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Valeria Kogan, Chairman of the Board of Smartomica
On April 16 during the Awards Ceremony and Dinner at the State Gymnasium No.2, the winners of the Human Development Award 2015 were announced: Jūrmala Protection Association, Ikšķiles Brīvā skola, "Ronald McDonald House Charities Latvija" Care Mobile and Andris Čeksters, Founder of Ideju Akademija and Radām novadam.
The winners received custom-made sculpture "Sprout" designed by artist Olga Silova, an Award certificate and other special prizes by the program partners and sponsors. The U.S. Embassy awarded winners with a grant worth USD 500 to be put towards the organizations’ future projects. The Civic Alliance of Latvia provided the opportunity for winners to take part in the NGO summer academy. Other special prizes were presented by Citadele Bank, Microsoft Latvia and the Civic Alliance of Latvia.
45 entries were received, from which selected were 12 finalists in four categories:
1. Social Responsibility Award: Jūrmala Protection Association, Raina Boguža of the Association "Mūsu Lizgda" and the Association "Motus Vita".
2. Outstanding Commitment to Education Award: Subsidiary of "Tautskola 99 Baltie zirgi" Ikšķiles Brīvā skola, the Association "Go Beyond" and Maruta Castrova of the Association "Ritineitis".
3. Exemplary Contribution to Health and Well-Being Award: "Ronald McDonald House Charities Latvija" Care Mobile, Dr. Dace Rezeberga and Shelter "Drošā māja".
4. The Future of Latvia Award: Andris Čeksters, Latvian Foster Family Association and Edvīns Samulis.
To find out more about all the finalists click here.
Joining as keynote speakers were Mārīte Seile, Minister of Education and Science, Sharon Hudson-Dean, Charge D’Affaires U.S. Embassy and Inna Šteinbuka, Head of the European Commission Office in Latvia.
Minister Seile reminded that those who really matters are the people: "People are behind numbers and charts measuring national competitiveness. I am certain that a truly successful and competitive country is when values and goals of the country match well with the values and objectives of its citizens."
She said: "Today I am extremely honored to be among people who contribute their time, knowledge, skills, experience and means to executing very concrete tasks and providing support on a daily basis without seeking recognition."
U.S. Charge D’Affaires said: "I’m very honored tonight to be a part of this occasion, which clearly confirms that Latvian society highly honors and respects those person who not only selflessly give their time and work but also invest their love for their fellow man hence strengthening the people of Latvian and by extension Latvia itself.
Latvia is, without a doubt, moving in a positive direction, but social and educational reforms, including greater efforts to combat income inequality, would enhance Latvia’s economic prospects and work to discourage emigration. More must be done to fight corruption, improve transparency, and strengthen the judiciary, so that Latvia sees increased growth and stability.
As we celebrate tonight, we must remember that Latvia’s human development achievements do not come easy, nor are they a guarantee of future success. It takes hard work and dedication, as demonstrated by the honorees tonight. They are fighting for our nations’ shared values, for a better tomorrow, and helping to secure this country’s future."
Inna Steinbuka, Head of the European Commission Representation Office in Latvia said: "Much is being invested in human development and opportunities for people by the European Union. Programs such as Erasmus Plus, Youth Guarantee and European Social Fund contribute to human development a lot."
She added: "Today I would like to congratulate cordially all the nominees and everyone who promotes human development in Latvia because educated and motivated people are our wealth – both in Latvia and in Europe."
AmCham, together with the U.S. Embassy in Latvia and Civic Alliance of Latvia, organized the Human Development Award program for the second year in a row to honor inspirational people and to recognize the socially responsible practices of Latvian businesses and non-profit organizations. The purpose of the award is to promote human development, prosperity, and the well-being of Latvia’s people.
Additional information about the Human Development Award: www.humandevelopment.lv.
Opening of the Human Development Award by Arnis Kākulis and Līga Smildziņa-Bērtulsone:
Speech of Marite Seile, Minister of Education and Science:
Speech of Sharon Hudson-Dean, Charge D'Affaires U.S. Embassy:
Speech of Inna Steinbuka, Head of the European Commission Office in Latvia:
Announcing the winner of Social Responsibility Award:
Announcing the winner in the category Outstanding Commitment to Education Award:
Announcing the winner in the category Exemplary Contribution to Health and Well-Being Award:
Announcing the winner in the category The Future of Latvia Award:
Announcing Special Awards:
The video of the Award ceremony is available below:
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Filips Klavins, Managing Partner at Ellex Klavins