Notes from our Membership Secretary

June 26, 2023

JanisHello! My name is Jānis Lielāmers and I have been serving as LNAK membership secretary on the executive committee since April 2022. I have a question for you: have you taken care of your membership dues for 2023? Thank you if you have done so! 

This first year on the LNAK executive has flown by quickly and I have managed to learn a lot just as quickly. Although I am a newcomer to the Canadian Latvian community and at times not entirely sure that I belong here, I do my best to make a contribution in the hope that I will have some success. I have lived in Canada for over ten years—in Toronto, Vancouver, and Ottawa. In each city, there has been a Latvian community that has welcomed me.

Our Latvian community includes individuals like you and me. Some have come here relatively recently from Latvia, while others have spent all or most of their lives here. Most are second-, third-, or even fourth-generation Latvians. We are all held together by our Latvian roots, culture, and language. The time we spend together makes us a community. We are bonded together by singing, dancing, and all kinds of other Latvian things. These activities often don’t take place in Latvian, because we also welcome those who don’t know the language but want to belong.

Our community is diverse—the more diverse it is, the stronger it is. I would like to turn your attention to LNAK, our national umbrella organization in Canada, which is an entity that has changed over the years and continues to change as it seeks a way forward in the Latvian community.

Each generation brings something new and different to an organization and I hope this generation will also bring new energy and ideas to strengthen the LNAK network across Canada and draw all our organizations together.

This year we began the process of strengthening the ties between LNAK and other Latvian organizations. We also began reviewing our network of regional representatives, which entailed developing new relationships and strengthening existing ones. I hope that we will have completed this process by the end of the year.

To date, new representatives have been appointed in Guelph, Ontario; the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia; and Ottawa. We are seeking to develop closer ties with communities in Vancouver and Calgary. We are delighted by the new representatives who have joined us. These include Arnis Miķelsons in Guelph, Liene Sestule in the Okanagan, and Sarma Merdian in Ottawa. The HALO Committee will represent us in Hamilton, Ontario. Ena Rudovics is our contact in Edmonton. We are also hearing about others and will continue to seek connections in other Canadian cities, but we invite you to feel free to get in touch with us.

We will continue to create relationships with Latvian community organizations and consider opportunities to provide assistance. We invite you to contact us directly or via your representative. Our email address is Please do write to us and share your views, ideas, and concerns.

Please follow our news on scholarship opportunities as well as our cultural and advocacy activities. Please support LNAK with your kind words, take care of your membership dues, and consider making a donation.

With all good wishes,
Jānis Lielāmers