Today, on 9 June 2021, diplomat Aina Nagobads-Ābols celebrates her 101st birthday. In honour of her birthday, the President of Latvia; Egils Levits; the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Edgars Rinkēvičs; Director of the National Library of Latvia, Andris Vilks; and former Ambassador to France, Rolands Lappuķe, will launch a special exhibition available to visitors from next week onwards.
In March 1990, Aina Nagobads-Ābols was appointed Honorary Consul for Latvia in Paris by Anatols Dinbergs, the Head of Latvia’s diplomatic and consular service. A year later, she was posted as Ambassador to France, Spain and Portugal, and, from 1992 to 2000, she served as Permanent Representative of Latvia to UNESCO. In 1997, Aina Nagobads-Ābols completed her ambassadorial posting, and, in January 2020, she was granted the title of Honorary Counsellor of Latvia to UNESCO.
Aina Nagobads-Ābols is the recipient of national honours including Latvia’s Order of the Three Stars, France’s Legion of Honour and the National Order of Merit, and Portugal’s Grand Cross of the Order of Merit. In 2019, launching a new tradition, Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs bestowed upon Aina Nagobads-Ābols Latvia’s very first lifetime diplomatic achievement award for excellence and distinguished service to her country.
To pay tribute to Ms Nagobads-Ābols and her special contributions to the renewed Latvian state, an exhibition, “Latvian of the Century” has been created in cooperation with the National Library of Latvia and will be open to visitors in the Library’s “Orangerie” from 16 June till beginning of September. The exhibition, “Latvian of the Century”, presents Aina Nagobads-Ābols’ life story illustrated with photographs from family albums as well as photos from national and private archives showing both daily life and historic events from the beginning of the 20th century till the present.
On display at the exhibition will be several of the national awards Ms Nagobads-Ābols received, and items related to her professional diplomatic activities that symbolise and highlight her formidable character and charm.
The exhibition has been created with support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs public diplomacy programme dedicated to Latvia’s centenary. At the Ministry’s initiative, it is hosted by the Latvian National Library’s Exhibition Centre under the leadership of Kristīne Liniņa. The curator and author of the texts is the diplomat Rolands Lappuķe, godson of Aina Nagobads-Ābols’ husband, Guntars Ābols, and the text editor is Kārina Pētersone. The exposition was designed by Tatjana Raičiņeca the national library’s Exhibition Centre, and by Oskars Plataiskalns and Didzis Breidaks from SIA Dekorāciju darbnīca.
The exhibition has been prepared in Latvian, French and English.
The exhibition will be open to viewers at the national library’s “Orangerie” from 16 June to the end of September, and then it will travel to Le Vésinet, a suburb of Paris, where the former diplomat has been residing for the past 50 years. The exhibition will later be displayed at the Permanent Representation of Latvia to UNESCO in Paris.
On 9 June at 13.00, the addresses by the President of Latvia, Egils Levits; the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Edgars Rinkēvičs; Director of Latvia’s National Library, Andris Vilks; and the curator of the exhibition, Rolands Lappuķe, will be streamed online at the www.president.lv website, the Twitter, Facebook and YouTube accounts of the President and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Facebook page of the National Library of Latvia.
Aina Nagobads-Ābols was born in Rīga, Latvia, on 9 June 1920, into the family of Ernests Nagobads, an educator and fighter for Latvia’s independence. In 1939, after completing her studies at Riga Gymnasium No. 2, Anna Nagobads-Ābols studied medicine at the University of Latvia. In the autumn of 1944, she left Latvia for Germany together with the staff of the Riga University Hospital. In 1949, she graduated from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Tübingen in Germany and married Guntars Abols (1921-2016). The family lived in Morocco from 1954 to 1955, then moved to Paris and nearby in Le Vésinet.
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