Opening Ceremony

Free Flow of Ideas By Word and Image — Celebrating 70 Years of UNESCO

Venue: Imanta Ziedoņa Hall (with live streaming)


Ms Baiba Braže, Chair, Steering Committee on the Preparation of WPFD 2015

Welcome Remarks:

Ms Irina Bokova, Director-General, UNESCO

Mr Edgars Rinkēvičs, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Latvia

Ms Dace Melbārde, Minister of Culture of the Republic of Latvia

Special Remarks:

Ms Flavia Pansieri, Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, OHCHR

Statement by:

Mr David Kaye, UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion & Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion & Expression

Special Presentation:

Commemorative World Press Freedom Day Stamp to Ms Irina Bokova


Baiba Braže

Baiba Braže is Ambassador and Director General for the Directorate of Security Policy and International Organizations in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia. Previously, she was Ambassador at Large to the Third Political Directorate and before that Permanent Representative to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Baiba Braže held above that several other positions in the diplomatic service, leading her to e.g. the Netherlands or the United States. She holds university degrees in Law, Political Science, Communication Science and Southeastern Asian Studies from the University of Latvia, the University of Groningen, Netherlands, and from Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand.

Irina Bokova

Irina Bokova, born on 12 July 1952 in Sofia (Bulgaria) has been the Director-General of UNESCO since 15 November 2009, and reelected for a second term in 2013. Before, Irina Bokova was Minister for Foreign Affairs, Coordinator of Bulgaria-European Union relations and Ambassador of Bulgaria to France, Monaco and UNESCO).  As Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova is actively engaged in international efforts to advance quality education for all, gender equality, cultural dialogue and scientific cooperation for sustainable development and is leading UNESCO as a global advocate for safety of journalists and freedom of expression.

Edgars Rinkevics

“Quality journalism can thrive, but only in a relatively safe environment and with sustainable long-term financing. It has to be constantly nurtured and never - taken for granted.”

Edgars Rinkēvičs is Minister of Foreign Affairs since October 25, 2011. He was Head of the Chancery of the President of Latvia from October 2008 till October 2011. He also served as State Secretary in the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Latvia from August 1997 till October 2008. He also worked as Chief of the Office for organizing the NATO Summit of Heads of State and Government, which took place in Riga, 2006. Edgards Rinkēvičs graduated from the University of Latvia and received his Master’s degree in Political Science in 1997. From 1999-2000 he also studied at the U.S. National Defence University, Industrial College of the Armed Forces and has a graduate degree in National Resource Strategy.

Dace Melbarde

Dace Melbarde has been the Latvian Minister of Culture since 2013. Between 2009 and 2011 she was Country Manager of the British Council in Latvia. Before that, she served as Under-Secretary of State on Cultural Policy issues of the Latvian Ministry of Culture and from 1999 to 2004, Dace Melbarde was appointed Secretary-General of the Latvian National Commission for UNESCO, contributing successfully to its promotion within Latvia and UNESCO. She is a recognized expert of the Latvian National Development Plan. She received numerous awards, such as the Spidola Award by the National Cultural Foundation for the Excellence in the Management of Culture in 2005.

Flavia Pansieri

Flavia Pansieri was appointed United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights in 2013. In the past 30 years she has held a number of increasingly responsible positions in a number of UN system agencies and in various countries and headquarters locations. Most recently, Flavia Pansieri served as the Executive Coordinator of the UN Volunteers (UNV) Programme. Prior to joining UNV, she served as the United Nations Resident Coordinator and Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Yemen. Flavia Pansieri a doctoral degree in Philosophy from Milan University, and one in Chinese Language and Literature from Venice University.


David Kaye

David Kaye has been appointed UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression in August 2014. He is clinical professor of law at the University of California, Irvine, School of Law. David Kaye co-founded the International Human Rights Program of the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law, and founded its International Justice Clinic, working on projects dealing with accountability for international crimes around the world.

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