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President of Latvia: our culture makes Latvia unique among other countries

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On 15 May, during a remote ceremonial sitting marking the 30th anniversary, Latvian Academy of Culture (LAC) announced its decision to confer an honorary degree of Professor honoris causa upon the President of Latvia Egils Levits for his role in promoting Latvia’s statehood civic society, as well as raising awareness about nation as a community of culture.

After the meeting, President Levits delivered a lecture ‘Why culture?’ and answered the questions from the audience.

President of Latvia thanked LAC for the honour bestowed upon him and stressed: ‘Decision to found LAC shortly after the regaining of independence in 1990 underscores the significance of culture for the Latvian nation. Our nation is deeply rooted in our culture, and it was one of the drivers for the restoration of our independence. We felt that our culture, language and identity are under threat. Congratulations to the staff, rectors, professors and students of the Latvian Academy of Culture on your 30th anniversary. Thank you, LAC, for making our culture stronger and richer. Your efforts have also contributed to development of our society, nation and the state.’

Lecture of the President Levits focused on various dimensions of culture like the society, nation and state. He also underlined the pivotal role of culture in the life of Latvian nation and the state. ‘Emergence of a nation is a historic and political phenomenon. Forming of the Latvian nation began in the latter half of the 19th century and reached its peak in early 20th century. Latvian culture code is one of the foundation stones of our nation. We as the nation with its own culture had a distinct political goal. Goal based in culture. Goal of demanding, creating and defending our state. The goal of restoring our independence. That is why we should always remember that the state is based on culture. If you take a close look at our state and our nation, you will see our culture as the basis of our state’s existence.’

President Levits also noted that our cultural identity is what makes our country unique among other nations of the world and Latvia must nurture its culture: ‘Our system of government is exactly the same as in other European Union member states. We are a democratic country governed by the rule of law. But our distinct culture is what makes us unique compared to other countries, and in 2014 it was inscribed in the preamble of our constitution expressis verbis. We have made our culture an intrinsic element of Satversme, part of its unshakable core. No government or parliament can relinquish it.’

In his lecture President also spoke about culture education and the role of culture as scientific discipline in passing Latvian culture down to future generations. Culture policymakers, such as politicians, responsible authorities and society, should be constantly aware of this role.

Honorary degree was conferred upon President of Latvia Egils Levits on 16 March 2020 according to Decision No. 3 of the Senate of LAC.

15.05.2020. Valsts prezidents Egils Levits piedalās Latvijas Kultūras akadēmijas 30. jubilejas svinīgajā sēdē


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