The “Mission Possible” project
In 2007, President Zatlers became patron of the Mission Possible project. This is a national initiative of corporate social responsibility in the field of education in Latvia. The aim is to strengthen education as a value in Latvia, helping talented university graduates to become teachers so as to establish progressive environments in schools, raise the prestige of the teaching profession, and encouraging students to learn and to become publicly active residents of Latvia.
On February 21, 2008, as part of the project, President Zatlers taught a class at the Valmiera State Gymnasium. On August 21, he met with programme participants and supporters at the Rīga Castle. As patron of the project, the President attended the first meeting of the Mission Possible Friends Club on January 21, 2009. The results of the first school year were discussed, and areas for future development were considered.
On February 11, 2009, President Zatlers taught a history class at the Mežciems Elementary School. He and the children discussed ways in which news today turn into history tomorrow. The President described Latvia’s political and economic situation, the work of the Latvian president, and the development of a democratic and civil society. He also invited the children to be active in shaping their lives and the history of their country.
On August 28, 2009, President Zatlers met with 16 new teachers for the Mission Possible programme. They are teaching classes in the 2009/2010 school year. Organisers and supporters of the project were also there. The President congratulated the new teachers and thanked the originators and supporters of the idea. Mission Possible representatives presented the President, as patron of the project, with a mountain-ash tree which, for centuries, has been seen as a tree of wisdom which protects people against all evil.
On February 8, 2010, President Zatlers taught a class at the Rīga Boarding High School of Music, where he talked about the dreams of the renewed Latvian state over the course of 20 years. The President also talked about May 4, 1990, and the celebrations that should occur now that the 20th anniversary of the declaration of independence that was adopted on that day is drawing near: “As far as I’m concerned, the celebration should be one which allows you, if only for a moment, to sense the emotions that welled up when MPs came out of the Supreme Council building with the sense of a job well done. They had restored that which had been lost.” The students in the class told the President what they thought should be done to celebrate the event and to create emotions among those who were not alive 20 years ago.
Also during the class, the President and the students talked about life values such as patriotism and a sense of belonging and unity. President Zatlers insisted that Latvia is the best country in the world: “Each time that I have returned from other countries in the world over the past 20 years, I have given thanks for the fact that Latvia is there for me to return to. Before May 4, that was not the case.”
The President taught the class at the Rīga Boarding High School of Music because Aleksandrs Vorobjovs, who was part of the second group of Mission Possible teachers, teaches physics and mathematics there.
Whenever he meets with students, the President always insists that there are no impossible missions – they’re all possible as long as people come up with ideas that make life more interesting, full and happy.
On May 12, 2010, President Zatlers met with 13 participants in the third year of the "Mission Possible" programme -- new teachers who will go to work at schools in September 2010 in different parts of Latvia. The President told the new teachers that "Mission Possible" is one of his favourite patronage projects, because he can take part in it actively and meet lots of hard-working people in the process.
The aim of the Mission Possible project is to encourage members of the public to become more active in dealing with educational issues, to talk about what kinds of schools there should be, and to work with education specialists to offer proposals on positive and contemporary changes in the country’s education system.