As President 1999-2007, Dr. Vike-Freiberga has been instrumental in achieving Latvia's
membership in the European Union and NATO. She is active in
international politics, was named Special Envoy to the Secretary General on
United Nations reform
and was official candidate for UN Secretary General in 2006.
Born 1937 in Riga, Latvia,
Vaira Vike and her family fled the country in 1945 to escape the Soviet
occupation and became refugees in Germany
After arriving in Canada in
1954, she obtained a B.A. and M.A. from the University
of Toronto and her Ph.D. in
experimental psychology in 1965 from McGill
University in Montreal. She speaks Latvian, English,
French, German and Spanish.
Dr. Vike-Freiberga has been Professor of psychology at the University of
Montreal, president of various Canadian professional and scholarly
associations, incl. Académie I of the Royal Society of Canada, Vice-Chairman,
Science Council of Canada, Chair, Human Factors Panel, NATO Science Program. She
is member of the Council of Women World Leaders.
She has published
ten books and numerous articles, essays and book chapters in addition to her
extensive speaking engagements. Dr. Vike-Freiberga has received many
highest Orders of Merit, medals and awards including the 2005 Hannah Arendt
Prize for political thought for her advocacy of social issues, moral values,
European historical dialogue and democracy, and the 2006 Walter-Hallstein Prize
for discourse on the identity and future of the EU.
Since July 1960, Dr. Vike-Freiberga has been
married to Imants Freibergs, Professor of Informatics at the University of
Quebec in Montreal and since 2001 President of the Latvian Information and
Communication Technologies Association.
This seminar is jointly sponsored by the Forum on Contemporary Europe and the Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies.