April, 2006


You are invited to participate in a Future Formats Forum 19-20 April 2006 in Karlshamn, Sweden.

Future Formats is a two day creative industry forum with a specific focus on Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and its implication on future formats; be it technology, business development, education, regional development or research across Nordic and Baltic Region.
Read more here: http://www.nordicinnovation.net/article.cfm?id=1-853-445.


In the beginning of April, the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Office in Latvia celebrates its 15 year anniversary. Two events are organized in connection with the jubilee. On April 3 a concert followed by a reception is arranged for all cooperation partners and friends in “Grivas Mebeles”. On April 4 a Nordic – Latvian dialogue conference “Welfare and Growth in Northern Europe – Foundation for Global Competitiveness of the Region” takes place at the premises of the Museum of Riga History and Navigation.

In this dialogue conference we invite everyone to take part in the discussion and try to find answers on the following questions: Is economic growth and welfare each others precondition (the hen and the egg paradox)? Is the Baltic Sea Region globally competitive? Competitiveness, innovations and sustainable development in the Nordic and in the Baltic countries – is it possible to define common ambitions, formulate common strategy and action plan? How is the Nordic-Baltic region prepared for the challenges and changes brought by globalisation? What role does the welfare model have in the global competitiveness of the Nordic region?

The leading Latvian and Nordic policy makers, economists, academics, researchers, as well as culture and business professionals are invited to take part in the conference.

A short press conference prior the conference is arranged on subject "The Potential of the Nordic - Baltic Region. How Competitive can We be?" on April 4 at 9:00-9:30. 


On Friday the 24th, the Nordic Council of Ministers (NCM) will sign an agreement with the European Humanities University (EHU) in Vilnius in support of this Belarusian university in exile. This agreement worth € 2.78 million will enable 350 students from Belarus to study at the EHU for three years in various degree programs. The European Commission is the biggest donor with € 2.2 million.

The signing ceremony will take place on 24th March, at 10.00 am at the Mykolas Romeris University campus, Valakupiu 5. The agreement between NCM and EHU will be signed by Mr Per Unckel, Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers and by Mr Anatoli Mikhailov, the Rector of the European Humanities University. After the signing there will be an opportunity for the media to ask questions.

Mr Unckel will also meet with President Valdas Adamkus and Minister of Education and Science Remigijus Motuzas during his one-day visit to Vilnius.

Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers Per Unckel says: ”Higher education is crucial in both human and societal development as it enhances critical thinking, active citizenship and ethical values. Good and solid education of the younger generation is a cornerstone in building the future of any society. Our backing for the university represents long-term support for democracy through offering academic education based on values common for universities all over the world.”

In the signing ceremony a message from European Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner for External Relations and Neighbourhood Policy will be delivered.

After the forced closing of the EHU by the authorities in Minsk in 2004, it now operates as a recognized university in Vilnius. The joint Nordic-EU project has a budget of approximately EUR 2,78 million. The EU contribution is funded through the European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights. In addition to the Nordic Council of Ministers, Finland and Sweden contribute bilaterally to the project.
Support for EHU is also part of a broader Nordic commitment to Belarus. Another example is the cross-border regional project Baltic Euroregional Network, which also covers border areas in Belarus. Both projects are close partnerships between the EU and the Nordic Council of Ministers.


From March 17 until April 30 a glass and painting exhibition “Behind the Polar Circle” is open at the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Office in Latvia within the Nordic Spring program. The exhibition „Behind the Polar Circle“ includes works by Barbala Gulbe (glass), Madara Gulbis (paintings) and Madara Liepa (glass) inspired by Lapland. 

Lapland – a country which inspires with its clean and untouched nature, a country with mixed cultures – Lapps, Finns, Swedes, Norwegians and Russians.

Who actually lives behind the polar circle? And what kind of life is possible so far away in the North? These questions served as the main motivation for three Latvian artists to go on a creative trip to the North of Finland within the Nordic Council of Ministers‘ grant program „Baltic Sleipnir“.

With this exhibition the authors want to express their love and respect towards the rough Nordic nature and fearless people who live in balance and harmony behind the Polar circle. “The message of our exhibition is the idea that piece and harmony can be embodied in any soul anywhere in the world” – say the young artists.

Nordic nature and animals / wildlife can be admired by their ability to bear cold and frost, amazing is their ability to enjoy the short summer and the Sun.

The exhibition includes paintings of relatively abstract landscape (Madara Gulbis); mosaics influenced by ethnography of ancient Samish culture (Madara Liepa) and glass in plastic arts inspired by the Nordic nature (Barbala Gulbe).