On October 28, Ambassador of Latvia to the United States Māris Selga took part in a panel discussion with the Baltic and German Ambassadors. The discussion titled Legacies of 1989: Visions of Freedom took place at the historical Riggs Library at Georgetown University. The event was organized by the BMW Center for German and European Studies and the Embassies.
The speakers shared their memories from the time of the Baltic Way and the fall of the Berlin Wall, as well as their thoughts about the impact of these events on Europe today. Ambassador Selga talked about the support in the West for the recovery of Baltic independence, as well as chances of influencing the course of history while still being behind the Iron Curtain. This past August we marked 30 years since the Baltic Way – the almost 400 miles long human chain connecting Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius. Even though there are many accomplishments to note in the last thirty decades, the work in strengthening democracy and improving economic prosperity never ends.
When commenting on today’s challenges, the Latvian Ambassador talked about the importance of sticking to the primary principles of international law and order. The Baltic countries and Germany form the core of today’s main international democratic, economic and security institutions. Ambassador Selga highlighted how solidarity of 1989 lives on in a new form – as NATO solidarity. There was a critical moment in relations between the West and Russia in 2008 and in 2014 when Russia attacked Georgia and Ukraine. NATO enhanced forward presence in the Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania is a clear example of solidarity.
The participants in the discussion were also the Lithuanian Ambassador Rolandas Kriščiūnas, the German Ambassador Emily Haber, as well as the Deputy Chief of Mission of the Estonian Embassy Marko Koplimaa. The moderator was Katrin Sieg – Professor and Director of the BMW German and European Studies Center. The diplomats then talked to the student lead podcast program “The Europe Desk” at Georgetown University.