The Book «Personalities and Democracy» has been Published

December 14, 2005 / Banking

Under the auspices of a project called «Personalities in Latvian Democracy», a book, «Personality and Democracy: A Methodological Resource for Latvian History», has been published in Latvian. It contains descriptions of key people in the establishment of democracy, tolerance and the rule of law in Latvia. The book is meant to be an educational resource during history, civil studies and other lessons, and it will be presented as a gift to all schools in Latvia.

The initiative for the new book came from the Latvian Association of History Teachers and from Nils Muiznieks, a well known expert on human rights and public integration. The resulting work contains descriptions of 19 distinguished individuals from Latvian history in the 20th century — democrats in the full sense of the word. These have been people who have promoted democratic values and humanisms, the rule of law and tolerance, they have defended minorities against the dictatorship of majorities. These are people from various parts of Latvia, both women and men. They represent various professions and nationalities, and by their work they have set an example for young people when it comes to the diversity of democratic activities. There are descriptions of statesmen such as Janis Cakste and Zigfrids Anna Meierovics, of the poets Rainis, Zenta Maurina and Knuts Skujenieks, the academic Dietrich André Loeber and others. The book does not include anyone who is still an active participant in politics.

The men and women who are in the book were selected by a special council of experts, made up of pedagogues Aija Klavina and Ilze Senberga, scientists Leo Dribins and Vladislavs Volkovs, Latvian Academy of Culture dean Juris Goldmanis, human rights expert Nils Muiznieks, Aizkraukle Banka deputy board chairman Olegs Fils, and journalist Pauls Raudseps. The text of the book was written by well known historians and public activists, including Maija Kule, Egils Baldzens, Ilga Kreituse, Janis Rokpelnis, Leo Dribins and others. Ideas about how the book can be used in the classroom were offered by working schoolteachers.

Editor: Juris Goldmanis, dean of the Latvian Academy of Culture.

Editors of the methodological section: Danute Dura, Aija Klavina, Ilze Senberga.

Printed by the N.I.M.S. publishing house.

Financial support from Aizkraukles Banka.

The book has been published in 3,000 copies in Latvian, and it is being prepared for publication in Russian, as well (1,000 copies). The book will be distributed to all of Latvia’s schools for use in lessons concerning ethics, civil studies, politics and law.

Authors of descriptions

Leons Astra — engineer, secretary of the council of the stock company "Latvian State Forests"

Egils Baldzens — philosopher and public activist, deputy chairman of the Latvian Association of Free Labour Unions, former Latvian MP (1998-2002)

Dr Ainars Dimants — journalist and media researcher, head of the Department of Communications Studies, Turiba School of Business, former president of the European Movement in Latvia (1999-2003)

Dr Leo Dribins — historian and researcher of ethnic policy, senior researcher at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, University of Latvia

Dr Dzintars Erglis — historian, researcher at the Institute of Latvian History, University of Latvia

Dr Tatjana Feigmane — historian and researcher of ethnic policy

Dr Eriks Jekabsons — historian, researcher at the Institute of Latvian History, University of Latvia, docent at the Department of Central and Eastern European History

Dr Maija Kule — philosopher, director of the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, University of Latvia, full member of the Latvian Academy of Sciences, professor at the University of Latvia

Dr Ilga Kreituse — historian, politician, public activist, head of the Department of Political Science, Riga Stradina University, former Latvian MP (1993-1998) and speaker of Parliament (1995-1996)

Dainis Lemesonoks — journalist and media expert

Dr Imants Mednis — historian, docent at the Department of Latvian History, Faculty of History and Philosophy, University of Latvia

Uldis Neiburgs — historian, researcher at the Latvian Museum of the Occupation

Nadezda Pazuhina — cultural historian, doctoral student at the Latvian Academy of Culture, lector at the Baltic Russian Institute

Janis Rokpelnis — poet

Dr Heinriks Soms — head of the Department of History, Daugavpils University, associate professor

Dr Valters Scerbinskis — historian, docent at the Riga Stradinš University, senior researcher at the Latvian State Archive of History

Signe Terihova — attorney, specialist at the state stock company "Courthouse Agency", member of the presidium, Latvian Bar Association

Arturs Zvinklis — historian, assistant at the Institute of Latvian History, University of Latvia