On Monday, April 13, Riga Graduate School of Law opened the second session of its Advanced Programme in Law and Economics for the neighbourhood countries of the European Union (EU), as well as Central Asia and Kosovo. The objective of the programme is to provide knowledge and experience transfer from Latvia in order to raise the capacity of public administration and civil society representatives in the beneficiary countries, and in the long-term to strengthen relations between Latvia and its neighbour states, especially in relation to issues regarding economic interests and safety policy matters of European Union member states.
In addition to the Latvian perspective, the programme also draws on international perspectives from the partners that participate in the implementation of the programme, as well as the international donors that support the programme. The programme is carried out in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and financed by the Latvian Government within the development and cooperation framework. Additional financial support is provided by the Government of Luxembourg, as well as the from the U.S. Government agency USAID. The programme partners include the Latvian Institute of International Affairs, the European Institute for Public Administration, the University of Latvia and the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga.
Seventeen representatives of public administration and non-governmental organizations from 14 countries - Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Egypt, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, as well as Kosovo and Latvia have started the programme. The advanced programme has received in total 350 qualified applications, thus underlining the topicality of and demand for the programme at the target countries. The program offers training in international economic, political and legal issues in order to support a specific region’s countries' efforts to move closer to the international cooperation and the European Union. The program will last for three months and will end on 3 July.
Andrejs Pildegovičs, State Secretary of the Foreign Ministry, when talking to the programme participants, pointed out that the programme results from last year do confirm the need to continue the education of young leaders of the European Partnership and Central Asian countries. He recalled that Latvia itself relatively recently was at a development stage, when other countries with their knowledge and expertise provided support for the growth of Latvian professionals, and he expressed satisfaction that Latvia can now actively support the reform processes in other countries.
Salome Ugrekhelidze, programme participant in 2014, has started working as a legal advisor at the newly established EU Law Department at the Ministry of Justice of Georgia. She has underlined that participation in the Advanced Programme was an important starting point to get this job, as well as providing specific knowledge about the EU, in order to successfully work in the new position. "I am grateful for the opportunity to acquire knowledge in the Advanced Programme. Its benefits have become my success factor! "
Programme Director Peter Gjortler has underlined that the very positive response from participants and the active engagement of the programme parts confirms the topicality of the programme. „Intensive training of participants from public administration, foreign service and non-governmental organizations under the supervision of highly qualified teachers, including experience exchange visits to Latvian institutions and educational trips to Brussels and Luxemburg, will provide additional knowledge and motivation for the programme members to further their work after returning to their home countries.”