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What is Latvia for?

A few years back when nation branding expert Simon Anholt was interviewing civic leaders in Latvia he began each conversation with a simple question, “What is Latvia for?” Anholt usually poses this question to help governments get their priorities straight before committing themselves to a nation branding strategy. What politicians invariably discover is that the pursuit of economic growth, tourism, and investment (the usual reasons nations seek […]

Latvia’s Concentric Circles of Foreign Policy Interests

A cursory look at Latvia’s National Development Plan 2014-2020 would suggest that foreign policy seems to play a very small role in Latvia’s future. The Foreign Ministry is solely responsible for only one section and that primarily deals with strengthening Latvia’s political and economic interests abroad. However, each ministry is assigned a “Territory of Responsibility.” […]

A Foreign Country for 90 Years (Jan 2011)

You probably don’t have a ‘policy’ toward foreigners. Most people don’t.  We just deal with ‘em as we meet them. If you live in a city like London or New York it feels like everyone is a foreigner. Them or us in an ethnic sense doesn’t mean much in a melting pot; we all become […]

The Ongoing Latvian Saga (Nov 2010)

Back in 2008 I edited the revised and expanded translation of Uldis Germanis’ legendary history of Latvia, “The Latvian Saga”. Since Germanis had written the book in 1959 from Sweden and the story stopped with the Soviet occupation of Latvia during World War II, I wrote several additional chapters for this new edition to bring […]

Our Biggest Dreams (Nov 18, 2010)

In Latvia, we celebrate the anniversary of our independence by laying flowers at the foot of our biggest dreams. We pay homage to a past that seems larger than life and is no doubt both worse and better than it really was. The truth of Then comes to life in the conviction of the Now. […]