Dr. Vaira Vike-Freiberga is former President of the World Leadership Alliance/Club de Madrid and former President of Latvia (1999-2007). She played a leading role in achieving membership in the EU and NATO for her country and was Special Envoy on UN reform. She was vice-chair of the Reflection group on the long-term future of Europe and chaired the High-level group on freedom and pluralism of media in the EU in 2011-12.
She is a member, board member, or patron of 30 international organizations, including ECFR, Nizami Ganjavi International Centre (Co-chair), Library of Alexandria, Trust Fund for Victims of the ICC, Panel of Eminent Persons on European Security of OSCE, Advisory Council of CEPA, as well as five Academies. She has been awarded 34 Orders of Merit and 19 Honorary doctorates.
Born in Riga, Vaira started her schooling in refugee camps in Germany, continued in Morocco, and obtained a Ph.D. at McGill University (1965). After a distinguished career as a Professor of psychology at the University of Montreal, she returned to her native country in 1998 to head the Latvian Institute. Less than a year later she was elected President by the Latvian Parliament and re-elected in 2003.