HE Dr Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga
Dr Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga served as the sixth President of Latvia from 1999 to 2007. Elected President of Latvia in 1999 and re-elected for the second term in 2003, she is the first woman to hold the post.
A member of the Latvian Academy of Sciences, a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, an associate member of the Royal Academy of Belgium, and Professor emerita at the University of Montreal, Dr. Freiberga is an interdisciplinary scholar. She has published eleven books and numerous articles, essays and book chapters in addition to her extensive speaking engagements. As President of the Republic of Latvia 1999–2007, she was instrumental in achieving membership in the European Union and NATO for her country. She is active in international politics, was named Special Envoy to the Secretary General on United Nations reform, and was official candidate for UN Secretary General in 2006.
Dr. Freiberga is active in the international arena and continues to speak in defense of liberty, equality and social justice, and for the need of Europe to acknowledge the whole of its history. She is a well-known pro-European and was named vice-chair of the Reflection group on the long-term future of the European Union. She is also known for her work in psycholinguistics, semiotics and analysis of the oral literature of her native country.
Dr Freiberga was a candidate for the first permanent President of the European Council. She served as President of the Club of Madrid, was founding member and Co-Chair the Nizami Ganjavi International Center, and a member of the European Council on Foreign Relations, and honorary patron of several Foundations. She was appointed Vice-president of the Reflection Group on the long-term future of the European Union, is chair of the European Research Area Board Identification Committee, and chair of the Review panel of the European Research Council. She is a member of the European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation, and chair of the European Commission High Level Expert Group on Media Freedom.
Dr Freiberga is a member of: the Global Leadership Foundation, the Fondation Chirac's honour committee, the Nizami Ganjavi International Center Co-Chair, Board of Thinkers of Boston Global Forum and the advisory board of the Prague European Summit.
Variously honoured, she received the Knight of Freedom Award for her promotion of democratic values throughout the world, fighting for equality of women, as well as efforts for social justice.