Building fair, smart and inspiring Latvia

DOTS Foundation for an Open Society unites people devoted to strengthening the quality and culture of democracy in Latvia.

We believe that diversity and a plurality of opinions make Latvia a better place.

We believe in an open and inclusive public sphere as the cornerstone for a resilient society able to stand up to the challenges of tomorrow.

We believe in trust, dignity, integrity and sustainability, and we work with passion and joy to bring these values to life.

We believe in deliberation as the best tool for fair decision-making, and we pursue cooperation and co-creation among our team and with our partners.

We engage in the promotion of participatory democracy by:

  • inspiring a democratic conversation and advancing the culture of discussion,
  • inciting people’s interest in societal and political processes,
  • fostering people’s active participation in public life.

DOTS is the founder and co-organizer of the open-air LAMPA Conversation Festival. The biggest discussion event in Latvia, LAMPA creates a motivating atmosphere for constant self-improvement in an ever-changing world. Since its creation in 2015, each summer LAMPA has brought together tens of thousands of participants who spend two joyful days sharpening their minds, expanding their horizons and challenging their views. LAMPA is an inspiring and exciting platform for anyone who has something to say — for all those who want to learn about and discuss the central issues for Latvia, Europe and the world.

In 2022-2023, the Foundation's activities are co-financed by the EEA and Norwegian Grants Program "Active Citizens Fund".

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