The graduation of the first intake of the Riga Graduate School of Law (RGSL) Advanced Programme in European Law and Economics took place on 5 December 2014. The 15 graduates, who are representatives of the public administration and non-governmental sector, received their certificates. The programme graduates were greeted by Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs, RGSL Rector George Ulrich and Programme Director Peter Gjortler, as well as representatives of the programme partner institutions, ambassadors and guests of honour.
The objective of the programme is to provide a transfer of knowledge and experience from Latvia in order to raise the capacity of public administration and civil society representatives. A further long-term aim is to strengthen relations between Latvia and its neighbour states, as well as to address issues regarding economic interests and security policy matters of the European Union member states and the international community.
Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs, greeting the programme participants, pointed out that cooperation with the Eastern Partnership countries and support of their efforts to move closer to the European Union is one of the priorities of Latvian foreign policy. "I am confident that the acquired knowledge and understanding of the principles of operation of the European Union will help the programme participants in their professional activities in their home countries. I think that the programme contributes not only to the participants individually; it also strengthens the cooperation at the international level between the respective countries." The Foreign Minister expressed his support for the further implementation of the programme within the Eastern Partnership, as well as Central Asia and other regions in the European neighbourhood.
RGSL Rector George Ulrich emphasised that the program is a great opportunity to learn from Latvia’s more than 20 years of fruitful cooperation with the EU - on the road to accession and as a member state. "The programme participants had a unique opportunity not only to learn from outstanding facilitators, but also to engage in active discussions among participants representing not less than 11 countries and thereby learn from each other. In this highly intensive three-month programme the students have gained both professional and informal experience that will be valuable in their future work."
Peter Gjortler, Director of the RGSL Advanced Programme, underlined that the programme is interdisciplinary with a focus on practical learning. At the same time, the programme is designed according to academic standards and enables the participants to continue their studies to a higher education degree. The Programme Director expressed his gratitude to all the supporters of the programme and its participants. He pointed out that graduates of the Advanced Programme become full members of the RGSL alumni community, and RGSL looks forward with pleasure to meeting them at future academic and informal events.
The Advanced Programme in European Law and Economics was on this occasion implemented for the first time. It was opened on 15 September and completed on 5 December. Fifteen participants from eleven countries – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Kosovo, Moldova, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan - took part in the programme.
A new session of the programme will open in the spring of 2015. The programme is carried out in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and it is financed by the government of Latvia and international donors within the framework of development cooperation. Additional support is provided by the participating institutional partners that include the European Institute for Public Administration, Latvian Institute of International Affairs, Stockholm School of Economics in Riga and University of Latvia.
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