Aina Nagobads-Ābols, an exemplary Latvian diplomat, celebrates her 100th birthday

09.06.2020. 17:49

On 9 June 2020, Aina Nagobads-Ābols is celebrating her 100th birthday.

When Latvia regained independence, she became one of country’s first new ambassadors, representing Latvia with distinction in France, Spain and Portugal, and as Permanent Representative of Latvia to UNESCO in Paris. Aina Nagobads-Ābols is an exceptional diplomat who, applying her sharp wit, strong character, courage, charm and fluency in a number of languages, contributed greatly to a newly independent Latvia.

To honour her life’s work, and taking into account that, given existing circumstances, Latvian leaders would be unable to travel to meet her at this time, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has prepared a series of video greetings from colleagues, friends, relatives and others who have known her well, to share their memories and deliver congratulations. Many thanks to all who have participated and been so receptive!

The video greetings to Aina Nagobads-Ābols can be viewed here

And we take this opportunity to offer our own heartfelt congratulations to Aina Nagobads-Ābols on the occasion of her 100th birthday!

May you enjoy good health and a happiness that grows stronger in reflection upon what you have attained, your friendships and the richness of your experiences.      

 

Backgrounder

Aina Nagobads-Ābols was born in Rīga, Latvia, on 9 June 1920. Her father was Ernests Nagobads (1883-1949), a teacher and pedagogue who was involved in Latvia’s fight for independence. He took part in the organisation of the armed forces in the region northern Vidzeme and later in 1919 became the head of the administration in that same region when it had been liberated. From 1930-1944, Ernests Nagobads was Director of Riga’s Gymnasium No. 2.  

In 1939, after completing her studies at Riga Gymnasium No. 2, Anna Nagobada-Ābols studied medicine at the University of Latvia.

In the autumn of 1944, she left Latvia for Germany together with the staff of Riga University Hospital.

She graduated from the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Tübingen in Germany and married Guntars Abols (1921-2016).

In 1951, they moved to Morocco, living there till 1954. In 1955, they moved to Paris.

In Paris, Aina Nagobada-Ābols worked in managing a petroleum business with her husband. She joined the local Latvian community, and took part in activities of PBLA, the World Federation of Free Latvians.

When Kārlis Berends, the Chargé d’Affaires of Latvia’s Legation in Paris died in January 1987, Aina and Guntars were instrumental in preserving the precious archive of post-war documents. Thanks to their efforts, this collection can be found today in Latvia’s National Archive.

Aina Nagobads-Ābols diplomatic career began in March 1990 when she was appointed Honorary Consul for Latvia in Paris by Anatols Dinbergs, the Head of Latvia’s diplomatic and consular service. When Latvia joined UNESCO on 15 October 1991, it was Aina Nagobads-Ābols that carried the Latvian flag into UNESCO’s General Conference hall.

After Latvia regained its independence, Aina Nagobads-Ābols became one of the first members of the renewed Foreign Service. She was accredited as Latvia’s Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to France on 18 March 1992. Soon she was also Latvia’s Ambassador to Spain (2 June 1993) and to Portugal (30 November 1993). Her Ambassadorial duties to France, Spain and Portugal drew to a close in 1997.

Beginning already in 1992 and up till 2000, Aina Nagobads-Ābols was Latvia’s Permanent Representative to UNESCO. At UNESCO, she worked to see that Rīga’s Old Town would be included on the list of UN world heritage sites. In January 2000, she was given the title of honorary counsellor to UNESCO.

Aina Nagobads-Ābols is the recipient of national honours including Latvia’s Order of the Three Stars, France’s Legion of Honour, and Portugal’s Order of Merit.

In 2019, launching a new tradition, Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs bestowed upon Aina Nagobads-Ābols Latvia’s very first lifetime diplomatic achievement award for excellence and distinguished service to her country.

 


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