The Latvian capital, Riga, is set to host the annual Riga Conference from 20-21 October at the National Library of Latvia. A prestigious gathering, it has, since 2006, positioned itself as a significant platform for discussions on security and foreign policy in the Baltic Sea Region.
H.E. Edgars Rinkēvičs, President of the Republic of Latvia, is poised to inaugurate the event. The roster of esteemed speakers includes Thierry Breton, European Commissioner for the Internal Market; Krišjānis Kariņš, Latvia’s Foreign Affairs Minister; Andris Sprūds, the country’s Defence Minister; and Dr. Vaira Vīķe Freiberga, who served as the Latvian President from 1999 to 2007.
This year’s Riga Conference will delve into various pertinent themes in an era of complex geopolitical challenges. These range from examining the possibilities of a smart wartime economy in Europe to discussing European security, especially the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda.
NATO’s future, the implications of Artificial Intelligence in defence, and the broader transatlantic strategy are on the docket. Especially timely is the analysis of the shifting power dynamics in the Indo-Pacific and their reverberations within the transatlantic community.
David Cattler, NATO’s Assistant Secretary-General for Intelligence and Security, emphasised the importance of the gathering, saying, ‘The Rīga Conference serves as a pivotal forum where leaders and policymakers… deliberate on the ever-evolving landscape of international security, defence, and NATO’s future blueprints.’
Some side events will also occur a day before the main event. For instance, the Open Admission Day on 19 October offers the public and professionals an opportunity for in-depth discussions on various topics. These encompass the Sino-Russian axis, sustainable business transformation, the role of the Baltic States in the EU’s expansion and reform, and more.
The Rīga Conference Future Leaders Forum, set for 18-19 October, promises to be an immersive experience for young professionals. Julian Lindley-French, Chairman of The Alphen Group, highlighted the criticality of the current geopolitical climate, stating, “On the front line of freedom, the cutting edge of technology: this year we know different, as Europe faces more threats than at any time since the end of World War II”.
Further emphasising the significance of the Riga Conference, Prof. Žaneta Ozoliņa, Vice-Chair of the Latvian Transatlantic Organisation, observed, ‘The Rīga Conference has become an important platform for global leaders… to debate the most recent issues pertaining to international security, defence and NATO’s future plans.’
Underlining the need to address gender dynamics in defence, Vineta Kleine, Head of NATO Information and Documentation Centre in Kyiv, remarked, ‘Latvia is a country of strong women, and the Rīga Conference is the right platform to address entrenched beliefs about women’s role in the military and combat.’
While the Riga Conference’s main proceedings can be followed live on its official website and multiple other platforms, side events are equally promising. One such highlight is an informative media partner visit to the Latvian National Armed Forces base on 19 October.
The Riga Conference’s commendable efforts have been made possible with collaborative contributions from many partners. From the Latvian Transatlantic Organisation (LATO) to the embassies of several nations and significant Latvian corporations, a constellation of supporters ensures the conference’s success each year. The Lithuania Tribune is proud to continue to be an Informative partner of the Riga Conference.
For a detailed look at the Riga Conference’s programme, interested parties can visit their official website. Given the significance of the topics and the array of prominent personalities in attendance, this year’s conference promises to leave a lasting impression on the international geopolitical landscape.