LAMPA Conversation Festival in Latvia is a meeting place to exchange ideas and to seek understanding between people of diverse opinions, political viewpoints, and expectations. This open-air democracy festival has been organised since 2015 in a small town of Cēsis in northeast Latvia. The eighth LAMPA Conversation Festival in the course of its two days, 1-2 July, will offer more than 260 events dealing with various important topics: both practical and philosophical, global and local.
The mission of the festival is to strengthen democracy and democratic conversation culture, foster civic engagement, and encourage a desire for lifelong learning in an ever-changing world. The festival strengthens democratic conversation culture in Latvia and opens up policy-making processes to wider audiences. The festival programme features hundreds of events covering a myriad of topics – politics, economics, technologies, education, security, health, sustainability, and many more – in different formats, such as conversations, debates, talks, workshops, performances and comedy stand-ups performed in Latvian, English, and Russian.
“Since the establishment of the Conversation Festival LAMPA (also dubbed as “the Latvian democracy festival”) in 2015, the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Office in Latvia has sustained close cooperation with the festival organizers, and today we consider the festival to be an extremely important platform for promoting dialogue on issues of public importance. The Nordic perspective is frequently in demand, and every year a number of participants from the Nordic countries take part in the festival. They are often impressed by the LAMPA team’s creativity in finding new spaces for intra-societal dialogue. This year, the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Office will, among other things, participate in panels dealing with democracy, disability, and climate issues, in some cases also in co-operation with the Nordic embassies,” underlines Stefan Eriksson, Director of the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Office in Latvia.
This year, in cooperation with the Finnish Embassy the Nordic Council of Ministers’ (NCM) Office in Latvia will organise a discussion “Nordic perspectives on enhancing labor market inclusion of the disabled people – how to leave no one in Latvia behind”. Nordic and Latvian experts will be discussing what has been done in Latvia so far and how these activities can be further enhanced, creating a truly inclusive labor market that can benefit from Nordic perspectives and experiences. The discussion will be held in English.
The NCM Office, together with the European Movement – Latvia, will also offer the possibility to participate in a democratic board game “DemokrātiJA”. The participants will be able to gain new insights, listen to the thoughts of others and express their own. We believe that if every member of our society had played this game since childhood, Latvia would have developed into an outstanding country. We also believe that the people of Latvia would be better off if they were more active in community affairs and political processes.
In cooperation with the Science and Innovation Centre at the Riga Technical University, the NCM Office will be organising several events on the MISIJA stage.
A discussion "Mission - Independence" will concern five separate missions in the fields of health, climate and environment in the framework of the EU targets for 2030. The events of February 2022 unexpectedly changed the EU's agenda with the emergence of another mission, the Ukrainian Independence Mission, which already refers at various levels to Europe's own long-term independence. Unlike the officially defined missions of Europe, the mission of Ukraine's independence in just a few months has become not only a collective mission of the whole of Europe, but also an individual mission for many people in Latvia and abroad. During the discussion, we will try to elaborate on the true substance of each of these five European missions, especially in the context of Latvia. Let us discuss whether the Ukrainian Independence Mission has a place alongside other missions defined in the European corridors, namely whether it should be separated as a sixth European mission or at least integrated as part of the five existing missions.
The second discussion on the MISIJA stage will be called "Waste sorting pictograms in the Nordic countries and Latvia. Experience stories." Since 2021, the NCM Office, in co-operation with the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development, has been working on the introduction of a waste sorting pictogram system in Latvia. Pictograms were once developed and implemented in Denmark, gradually reaching all other Nordic countries. Pictograms, which help people to better orient themselves in waste sorting, are also an important motivator for producers to switch to a more environmentally friendly packaging system. Several municipalities and their residents, as well as the Riga Technical University, have been involved in the testing of pictograms in Latvia. We will try to find out if the pictograms introduced in the Nordic countries are also applicable in Latvia.
While enjoying the opportunity to meet in person in Cēsis, most of the events will also be available through live streaming on the festival's website. In addition, some of the venues will offer live stream screenings open to the public – a total of 22 public screenings in different parts of Latvia will be organised.
The festival program is available at www.festivalslampa.lv