LLLWeek 2019 – Host and organisers
Official host of the LLLWeek 2019: MEP Dace Melbārde
“A lifetime of living, a lifetime of learning” goes an old Latvian saying. This apparently shows that the understanding of wisdom as a precondition for a good life has permeated European culture at various times and in various places. Nowadays, lifelong learning is an everyday accepted fact in Europe. If in the past learning ended after one’s studies, then now it’s just the beginning. While someone is learning they are enriching themselves and opening up new opportunities for life and work. They can achieve more and can leave behind more enduring values that serve to increase their own and their family’s happiness as well as the wellbeing of wider society. Lifelong learning is important for building one’s career, for personal growth and for active participation in civil society. Lifelong learning is an essential prerequisite for the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. For there to be major positive changes in the world, be they related to climate stabilisation or international security, the whole of mankind needs to acquire new knowledge and skills. Mankind needs to review its values and actions and form a wholeness of understanding of the interconnectedness and interdependence of all things and processes. Alongside such important 21st century skills such as digital skills, time management, problem-solving and decision making, change management and critical thinking, we also need to develop our learning skills. This includes both motivation and self-discipline as well as the ability to choose the most suitable type, time and place of learning.
There is also another side to lifelong learning – those who provide and support education. In this respect, it is important to break down the strict borders between formal, non-formal and informal education, to achieve the situation where more players participate in the education process: employers, non-governmental organisations, cultural institutions and others.
As someone with a strong background in culture, I very much believe in the power of culture to educate. Modern libraries and museums, theatres and cinema, audiovisual and digital media can offer marvellous and diverse learning opportunities adapted for different ages, perceptions and needs. I believe in the power of an excellent book in the 21st century too. I believe that nothing forms our system of emotional intellect and values as well as great works of art and literature. I believe that, alongside artificial intelligence that has begun its victory parade in our era, man’s creative spirit and humanity will continue to be no less important
Ms Dace Melbarde is a newly elected Member of European Parliament and 2nd Vice-Chair of Culture and Education committee at the EP. Previously she was a long-serving Minister of Culture at her native Latvia. Before she worked as a Director of the Latvian National Centre for Culture. Between 2009 and 2011 she was Country Manager of the British Council in Latvia. From 2004 to 2009, she served as Under-Secretary of State on Cultural Policy issues of the Latvian Ministry of Culture where she was instrumental in developing the new Long-Term National Cultural Policy Guidelines for 2006 – 2015 “Nation-State”. From 1999 to 2004, Ms Melbarde was appointed Secretary-General of the Latvian National Commission for UNESCO, contributing successfully to its promotion within Latvia and UNESCO. She received numerous awards, such as the Spidola Award by the National Cultural Foundation for the Excellence in the Management of Culture in 2005 and the Award by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia for the Achievements in Building the Latvian State in 2002. She is a recognized expert of the Latvian National Development Plan. Ms Melbarde holds a BA in History, an MA in Theory of Culture and MA in Public Management. She is also currently pursuing a PhD in Theory of Culture at the Latvian Academy of Culture.