Nearly 40 to receive Latvian top honors

A well-known journalist and publicist, a Latvian-American economics professor and the former U.S. ambassador to Latvia will be among the latest recipients of the Order of the Three Stars (Triju Zvaigžņu ordenis), Latvia’s highest civilian honor, the president’s press office announced April 11.

The Chapter of Orders, overseen by President Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga, named nearly 40 individuals to receive the Order of the Three Stars, the Order of Viesturs or the Cross of Recognition. Latvia’s state awards usually are presented three times a year: on May 4, Independence Day; on Nov. 11, Lāčplēsis Day, and on Nov. 18, Proclamation Day.

Awarded the Order of the Three Stars, second class, is orchestra conductor Mariss Jansons.

Awarded the Order of the Three Stars, third class, is Michel Foucher, former French ambassador to Latvia, and Brian Carlson, former U.S. ambassador to Latvia.

Earning the Order of the Three Stars, fourth class, are community and cultural worker Tālivaldis Bērziņš; composer Pauls Miervaldis Dambis; composer Maiga (Maija) Einfelde; metal artist and professor Juris Gagainis-Kagainis; organ and piano artist Ingrīda Gutberga; painter and professor Ivars Heinrihsons; Ivars Kalviņš, director of the Organic Synthesis Institute of Latvia (Latvijas Organiskās sintēzes institūts); economics professor Gundars Ķēniņš-Kings of Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Wash.; and community and cultural worker Vjačeslavs Telešs.

Awarded the Order of the Three Stars, fifth class, are engineer Kārlis Briņķis, assistant technical director of Baltijas energosistēmu dispečeru centrs; publicist, journalist and cultural worker Ojārs Auseklis Celle, a former editor of the weekly newspaper Laiks; community worker Astrīda Jansone; surgery professor Māris Mihelsons of the University of Latvia’s medical faculty; Jānis Peniķis, retired associate professor of political science at Indiana University; community worker Laila Sarmīte Robiņa; community and cultural worker Baiba Alise Vītoliņa, and composer and organist Andris Vītoliņš.

The Cross of Recognition is awarded “for outstanding patriotism and achievements for the good of the nation, society, and culture,” according to the president’s office.

Earning the Cross of Recognition, first class, is Vytautas Grigaravičius, commissioner general of the Lithuanian police.

Awarded the Cross of Recognition, third class, is Jeanette Catherina Blomhert-Scheltinga Koopman, head of the Latvia program of the Oranje Fonds of Netherlands.

Awarded the Cross of Recognition, fourth class, are lawyer and lecturer Jānis Bolis; Erna Krišjāne, a teacher of Latvian language and literature in the Vecpiebalga High School, and Viktors Mūzis, veteran bicyclist and trainer.

Awarded the Cross of Recognition, fifth class, are Verēna Guna Bērziņa, a journalist and editor for Latvian State Television; Ziedone Bērziņa, former director of the Department of Agriculture in the Ministry of Agriculture, and linguist and translator Ruta Runce.

Awarded of medals of honor under the Cross of Recognition are children’s doctor Ārija Caurkubula; Māra Katvare, head of the international relations section of the European Affairs department in the Ministry of Education and Science; graphic artist Nikolajs Līkums; community worker Zigurds Leonīds Reineks; Rita Melnace, director of the literary section of the National Theatre of Latvia; music teacher and choir director Aina Miezīte of High School No. 1 in Madona; piano instructor Arnis Ontensons of the Valka School of Music; teacher Aina Avene, director of the drama collective in Pļaviņas city culture hall; accountant Lilija Riepša of the National Theatre of Latvia, and teacher Inta Biruta Vilka, leader of Girl Guide Troop 97 in Gulbene High School.

Lt. Col. Bernd Wilhelm Walter Nagel of the German Armed Forces received the Order of Viesturs, given as recognition for merit in military service. Nagel is coordinator of German military training.

(Corrected 11 APR 2006)

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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