Pan-Baltic Experience Exchange Seminar in Riga

23. May, 2024


Dārta PelseLaima Bērziņa

From May 15th to May 16th, a Pan-Baltic Experience Exchange Seminar took place in Riga, as part of the project "Best Practices in Hosting Ukrainian Refugees in the Baltic States."


The seminar was opened on May 15th by a panel discussion on the role and collaboration of NGOs and municipalities in the reception of Ukrainian civilians. Four experts from Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia shared their experiences:

  • Einike Uri, Head of Development of Migration services at Tallinn Municipality Welfare Department,
  • Tetiana Podolska, representative from the NGO “Ukraiņu Centrs” (Ukrainian Centre),
  • Edgars Bērziņš, Head of the Jūrmala Municipality Education Department,
  • Inga Vismantienė, Akmene municipality vice mayor.

The discussion was moderated by Dārta Pelse, a policy analyst at Centre for Public Policy “Providus”. The main topics discussed were: the role of civil society in receiving Ukrainian refugees; responsibilities of integration actors in crisis situations; the role of NGOs in involving receiving society in integration activities; the necessity of a more effective collaboration between different integration actors; the involvement of Ukrainians in NGOs in the Baltics.

The second day of the seminar took place at the Riga Municipality and was organized in collaboration with the Riga Neighborhood Residents Center. Presentations were heard from representatives from Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania on good integration practices on language learning systems, education, and labor market inclusion:

  • Janika Hango, Head of Tartu Welcome Centre (Estonia),
  • Liene Polence, Education specialist of the Ventspils Municipality Education Department (Latvia),
  • Brigita Blavaščiūnienė, representative of Lithuanian Employment Service (Lithuania).

The participants of the seminar were able to ask questions after every presentation. This was followed by working groups, in which participants discussed the relevant issues in the fields of education and labor market integration. Representatives from the groups were then able to present the main conclusions in each group and the rest of the participants were able to comment.

Finally, the seminar was closed by a workshop on capacity building opportunities for local integration actors in the framework of Refugee Integration Academy 2025-2026. This workshop was moderated by Karolis Žibas, the Integration Officer at the UNHCR Regional Representation for Northern Europe.

The Pan-Baltic Experience Exchange seminar was organized in collaboration with the UN Refugee agency. The seminar was organized within “Best Practices in Hosting Ukrainian Refugees in the Baltic States” project.

Project "Best practices in hosting Ukrainian refugees in the Baltic States."

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