Latvia’s ex-president puts the politics of poetry in plain English

Take note – story published 8 years ago

Latvia’s former president Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga, featured in the 17th episode of the #mindpower series dedicated to literary giants Rainis and Aspazija, makes plain both Aspazija’s feminism and Rainis’ humanism to followers of the current Presidency of the Council of the EU.

Meanwhile the couple portrayed by Goran Gora and Eva Ikstena-Strapcāne meander through the halls of the National Library amongst VIPs gathering for one of the Presidency’s conference events.

As one of Latvia’s most influential public figures, Freiberga stresses how Rainis and Aspazija each played key roles in creating the national consciousness through language and literature, bringing the essence of being Latvian into the wider European and global human contexts.

Born in Riga in 1937, her family fled from the Soviets and wound up seeking asylum in German displaced persons camps, then the North African state of Morocco and finally making a home in French-Canadian exile. There she became a professor of psychology, which served as her prime qualification for becoming a two-term President of Latvia from 1999 to 2007. Whilst in office she helmed Latvia’s accession processes to NATO and the European Union. In 2013 she was elected President of the World Leadership Alliance Club de Madrid.

As reported, the Culture Programme of the Presidency of the Council of the EU has launched a series of weekly conversational video vignettes honoring the 150th anniversary of poets Rainis and Aspazija, considered among the founding literary, political and social figures who began building the Latvian nation more than a century ago.

Dubbed #Domasspēks (#mindpower), the videos star troubadour Goran Gora and LTV news anchor Eva Ikstena-Strapcāne as the “first couple” of the national mindset, convincingly costumed to be hosting and remarking most wisely upon a series of current-day European thinkers bringing the turn-of-the-century socio-philosophical pioneering to an up-dated context.

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