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International cooperation

On 14 August, shortly before the upcoming academic year, the American Chamber of Commerce in Latvia (ACCL) in cooperation with the real estate developer Spire Baltic brought together representatives from various fields to participate in a public discussion about attracting international students to Latvia.

The participants outlined that in order to increase the number of international students at Latvian institutions of higher education, it is necessary to not only eliminate the bureaucratic obstacles that students and academic staff come across, but also to provide them with high quality studies and living conditions. Business representatives, on the other hand, highlighted the need to create conditions that would encourage international graduates to remain in the Latvian labour market.

This year Riga made it into the international QS Best Student Cities Ranking. While being on the prestigious list is positive, experts emphasise that this momentum should be used to improve conditions even more. Making Latvia into an international destination for studies and work requires complex solutions that would mean more collaboration and engagement from both the private and public sectors.

Baiba Pētersone, the Director of the International Department, represented Rīga Stradiņš University (RSU) at the discussion. Other participants included Anita Muižniece, the Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Education and Science, Aigars Rostovskis, the Chair of Turība University and President of the Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Viesturs Celmiņš, a social anthropologist and urban environmental planner, Daunis Auers, Associate Professor at the University of Latvia and Director of the Certus Think Tank, Ieva Lasmane, Member of the Board at the Riga Tourism Development Bureau (RTDB), Kim Leandersson, Director of Cognizant Latvia, Jānis Palkavnieks, spokesperson of the Draugiem Group, Māra Zīra, Head of the Riga City Council’s Strategic Planning Department and Acting Deputy Head of the Strategic Development Department, Jason Allen, Chairman of the Board of Spire Baltic and Līga Meņģelsone, Director General of the Employers' Confederation of Latvia (ECL). Zane Čulkstēna, the Founder of ERDA, moderated the discussion.

This summer ACCL released a report on attracting talent to Latvia that states that international graduates of Latvian institutions of higher education would partly fill the vacancies in specialist positions that are required in the Latvian labour market.