The Isaiah Berlin Day in Riga 2017

The 9th Isaiah Berlin Day took place on October 16, 2017 at the cinema “Splendid Palace”, honoring the literary and philosophic legacy of Isaiah Berlin, a native of Riga, a historian of ideas and a philosopher of freedom. More than 400 people attended the event, and it was the most attended Isaiah Berlin Day in its history. 

The honorary patroness of the Isaiah Berlin Day in Riga is Prof. Dr. Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga.


17:30 – 18:15  Documentary “Born in Riga” (2010). Directors: Gints Grūbe, Dāvis Sīmanis. 

A cinematographic exploration of one of the great 20th century philosophers Isaiah Berlin, focusing on his early childhood in Riga from 1909 to 1916. The documentary is based on remembrances of Berlin’s contemporaries and Berlin scholars. The film paints a portrait of Riga as a multicultural early 20th century metropolis – and of Berlin as a stellar thinker, whose name is associated with Riga, and whose ideas have influenced the understanding and development of the political process in many modern European democracies. 

In Latvian with simultaneous translation into English

18:15 – 19:50 The 9th Isaiah Berlin Memorial Lecture "From Inevitability to Eternity: The New Politics of Unfreedom" by Professor Timothy Snyder, Professor of History at Yale University, author, and public intellectual.

Introductory remarks by Prof. Dr. Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga

In English with simultaneous translation into Latvian.

Timothy Snyder is one of the leading American historians and public intellectuals, and enjoys perhaps greater prominence in Europe, the subject of most of his work. He is the Housum Professor of History at Yale University and a permanent fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna. An expert on Eastern Europe and the second world war, he has written several books including “Bloodlands”“Black Earth”“On Tyranny”. The title of his Isaiah Berlin Memorial Lecture came from his upcoming book “The Origins of Unfreedom”.

Isaiah Berlin Day in Riga was organized by the Foundation for an Open Society DOTS in cooperation with the Representation of the European Commission in Latvia and the U.S. Embassy.


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