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Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga’s Farewell Letter

Riga. January 2020

Dear fellow members of the World Leadership Alliance-Club de Madrid,

To all of you, near and far, I send my very best wishes for a happy, healthy, prosperous New Year!

Here, in the Northern hemisphere, we see the Winter Solstice as a time when Light finally wins over Darkness and, step by small step, the days grow longer, and the sun climbs higher, thus becoming a symbol of hope and renewal for every aspect of our daily lives. For those of you in the Southern hemisphere, may your Summer solstice too be a time of rest, recuperation and joyful family reunions and spare you from the excessive heat that has been a burden in some areas.

As the year 2019 ended, and along with it, my six years as the President of our organization, I should like to express to you all my thanks for the trust you have placed in me during this period, as well as for the loyalty, enthusiasm and commitment you have shown for our common goals and projects. Together, we have weathered many a crisis and together, we have a proud record of achievements to look back upon. In this, we have been ably supported as well as guided by the uncommon energy, talent and competence of our Secretary-General, Maria-Elena Agüero and our wonderful staff at the Madrid office to whom I am deeply grateful for their unfailing warmth and professionalism.

The New Year is a time for change and as my distinguished colleague Danilo Türk takes up the reins of leading our Club, we are also about to embark on a new Strategy for our activities.  As the world is changing at an accelerating pace, I wish Danilo from all of us fair winds and safe sailing through all the reefs and shoals that may lie in our way. What will not change is our belief that all of us, both singly and collectively, can indeed do our part in making the world a better place. In this, we are united, no matter how different we may be in any other way.

The new decade we are about to enter gives every sign of becoming a challenging and eventful one. May the elegant symmetry of the New Year 2020 remind us of the need for equilibrium, fairness and justice in world affairs and may this new decade become one of reaching the ambitious goals of Sustainable Development adopted by the United Nations.

While it is the commonality of humanistic convictions and democratic ideals that has brought us together and made our work possible, the diversity of backgrounds and experiences between us constitutes an equally powerful magnet of attractiveness and charm. I personally have felt deeply honoured and privileged to meet you on a footing of fellowship and collegiality. I have been greatly enriched by becoming better acquainted with you and the countries you have so ably served. Above all, I shall always treasure the kindness and personal friendship I have received from you and will always remain your sincere and devoted friend,

Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga
President of Latvia (1999-2007)