WLEIF: Asia Pacific Regional Forum is an initiative that builds on the foundations of the first two World Latvian Economics and Innovations Forums that have taken place in Latvia in 2013 and 2015. It is an initiative that was started by the World Federation of Free Latvians in cooperation with Latvia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Latvian Chamber of Industry and Commerce, highlighting the benefits of capitalizing on the wealth of experience and contacts of business leaders and professionals with ties to Latvia, providing them with an opportunity to be more directly involved in Latvia’s economic development.
WLEIF: A View to Asia, Australia and the Pacific Ocean Region will be held in Melbourne, Australia from the 29th to the 30th December, 2016 concurrently with the 56th Australian Latvian Cultural Festival, which traditionally attracts a large number of Latvians from most Australian cities.
With participation of over 500 participants from more than 20 countries, the topics addressed at the first two Forums have included Latvia’s investment climate and global competitiveness, export strategies, and strengthening entrepreneurial culture in Latvia. In 2015, the President of Latvia Raimonds Vējonis became the Patron of the Forum, highlighting the important role Latvian diaspora can play in Latvia’s development. As a follow-up of the 2nd Forum a high-level diaspora entrepreneur council was established under the auspices of the Prime Minister’s Office in 2015, consisting of five members with significant business experience in Latvia and abroad.
In liaison with the Forum, a Latvian Diaspora Mentorship program has been established aimed at promoting transfer of knowledge between the Latvian entrepreneurs and business leaders and professionals living in different parts of the world. We invite you to join us in our efforts to build connections and promote cooperation between business leaders and professionals in Latvia and abroad!
Jānis Kukainis, Chairman of the World Federation of Free Latvians:
"Latvia is a democracy. In the 25 years since regaining independence it has become a member of NATO and is fully integrated into western Europe as a member of the European Union. In support of Latvia’s economic development the diaspora organization the World Federation of Free Latvians (WFFL) proposed holding a World Latvian Economic and Innovation Forum (WLEIF) in Rīga, Latvia. The logic behind the forum was that there were many successful businessmen/women, entrepreneurs and innovators of Latvian descent in Europe, Canada, Australia, Scandinavia and the United States who would be receptive to helping in their ancestral homelands economic development. Successful networking was the primary goal.
The first WLEIF was held in Rīga in 2013. With the support of the Foreign Ministry and the Latvian Chamber of Commerce. There were 350 participants from 21 countries. A second WLEIF in Riga was held in 2015 with over 200 participants from 17 countries.
After WWII a significant number of Latvians emigrated to Australia where they and their progeny have been successful. The third WLEIF and the first outside of Latvia will be held in Melbourne on December 29 - 30. It is intended as a networking opportunity for Australians and visiting Latvian entrepreneurs, businessmen/women and innovators."