Starting from April 15th till April 21st LATO team visited schools in the central region of Latvia – Vidzeme. This was the second of altogether five regions of Latvia, where NATO information campaign took place, visiting 10 different schools – primary, secondary and secondary vocational schools.
During each visit a special short film “Latvia in NATO – five years” shot by the State Agency of the Ministry of Defence of Latvia “Tēvijas sargs” were demonstrated (15 min), later experts from the Ministry of Defence, the National Armed Forces (NAF), LATO, several embassies and universities made presentations about the political and military aspects of NATO, as well as introduced the audience with the development and everyday life of Latvian NAF:
• On April 15 we visited Burtnieki Ausekļa secondary school and Smiltene gymnasium, the lectures were made by the docent of University of Latvia, the Head of Political Science Division Mr. Toms Rostoks.
• On April 16 we visited Rāmuļi primary school and Vecpiebalga secondary school, where the representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ms. Zane Stāvause made presentation about NATO and Latvia’s 5 years experience in NATO;
• On April17 we traveled to O.Vācieša Gaujiena secondary school and Dāvja Ozoliņa Ape secondary school, where the representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the chief of the first civil mission of Latvia to Afghanistan, Mr. Pēteris Veits explained both the political and military aspects of NATO and his experience in the mission to Afghanistan.
• April 20 – Ranka technical secondary school and Lizums secondary school, where the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, H.E. Mr. Jurriaan Kraak lectured about the development of NATO, the experience of the Netherlands as one of the founding members and explained the current challenges on NATO agenda.
• April 21 – Kalsnava and Kusa primary school, where Ms. Liga Berzina, LATO project manager, explained pupils the development, aims and functions of NATO, its current challenges and the experience of Latvia’s 5 years membership in NATO.
After these lectures representatives of the National Guard explained their actual experience after joining NATO – what has changed, what has not. Some representatives of the NAF shared with pupils their own experience from the participation in international missions in Afghanistan and Kosovo. Then both pupils and their teachers were encouraged to ask questions and participate in the quiz – most active ones received practical presents, souvenirs from NATO, LATO, the Ministry of Defence of Latvia and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia. LATO also prepared both printed and audiovisual information materials about NATO, NAF, security and defence policy issues, which were presented to the school libraries. Then everybody was invited to have a look on the military equipment and some un-charged weapons thus illustrating the modernization of Latvian NAF.
The photos of the visits are available HERE