Atlanta Hosts ALA Board Meeting

Sep 13, 2019

On September 7 -8, the ALA board held its quarterly meeting in Atlanta, GA. The board often meets in Rockville, MD, where the office is located, but at least once a year the board travels to another U.S. city to take the opportunity to meet with different Latvian communities. This time, at the prompt of Inese Stravelli, President of the Atlanta Latvian Organization (ALO), ALA decided to meet with Latvians in Atlanta, who have only recently established their organization.

On Saturday evening, the ALA board, the new Latvian Ambassador to the U.S. Māris Selga, and his Deputy Chief of Mission Juris Pēkalis (who both also participated in the ALA board meeting) had the great opportunity to acquaint themselves with Atlanta Latvians. In attendance were approximately 50 guests, including Latvian Honorary Consul in Georgia, Kevin Casebier, as well as Latvian Honorary Consul in South Carolina, Roberts Kukainis.

The board meeting itself was very productive, with an agenda focused on long-term development of the organization’s programs. Such that media in the modern world places such a huge emphasis on the visual, ALA resolved to move forward with several proposed documentary film projects that would focus on the organization’s history and programs. ALA first sponsored documentary short films in 2017 and 2018 – “The Tryout” and “The Return”, which can be viewed on ALA’s YouTube channel:

The ALA board also resolved to assist Latvian communities in the U.S. with P-3 visa petitions (time and resource permitting, abiding to certain guidelines) for Latvian artists that are traveling to perform in the U.S. With this resolution, which is based in a resolution passed in the ALA Congress in 2018, ALA hopes to assist in the development of cultural exchange between the U.S. and Latvia.

Another key board resolution was made to update and develop ALA’s most popular program – “Sveika, Latvija” – to adapt it to the needs of today’s Latvian American youth. The board also decided to lengthen the term of the “Sveika, Latvija! Year” project to include the 2019/2020 school year. We hope to work closely with U.S. Latvian schools to improve the program, as well as to gain additional support for the program. We hope also that ALA members will support our efforts to replenish funds for the educational trip fund, which makes it possible for ALA to apply scholarships to trip participants’ program fees.

At the board meeting in Atlanta, several board members newly elected at the ALA Congress in Denver in May 2019 presented their activity to the rest of the board for the first time – Elisa Freimane (Director of the Education Office), Miķelis Ģiga (Director of the Sports Office), Anita Grīviņa (Treasurer), and Andrejs Kancs (Audit Committee). From the healthy debates and productive discussions we experienced during the meeting, it is clear that the new board members, who hail from Chicago, Minneapolis, Kalamazoo, and Indianapolis Latvian communities, are joining the board with valuable experience and fresh ideas. We are convinced that with such skilled and confident leadership, ALA as an organization is capable of looking to the future and developing our programs and organization to benefit our current constituents.

ALA thanks the Atlanta Latvians for their hospitality, as well as Ambassador Māris Selga for his participation in the board meeting!

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