2016The Latvian Institute invites Latvians throughout the world to participate in the “White Tablecloth Celebration”
In support to the initiative of the Latvian Centenary Bureau, the Latvian Institute invites Latvians in and outside Latvia together with their loved ones to take part in the “White Tablecloth Celebration” on May 4, the Independence Restoration Day. To encourage people to prepare for this celebration, as the weather got warmer, the staff of the Latvian Institute organized its own “try-out” version of the “White Tablecloth Celebration” in a courtyard of Āgenskalns neighborhood in Rīga on April 7.
The “White Tablecloth Celebration” idea is simple: family, friends and neighbors from the same house or several neighboring houses get together around the same table, share a light jointly prepared meal, as well as use the chance to discuss the future plans of their courtyard, neighborhood, city, region and country. The anniversary of the Declaration of Independence of Latvia that was a deciding factor and a new beginning for Latvia in 1990 could further serve as an inspiration to many other essential initiatives.
The ideas for the “White Tablecloth Celebration” are many, for instance, neighbors could plant flowers together, decorate their house, courtyard, or paint a fence. Playing a musical instrument or singing together, as well as preparing a meal, Nordic walking, riding bikes around the block, positive competitions, or simply getting to know each other, or strengthening neighborly relations could easily be a part of the celebration as well.
The Latvian Institute invites everyone, who will celebrate this event together with their neighbors on May 4 or other dates around that time in Latvia or other countries of the world, to capture this moment on camera and share the photos on social media, adding a hashtag #mans4maijs or #BaltaisGaldauts. We encourage people to post photos with these hashtags on Draugiem.lv, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Instagram, and through other channels.
The “White Tablecloth Celebration” will also serve as a starting point for a new initiative of the Latvian Institute – the opening of the new official Facebook account in Latvian “Kaut kas mīļš no Latvijas” (“Something lovely from Latvia”). We invite everyone, who speaks Latvian in and outside of Latvia, to join this community. “With this Facebook page we would like to join all Latvians and Latvia’s friends, who know Latvian, all around the world in one joint virtual network,” says the Director of the Latvian Institute, Aiva Rozenberga.
Employees of the Latvian Institute can assure you that organizing a “White Tablecloth Celebration” does not require a lot of resources or effort, but in return it creates many positive emotions. We learned, for example, how many white tablecloths everyone owns, how many traditional Latvian things everyone has at home, and how often do we think about what Latvia means to us.
The Latvian Institute promotes knowledge about Latvia internationally. It includes preparing and disseminating print, audiovisual and interactive information materials, as well as organization of events explaining Latvia. All materials produced by the Latvian Institute are freely accessible to anyone for representational purposes.
Pictures from the “White Tablecloth Celebration” of the Latvian Institute staff in spring 2016:read_more
New presentations with essential facts about Latvia in French and Russian are created by Latvian Institute. “La Lettonie. Apprenez à la connaître !”, “Узнай Латвию!” or “Latvia. Get to know it!” is an overall presentation about Latvia, a brief summary of important social, economic and cultural aspects. The presentation is available also in English, it is free of charge and can be used to present Latvia in informative, non-commercial expositions and in international conferences within Latvia or abroad.
Soon the presentation will be available in Chinese and other languages.read_more
Honouring the 25th anniversary, the Latvian Institute has released a Facebook application “The Barricades” which allows everyone to learn more about the events that unfolded 25 years ago and get a general feel of the overall atmosphere of those tumultuous times.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Barricades – a non-violent protest campaign which took place in Riga and several other towns across Latvia in January, 1991. The events of those fateful January days are a prime example of the tremendous courage and solidarity Latvians felt as they were striving to restore their country’s independence.
After Soviet forces had brutally clamped down on protestors in Vilnius on January 13, hundreds of thousands of Latvians took to the streets protesting the aggressive and unwarranted attacks on peaceful demonstrators. Fearing a similar scenario in Riga, the Popular Front enjoined people to erect barricades around government buildings and other strategically important locations. During the next couple of days the barricades and thousands of unarmed guards proved to be an indispensable defence against the Soviet forces. Clashes, however, were not deterred and 7 people died and over 14 were injured in the days following the construction of barricades. Their sacrifice was not in vain as the soviet forces failed to undermine the independence movement and just two months later a referendum was held in which people, regardless of their ethnicity, overwhelmingly supported independence.
On August 21, Latvians made the final push and passed a Constitutional Law declaring Latvia a de facto independent democratic republic.read_more
Aiva Rozenberga has been confirmed for the post of director of the Latvian Institute by government on January 12. She will begin work on March 1.
Aiva Rozenberga currently is the spokeswoman of Latvia's outgoing Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma. From 1998 to 2007, Rozenberga worked as President Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga's press secretary and the head of the presidential press service. In 2008, she took a position on the project of Rīga as the European Capital of Culture and headed the “Riga 2014” Foundation. During her career, Rozenberga has held a position of the press secretary of the Latvian Song and Dance Celebration and an adviser for the workgroup on the celebrations of Latvia’s 90th anniversary. She has also worked as a journalist at “Latvijas Radio” and as its special reporter in Estonia.
In 2007, she studied at the ZEIT-Stiftung Bucerius Summer School on Global Governance for young leaders. Aiva Rozenberga holds a Master of Arts degree in Humanities from the University of Latvia.