Grant received aimed to improve cultural understanding

  • 2011-11-17
  • From wire reports

RIGA - The National History Museum of Latvia together with the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, USA, has received a grant to implement an international project “At the table: Connecting Culture, Conversation and Service in Latvia and the U.S.” The grant has been funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and is administered by the American Association of Museums, reports the U.S. Embassy in Riga.

A special program - Museums & Community Collaborations Abroad (MCCA) - is made to further international cooperation between museums and promote more intensive communication between societies and museums worldwide. More than $145,000 have been assigned for the project. Important assistance for the museum in Riga also is provided by the U.S. Embassy in Latvia.

The aim of the project is to strengthen understanding about the importance of civic engagement in both societies – in the past and today – as well as to further dialogue between different cultures and ethnic groups within both societies in the U.S. and Latvia. In Latvia and the U.S., both institutions will actively cooperate with secondary schools and students will work on similar activities with their peers overseas.

In Latvia, the experience of the independence movement during the late 1980s and early 1990s will be researched by students as a world-scale example of the power of civic engagement and nonviolent resistance. Project participants will also investigate how the attitude against political processes and civic engagement has changed in the last twenty years since Latvia regained its independence.

Students from Latvian and bilingual schools in Riga and other regions will communicate with the local leaders of the independence movement to record interviews and invite them to informal meetings. The project partner schools will be Riga 10th Secondary School, Secondary Schools of Cultures in Riga and Lizums Seconday School.

To underscore that civic engagement is not only important during periods of historical transformation, students also will implement service projects. During spring 2012, students from the U.S. and Latvia will visit their peers overseas to prepare a documentary that will reflect the importance of civic engagement in both a historical and current perspective in both countries.
The project documentary premiere is planned for June 2012. The National History Museum of Latvia also will present a mobile exhibition prepared with the help of the U.S. Embassy in Latvia. During the project, a new Web resource will be prepared. The Web page will serve as a drop-box and place for discussions about the project themes for students in both countries.