Country Committee Latvia-Germany

Our District 1890 – located in the north of the republic – is the “lead district” for links with Rotary clubs in Latvia. With a population of around 1.9 million, Latvia is the second largest Baltic state after Lithuania and, like its neighbors Estonia and Lithuania, is a parliamentary democracy. All three Baltic states have been members of the European Union and NATO since 2004. This path was predetermined: After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Baltic states declared their sovereignty in 1991, and on September 17, 1991, the state flags of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania went up the mast in front of the UN building in New York – reunited in the ranks of the other free peoples.

Veira Vike Freiberga, who was born in Riga in 1937 and fled to Canada with her parents in 1944, returned to Latvia in 1998 as an award-winning psychology professor and was elected President of the Republic of Latvia in 1999. With her clear orientation towards the West, she decisively paved the way for her country to join the free international community.

There are currently 21 Rotary Clubs in Latvia, mostly in medium-sized cities, but also in larger ones. There are seven Rotary clubs in the capital Riga with its 670,000 inhabitants. The average number of members in Riga is around 25-35 Rotarians, but clubs in smaller municipalities also have fewer members, around 10-15. Most Latvian Rotary clubs are very interested in establishing links with clubs in Germany, so this is an important task.

The small number of clubs has so far meant that Rotary in Latvia has not formed its own district. Instead, the Latvian Rotary clubs are linked with a Swedish district in the south-east of the country to form District 2410. This Swedish part of the joint district stretches roughly from Lake Vättern to the city of Kalmar on the Baltic Sea. The district governors are elected alternately in Sweden and Latvia in interim periods of varying length, and the district conferences are held in the country of the respective district governor. I was invited to the 2016 conference in Liepaja/Latvia, the 2018 conference in Vadstena/Sweden and the 2023 conference in Cesis/Latvia, all of which were filled with impressive programs and were extremely hospitable.

After several years without an officially appointed Latvian representative for our country committee, there has once again been a Latvian “chair” since the district conference in Cesis in April 2023, appointed by Latvian District Governor Guntars Kniksts (RC Salaspils): it is historian Ilma Z a l i t e from the Rotary Club of Cesis, in the north-east of the country. She has begun her task with determination – in close and friendly cooperation with Inese Priedniece, a dentist in Riga and member of the RC Riga Rotary. The long period of vacancy on the Latvian side has meant that the work of the country committee has essentially become a “one-person job”. Development work is needed here, on both sides.

The tasks in our “lead district work” with the Rotary Clubs in Latvia and the profile and project planning within the framework of the Baltic Sea Forum will directly complement each other. All projects developed for the Baltic Sea states will always be successful on the basis of existing Rotary links between the countries.

There will be a change in my District 1890. After 10 years as Chairman of the Country Committee for the ICC Germany-Latvia, I will hand over my duties in the district and also in the Baltic Sea Forum to my successor, our incumbent District Governor Uwe Honschopp (RC Kiel-Düsternbrook) on July 1, 2024.

PDG Henning Kramer (RC Kiel-Düsternbrook)

Mobile: +49 151 40746221

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