RIGA - Professionals working for international organizations could contribute significantly not only to public administration but also to other sectors and areas, for instance, education and research, Baiba Bela, co-author of the study "Involvement of Latvia's professionals in diaspora diplomacy and the potential of network diplomacy" and associated professor at the University of Latvia, said at Forum of Professionals Working for International Organizations hosted by the Foreign Ministry on Wednesday.
The Foreign Ministry's Parliamentary Secretary Zanda Kalnina-Lukasevica pointed out that the study was valuable and had revealed fruitful findings. The researchers have succeeded in reaching out, she said, to 152 professionals from Latvia now working in international organizations, and 87 percent of them have welcomed the initiative while indicating their interest in cooperating with representatives from Latvia in the future. In addition, three fourths of the respondents have named the opportunity to offer help and to support Latvia's development as their main motivation and a benefit for society, Kalnina-Lukasevica observed.
The event brought together more than 80 experts employed at various international organizations, including NATO, the United Nations, the OECD, the World Health Organization, the European Parliament, and the European Commission, the Foreign Ministry's Communications Group told LETA.
The forum was opened by Kalnina-Lukasevica, who underlined that it was for the first time that the event had convened so many Latvian professionals working in international entities and agencies. "A part of those present are experts well-known in Latvia. At the same time, there are also many promising first encounters. This is the way to expand the circle of professionals who are prepared to join the cooperation network," she said.
Kalnina-Lukasevica underlined that to meet Latvia's professionals working for international organizations in various countries worldwide had long been an objective with a focus on establishing a targeted and structured cooperation for knowledge sharing and contacts so as to promote Latvia's interests and provide those representing Latvia with support they may need in their career path.
Work in the forum featured sessions and round table discussions. The first round table addressed foreign affairs, defense and resilience to crisis, the third - economy, finance and wellbeing, while the third discussion focused on the rule of law, governance, and society.
Taking part in the discussions were high-level experts from various organizations, including Baiba Braze, NATO Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy; Ilze Juhansone, Secretary-General of the European Commission; Zaneta Vegnere, Deputy Head of Cabinet to Executive Vice President of the European Commission, Valdis Dombrovskis; and Dr Martins Paparinskis, Member of the International Law Commission, Reader in Public International Law at University College London. Participants also included the Ambassadors of Latvia to international organizations Andrejs Pildegovics, Bahtijors Hasans and Katrina Kaktina, as well as Elita Gavele, Ambassador-at-Large for the Diaspora.
The forum aims at strengthening informal cooperation between professionals working in Latvia and for international organizations, as well as exchanging views on priorities for Latvia's development and foreign policy.
The forum has been organized by the Latvian Foreign Ministry, the World Federation of Free Latvians, the Chancery of the President of Latvia, the State Chancellery, and association Economic Cooperation and Investments for Latvia (#esiLV). Accordingly, Andris Teikmanis, head of the President's Chancery, Janis Citskovskis, head of the State Chancellery, and cofounder and board member of #esiLV, Elina Pinto, took part in the opening session as the organizers' representatives.
The concluding session of the forum, which is taking place in Riga Castle on an invitation from the President Egils Levits, is expected to set out priorities and points of reference for further work.