Rezekne, Latgale, Latvia
April 27th–29th, 2022
On May 5-6, 2017, Rezekne hosted the Latgalian Centenary Congress, which reminded the Latvian and world society about two historically significant congresses in Rezekne: one of them was held on April 26-27 (May 9-10, New Style), in which the clergy played a leading role and in which the historic decision to separate from Vitebsk Governorate and to establish a unitary state together with Vidzeme and Kurzeme, preserving the right of self-determination of the national economy, language and religion; another congress was convened on December 3-4 (December 16-17, New Style), where riflemen played the leading role. As a result of the second congress, it was achieved that the three districts of that time – Rezekne, Ludza and Daugavpils – are separated from Vitebsk Governorate. The Congress that was held in April is one of the first meetings to promote the common idea of Latvian statehood and prepare the political and public educational platform for the establishment of the Republic of Latvia on November 18, 1918.
The Latgalian Centenary Congress 2017 adopted a resolution and created the Executive Committee of the Assembly Resolution responsible for the implementation of the resolution and organization of the forthcoming Latgalian Congress. On the evaluation of the achievements and issues which remain to be addressed, the concept of Latgalian Congress 2022 was established. The performance of the Executive Committee in cooperation with other NGOs and Latvian government officials can be viewed in Annex 1.
Four years of experience after the Latgalian Centenary Congress 2017, especially the adoption of the law on historical Latvian lands, acknowledges the need for regular and targeted review and advancement of issues important to Latgale and its inhabitants. That is why it is important at least every five years to analyze the current situation and raise practical assignments and issues that are important for the development of Latgale, ensuring adequate representation from the population as well as from local municipalities, NGOs and other organizations.
To set more precisely the priorities for the agenda of the Latgalian Congress, three discussions will be organized in Rēzekne and Daugavpils, inviting the administrative, economic and non-governmental sectors to evaluate what has been done and set achievable goals. Each of these discussions will also explain the principle of representation of delegates and participants in the Congress. In addition, a virtual workshop with young participants is planned where they will discuss issues related to Latgale and its future development. The work of the Latgalian Congress will be organized in several sections, where the delegates and members of the Congress will take part, as well as guests (invited persons). The delegates of the Congress will represent the residents of Latgale, its local municipalities, organizations and NGOs that purposefully care for Latgalian identity and work with issues important to Latgale and Latgalians. Researchers, field practitioners, whose proposed presentation topic will be approved as relevant to the Latgalian Congress will also have a possibility to take part in the congress.
Politicians and practitioners from various fields are invited to participate in the congress – both with reports and discussions of pragmatic topics. Representatives from the state institutions will also attend the Latgalian Congress and also guests from other Latvian historical lands. It is planned that scientific lectures relevant for the development of Latgale will be mixed with public discussions of ambiguous or controversial issues in order to develop and deliberate the main points of the resolution during the Congress and conclude it with specific proposals for the policy development in the fields of economics, security, culture, education, linguistics and media fields funds, as well as for the strengthening and development of Latgalian identity. When submitting topics and developing theses for the Congress, we encourage the participants to reflect and evaluate the topicality of the offer in the context of a specific industry, as well as within the context of the development of Latgale and the Latgalian in the cultural, educational and economic area of Latvia and Europe. We invite the participants to actively engage in purposeful development of proposals to enhance the advancement of the region.
Taking into account the increase and importance of interdisciplinary research in solution of the problems of Latgale, we await applications that respect the development trends of modern science and deepen our awareness and understanding of the humanities (languages, cultural history, folklore, literary studies), social sciences (regional economics, demography, entrepreneurship, law, history, security issues, etc.), and engineering (environment, information technology, construction, etc.).
Before the conclusion of the Latgalian Congress, the delegates of the Congress will approve the resolution, which will determine the challenges and targets for the next five years, and the new Executive Committee will be approved. The working languages of the Congress are Latgalian, Latvian, English.
You can participate in the congress with a report or a poster presentation
Length of the report – 30 min: 20 min – report, 10 min – discussions
Presentation of the poster – 5 min, 30 min – discussions on 3-5 poster presentations
Venue of the Congress – opening on April 27 – Embassy of Latgale “Gors”, Pils Street 4, Rezekne;
April 28 – conference – Rezekne Academy of Technology, Atbrīvošanas aleja 115, Rezekne,
April 29 – closing plenary session, adoption of a resolution (“Gors”), Language Night.
– September 26 – discussion in Rezekne, Rezekne Academy of Technology
– November 26 – virtual discussion “I am in Latgola 2042”
– December 4 – discussion in Daugavpils, Daugavpils University
– by January 31, 2022 – acceptance of applications for participation with reports in the Congress
– by February 10, 2022 – reply of the organizing committee on the application and thesis
acceptance or rejection; organizational clarifications
– by February 28, 2022 – approval of citizens’ delegates
– by March 1, 2022 – publication of theses (up to 3000 characters with spaces)
– April 27-29, 2022 – the Latgalian Congress
– April 29, 2022 – adoption of the resolution of the Latgalian Congress
– by September 1, 2022 – submission of articles to the collection of congress materials
– January 2023 – publication of the Congressional Proceedings
Executive Committee of the Assembly Resolution:
Agris Bitāns – Sworn Advocate (Chairman)
Dr. philol. Ilga Šuplinska – Society of Latgalian Culture (Vice-Chairperson)
Dr. oec. Sandra Ežmale – Director of Malnava College
Dr. paed. Irēna Kokina – Rector of Daugavpils University
Dr. philol. Lidija Leikuma – Professor of the University of Latvia
Dr.oec. Iveta Mietule – Rector of Rezekne Academy of Technology
Imants Slišāns – Vice-Chairman of the Board of the foundation “Association of Teachers of Latgalian Language, Literature and Cultural History”
Juris Viļums – Society of Latgalian Culture,
Sergejs Maksimovs – Chairman of Latgale Planning Region Development Council
Honorary members of the Organizing Committee of the Congress:
Anna Rancāne – poet, journalist
Viesturs Kairišs – film director, movement “With Latgola”
On behalf of the Working Group of the Congress
On August 11-13, 1992, the first world Latgalian gathering took place in Rezekne which brought together professionals from different fields to agree on the strategy for the Awakening process and transformations necessary for the rebirth of the Latgale region. Decisions on the Latgalian language, support for publishing of the region’s mass media and books, and the establishment of Rezekne Higher Education Institution (since January 1, 2016 – Rezekne Academy of Technology) were made. The event was concluded with the unveiling of the restored monument “United for Latvia”. On August 11-13, 2002, the 2nd World Latgalian Conference was organized which addressed the President of the Republic of Latvia V. Vike-Freiberga and the Prime Minister of the Republic of Latvia Andris Bērziņš. The address welcomed the adoption of the Official Language Law, establishment of Rezekne Higher Education Institution, support for the publishing work of Latgale Culture Center, as well as further urgent tasks were emphasized: “Preservation and development of Latgale cultural and historical heritage must be considered in close connection with the economic life of the region and the state regional policy. At the time when most of the investment is devoted to Riga and its surroundings, causing the extinction of Latvia’s rural territories and a catastrophic rise in unemployment, we consider it vital that the state increases its support to the periphery of Latvia, especially Latgale, by reducing tax rates and facilitating investment attraction.” The address raised concerns about the ongoing administrative-territorial reform, as a result of which the cultural and historical border of Latgale would be changed. Concerns have been justified – after the 2009 reforms Varaklani is no longer part of the Latgale planning region, instead, several Selija parishes are included.
On August 9-10, 2012, during the Latgale Days, the 3rd World Latgalian Assembly took place in Rezekne, in which, in addition to an extensive cultural program, a scientific conference was held to evaluate the tendencies of the development of Latgale and examine the declining trends and causes of recession in the economy, policy of education, languages, and culture taking an active part in the implementation of the Latgale support program. The adopted resolution provided for practical measures such as Article 3 (4) of the Official Language Law implementation in Latvian language and education policy, activation of its public order and respect for the Latgalian language in the state communication and media policy. In this conference Siberian Latgalians were also represented for the first time, presenting their survival experience throughout the 20th century.
On May 5-6, 2017, during the 4th World Latgalian Assembly, the Latgalian Centenary Congress was held, which was dedicated to the centenary of the Latgalian Congress and analyzed the implementation of the 1917 honorary decisions. The Congress was organized by the Society of Latgalian Culture, Rezekne Academy of Technology, Daugavpils University; the work of the legal-historical section, was organized by Prof. Kārlis Dišlers Foundation and the Institute of Public Law. A symbolic name was chosen for the academic event: the Latgalian Centennial Congress emphasized the importance of the event in the history of Latvia, highlighting the fact that the concept of the Latvian state was put forward for the first time in Rēzekne. The Congress brought together 551 registered participants. For the first time, the event was broadcast on Latvian television gaining wide resonance. During the Congress, a resolution was passed and the Executive Committee of the Assembly Resolution was created, whose task is to speed up and evaluate the fulfilment of the adopted requirements, as well as to provide an overview of the implementation of the resolution in general.
The basis of the resolution is the decision of the Congress of 1917 on coalescing with the Latvians of Kurzeme and Vidzeme, reserving the right to self-determination of language, local municipality, religion, school and economic issues. The resolution has four main points: 1) fulfilling Paragraph 2 of the Latgalian Congress 1917, the State of Latvia must ensure practical enforcement of the Official Language Law, Article 3 (4), 2) to invite Latgale Planning Region Development Council to officially approve the Latgalian flag (dark blue-white-dark blue), determining the procedure for its use, 3) to ground the regional policy of the Republic of Latvia on Article 3 of the Constitution, precisely and clearly defining the functions of the regions that would allow solving many state problems effectively, 4) to mark April 27 as Latgale Day and include it in Article 2 of the law On Holidays, Remembrance and Celebration Days as a day to be celebrated.