Remarks by Ambassador Pildegovičs at the opening of Latvian architecture exhibition "The Power of Vulnerability"

22.10.2021. 00:46

Remarks by Ambassador Andrejs Pildegovičs

at the opening of the exhibition “The Power of Vulnerability”

on October 7, 2021

Estonian House, New York

Honorable UN ASG Ambassador Miroslav Jenča,

Ambassador Māris Selga,

Honorable colleagues’ ambassadors,

Dear Mrs. Dace Penke and Ilze Paklona,

friends, compatriots,

our dear hosts at Estonian House,

ladies and gentlemen,

It’s a true pleasure to welcome all of you to this first Latvian cultural event in NYC since the start of the pandemic. The place and timing of this exhibition called “The Power of Vulnerability” is highly symbolic given that it practically coincides with the 30th anniversary of regained Latvia’s Independence and subsequent accession of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania to the United Nations. And this exhibition is also our contribution to the celebration of the New York City`s Architecture and Design Month which is being marked in October.

30 years ago, Latvia recovered its freedom and statehood from the ruins of the morally, economically, and politically bankrupt Soviet Union. At that time, we faced numerous challenges, vulnerabilities and uncertainties. To name just a few of them – the overbearing foreign military presence, defunct economy, neglected and repressed state of Latvian language and culture, corrupt legal system, dilapidated infrastructure – all of these are the tragic legacy of the totalitarian Soviet and Nazi regimes.

Yet despite all odds, we managed to turn the page. Our people were ready to sacrifice and were firmly committed to rebuilding our nations as modern, inclusive, pluralistic democracies. We are grateful to all for their solidarity and support, in particular the UN and its member states, NGOs, compatriots and ordinary Americans during these challenging times of transformation and state-building.

Today, we stand ready to share our experience, support and inspiration with those who are the most in need. One of the foundations for the Baltic renaissance has been strong devotion to culture, science and education. There are a few distinct manifestations of the Baltic arts, for instance, choir song and dance festivals are a part of the UNESCO Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. Another example is the Latvian haiku (poetry) - dainas. Tonight, we are pleased to display the richness and resilience of our culture and offer our approach to sustainability through the lens of architectural renovation. Apart from the capital city of Riga, there several objects and places that Latvia considers of international significance: the Grobiņa archaeological ensemble, the town of Kuldīga, as well as Rundāle Palace. Without further ado, let me thank all supporters of this exhibition -, in particular, the Latvian Embassy in Washington DC, the State Culture Capital Foundation, Mr. Daris Dēliņš and the Latvian Association of Architects and give the stage to the curators -Dace Penke, who is well-known to the NY audience and Mrs. Ilze Paklona.

Thank you!