Vaira Vike-Freiberga is President of the World Leadership Alliance – Club de Madrid and former President of Latvia, in the office between 1999 and 2007. She was instrumental in achieving membership in the European Union and NATO for her country and was Special Envoy on UN Reform, appointed by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
Vike-Freiberga was the Vice-chair of the Reflection Group on the Long-term Future of Europe and chaired the High-level Group on Freedom and Pluralism of Media in the EU in 2011-2012. She was a member of two high-level groups on European security and defence and member of the High-level Independent Team of Advisors to the UN Economic and Social Council Dialogue on UN development in 2015 and 2016, respectively.
Born in Riga, Latvia, Vaira Vike-Freiberga began her schooling in refugee camps in Germany, before living first in Morocco and then in Canada, where she obtained her PhD at McGill University, in 1965. After a distinguished career as Professor of Psychology and as an international scholar at the University of Montreal, she returned to her native country in 1998 to head the Latvian Institute. Less than a year later she was elected President by the Latvian Parliament and re-elected in 2003.
Vike-Freiberga is a member, board member or patron of several international organizations, as well as five academies and an Honorary Fellow at Wolfson College, Oxford University. She has published extensively and is the recipient of many Awards, Orders of Merit and Honorary Doctorates.