Latvian people have named three legendary contemporaries, the composer Raimonds Pauls, the former state president Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga and the world-famous former goaltender Artūrs Irbe, among the ten most excellent personalities, who form the future history of this Baltic nation, a survey launched by the Latvian Institute and television channel HISTORY shows.

 

The seven other outstanding Latvian contemporary personalities are the painter Džemma Skulme, the poetress Māra Zālīte, the academician Jānis Stradiņš, the theatre director Alvis Hermanis, the film director Jānis Streičs, the poet Jānis Peters as well as Boris and Inara Teterev Foundation who support distinguished and socially important charitable initiatives.

“This type of survey helps us notice the truly valuable things around us, that we might have otherwise missed. It is also a way to glorify Latvia’s brightest people. I would like to thank the organizers of this survey, our partners, jury members and, of course, all those who voted. Interestingly, the opinions of our jury and voters were very close. We hope that this uplifting survey would become an annual tradition,” noted the Director of the Latvian Institute Karina Pētersone.

 

The aim of the survey, which was composed of a list of 100 specially chosen personalities, considering their reputation, contribution to the development of economy or any particular field, introduction of innovations and, in effect, the promotion of Latvia abroad, was to strengthen the national identity, highlight inspiring role models and contribute to a positive image of this Baltic country.

Raimonds Pauls, the accomplished pianist, jazz musician and composer, who has been a symbol and a legend of Latvia for a long time, expressed gratitude to the organisers of the survey and people who voted for him, while academician Jānis Stradiņš, an outstanding chemist, a historian of chemistry, science, and culture, a science manager, and an influential public figure, stressed that he was particularly pleased that a special category was allocated to science which, according to him, is still an undervalued field in Latvia. He also said that it would be advisable to hold such type of surveys each year as it would highlight achievements of Latvians in different fields.

 

Nearly 5000 Latvians took part in the online survey by choosing their favourite candidate in five categories: culture, politics, sports, science and entrepreneurship. The results of the survey were partly dependent on the decision of the jury panel comprising representatives of the Latvian Institute and television channel HISTORY as well as other competent experts.