The Riga Tour Stop – a strong impulse for volunteering in Latvia

The first day of the Latvian EYV Tour stop was dedicated to civic participation. During the morning the first debates took place. An interactive discussion on “Voluntary Work and Public participation” was followed by the “Youth coffee with politicians”, an open space discussion which brought together more than 120 young people and politicians in the middle of the marketplace and enabled a debate about the possibilities of Youth participation in the decision making process at school, local municipality, country level and EU level.

The official opening ceremony was held in the afternoon with the participation of high officials including Mr. Rolands Broks, Minister of Education and Science, Mrs. Inna Šteinbuka, the Head of the EC Representation in Latvia and Mrs. Solvita Aboltina, speaker of the Latvian Parliament.

The Minister welcomed the Tour and expressed the hope the European Year of Volunteering would encourage Latvian citizens to obtain more information about how to be involved in volunteering. An enquiry led this summer in Latvia demonstrated that 76% of those surveyed did not know the how to obtain information about volunteering activities.

As the Minister explained, “Volunteering is an excellent form of participation and way to multiply civil society’s prosperity. Like a song it unites different generations in a common idea – whatever the aim is – environment protection or international sports games.”

The head of the European Commission representation, Mrs. Inna Šteinbuka, pointed out that voluntary work scene across the EU is highly diverse and that in Latvia involvement in volunteering is very low in comparison to the rest of Europe. She said: “I hope that the EYV Tour will serve as an impetus for Latvia to achieve one of the leading positions in the field of voluntary work.”

The ceremony was accompanied by several musical performances by well known Latvian artists and EYV national ambassadors such as the popular opera singer Evita Zālīte and Vairis Nartišs, a famous trombone player.

Four more days full of activities, exchanges of good practices, debates and workshops will follow and will focus on environment, health and sport, social issues, culture and education and intergenerational issues.


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