The First Lady of the Republic of Latvia, Lilita Zatlere, was born on February 24, 1953, in Rīga. She studied at the Rīga No. 15 Eight-Year School, after which she studied at the Rīga Trade Technical School and the People’s University.
The First Lady’s first work experience was at an antiques shop which dealt with art. She spent three years as an expert on the Rīga local government commission which focused on compensation for property lost by repressed citizens. In 1995, she became director of a company called Private Orthopaedic Practice.
Since Valdis Zatlers became President of Latvia on July 8, 2007, Mrs Zatlere has actively supported his priorities. Among other things, she has become the public patron of various projects related to education, family values, welfare, music, art, and environmental protection.
Hoping to support the development of public education, First Lady Zatlere has become patroness of a preschool in the town of Smiltene, “Pīlādzītis,” which was the first new educational institution to be built in that town. It is an example of public-private partnership, and it has put together an exhibition of national honours that was exhibited in 2008 in Ventspils, Daugavpils, Cesvaine and countries outside of Latvia.
In the area of culture, Mrs Zatlere has been an active patroness of the 5th Jāzeps Vītols International Piano Competition, which reveals new talents from all over the world, the Polish Theatre Festival of Rīga, and the 9th International Bach Chamber Music Festival.
Lilita Zatlere supports a charity project organised during the Christmas season in the city of Jelgava – “Angels of the Castle.” She is also a supporter of a boarding school and developmental centre for children with hearing difficulties in Valmiera. Finally, the First Lady is patroness of a project called “Looking for a Sister of the Heart.”
Mrs Zatlere has also been active in international forums.
In February 2008, she opened a European and North American regional conference in Rīga in preparation for a UNESCO meeting of the world’s ministers of education in Geneva. In June 2008, she attended an international forum, “Expanding the Role of Women in Intercultural Dialogue,” which was organised in Azerbaijan by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, UNESCO and the Islamic Organisation for Education, Science and Culture. During the plenary session of the forum, the First Lady spoke about the role of women in intercultural dialogue, in society and in the family, focusing particularly on the role of women as stabilising factors in interethnic relationships.
As part of an official visit to Ukraine in June 2008, Latvian First Lady Lilita Zatlere was awarded the Order of Princess Olga, First Grade. In October of the same year, she received the Knightly Order Pro Merito Melitensi of the Sovereign Military Hospital Order of St John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta. In April 2009, Mrs Zatlere received the Order of the Cross of St Mary’s Land of Estonia, First Grade, and the Spanish Royal Order and Chain of Isabel, the Catholic, First Grade. In May 2010, First Lady received the Order of the White Rose of Finland. In 2011, Lilita Zatlere received the Order of Vytautas the Great in Lithuania and the National Order „Faithful Service” in Romania.
Lilita Zatlere has two children, son Kārlis and daughter Agnese. She speaks English and Russian. The First Lady and the President are actively involved in the arts and culture in Latvia, visiting and taking part in various social and public events. Mrs Zatlere’s hobbies include the fine arts, music and skiing.