On May 8 the Latvian Ambassador to the United States Andris Teikmanis took part in a ceremony in Boston to open the Latvian Honorary Consulate in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The new Honorary Consul is a member of the Latvian diaspora Mr Uldis Kārlis Sīpols. The consulate is located outside Boston – in Norwell.
Ambassador Teikmanis spoke of over a century long connections between Latvia and Massachusetts – starting from the first Latvian community organizations to Latvian information technology and culture sector exports today. The renowned conductor maestro Andris Nelsons leads the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
Opening of the honorary consulate took place in the historic John F. Kennedy Library in Boston. The event was attended by over seventy guests, including other consuls, honorary consuls, representatives from the Governor and Mayor offices, U.S. Representative William Keating, as well as state representative Mr David DeCoste.
Latvia and Massachusetts share historic ties. One of the oldest Latvian organizations American Latvian National League was founded in Boston 101 years ago. Massachusetts is still home to thousands of Latvian diaspora members. Last year Latvians along with Estonians and Lithuanians organized major centennial celebrations of the Baltic countries – a classical music concert at the Boston Symphony, panel discussions, crafts marketplace, Boston Baltic Film Festival, as well as folk song and dance concert.
Both share tight economic ties. The U.S. Department of Commerce reports trade in goods in 2017 having reached 17 million USD, of which 10 million USD was Latvian exports.
Massachusetts is a U.S. center of innovation for years occupying the top spot in the Bloomberg innovation index. Massachusetts along with California and New York is one of three locations with highest concentrations of U.S. risk capital funds. Greater Boston is also home to three of the two top universities – Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. U.S. Top 50 best universities features five more that are located in the Greater Boston and Cambridge area.
Uldis K. Sīpols was born in 1950 in Michigan. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and economics from the University of Michigan and an MBA from the University of Detroit. He has worked in lead procurement and marketing roles in multinational companies such as Ford Motor, Gillette, Procter & Gamble, Tyco, and Sonoco.
Honorary Consulate in Massachusetts is being reopened after several years. From 2011 to 2015, the honorary consul was Mr Tālis Sēja.
Honorary Consuls are unpaid Latvian representatives, some of whom also manage limited consular functions. Latvia has 20 Honorary Consuls in the United States – in Alaska, Florida, South Carolina, Georgia, Illinois, Utah, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Virginia, Washington, as well as Northern California, Southern California, and the City of New York.