The project “STRONG TOGETHER. СИЛЬНІ РАЗОМ” with ID No. 2023.LV/UKR_KO/2/18 has been successfully completed.

Daugavpils University Association for Lifelong Learning, Culture, and Science Communication “Intellect Park” has completed the implementation of the project “STRONG TOGETHER. СИЛЬНІ РАЗОМ” with ID No. 2023.LV/UKR_KO/18, funded by the Latvian state budget programme “Cultural Orientation Courses and Inclusion Measures for Ukrainian Civilians”.

In total, 120 Ukrainian civilians completed cultural orientation courses as part of the project. The participants were awarded certificates for completing the cultural orientation course, comprising 32 academic hours, covering the following topics:

– “Latvian History” (Mg.hist., lecturer Andris Kupšāns)

– “Values of the Latvian Cultural Canon” (Dr.philol., docent, researcher Žans Badins)

– “State Governance, Legality, and Participation in Local Community Activities” (Dr.iur., docent Igors Trofimovs)

– “Society and Everyday Life” (Master’s Degree in Career Counseling and Youth Affairs; Professional Master’s Degree in Intercultural Relations, Astrīda Leščinska)

– “Education” (Dr.paed, docent Sandra Zariņa)

– “Latvian Language at Work and in Daily Life” (Dr.paed, docent Sandra Zariņa)

– “Social and Health Care Services” (Mg.paed. Jānis Pitrāns)

– “Opportunities for Starting a Business” (Mg.oec. Tatjana Daudiša)

The cultural orientation courses were conducted in a remote format using the ZOOM e-conferencing platform, applying diverse up-to-date teaching materials. The knowledge gained in the cultural orientation courses enhances Ukrainian civilians’ awareness of Latvian statehood, society, and values, providing inspiration for transferring acquired knowledge and promoting adaptation within Latvian society.

The general aim of the project is to provide cultural orientation courses and activities that promote collaboration between Ukrainian civilians and Latvian society.

The specific objective of the project is to strengthen the Ukrainian civilians’ awareness of Latvian history, culture, and society through the courses, as well as to promote their integration into Latvian society and collaboration with the host community through the implementation of cultural orientation courses and socialization events.

The project implementation started on July 1, 2023, and concluded on December 31, 2023.

Project manager – Dr. philol., prof. Maija Burima.

During October and November 2023, two intercultural communication-promoting integration events-excursions were organized as part of the project. These events facilitated intercultural dialogue and cooperation through various activities, including a discussion titled “Intercultural Communication and Regional Specifics in Latvia and Ukraine: Shared Experiences, Different Stories”, as well as a workshop on Latvian handicrafts (beading, bracelet weaving, straw doll making, wood burning workshop, gift wrapping workshop, soap making workshop, etc.), aimed at fostering intercultural dialogue and an integrative society.

To establish new frameworks and foundations for cooperation between Latvian and Ukrainian residents, an integration event was held, during which successful small business experiences were adopted. Unique and original business ideas were developed, drawing from good practices and assessing the potential for participation. Meetings were held with Latvian NGO representatives: the association “Nākam gaismā”, the association “Bekas”, the association “In Lingua”, and the association “Novus”. During the consolidation event, there were visits to various places, including the workshop of potter Aivars Ušpeļs (in Malta parish), farm “Juri” (in Rušona parish), the observation of Christ the King Hill, meeting with its creator and wood sculptor Ēriks Delpers, a visit to the Aglona Bread Museum (in Aglona parish), getting acquainted with the operations of a vineyard snail farm at “Ošu mājas”, and interaction at the Preiļi Doll Museum (in Preiļi municipality). In total, 80 people participated in the integrative event. The “STRONG TOGETHER” consolidation event shaped the perception of Latvian public life processes, values, and communication models by Ukrainian civil residents.

The target audience had the opportunity to register on the cloud platform “MySkills” for Ukrainian civilians, where they could showcase their competencies, education, skills, hobbies, and interests. Later, they demonstrated their products and ideas at an exhibition-market. In total, 30 Ukrainian civilians participated in the exhibition-market. This promoted mutual cooperation and integration of Ukrainian civilians into the Latvian economy, fostered the development of small businesses in Latvia, and facilitated interaction with the host community.

The project participants have repeatedly emphasized the support they felt from the pedagogical and administrative staff throughout their studies. They were satisfied with both the organization of classes (timing, venue, format) and the content of the sessions (topics covered, professionalism of the educators). The participants of the cultural orientation courses noted that “the most valuable aspect was the extensive range of information, the responsiveness, and professionalism of the lecturers”, while during the integration events, it was a sense of community and friendship. Ukrainian civilians mentioned that “the personal experience shared by the instructors during the classes was particularly useful in providing everyday assistance”.