Foreign ministry outlines plans for cooperation with Latvian diaspora

More diplomats working with the diaspora, support for weekend schools, and cooperation in researching and preserving exile culture are among plans put forth in a just-released report from the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The 29-page report, “Par Ārlietu ministrijas sadarbību ar Latvijas diasporu 2013.-2015.gadā” (The Foreign Ministry’s Cooperation with Latvia’s Diaspora, 2013-2015), details recent efforts to work with the growing diaspora and outlines what is expected to be done in the next two years.

The report was reviewed in a Feb. 21 meeting in Rīga between Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs and various experts, including Aldis Austers of the European Latvian Association, several University of Latvia academics, Pauls Raudseps of the news magazine Ir, and Dace Akule of the Providus Center for Public Policy, according to a press release from the ministry.

The document focuses on four main activities: maintenance of Latvian identity and links to the homeland; encouraging the diaspora’s political and civic participation in Latvian affairs; overall cooperation with the diaspora; and addressing the issue of re-emigration.

Among other plans outlined in the report is creation of “Globālais latvietis” (The Global Latvian), which is described as a unified communication platform that would inform the diaspora about what is happening in various Latvian communities abroad, as well as in Latvia itself.

Of course, many of the specific projects planned by the Foreign Ministry will rely not only on cooperation among Latvian government institutions, nongovernmental organizations and the diaspora, but on funding as well—a problem the report points to several times.

The full report, in Latvian, may be downloaded from the Foreign Ministry’s website, (PDF, 523 K).

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

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