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April 28, 2011 / Admin

Programme for June 6th 2011

To mark the 102nd annniversary of the birth of Sir Isaiah Berlin in Riga, the Isaiah Berlin Association is pleased to announce an afternoon of events at the Mazā Ģilde on Monday, June 6th.

The programme is as follows:

3pm: “My Name is Isaiah Berlin, and I Come from Riga”. An informal talk by Dr Henry Hardy, Isaiah Berlin’s editor and literary trustee. (In English, with Latvian translation.)

4pm: “History and Memory”. A round-table discussion of the part played by history and memory in the shaping of contemporary politics and public opinion, with particular reference to Latvia. Led by Nils Muižnieks. With: Valters Nollendorfs, Chairman of the Association of the Museum of Occupation; Irina Viņņika, Riga City Council, MP (LPP/LC); Vita Zelče, Associate Professor, Department of Communication Studies, University of Latvia; Dmitrijs Petrenko, journalist, PhD student (University of Latvia). (In Latvian, with English translation.)

6pm: “The Pleasures of Liberalism”. The third annual Isaiah Berlin Riga Memorial Lecture, given by Professor Ian Buruma. (In English, with Latvian translation.) Professor Buruma says of his subject:

I’d like like to answer critics of liberalism, in the past as well as today, who consider it dull, cowardly, bourgeois; the idea of liberalism as inherently unheroic; the lack of a spirit of self-sacrifice and higher idealism. My defence will be partly in the spirit of Berlin, pointing out the flaws in the self-sacrificing spirit; and partly in that of Brecht, happy is the country that has no need for heroes.

All events are free, but if you would like to attend, please register beforehand.

Our thanks to the sponsors of these events:

The Soros Foundation Latvia

The Representation of the European Commission in Latvia

The Netherlands Embassy in Riga

The British Embassy in Riga

Robert’s Books

February 18, 2011 / Admin

Isaiah Berlin Memorial Lecture 2011—UPDATED

The Isaiah Berlin Association is pleased to announce that the third annual Isaiah Berlin Memorial Lecture, on “The Pleasures Of Liberalism”, will be given by Professor Ian Buruma, in Riga, on the evening of 6 June 2011, at the Maza Gilde. Please register here, if you would like to attend.


Ian Buruma
Ian Buruma

Ian Buruma is Henry R. Luce Professor of Democracy & Human Rights at Bard College, New York. In 2008 he was awarded the Erasmus Prize for his contributions to European culture. He writes regularly for the New York Review of Books and the New Yorker. Foreign Policy magazine named him one of the top 100 global thinkers of 2010. His books include: “Taming the Gods: Religion and Democracy on Three Continents” (2010); “Murder in Amsterdam: The Death of Theo van Gogh and the Limits of Tolerance” (2007); “Occidentalism: The West in the Eyes of Its Enemies” (2004); “Voltaire’s Coconuts, or, Anglomania in Europe” (1998).

June 18, 2010 / Admin

Isaiah Berlin Riga Memorial Lecture 2010

The second annual Isaiah Berlin Riga memorial lecture was given by Anne Applebaum on Monday, June 7th 2010, at 6.30pm, in the Mazā Ģilde, Riga. Her subject was: “The New Authori­tarianism”.

AUDIO: Listen to a recording of Anne Applebaum’s lecture.

SPEAKER: Learn more about Anne Applebaum

EXTRA: Click here to download (PDF) the introduction to Anne Applebaum’s Pulitzer-prizewinning book, Gulag: A History (2003). More about the book, and the author, on Anne Applebaum’s personal website

June 17, 2010 / Admin

2010 Public Debate on Climate Change

An Oxford-style public debate was held on Monday, June 7th 2010, at 1pm, in the Mazā Ģilde, Riga, on the motion: “We should be ready to sacrifice some of our freedoms in the fight against climate change”. Oliver Morton, of The Economist, and Atis Zakatistovs, of the Partners in Ideas Fund, supported the motion. Anatole Kaletsky, of the London Times,  and Marija Golubeva, of Providus Centre, opposed it.  Robert Cottrell, of The Browser, moderated.

Outcome: The supporters of the motion carried the day by a 70-30 majority. However, the opponents of the motion could claim a partial success. A show of hands before the debate had produced an 85-15 majority in favour.

AUDIO: Listen to a recording of the debate, beginning with Robert Cottrell’s introduction

March 30, 2010 / Admin

2010 Discussion on Latvia’s Recession

A public discussion was held on Monday, 7th June 2010, at 4.30pm, in the Mazā Ģilde, Riga, on the theme, “What Latvians have learned from the recession”. Moderator: Nils Muižnieks, of the University of Latvia. Guest speakers included Nellija Ločmele, of; Vjačeslavs Dombrovskis, Stockholm School of Economics in Riga;  Inta Dzelme, psychotherapist; and Aigars Bikše, artist.

AUDIO: Hear a recording of the discussion

June 22, 2009 / Admin

2009 Centenary: Video 2

Monday morning, 1st June 2009

June 22, 2009 / Admin

2009 Centenary: Video 1

Monday morning, 1st June 2009