Rīga 2014 will be a Great Opportunity to Promote Latvia
“Never before has Latvia organized such an ambitious event as Riga becoming the Capital of Culture of all of Europe. We must use this wonderful opportunity wisely and effectively, to not only promote awareness of Riga and Latvia, but also to maximize the economic benefits,” said the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Ojārs Kalniņš.
As the representatives of Foundation Rīga|2014 explained at the hearing, experience has shown that the economic benefits of a city becoming European Capital of Culture are largely dependent on how much the city and country themselves are ready to invest in external communication. In response to the proposal by Sergejs Potapkins, Deputy Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, to place ads on major international satellite TV news channels, Diāna Čivle, Director of Foundation Rīga|2014, acknowledged that given the financial constraints, no resources have been allocated for expensive television ads.
“Bearing in mind Latvia’s limited financial capacity, Rīga 2014 events should be interesting enough for BBC, CNN and ALJazeera to want to come to Riga and report on them,” O. Kalniņš said. Committee MP Jānis Dombravs (VL-TB/LNNK), meanwhile, proposed involving Latvians living abroad in the promotion of the Capital of Culture.
Regarding the links between Rīga 2014 events and the forthcoming Latvian Presidency of the Council of the EU in the first half of 2015, Foundation Rīga|2014 Programme Director Aiva Rozenberga pointed out that Italy, who is to hold the Presidency before Latvia, in the second half of 2014, has already shown a great interest in cooperation. Early May will see the opening of the first Latvian art exhibitions in Rome, and this cooperation will continue, said A. Rozenberga.
As European Capital of Culture, Riga will offer an extensive cultural programme throughout the year, also giving volunteers and NGOs a chance to get involved in the project. The organizers want to view culture from a wide perspective – not just as art and exhibitions – because every one of our country’s inhabitants is creative, and other sectors can be open to culture too, D. Čivle expressed in the committee hearing.