Dr. Vaira Vike-Freiberga was President of Latvia from 1999 to 2007.
Vaira Vike-Freiberga was born in 1937. Having left Latvia as a child refugee, Vaira started schooling in a refugee camp in Germany in 1945, continued in French Morocco, and pursued higher education in Canada, during which time she received a Ph.D. in experimental psychology (1965) from McGill University in Montreal. Dr. Vike-Freiberga emerged as a prominent spokesperson on politics and science policy whilst Professor of psychology and interdisciplinary scholar at the University of Montreal (1965-1998). She returned to her native country in 1998 to head the Latvian Institute.
She was appointed Special Envoy on United Nations reform in 2005 and was an official candidate for the post of UN Secretary General in 2006. In December 2007 she was appointed Vice-chair of the Reflection group on the long-term future of Europe. In 2011-2012 she chaired the High-level group on freedom and pluralism of the media in the EU. In 2015 she was a member of two High-level groups on European security and defense. Since 2014, she has been the President of the Club de Madrid, a forum of over 100 democratically elected former Heads of State and Government. The former president is also a member of the International Programme Board of the Prague European Summit.
Dr. Vike-Freiberga is a member, board member or patron of 30 international organisations, including the World Leadership Alliance, the Board of Trustees of the Nizami Ganjavi International Centre (Co-chair), and the European Council on Foreign Relations, as well as five Academies.
She has been awarded 34 Orders of Merit (1st class) and 19 Honorary doctorates, as well as many medals, prizes and honours, for distinguished work in the humanities and social sciences. She has published 14 books and authored over 200 articles, book chapters, reports, and audiovisual materials.