60 Years after the Establishment of the American Latvian Association: A Search for a New Mission

Ilze Garoza (American Latvian Association)

This paper evaluates the work of the American Latvian Association 60 years after its establishment and 20 years after one of its main goals – reestablishment of Latvia’s independence – has been fulfilled. The role of the American Latvian Association in coordinating Latvian emigre efforts to preserve their ancestral language and culture and promoting freedom for their homeland is unparralleled, however, with the aging and dwindling ALA’s membership, the organization faces a set of existential challenges regarding its role, its goals, and its mission for the future. This evaluation based on interviews with the ALA board members and staff and a survey of existing and potential members will seek to answer questions – what are the strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats to the American Latvian Association 60 years after its establishment, and what mission and goals should the organization set for the future?

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