I first visited the quaint Eastern European city of Riga, Latvia in the summer of 1989. Nestled between the Baltic Sea, Lithuania, Russia, Belarus and Estonia, Latvia represented the second stop in our People to People delegation of Kansas high school students touring the USSR. After a grim few days in Leningrad (St. Petersburg) where we were harassed by black marketeers and giant hotel cockroaches, our group languished in the friendlier atmosphere of Riga, with its intimate parks, basement nightclubs and kind, hopeful people. We went on to see several other cities in Russia and the Ukraine, but I always remembered Riga fondly.
Twenty-six years later, I had the rare opportunity to participate in a different kind of delegation to Riga, this time as one of a dozen trainers from around the world, facilitating on behalf of the US State Department. My job: to provide tools and expertise to 60 journalists from the region. The program: TechCamp. In the two-day workshop, we explored topics like digital strategy, fact checking, video editing, social organizing and security. Participants selected sessions based on areas of interest for their respective media organizations. At the end of the second day, each group of participants presented what they learned. In the process, they built key skill sets and professional relationships.
Here’s the rest of the story on my blog at The Huffington Post.