May 15, 2000

Speech by Ambassador Dr. Janis Priedkalns


Speech by Ambassador Dr. Janis Priedkalns.

On the ocassion of the Award of The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation’s Honorary Membership and ‘Homage to Raoul Wallenberg’s sculpture to Her Excellency, Dr. Vaira Vike-Freiberga, the President of Latvia, on 15th May 2000, the Permanent Representative of Latvia to the United Nations, H.E. Ambassador Dr. Janis Priedkalns, welcomes the Representatives of the Wallenberg Foundation to the Permanent Mission of Latvia to the United Nations in New York.

Your Excellency, Distinguished Representatives of The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation, Distinguished Guests, Honorable Members of the President’s Delegation and of the Latvian Diplomatic Service.

It is indeed an honour to welcome you at the Latvian Mission to the United Nations. The goal of the representation of any state at the United Nations is to bring one’s nation, one’s country into the global community, to measure one’s inherent strengths, cultural heritage and religious values in a global context and with these values to enrich the global community. It is therefore appropriate to present the esteemed Raoul Wallenberg award and the Foundation’s honorary membership at a Mission to the United Nations. The award is given to eminent statespersons who, while cherishing their own cultural and religious identities, have also been sensitive to and appreciative and supportive of the identities, contributions and heritage of others.

The life story of Baruch Tenembaum, the Founder of the Wallenberg Foundation, clearly depicts these ideals. Cherishing his Jewish identity and an Argentine cultural heritage, he has raised Jewish-Christian values of understanding, cooperation, tolerance to a new level of reality. He has built bridges between societies and between religions, he has engaged in ecumenical dialogue. There is much more in common than what separates the Christian, Jewish and Moslem faiths. There are good men and women at the United Nations engaged in a constructive spiritual dialogue, concerned with encouranging solidarity, respect and understanding among peoples. Both the Jewish and Latvian nations are part of this constructive dialogue, of the brotherhood and sisterhood of nations that the ‘Homage to Raoul Wallenberg’ award to the President of Latvia celebrates today.

Dr. Janis Priedkalns
Permanent Mission of the
Republic of Latvia to the
United Nations