Isaiah Berlin Day in Riga 2020

On November 26th, the 11th Isaiah Berlin Day in Riga will take place at the National Library of Latvia. The central event of the day will be the Isaiah Berlin Memorial Lecture, which will be delivered by the renowned Canadian historian Margaret MacMillan. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the lecture will be streamed online via live video.

The event was initially planned to take place on March 23rd, but had to be postponed due to the state of emergency in Latvia. It has now been rescheduled for November 26th and will be in full compliance with all COVID-19 restrictions in effect at the time in Latvia.

The Isaiah Berlin Memorial Lecture will begin at 7pm with introductory remarks from the former President of Latvia and honorary patroness of Isaiah Berlin Day Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga.

On Berlin's 100th birthday in 2009, his first memorial lecture was organized in Riga. Since then the Isaiah Berlin Day has become a valued tradition among Latvia’s civic society, helping to promote Berlin's values and ideas, such as pluralism, tolerance, and individual liberty. The central event of the day has always been a lecture delivered by an internationally acclaimed author, academic or public intellectual. This time it will be Canadian historian Margaret MacMillan with a lecture titled “Isaiah Berlin, History and the World of Today”. MacMillan is a professor at the University of Toronto and professor emeritus at Oxford University. She is one of the leading experts on the history of international relations, specializing in the First World War and its peace negotiations. Her best-known book is “Peacemakers: The Paris Peace Conference of 1919 and Its Attempt to End War (2001)”.

MacMillan will read her lecture online, and it will be streamed on the Isaiah Berlin Centre website, the National Library of Latvia website, as well as on the social media platforms of the Isaiah Berlin Centre and the DOTS Foundation for an Open Society. Online listeners will be able to ask their questions in written form.

The Isaiah Berlin Day in Riga is organized by the DOTS Foundation for an Open Society, the Isaiah Berlin Society and the National Library of Latvia, and supported by the Representation of the European Commission in Latvia.

From this day on, Isaiah Berlin Centre shall inherit the duties of organizing Isaiah Berlin Day from the Foundation for an Open Society DOTS. The objective of the Centre is to provide an ongoing programme of events and projects that would strengthen the awareness of Berlin’s ties to Riga and popularize his ideas and philosophy. Events will include public talks and lectures, cooperation with the local academic institutions and Wolfson College of the University of Oxford, translating and publishing Berlin’s works and many other worthy projects.

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