improve the quality of communication and to help the country to become more attractive when it comes to jobs.
The Latgale Regional Days event will be held from September 8 to 11 in the town of Claremorris, and the purpose is to raise interest in networking and co-operation possibilities between Ireland and Latvia. Another goal is to exchange information with municipalities in Latgale, focusing on craftspeople, businesspeople and representatives of culture and sports. Still another aim is to introduce the Irish people to Latvia's heritage, traditions, tourism, business and municipal and national work ethics.
Latvian Regional Days have been organised in Ireland since 2015, helping to maintain strong ties and to develop cultural, educational and business links between Ireland and Latvia. The process began with Kurzeme Regional Days in 2015, and in future, there will be Zemgale Regional Days in 2017 and Vidzeme Regional Days in 2018, when Latvia will be celebrating its 100th anniversary.
Photo: GORS, The Embassy of Latgale, Aleksandrs Tolopilo
The Latvian Institute organised a roundtable discussion today for editors and columnists to talk about the #IWantYouBack social movement, thus initiating many discussions about the strategy, goals and next steps to be taken. Institute director Aiva Rozenberga was joined by two young professionals who recently returned to Latvia from abroad, Liene Pērkone and Ņikita Kazakevičs, in the discussion with representatives from Latvian Public Radio, Latvian Public Television, Latvian Independent Television, the BNS news agency, the national newspapers Latvijas Avīze, Diena and Dienas Bizness, and the regional newspaper Bauskas Dzīve.
Kazakevičs said that the main reason why young people return to Latvia does not always have to do with financial motivations, but instead with values and opportunities. The problem is not the salary, but instead the attitudes that employers take toward young professionals and the ability to listen to suggestions. Pērkone chimed in that in comparison to London or Paris, in Rīga she feels that there is a “ceiling” for professional development that is impossible to break through. The young professionals also said that they were encouraged to return to Latvia because of the quality of life, nature, clean environment and potential for start-ups.
Editors and columnists expressed various views about the social movement and made several valuable suggestions as to how to move forward with the initiative. Participants spoke about the need for Latvians to accept new ideas and be more open to everything that is new. That would ease the return process for many people. The need for a debate about how to define Latvian identity so as to avoid ethnic divisions was also discussed. The media representatives called for specific and practical tools that would ease relocation to Latvia. They also said that various groups of emigrants should be addressed with different messages.
Rozenberga told the media representatives about progress that has been made and feedback that has been received so far. She said that there have been criticisms, positive responses, condemnations, and feedback that is full of gratitude. “The goal of the movement is to send an emotional message to people who have left Latvia and those who live here, asking them to get engaged to jointly decide on what kind of country Latvia should be in future,” said Rozenberga.
The next steps for the social movement involve the establishment of partnerships with local municipalities and NGOs in Latvia that can help to strengthen bonds between people in Latvia and people abroad, also making the necessary changes to the quality of services in Latvia.
The slogan #IWantYouBack does not mean that anyone expects people to return to Latvia immediately. Instead we are encouraging people to maintain closer links to Latvia and consider a return home when they are ready to do so. The initiative encourages people to think not only about those who have left, but also those who have stayed in Latvia, working in various areas so as to improve things that do not work well at this time.
The initiative was launched by the Latvian Institute at the end of July, the goal being to address people who have emigrated from Latvia by sending the emotional message that they are important to us and that Latvian will always be their home. The Latvian Institute believes that the time has come to state clearly that we would like our people to come home whenever they are ready to do so, but also that we would like them to maintain closer bonds with Latvia while they are still abroad.
From the left: Liene Pērkone, Ņikita Kazekevičs and Aiva Rozenberga during the roundtable discussion with Latvian editors and columnists.read_more