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Office of Cultural Affairs

The American Latvian Association sponsors and helps to coordinate Latvian cultural events, schools, continuing education courses, museums, summer camps, sporting events, and Latvian book publication in the United States. In the late 1980's, ALA established and encouraged direct cultural contacts with Latvia, and in 1993 set up a summer high school program in Latvia attended by both local and USA youth.

ALA Latvian Oral History Project

The ALA Office of Cultural Affairs

The ALA Office of Cultural Affairs coordinates a wide spectrum of Latvian-American cultural activities. It supports and produces Latvian cultural events in the USA for both Latvian and English-speaking audiences.
The Office of Cultural Affairs serves as Latvian-Americans’ liaison with the University of Minnesota’s Immigration History Research Center (IHRC). The IHRC offers a summer internship working with Latvian archives and the fully endowed ALA Graduate Fellowship in Latvian American Studies. It evaluates nominations for the American Latvian Association’s Lifetime Achievement Awards presented each year in November to distinguished Latvian Americans at Latvian Independence Day events.

The Office of Cultural Affairs has recently undertaken two large projects. The first is the creation of an online database for 55 years’ worth of documents from Latvian organizations in the United States. It will include photographs, minutes of meetings, programs of events, and financial documents. Starting in May of 2006, this database will be available online at for document input and for use by researchers. The ALAIDD database will complement materials available for study at the IHRC and the National Latvian Archives in Rīga, Latvia, as well as provide information currently unavailable in any research library or archive.
Secondly, the Office of Cultural Affairs is inventorying ALL artwork produced by Latvian artists that is currently in the United States. The scope of the project includes artwork located in private homes and offices, in collections that belong to Latvian organizations, and artwork created by artists of Latvian heritage that is now housed in museums, libraries, banks, hospitals and other public institutions. This inventory will fully document the volume of work. It will shed light on the unique subject matter chosen by the many Latvian artists who fled their homeland during World War II and spent their final productive years in the United States. Also, it will document the artistic perspective of the second and third generation of artists of Latvian heritage, who, though formally educated primarily in the United States, offer through their work a glimpse into their Latvian backgrounds. The third part of the inventory is to document work by Latvia’s artists that has been brought to the United States by tourists to Latvia and by family members, actors, musicians and Latvian artists themselves who visited the United States from Latvia during the Cold War and during these last 15 years of Latvia’s independence.
As a lasting contribution to future generations, the ALA donates books about Latvia to the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. Latvian-Americans planning cultural events are encouraged to apply for funding to governmental and non-profit sources. The following link has some helpful funding suggestions.