In February Ambassador Artis Bērtulis made a regional visit to the Indian North Eastern States of Assam and Meghalaya.
In Shillong, the capital city of Meghalaya, Ambassador Bērtulis was warmly received by the State Governor, Hon. Tathagata Roy, and the Deputy Chief Minister Mr. Prestone Tynsong. In Guwahati, the capital of Assam, he attended the Brahmaputra Literary Festival and visited Hon. Alok Kumar, Chief Secretary of the State. He also met representatives of the Assam Chamber of Commerce with whom he discussed avenues of exchange in trade, tourism and education.
The participation of Latvia in the Brahmaputra Literary Festival is one of the Centenary projects carried out by the Embassy in India in cooperation with the State of Assam. In Festival Latvia was represented by Mr. Jānis Joņevs, winning author of the European Union prize in Literature and author of the novel “Jelgava ‘94”. Jānis Joņevs participated in 2 sessions where he shared his experience in writing and answered questions from the audience. Both sessions were widely attended and a lively interaction took place between authors and the audience.
The Brahmaputra Literary Festival brought together 130 national and international writers, performers and thinkers from more than 20 countries representing a wide variety of fields. Through more than 30 panel discussions, reading sessions and a cultural programme showcasing indigenous cultures, the festival aimed to encourage new ideas and provide a platform for intellectual exchanges around a variety of topics from literature to science, politics to music. It is believed that more than 10 000 people visited the Festival.
Latvia already enjoys a wide cooperation with Assam in the area of culture. Latvia regularly participates at the Guwahati International Film Festival. In 2017 Latvian film “Mellow Mud” was showcased and film producer Aija Bērziņa visited the Festival. In 2018 Latvia participated with two Centenary films: “Paradise ‘89” and “The Pagan King” and film director Madara Dišlere and actor Ivo Martinsons visited the Festival.
In January 2019 Latvia participated in the First Guwahati International Documentary, Short and Animation Film Festival showcasing 3 documentaries "Mērijas "Journey" (director Kristīne Želve), "Blueberry Spirits" (director Astra Zoldnere) and "Hello Horse" (director Laila Pakalniņa), as well as 5 animation films by directors Ēvalds Lācis, Māris Brinkmanis and Nils Skapāns.