The group of twenty participants, representing all regions of Latvia, had an unforgettable experience discussing one-on-one with the President issues of leadership, equality, the development trajectory of Latvia, and issues surrounding the current COVID-19 pandemic.

In his introductory remarks to the “Future Leaders Academy 2021” participants, the President outlined the key characteristics of a leader. In his opinion, a leader is someone who is able to motivate others to do more, someone who strives for knowledge, someone who is ethical, and who listens to their team and allows the best ideas to flourish.  He emphasized that a good leader only uses the ‘carrot’ and never the ‘stick’.

“Future Leaders Academy 2021” participants had a range of questions that they asked the President – about his career, his experience in the legal sector, how he has addressed issues of gender equality, about his most memorable moments during the presidency, how he wants to be remembered, and about overcoming difficult moments.  He emphasized that he believes in the motto that everything ends well, and if things are not yet well, then they have not yet ended. He also recommended some of his favourite and inspirational books to the “Future Leaders Academy 2021” participants, including Charles Taylor’s Sources of the Self and works by the 2021 Nobel Literature prizewinner Abdulrazak Gurnah.

This is the fifth year that SSE Riga has organized the “Future Leaders Academy in cooperation with the Embassy of Sweden in Latvia, and with support from the Swedish Institute.  It is a five-weekend program, aimed at educating, inspiring, and developing the leadership potential of future political and community leaders from all over Latvia. This year, the twenty participants of the academy represented the cities of Rīga, Malta, Kandava, Roja, Rēzekne, Cēsis, Ogre, and Bauska.