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Latvia’s pride of place, 97 years and counting

Americans will soon celebrate Thanksgivings Day, but for Latvians it comes today, November 18th, the 97th anniversary of the declaration of Latvia’s independence. Yes, 50 of those years were under foreign occupation, but the last 24 have given me and the people of Latvia a great deal to be thankful for. Yes, we’ve had our […]

More than just a monument (2001)

When I first visited Soviet-occupied Latvia in 1978 as a tourist, I was told it was best not to go near “The Monument.” There it was, this massive, imposing object with a soaring obelisk topped by bronze female figure, standing tall in the heart of Riga, and we tourists from America were told it would […]

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 […]