ABOUT US

Building fair, smart and inspiring Latvia

The Foundation for an Open Society DOTS (previously Soros Foundation – Latvia) fosters creation of an environment, process, and dialogue for an open society in Latvia, helping to seed ideas and conceive solutions. The Foundation DOTS unites free thinkers, innovators and enthusiasts. It is a catalyst for change, actively seeking out new ideas for cooperation and co-creation.

Foundation DOTS issue areas:

Democracy. To strengthen the quality of democracy in Latvia by supporting innovative, meaningful efforts for public involvement in social and political processes, fostering critical thinking, a culture of discussions and conversations, acceptance of a diversity of opinions and intellectual curiosity.

Social economy/ Social entrepreneurship. Quality of life, individual initiative and solidarity, equitable development. Promoting social entrepreneurship and the sharing economy, which is at the core of a sustainable economy.

Inclusive society. Fostering a sense of belonging and civic pride in all of Latvia’s inhabitants. Ethnic and linguistic diversity and the plurality of opinions is an added value for Latvia. It should not be divisive and should not be used as a convenient excuse to legitimize authoritarian tendencies.

Open society concepts are at the core of the Foundation DOTS value system, underpinning our choices about where to direct our efforts. Foundation DOTS promotes an active and diverse civil society, the rule of law, respect for minorities and vulnerable groups and their opinions. We envision a society where critical thinking, mutual respect and a strong sense of accountability are the norm in public life for average citizens and decision-makers alike.  

Historical timeline

  • 1992

    The Soros Foundation – Latvia is established.

  • 1993
    • The bookstore ApertoLibro opens with foundation support.
    • A series of brochures in Latvian and English -  ‘’Know Your Rights’’
    • Scholarship programs for students to European and American universities 
  • 1994
    • Support for the arts:  film festival ‘’Arsenāls’’, the renovation of the Latvian National Opera, folklore festival ‘’Baltika’’ and other projects
    • An annual award – the Harmony Prize – is launched, to recognize achievements in promoting cooperation between ethnic groups in Latvia
  • 1994
    • A 2 million USD investment in the renovation of the Riga School of Economics
    •  A high school debate programme is launched, to cultivate students’ debate and reasoning skills.
    • Equipment purchases for Latvia’s schools and universities, including the Riga Business School, the Latvian Academy of Medicine 
  • 1994
    • A support program for international initiatives – the East East programme – was set up.
    • The Education Information Centre was established, providing advice to students on opportunities to study abroad 
  • 1995
    • In cooperation with the Judges’ Association, the UNDP and the American Bar Association, the Latvian Judicial Training Centre was created, supporting the professional development and continuing education of judges and court officials.
    • Foreign language book acquisitions for Latvia’s libraries  
  • 1995
    •  Establishment of the NGO Centre 
    • The Foundation co-founded the Public Service Language Centre, to provide language learning opportunities to civil servants and public officials 
  • 1996
    • The publication series ‘’Man and Society’’ was launched. 36 internationally renowned works of philosophy, sociology and political science were translated into Latvian
    • Textbook publishing, including the now standard texts ‘’Philosophy’’ by Maija and Rihards Kūlis and ‘’The Atlas of World Geography”” by Jāņa Sēta publishers. 
  • 1997
    • Latvia goes digital – Information technology centres are established across the country; schools and libraries are connected to the internet, training is provided to end-users, support is given to the establishment of the  Latvian library information system
    • The Soros Centre for Contemporary Arts is established (later known as the Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art) 
  • 1998

    The Riga Graduate School of Law is established.

  • 1999
    • The Baltic American Partnership Programme is created to support civil society development in Latvia.
    • The social integration in education program ‘’Open Schools’’ is created to bridge differences in the school system between schools with different languages of instruction.
  • 2000

    SFL sets up a policy development programme, aiming to promote evidence-based policy-making and quality decision-making, and to support the professional development of the policy community. 

  • 2001
    • A public policy website www.politika.lv is launched
    • Advocacy on behalf of the mentally ill and disabled
    • SFL supports the establishment of the Debate Centre  - www.debasucentrs.lv
    • A Prison Reform programme is set up, providing support to the establishment of a Probation Service in Tukums 
  • 2002

    SFL supports the Salzburg Cornell seminars for doctors.

  • 2003

    SFL is a co-founder of the Centre for Public Policy PROVIDUS.

  • 2004

    SFL supports the establishment of the Civic Alliance www.nvo.lvand the Latvian Platform for Development Cooperation www.lapas.lv

  • 2005

    SFL launches a programme ‘’Wider Europe’’, supporting cooperation with the European Neighbourhood countries – Belorussia, Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia.

  • 2006
    • The foundation supported PielaikoPartiju.lv, an internet platform for voter choice, providing comparative analysis of political party programmes.
    • Support to Transparency International Latvian chapter DELNA for work on issues of zoning and construction permits. DELNA engaged in research, provided legal consultations and legal representation in public interest cases involving zoning violations.
  • 2007

    SFL supports the security and foreign policy forum ‘’Riga Conference’’, becoming an annual sponsor of the event www.rigaconference.lv

  • 2008
    • Support to IDEA House, a youth centre for mutual support and self-directed learning in Aizpute.
    • Establishment of the annual Human Rights Conference, in cooperation with the Riga Graduate School of Law. 
  • 2009

    SFL launched phase one of the programme ‘’Change Opportunities for Schools’’, which offered support to transform and breathe new life into rural schools, so that they can remain a gathering place for the local community. www.parmainuskolas.lv

  • 2009
    • Support to the creation of a food bank “’Paēdušai Latvijai”
    • Events marking the 100 year birthday of philosopher Isaiah Berlin, and creating an annual conference to honour his memory www.isaiahberlin.org
  • 2010
    • SFL supported the creation of a direct communication platform for voters and elected officials www.gudrasgalvas.lv
    • SFL supported a social entrepreneurship forum in Riga, later taking on the role of coordinator. 
  • 2010

    In cooperation with the Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art, SFL launched the first phase of the programme “’Brigade””, supporting sustainable social entrepreneurship based in the creative arts, seeking to solve social problems and improve the quality of life for local communities. www.brigade.lv

  • 2011
    • Co-financing for the competition “’I can be Prime Minister”
    • The foundation supported the establishment of Re: Baltika, a centre for investigative journalism www.rebaltika.lv, the voters’ initiative platform www.manabalss.lv  and a social network site for LGBT youth and their friends www.skapis.eu
  • 2011

    Policy research „Latvia on the road to social entrepreneurship”.

  • 2012
    • Organized a Baltic Youth Media School
    • A conference on the rule of law following the collapse of the socialist legal system was organized in cooperation with the Riga Graduate School of Law 
  • 2012-2013

    The project competition ‘’Brigāde’’, phase 2 www.brigade.lv

  • 2013
    • International multimedia summer school.
    • Series of events discussing the quality of life in Latvia.
  • 2013

    SFL supported the establishment of the Latvian Debate Association www.quotudoma.lv

  • 2013-2014

    "Change Opportunities for Schools" phase 2 www.parmainuskolas.lv

  • 2014

    SFL transforms into the Foundation for Open Society DOTS