top_img
Valdis Zatlers

Valdis Zatlers

Annual Report 2010

The President’s Patronage and Public Activities

The 20th anniversary of the restoration of Latvia’s independence

 The spring of 2010 was important in that there were extensive events related to the 20th anniversary of the restoration of Latvia’s independence. President Zatlers chaired the honorary commission which organised the celebrations. At the President’s requests, celebrations were organised by national institutions, local governments, educational institutions, public organisations and private individuals. The people of Latvia were asked to recall the political, legal and emotional importance of May 4, 1990, and to celebrate the country’s recovered freedom. He also called on the younger generation to learn more about this important event in Latvian history. The President hopes that the celebration of May 4 as the date when Latvia’s independence was restored will take root in Latvia’s calendar of holidays and in the hearts of the country’s residents. The 20th anniversary of the restoration of the country’s independence also made it possible to thank everyone who helped in the process, as well as to talk about the restoration of independence with representatives of those residents of Latvia who were born after the event and enjoyed the opportunities which recovered freedom ensured in Latvia.

 

 

Latvia’s history and patriotism

 Respect for Latvia’s history, patriotism and love of country are subjects which are very important to President Zatlers, and he takes advantage of every single opportunity to encourage young people to understand their belonging to Latvia. In commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the restoration of Latvia’s independence, for instance, the President called on all of Latvia’s educational institution to devote a special lesson to the subject. The President was happy to visit Latvian and minority schools to discuss patriotism, its manifestations and its meaning today with young people.
 
Over the course of the year, the President has met with and worked together with Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and members of the Young Guard. Together, they planted an alley of chestnut and linden trees at the birthplace of Latvia’s first president, Jānis Čakste. During the Great Working Bee on April 24, they cleaned up the dendrological park of Skrīveri. In October, the President attended a camp for Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. At the campfire, they talked about the way in which each person can be useful and faithful to Latvia.

 

 

Also in 2010, President Zatlers continued to monitor projects related to important locations of commemoration and their establishment. For instance, there is the “Garden of Destiny” on the Koknese Island, which has been cleaned up and improved. An amphitheatre is being built on the island, and President and First Lady Zatlers brought rocks to the island for that purpose. The plan is that a Peace Stone for Hiroshima will also be delivered to the Garden of Destiny – one of the paving stones from tram tracks that were at the epicentre of the nuclear explosion which occurred in Hiroshima in August 1945. Agreement on this symbolic gift was reached by the President when he met with representatives of Japan’s Peace Stone Association. Currently the stone is in the garden of the Rīga Castle, where it has been merged with a Latvian rock as a symbol of the destinies of two countries.

 

 

Savukārt septembrī Valsts prezidents piedalījās Kārlim Ulmanim veltītā pieminekļa atklāšanā bijušā Valsts prezidenta dzimtajās mājās – Dobeles novada „Pikšās”. Bet Lāčplēša dienas priekšvakarā Rīgas Brāļu kapu kompleksa atjaunošanas gaitā nozīmīgākais notikums bija depozitārija „Svešumā kritušajam kareivim” atklāšana.

 

 

In September, President Zatlers attended the unveiling of a monument to former Latvian President Kārlis Ulmanis at Ulmanis’ birthplace in the Dobele Administrative District. On the eve of Lāčplēsis Day (Veterans’ Day) commemorations, he also took part at the opening of a depositary focused on soldiers who fell abroad.
 
The President has also established close co-operation with the Latvian National Museum of History, which is in located in the Rīga Castle. On Museum Night in 2010, people could visit the entire castle, including the former residence of the Latvian president. There was also an event dedicated to Lāčplēsis Day in the ancient garden of the Rīga Castle. Historical photographs, soldiers’ songs, and a campfire all conjured up the emotions of Latvia’s liberation struggle.

The Latvian Song and Dance Festival movement

 July 2010 filled Latvia with youthful joy and the beauty of the cultural heritage which relates to Latvian songs and dances, because the 10th Student Song and Dance Festival in Rīga brought together more than 30,000 participants. President Zatlers was patron of the festival, expressing the pride of the country about the love of songs and dances among Latvian children and young people, as well as confirming that the everyday work of conductors and leaders of folk dance groups is the foundation for the eternity of the song and dance festival movement.
 

  

 

 

Adult and student song and dance festivals represent the culmination of cultural work throughout Latvia, and this important movement ensures the transfer of cultural and spiritual values from one generation to the next. The festivals are also excellent in terms of integration and bringing people together. In the autumn of 2010, President Zatlers launched a discussion about how to bring minority schools into the process more actively. The President has also expressed support for the more widespread use of facilities at Mežaparks to popularise the song and dance traditions during periods of time which fall between the festivals themselves.
 
A green, clean and dynamic Latvia
 
On April 24, 2010, the third annual Great Working Bee was held in Latvia. Since the first Working Bee, President Zatlers has been the patron of and an active participant in the process. The President is proud of the fact that thousands of people responded to his initial call to take part in the Great Working Bee. People from many of the projects of which the President is patron did so, including teachers from the “Mission Possible” programme and their students. President Zatlers has spoken proudly of this programme during several foreign visits and also when leaders of other countries have visited Latvia. He has called on all of them to organise similar working bees in their countries, and in 2010 more than 10 countries organised environmental cleansing activities which, at the international level, are organised under the slogan “Let’s Do It

 

 

 

President Zatlers has always appreciated high-quality and natural products which are produced in Latvia as confirmation of national values and the abilities of local businesspeople. As a supporter of the “Green Teaspoon” mark of national quality, the President has taken a position in support of the successes of Latvian manufacturers, and he is proud of the fact that he has described the programme when visiting other countries, when receiving delegations from other countries in Latvia, and when visiting Latvia’s regions.

Charitable work

 President Zatlers and First Lady Lilita Zatlere gave their support to charitable projects such as “Angels Over Latvia” and “The Day of Kindness” in 2010. They also were delighted about the talents of participants in the “Come Alongside” integrated arts festival. The First couple is particularly delighted to congratulate projects that are based on self-denial and love. One example is the opening of a psychological rehab centre in the Kalna Parish of the Jēkabpils Administrative District for children suffering from oncologic or hematologic disorders.

 

 

Last year the President also met with award winners from the “Pride of Latvia” and “Hero of the Year” projects. Also in 2010, he continued the nice tradition of inviting strong and large Latvian families to the Rīga Castle at the beginning of December to light the Rīga Castle’s Christmas Tree. On Christmas morning, the President visits an animal shelter together with children from children’s homes.