Seminar on the Resilience of Democracies in the Digital Age: Strengthening International Cooperation

Under the esteemed patronage of Speaker of the Lower House Markéta Pekarová Adamová, the Embassy of the Republic of Latvia hosted a thought-provoking seminar at the Czech National Library on November 14, 2023. The half-day event convened a diverse diplomatic corps from all regions of the world, experts, scholars, and distinguished guests from Brussels, Riga, Bratislava, and various Czech institutions to delve into the pressing challenges confronting democracies in the digital era.

This timely seminar, organized in the context of Latvia’s candidacy for a non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council for the term 2026-2027, emphasized the importance of safeguarding open, free, and secure information landscapes. The commitment of both Latvia and the Czech Republic to defending fundamental human rights, democracy, and the rule of law, aligned with the principles and purposes enshrined in the UN Charter, took center stage.

Special acknowledgment was extended to Mr. Tomáš Foltýn, Director of the National Library of the Czech Republic, an esteemed cultural and educational institution with a longstanding partnership with the Latvian National Library. His instrumental role as the co-organizer contributed to the success and seamless execution of the conference, fostering international cooperation and understanding.

Mr. Viktors Makarovs, Special Envoy on Digital Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia, stood as the main coordinator of substance for the conference. Renowned for his excellent cooperation with Czechia on various projects, Mr. Makarovs is a well-regarded and recognized expert in the field. His tireless efforts ensured the substantive richness of the seminar, contributing to insightful discussions and meaningful outcomes.

The Embassy also expressed heartfelt gratitude to the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs, particularly to Mr. David Konecký, Director General of Security and Multilateral Affairs Section, for their collaborative approach in shaping the conference themes and making valuable contributions to the discussions. This cooperation exemplifies the strong ties between Latvia and the Czech Republic in addressing contemporary geopolitical challenges. Speakers from Czech institutions, including Mr. Otakar Foltyn, Military Office of the President of the Czech Republic, Mr. Radek Haratek, Commander of the Information and Cyber Forces of the Czech Army, and Mr. Richard Kadlčák, Special Envoy for Cyber Space, Director of Cyber Diplomacy Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, brought valuable insights to the discussions, highlighting the importance of regional collaboration.

The seminar also emphasized the significance of global cooperation and support for nations facing challenges. Discussions delved into how established democracies, particularly within the European Union, can empower and strengthen alliances globally, with a particular focus on Africa, Latin America, and Asia. The event underscored the strategic importance of fostering partnerships in these regions, supporting freedom of information, enhancing resilience against disinformation, and promoting global cybersecurity.

Moderated by Mr. Viktors Makarovs and Mr. Patrick Boehler, Head of Innovation and Audience Engagement of Radio Free Europe, the discussions, featuring esteemed panelists such as Ms. Dace Melbārde, Latvian Member of the European Parliament, and Mr. Jānis Karlsbergs, Leading expert of NATO’s Strategic Communication Center of Excellence, focused on vital topics including digital disruption, information integrity, and fostering global alliances to strengthen democracies.

The event concluded with a reception and a cultural program by Latvian-Ukrainian artists Katrīna Gupalo and Edgars Vilcāns, underscoring the importance of cultural exchange and mutual understanding.