The Embassy of Latvia began Patriot Week’s celebrations on November 11 by laying flowers at the resting places at Rock Creek Cemetery of Latvian diplomats and Latvian defenders who had earned the Order of Lāčplēsis, the first and highest military award of Latvia.
On November 16, the Embassy hosted a reception to celebrate the 99th anniversary since the Proclamation of the Republic of Latvia in 1918, to celebrate Lāčplēsis Day (Latvian Army’s 98th Victory Day) and mark 95 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Latvia and the United States.
The reception at the Cosmos Club in Washington, DC was attended by ambassadors and other members of the diplomatic corps, representatives from the U.S. administration and defense sector, researchers, journalists, artists and other partners of the Embassy. The event was opened by Ms Sandra Opilla who performed the National Anthems of both Latvia and the U.S.
In his remarks, Ambassador Andris Teikmanis talked about the intensive bilateral visits schedule in the past year – beginning with the Baltic countries and the U.S. presidents’ meeting at the Three Seas Summit in Warsaw, meeting with the U.S. vice president in Munich and in Tallinn, to meetings between foreign and defense ministers, members of parliament on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. The Ambassador thanked the U.S. for their commitment to Baltic countries’ security and emphasized that in 2018 all three Baltic countries will spend at least 2% of GDP to strengthen defense.
The Ambassador also talked about Latvian exports to the U.S. increasing by approximately 60% in the past year, creating jobs in both countries. Latvian companies have created about 1500 jobs in the U.S. The Spotlight Latvia business conference took place in Chicago in October with about 200 attendees. The Latvian-U.S. Chamber of Commerce or LatCham was launched.
The close cultural ties between Latvia and the U.S. are strengthened by the Latvian diaspora who this past summer in Baltimore organized the “14th Song and Dance Festival in the U.S.” Latvia is proud of its talents in the U.S. and around the world – in sports, music and other areas.
U.S. Department of State representative Ms. Sharon Hudson-Dean, who has served in Riga, delivered her remarks partially in Latvian, congratulating Latvia on the 99th birthday. She highlighted the strong bilateral ties between our countries and emphasized American commitment to Article 5 of the Washington Treaty. Ms. Hudson-Dean also mentioned the reopening of the U.S. Office of the Latvian Investment and Development Agency, which helps to advance bilateral business relations.
On November 18, Ambassador Teikmanis will participate in the National Day celebrations with the Latvian community in Minneapolis. Also on November 18, the Embassy and the local Latvian community will host a reception in Rockville, MD. On November 19, Ambassador Teikmanis will celebrate the National Day with the Southern California Latvian community in Los Angeles, CA. On November 25, the Ambassador will take part in the 65th congress of the American Latvian Youth Association (ALJA) in Philadelphia, PA.